New Zealand’s bees and beekeepers are calling on Kiwis to ‘Bee a Hero’ this September, as the country celebrates Bee Aware Month.

Bee Aware Month is an annual educational campaign organised by Apiculture New Zealand and supported by bee lovers across New Zealand.  Apiculture New Zealand CEO Karin Kos explains there are two key goals of the campaign.  “We want to lift awareness of the critical importance of bees to New Zealand’s environment, food chain and economy, and teach Kiwis some simple actions that everyone can take to improve bee health.”

Ms Kos says green-fingered Kiwis can help bees by growing bee-friendly plants in their gardens, while non-gardeners can also do their bit.  “Mowing your lawns less often is one really simple thing that can make a difference for bees.  Weeds like clover and dandelions are great food for bees.”

Ms Kos also encourages Kiwis to support everyday bee heroes:  our beekeepers.  “Since the advent of varroa, beekeepers’ have become essential to the survival of honey bees.  Our beekeepers work hard to care for and protect our bees. Buying local honey, especially some of our beautiful native varieties like rewarewa or kāmahi, or other bee products is a great way to back our beekeepers and their bees,” she says.

Another important thing everyone can do is to take care with garden sprays.  Ms Kos recommends either avoiding garden sprays, selecting bee-friendly products or following the spray safe rules.  “Spray only in the early morning and evening when bees are less active; never spray when flowers are in bloom and always read instructions carefully before spraying,” she says.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is a key supporter of Bee Aware Month.  EPA sets the rules around when, how and where insecticides can be used.  The EPA’s acting General Manager of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms group, Clark Ehlers, says, “Insecticides play an important role in food production, but some are harmful to pollinators, such as moths, birds and bees.  Bee Aware Month is a great time for people to ensure they’re following label instructions when using chemicals, or using alternative pest control methods, to keep our pollinators safe.”

Throughout Bee Aware Month, Apiculture New Zealand and its supporters and sponsors will be sharing bee facts, running competitions and, where possible, organising community events.  New Zealanders can find out more by visiting and following the Bee Aware Month Facebook and Instagram pages.

Apiculture New Zealand would like to thank all the bee-loving companies that have got behind Bee Aware Month:  De Winkel, Arataki Honey Hawke’s Bay, Certa Solutions, Comvita, Egmont Honey, Honeysticks, Honey Wrap, Huka Honey Hive, J Friend & Co., Manuka Doctor, Mānuka Health, Oh Wax, Palmers, The True Honey Co. and Wedderspoon.