Swarm teaches tod­dlers their A Bee C

North Shore Times - - OUR SCHOOLS - JAY BORE­HAM

‘‘We would rather re-home the bees than have them de­stroyed’’

Tod­dlers at a north Auck­land day­care cen­tre learnt ‘B’ is for bee with a real-life dis­play af­ter a swarm swooped into one of their trees.

But un­for­tu­nately for the chil­dren the swarm, which moved into a man­darin tree at Han­nah’s House Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre in Red Beach, meant they had to spend the day in­side.

Cen­tre owner Louise Louden spot­ted the bees when she ar­rived to work on Mon­day morn­ing.

Con­cerned for younger chil­dren’s safety, Louden called a bee­keeper from Puhoi Bush­man Honey to come and re­move them.

‘‘We won’t be com­ing out­side this morn­ing.

‘‘With our sus­tain­able prac­tices that we have at the cen­tre, we would rather re-home the bees than have them de­stroyed,’’ she said.

Louden was hor­ri­fied to find other peo­ple in Auck­land were pour­ing petrol on bees this swarm sea­son and set­ting them alight, when the in­sects were such an in­te­gral part of na­ture and the food chain.

‘‘I’m ac­tu­ally quite shocked.’’ Bee­keeper Wil­liam Tit­ford placed a man-made hive be­neath the swarm and shook the bees into it.

‘‘The plan is that their scouts go in there and go back up to the queen and tell her ‘Hey - here’s a good spot’.’’

Once the queen en­tered the hive, the re­main­ing bees would fol­low, he said.

Tit­ford said the swarm was on the larger side and es­ti­mated it could num­ber up to 30,000 bees. With subur­ban bee­keep­ing be­com­ing more pop­u­lar this swarm sea­son was ‘‘crazy’’, he said.

Six years ago, he would get 10 calls a year to col­lect swarms, but he had reached that num­ber in the past seven days, and been called five times in the pre­vi­ous 24 hours.

On his way to one of th­ese call­outs, in Browns Bay, he got a call the swarm had left af­ter it was was at­tacked with fly spray. But Tit­ford said swarms didn’t need to be sprayed or burnt, as bee­keep­ers such as him­self could be called.

Tit­ford left the hive be­neath the tree to al­low the bees to get es­tab­lished in their new home and planned to re­turn to pick it up in the evening.

The swarm would be re­lo­cated to Hat­fields Beach and placed along­side other re­cently re-homed hives.

JAY BORE­HAM

Bee swarm at Han­nah’s House Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre in Red Beach. Louise Louden

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