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Posts Tagged ‘bees’

Apiarian Art

This mural on the corner of Armagh and Barbadoes Streets might be a plea to halt the decline of honey-bees.

It seems that in Aotearoa, the bees are doing well.  Maybe the exhortations to plant bee-friendly flowers have worked?

“It seems there’s honey in the hive
and locally the bees do thrive.”

 

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Busy Bees

Bees are enjoying our flowers on these warm sunny days.

Bee on poppy

Bee on poppy

 

Bee on Marjoram

Bee on Marjoram

 

Bee on hollyhock

Bee on hollyhock

Sadly the bees we adopted didn’t survive their first winter, but there are obviously hives in the area and lots of bees foraging in our garden.  I appreciate that they provide a pollination service.

“The flowers’ bright colours and perfume
make bees fly round from bloom to bloom.”

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Broody Bees

Martin, our Beekeeper, came to check on our hive.  He put on his protective gear and we watched from nearby, while thyme smoke was puffed out to distract the bees.

Opening the hive

Opening the hive

It was fascinating to see the thousands of bees crawling around the inside.

Bees revealed

Bees revealed

Apparently our bees have been busy tending to the brood of new bees, but they haven’t yet started to make much honey.  We saw the queen who is longer than the others, and bald (like Elizabeth I?).  In summer bees live only six to eight weeks.  If they die inside the hive undertaker bees pick them up and carry them outside for an apiarian form of excarnation.  Martin says our bees are healthy, they’re just not yet collecting enough nectar to make honey.  I guess it’s a bit like having a broody hen who doesn’t lay.

“Our bees are tending to their young.
At least no-one is getting stung.”

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We are now the proud hosts for 20,000 bees which joined our household today.  Organic Beekeeper Martyn Wheeler delivered our hive, opened a tiny door in it, and they started to come out.

New beehive in the Cottage garden

New beehive in the Cottage garden

It’s lovely to see their golden bodies flying around the garden.  They need a day or two to orient themselves, then may well fly up to five kilometres daily to busily collect pollen and build honeycombs.   We need to warn anyone who comes into our garden that we have a beehive, and our only other obligation is to tell the bees any important news.  Martyn will visit regularly to manage the hive, and our “stock” should gradually increase to about 60, 000.  He advised us it’s best not to give the bees individual names!

“We’re pleased to welcome all these bees
who’ll fertilise our plants and trees.”

 

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Recently there’s been publicity for a City Councillor’s Plan Bee to introduce more honey bees to the central city through a co-operative scheme.  This would help Christchurch gardens, and protect the local ecosystem.  Bee numbers have been dropping in recent years, and without them the world’s food supply is threatened.

The articles brought a letter in the “Press” from a local beekeeper pointing out that it is already possible to hire and host a hive.  Martyn Wheeler uses organic principles to care for bees naturally, and has a hive on top of Alice in Videoland.  I e-mailed Martyn and found that hiring a hive will cost us $400 per year.  Martyn will do all necessary maintenance, and we will get 5kg of honey, presumably from “our” bees.  Apparently spring is the best time to install the hive, so we have to wait for a few months yet.

It will be our responsibility will be to keep the bees informed of any important events that occur within our whanau.  I was fascinated to learn that the word dumbledore is a name for a bee, and look forward to the arrival of our Cottage Dumbledores.

“I eagerly await our bees
who’ll fertilise the flowers and trees.”

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