Importance of Bees
Bees are in rapid decline worldwide. Over 1/3 of New Zealand's bee population has been lost since 2006.
If bee decline continues at this rate it wont be long before bees disappear altogether.
Honeybees provide a vital link in the ecosystem. They are part of the chain of food webs that support the existence of all higher forms of life. Albert Einstein said' If Bees disappeared off the face of the earth Man would have only four years to live'.
So How can we help? (information below courtesy of the NZ Bee association)
One of the best things we can do is make sure there is enough food for our Kiwi bees. We can do this by planting ‘bee friendly’ plants; in our gardens, on our farms, in our public gardens and even along our roadsides.
For a list of bee friendly plants go to http://nba.org.nz/about-bees/beneficial-plants-for-bees
We can also be careful how we use pesticides in our gardens. Try to avoid using any chemical sprays at all. But if you have to spray make sure it is late in the evening after bees have gone to bed. Don't spray while plants are flowering and avoid products containing neonicotinoids such as:
acetamiprid, imidacloprid, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam.
Bee Friendly Garden Tips:
- Don’t use pesticides
- Bees like blue yellow, white or purple flowers – chooses several colours
- Use local and native plants
- Plant flowers in groups together. These patches also attract butterflies.
- Include different sized and shaped flowers
- Try to have flowers for each season
- Favour sunny spots over shade with shelter from wind
- Avoid spraying when flowers are in bloom. Spray early morning or at sunset if necessary.
- Provide fresh, pesticide free drinking water for bees.
- Do not plant prohibited or controlled weeds – www.biosecurity.govt.nz/npp
To help pollination, plant bee friendly plants nearby. Companion planting can help you do this with added benefits such as pest control. Perennials are plants that typically will only need planting once. They come back (the most common are lilies, peonies and herbs like oregano, thyme or lavender). They tend to need very little care, and multiply through the years. Annuals need to be planted every year. Sunflowers are a good example or vegetable plants like tomatoes.