Buzzing with ex­cite­ment

South Taranaki Star - - FRONT PAGE - JANE MATTHEWS

A pri­mary school is buzzing af­ter re­ceiv­ing a gift - a pol­li­nat­ing gift.

Strat­ford Pri­mary School was given bees, and hives, to put in their gar­den and the school’s en­vi­ron­men­tal co-or­di­na­tor Mar­lene Lewis couldn’t have been hap­pier.

‘‘It’s such a spe­cial oc­ca­sion for Strat­ford Pri­mary School,’’ Lewis said. ‘‘I think there’s only 240 schools through­out New Zealand that have been do­nated the leaf­cut­ter bee hive.’’

New World Su­per­mar­ket do­nated the en­viro-school hiber­nat­ing leaf­cut­ter bees, a less ag­gres­sive bee, a hive for them and a bum­ble bee home.

Owner of the Strat­ford gro­cery store Dan Har­ris said giv­ing schools bees and hives was an ex­ten­sion of the Lit­tle Gar­dens’ pro­mo­tion.

‘‘We give away wee seedling kits and they can col­lect the whole range to make a set. It teaches kids about how to grow their own food and what have you,’’ Har­ris said. ‘‘With the leaf­cut­ter bee­hives, they chose leaf­cut­ter bees be­cause they don’t st­ing, which is good for the kids and it ties in re­ally well.’’

Har­ris said he ap­proached the school be­cause he knew about their en­vi­ron­men­tal ef­forts.

‘‘They do all of their re­cy­cling and com­post­ing and they’ve got all of their gar­dens set up - all the kids are right into it,’’ he said.

Lewis said the bees were a first for the school, and she made sure to make a big deal of it.

The school held a small pre­sen­ta­tion for the bees and their hives, and gave out bee-dec­o­rated cup­cakes.

‘‘It’s for the chil­dren’s sake, it is a spe­cial mo­ment,’’ she said.

Lewis said there had been con­cerns about hav­ing bees in the school, but there was no rea­son to worry.

‘‘Leaf­cut­ters aren’t an ag­gres­sive bee, the males don’t st­ing and the fe­males ap­par­ently give a lit­tle st­ing like a mos­quito but there’s no cases of ana­phy­lac­tic re­ac­tion,’’ she said.

She said hav­ing bees com­pletely fit­ted their en­viro-school. ‘‘It’s all about sus­tain­abil­ity and pol­li­nat­ing.

‘‘They’re hav­ing trou­ble with bee­hives dy­ing out and they try to en­cour­age dif­fer­ent pollinators,’’ Lewis said.

The leaf­cut­ter bees are cur­rently hiber­nat­ing, but ap­par­ently like to wake when tem­per­a­tures are around 21 de­grees.

JANE MATTHEWS/STUFF

Since the real bees are hiber­nat­ing, Dan Har­ris and Mar­lene Lewis had to hold the clos­est things to real­ity - bee cup­cakes.

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