September is Bee Aware Month – a month fully dedicated to celebrating bees! Not that we don’t do this all year round, but we have an excuse to do so even more during Bee Aware Month.
Albert Einstein once said that without bees, mankind would only survive for four years. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 fruit and vegetable crops around the world, from cucumbers to almonds, and are essential to maintaining our food supply. Approximately one third of all the food we eat is directly or indirectly derived from honey bees. Throughout the world, honeybee populations are under threat from various pests, diseases and insecticides. Urgent action is required if to protect them and ensure their survival.
Do you enjoy eating fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and apples? Are healthy dietary staples such as broccoli, nuts, and asparagus part of your everyday meals? Without honey bees and other bee species, you can say goodbye to the majority of fresh, nutritious food options. In fact, if it weren’t for bees, about one third of the food that humans eat would not be available! If that’s not reason enough to capture your interest and concern for bees, consider the wide range of ecosystem services that bees provide. Do you enjoy being out in nature while breathing in the fresh air and immersing yourself in the beautiful scenery? Without the services of bees and other pollinators, our world would look very different. Pollinator-dependent plants would be unable to reproduce and spread across the landscape. Consider the importance of flowering plants and fruit trees for other insects, birds, and wildlife. Without these sources of food, herbivores and frugivores, (plant and fruit-eating animals), would have a harder time finding food. This in turn would impact the rest of the food chain, including carnivores and omnivores such as wolves, bears, and humans. Due to these far-reaching, powerful connections, the honey bee is a profound contributor to ecosystems.
In New Zealand one of the most significant threat to bees is the varroa mite, which was discovered here in 2000. Imagine a mite the size of a dinner plate stuck to your body, sucking the life out of you – some bees have been found with more than six of these on their bodies! There has also been a decline in natural, varied food sources for bees due to the industrialisation of the environment.
To Mark Bee Awareness Month
Bees support over $5 billion of the country’s agri-industry exports annually, and they help to grow one third of all the food we eat, as well as helping our home gardens to flourish.
The bees in New Zealand are faring a lot better than in many other countries, where bee populations are often under threat, but we still need to promote and protect them
Here are six easy ways for anyone to help declining honey bee populations. You can:
1. Bee organic. Buying organic is one of the easiest ways to support bee-friendly forage.
2. Bee a gardener. Plant bee-friendly fruits and flowers to provide forage for honey bees.
3. Bee savvy at home. Most lawn, garden and home pest problems can be solved without toxic and persistent chemical pesticides.
4. Bee a beekeeper. Whether you live in the country or the city, you can show your commitment to honey bees by hosting a hive in your backyard or even on a rooftop. The Bees Up Top movement is growing, so you’re sure to find swarms of folks who can help you find your way.
5. Bee social. Social media can be a powerful tool for busy bees. Share stories, videos and more honey bee action ideas.
There are some wonderful people doing some amazing things to help increase NZ’s bee population – Jess and Luke from Bees Up Top are a young, dynamic duo hellbent on saving the bees! They’ve travelled the world learning about bees from beekeepers all over the world visiting as many countries as they could get their sticky, honey covered hands on learning about the prevention of disease, crop pollination and honey extraction. Their aim is to increase New Zealand’s bee population by supplying healthy, happy hives to urban areas and to educate our future generation on the importance of keeping our little workers around. They are so passionate about educating the young ones that we are supplying the hives to schools for free!! They rescue bee swarms before the exterminator is called in and re-home them. Check them out here for more information on the amazing work they’re doing.
During September we’re extremely lucky to be partnering with some amazing companies like Bees Brilliance, Mossop’s, and Happy Valley who are all producing some wonderful products thanks to wonderful bees.
Matthew and Julene are the owners of Cropps NZ and the creators of Bees Brilliance skincare. Matthew was born with beekeeping in his veins. The fourth generation of honey makers, he grew up watching his father tend to the family beehives. Julene is passionate about nature and together they have dedicated themselves to gaining an expert knowledge of bees and honey production. They’ve researched the different compositions of honey and created a range that, when combined with the finest natural ingredients, works as hard as the bees in their hives.
Mossop’s is a family business that has been producing and packaging top quality honeys for 70 years. Their goal is to keep Mossop’s honey a family owned business, to keep traditional methods to ensure the highest standard of honey is always produced and to keep the good old fashioned personal, friendly service. They we pride ourselves in not over-processing, over-stirring, or over-heating their honey. As well as producing delicious honey they developed the Natruél Skincare range, a chemical free skin care range using UMF® Manuka honey as the main ingredient. Mossop’s are also proud to sponsor The Ron Mossop Youth Scholarship in Beekeeping, established to encourage young New Zealanders who wish to take up a career in the industry and undertake training that supports best practice beekeeping.
Happy Valley Honey was founded in 1975 by the late Ben Rawnsley and his wife Dot. What started off as a hobby quickly grew into a shop and office based on their farm in Mill Rd in Alfiston, South Auckland. In 1990 Happy Valley commenced production of Fresh Royal Jelly; and to this day Happy Valley remain the only commercial producers of NZ Royal Jelly. Today the business is run by two families, the Lipscombe’s and the Harvey’s. With over 30 years experience in beekeeping Happy Valley Honey New Zealand is a leading supplier of quality natural bee products. Happy Valley’s products have as little human influence as possible to ensure you get the best that nature has to offer.
Be sure to grab your September Delight Box now to try some amazing products from these wonderful companies yourself!