Bee Week has a serious sting in its tail

Horticulture New Zealand, a supporter of the country’s National Beekeepers’ Association, has warned that Bee Week comes with a sting in its tail, saying vigilance is needed if crop pollination is to continue.

Bee Week is not just about celebrating cute bumble bees and hard-working honey bees it says.

It’s about the essential work millions of bees do every day, pollinating crops.

The sting in the tail of Bee Week is a serious message — in other parts of the world, bees are dying.

“We can stop that happening here, but we have to be smart, vigilant and we have to spend money on research,” Horticulture New Zealand CEO Peter Silcock says.

“The value of pollination to New Zealand is almost beyond calculation. Cautious estimates say at least a third of the food we eat is the direct result of pollination.

“Then there are the multi-billion dollars in export earnings derived from pollinated crops, which puts jobs in our rural towns and money in the bank,” Silcock says.

And pollination is not easy work. A bee must visit a kiwifruit flower at least four times to ensure the fruit produced is of export quality size.

“Horticulture is the beekeeping industry’s biggest client, and without the bee, many of our growers would find it extremely difficult to continue to produce high quality products,” Silcock says.

Horticulture New Zealand says this is also a good opportunity for growers, farmers and home gardeners to be reminded to use agrichemicals and even some fly sprays with care and according to the instructions.

“Respect the bees’ environment and they will get on and do the job we all need them to do,” Silcock says.

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