BEE happy with 150th anniversary of bees’ introduction to New Zealand

Released 19th March

“Today’s 150th anniversary of the introduction of bees to New Zealand represents a milestone for the industry in this country,” said John Hartnell, Federated Farmers bee industry group spokesperson.

“Many New Zealanders are unaware of the crucial but unheralded role bees have played in pastoral farming and horticulture over the past 150 years and their valuable contribution must not be under-estimated.

“Although honey is a breakfast staple and vital to the New Zealand economy, by far the greatest reward to New Zealand is pollination. Without the bee, key industries New Zealand is renowned for such as horticulture, small seed and pastoral farming would effectively die while everyday food such as fresh vegetables and table fruits would be lost. A conservative estimate would put the contribution to New Zealand’s economy at $12 billion annually - a little bee but a mind-boggling effort.

“Bees have historically been taken for granted as the free pollinator, however our allied industries are now acutely aware that there is no substitute for the bee, and absolutely no better pollinator on the planet. Therefore, we must have a united approach and we must strive to protect New Zealand’s apicultural industry, continued Mr Hartnell.

"Every day, bees are exposed to, or are at risk from, chemicals sprayed on trees, crops and pasture where bees are foraging. Bees can even be drowned by some irrigation systems. Farmers need to work closely with the beekeeping community to ensure they are fully conversant with the needs and lifecycle requirements of the bee.

“It is clear that globally bees are a threatened population, yet research clearly shows that more hives will be required in the future to meet increased demands for food production.

“It is important that the agricultural and horticultural sectors, policy-makers and wider New Zealand create an environment where bee populations can thrive and carry out their task of pollinating crops,” concluded Mr Hartnell.


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