Swarm teaches toddlers their A Bee C
‘‘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.
Bee swarm at Hannah’s House Early Childhood Education Centre in Red Beach. Louise Louden