City’s bees hit by varroa virus
They give us honey, pollinate our flowers and help our fruit to grow.
But the sound of bees buzzing in the garden has become a distant memory for many Auckland residents.
Local beekeepers say the varroa virus has decimated much of the bee population around the North Island.
And residents are starting to notice the effects.
Auckland Beekeepers Club president Carol Downer says the virus has significantly reduced the number of bees around the city.
“I often get people asking me where all the bees have gone. Bees just can not survive without human intervention any more.
“There are definitely more bees needed in the city.”
The varroa mite is a parasite that infects bees and kills entire colonies.
The small mites suck bodily fluids from bees, killing hives and making it difficult for colonies to thrive.
They are spread by moving bees and beekeeping equipment and was discovered in Onehunga in April 2000 before spreading through much of the North Island.
Ms Downer says people do not always care about the virus because they see bees as a pest.
But people need to realise how important they are to gardens and pollination, she says.
“The biggest thing that people need to understand is bees are defenders not attackers and you can modify their behaviour with what you do,” she says.
“Bees are really important and people don’t consider how different it could be if there were no bees around.”
Mt Roskill resident Paul Berry is also concerned about the lack of bees in Auckland.
He became a beekeeper six months ago and is helping to bring bees back into the city.
Paul recently transported hives from the Coromandel and rents them to people interested in having bees in their gardens.
He says bees are the key to sustainable living through the health benefi of pollination and honey.
“There’s something missing if there’s no bees. It’s fantastic to have them in the environment.”
For information about hiring a beehive, contact Paul on 021-467-756 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rare sight: Paul Berry is among local beekeepers who have noticed bees dying out because of the varroa virus. He is renting out hives to help get bees back into the city.