Bee swarm vis­its early learn­ing cen­tre

Rodney Times - - CONVERSATIONS - JAY BORE­HAM

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.

JAY BORE­HAM

Bee­keeper Wil­liam Tit­ford of Puhoi Bush­man Honey works to move the bees from the man­darin tree into a box hive.

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