North Otago’s bees starting to fade away

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Oamaru beekeeper Marian Shore says people need to try to look after bees any way they can because they are in serious trouble.

She was speaking on behalf of Rural Women New Zealand about bees as part of their “enhancing communities” regional gathering in Oamaru on Tuesday and yesterday.

Mrs Shore, who has been a local beekeeper for eight years, said bees are in trouble all over the country.

“It’s not just here, but throughout all of New Zealand, bees are in trouble. People are spraying plants and trees with sprays which produce varroa and this is causing huge problems to the bees.”

The varroa is a parasite which attacks the location where the bees keeps their honey, which forces them to lose it and sometimes starve.

It took three years for varroa to get from Oamaru to Herbert, but it has now spread everywhere.

“It can take a very long time to spread or a short amount of time and between Oamaru and Herbert, it took quite awhile.”

To keep bees safe and flying around without the risk of disease, it is suggested people use insecticide and other chemicals which will keep flowers healthy and mean bees are able to collect pollen and nectar.

“These are being poisoned by people spraying and the bees need these for their honey.”

Bees do not die of starvation, they die from over-use when they just fly and fly and then can’t fly anymore and their wings fall off.

There can be any number from 15,000 to 100,000 bees in a hive at one time and only a 1000 of those will be drones (male bees).

“They mate, then get pushed to the outside, and then they eventually die.”

By BRAYDEN LINDSAY