By­law a win for bee­keep­ers

Central Leader - - NEWS - By TOM CARNEGIE

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.

Photos: TOM CARNEGIE / FAIR­FAX NZ

Brad Ross with his hive.

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