John Coleman wants to help people make their own honey, and help save the Hawke's Bay bee population in the process.
Coleman, owner of Bee Rescue Ltd in Hastings, has been working with bees for the past seven years and has been trained in disease management in bees.
"I retired from years in the hospitality industry. My love of bees, and their effects on food supply meant it was a natural progression for me to move into beekeeping."
To share his love for bees, Coleman is now leasing out fully serviced and managed hives to suitable homes in Hawke's Bay. He already has 100 around the region.
Hives would be leased out to people, even those living in urban areas of Hawke's Bay, on a case by case basis, he said.
"People do not need to fear bees.
"They are completely safe and friendly and invoke conversation and discussion on the wonders of such a small insect responsible single-handedly for providing one third of all foods for all humans' eating and diets, on our planet.
"It's an extraordinary fact. As the bee said 'if we go we are taking you with us'.
"Hives in homes can make a big difference to the bees' survival."
The past three seasons have been the worst in 30 years for bees in Hawke's Bay, he said.
"The reasons for that include climatic conditions, too many beekeepers and not enough food, overcrowding where disease becomes a major problem because there are too many hives in the same location."
To avoid overcrowding there will only be one or two hives leased out to homes, he said.
"The lease itself will be for a year, they will be able to keep honey that is collected which can be anything from 7kg to 15kg."
A 500g jar of honey is the result of visits to about two million flowers and is the life's work of more than 1000 bees.
Each worker, or female, bee produces about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in her life.
The female bees are the main labour force in the hive, with the males, or the drones, there to mate with a new queen.
In autumn, when food sources reduce, the bees kick the drones out of the hive as they prepare for winter.
The worker bees and the queen are the female bees, but only the queen can lay eggs, which will be nurtured and develop into young bees.
"The hives will be two to three boxes high with a full complement of bees, including queen bee, food, eggs, pollen and the honey and hive will be ready to go."
Coleman's hives can be leased for $550 to $650, and he can be contacted on 021 428 169.
Fun facts about bees:
• Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years.
• On one flight from the hive to collect honey, a honey bee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers.
• A honey bee must visit about four million flowers to produce 1kg of honey.
• One beehive of honey bees can produce up to 150kg of honey per year.
• Bees use their antennae to smell. They can detect nectar 2km away.