Bee swarm visits early learning centre
Toddlers at a Red Beach 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, 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
‘‘We would rather re-home the bees than have them destroyed.’’
could number up to 30,000 bees. With suburban beekeeping becoming more popular this swarm season was ‘crazy’, he said.
Six years ago he’d get 10 calls a year, but he’d reached that in the last seven days, and been called five times in the last 24 hours.
On his way to one of these in Browns Bay, he got a call the swarm had left after it 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, and returned to pick it up in the evening.
The swarm would be relocated to Hatfields Beach and placed alongside other hives belonging to recently re-homed swarms.
Despite the experience starting out scary for the daycare centre, it turned out to be a good learning experience, and the children are now ‘‘bee mad’’, Louden said.
Beekeeper William Titford of Puhoi Bushman Honey works to move the bees from the mandarin tree into a box hive.