Did you know it’s World Bee Day this May 20th? The number of bees across the world is declining at an alarming rate, but we need them.
Humans depend on bees not only for our existence, but for our survival. It’s estimated that one third of the food we consume is reliant on pollination by bees, making them the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. This World Bee Day, Egmont Honey is encouraging everyone to spread awareness and the significance of bees for our survival.
I had a chat recently with Egmont Honey’s Founder and 2018 EY Entrepreneur of the Year shortlister James Annabell, to find out more about why bees are so significant, and to see how we can do our part for our New Zealand bees. Let’s face it – without the bees, we’re in trouble.
Why is World Bee Day important?
The rate of decline in bee numbers, and insects in general is terrifying. As the world’s most important pollinator of food crops, we literally depend on bees for our existence and survival. The honey industry has undergone significant change over the past few years, and there has been considerable shifts in consumer trends in some of the traditional Manuka export markets, particularly Asia.
What does Egmont Honey do to play its part in looking after NZ bees? Five per cent of Egmont Honey proceeds are aimed exclusively at increasing bee populations. We have a dedicated team of beekeepers that watch over our 4,000 hives throughout the year. We’re very careful to transport our hives as little as possible, as this can be stressful for the bees. Unlike other honey companies, we don’t move our hives outside of the region.
Last year the team’s hard work and dedication was recognised when we took out the Supreme Award at the TSB Taranaki Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards.
How easy is it to grow your own honey?
Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved! We always recommend that people join their local Bee Club, to learn the fundamentals. In particular it’s vital that people are able to diagnose bee diseases. Also, be very mindful of your neighbours if their properties are close by. Bees don’t have any discretion as to where they ‘do their business’ – and it stains washing and cars!
James’ Top Tips to care for your local bees:
- If you need to spray your garden, check with your local garden or hardware store that you’re using a bee-friendly weed killer, there are some good options on the market.
- If you are spraying, do it early morning or at sunset when bees are less active.
- Provide fresh, pesticide free drinking water in your garden. Bees need to drink routinely just like humans; if the weather is hot they will cease foraging for pollen altogether to seek out water exclusively.
- Bee-friendly planting. It’s helpful if people can plant flowers for multiple seasons, to ensure a steady source of nectar and pollen all year round. Planting in large clusters of each species will also help attract bees to your garden.
Egmont Honey is now available in the honey section of Countdown Supermarkets. To find out more, visit www.egmonthoney.co.nz.