A group of Tauranga children got the inside buzz on honey production this week during tours of Mossop’s Honey factory, organised as part of Bee Aware Month.
The tours, which took place on Wednesday, at the factory at the base of the Kaimai Range, were led by managing director Duane Mossop.
Three groups of home-educated children took part in the tours, which involved seeing and learning about how honey is removed from the beehives, processed, stored and packaged. Parents present at the tours agreed they were a great way to support learning about bees and honey production.
Agriculture Minister Hon Damien O’Connor officially launched the 10th annual Bee Aware Month, a nation-wide celebration of bees and their importance to our ecosystem, food chain and economy.
Damien inspected the Prime Minister’s beehives based at Premier House in Wellington this week to mark the beginning of Bee Aware Month.
He told young beekeepers from Te Aro School that bees were the most important animal in the world and needed our protection.
“Without bees we wouldn’t have pollination, and without pollination we wouldn’t have food. If we look after the bees then they can look after pollination.”
Bee Aware Month is coordinated by Apiculture New Zealand, and the theme this year is: ‘Love our Bees’.
New Zealanders are being asked to show their love by taking some simple steps to improve bee health such as: planting bee-friendly plants like wildflowers, providing clean water for bee rehydration, choosing bee-friendly pesticides and spraying safely.
Bees also provide the much-loved sweet treat, honey, and Bee Aware Month is also an opportunity to celebrate of the wide range of delicious and unique honeys produced here in New Zealand.
Apiculture New Zealand chief executive Karin Kos is asking New Zealanders to support our hard-working bees.
“We are lucky to have a healthy bee population in New Zealand, but we can’t be complacent.
“Bees need our help to stay healthy and Bee Aware Month is all about encouraging people to do those small, but vital things that make a real difference.”
Bee Aware Month is possible with the generous support of sponsors DeWinkel, the Environmental Protection Agency, Mitre 10 and Ecrotek.
Mossop’s Honey managing director Duane Mossop, back left, shows the inside of a bee hive to Asher Mossop, front, Anara Dewhirst, Max Mossop and Jackson Mossop, back, Ben Dewhirst and Daniel Mackenzie.
The EPA’s acting General Manager of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms group, Clark Ehlers, says, “Bee Aware Month is a great opportunity to remind people of the importance of keeping our pollinators – including bees – safe.
“We help protect bees and other pollinators, such as moths, butterflies, and birds, by setting the rules around when, how and where insecticides should be used. It’s vital that anyone using insecticides follows the rules, to protect our pollinators.”
Events to celebrate bees will be held across New Zealand, with a growing list of events available on the Apiculture New Zealand website.
Kiwis are also encouraged to hold their own ‘Pollinator Parties’ through the month when they gather friends together, share some kai and plant bee-friendly plants in an unused area of garden or berm.
The annual Bee Aware Month Schools’ competition is well under way with students busily creating videos of two-minutes or under on the theme ‘Love our Bees’. Twenty-five councils around the country have signed up for Bee-Friendly Council Garden Challenge.
Apiculture New Zealand supplies these councils with wildflower seeds so they can transform civic spaces into bee havens or share the seeds with their communities.