Bylaw a win for beekeepers
A new bylaw is the buzz among Auckland’s urban beekeepers.
The Animal Management Bylaw 2015 has been accepted by Auckland Council and will come into effect on September 1.
The number of hives a household can have will be based on responsible hive management, replacing the hive caps set for each suburb.
Kim Kneijber, a member of the Auckland Beekeepers Club based in Mt Albert, helped draft the new law. She says it’s the first of its kind in New Zealand for urban dwelling animals.
‘‘Right now you can have one hive in Auckland city, under the new rule you will be able to have up to six. However to have that many you must prove to the Auckland Council you have good management of your hives.’’
Kneijber says bees play an important role in the pollination of food crops, including backyard vegetable gardens and edible community gardens.
Proper beehive management includes minimising the potential nuisance or risks to public health and safety, hive maintenance and excrement management, she says.
Lawyer Brad Ross has had a beehive at his Newmarket flat for three months. He says his flatmates have been enjoying the large quantities of honey.
‘‘One hive can produce up to between 30kg to 40kg of honey a year.’’
Once the law comes into effect Ross says he will be looking to add another hive.
Ross says others interested in having a hive in their backyard should join their local bee club to learn hive maintenance.
‘‘They say the best hives are those that you can leave alone, but you still have to learn how to deal with things like varroa mite and population control,’’ he says.
Kneijber says she first became interested in bees more than 10 years ago.
‘‘A swarm landed in my garden and I thought: ‘I will have a go at that’.’’
She says the different tastes you get from honey can be described in a similar way to wine.
‘‘You have different flavours come through with different harvests. Right now it is delicate, light and floral but in spring it will be lofty, bushy honey with hints of caramel,’’ she says.
Kneijber says while internationally bee numbers are declining, New Zealand’s bees are doing well.
‘‘We do not have a lot of the diseases that are ruining bee populations overseas. I would urge people to follow the biosecurity laws to keep it this way,’’ she says.
Brad Ross with his hive.