Bees are wel­come at school

South Waikato News - - Agribusiness - LUKE KIRKEBY

Get­ting an ‘A’ is al­ways good but at Toko­roa’s Am­is­field School bees are bet­ter.

The school has just re­ceived a Leaf­cut­ter Bee house and Bum­ble Bee nest­ing box as part of New World’s Lit­tle Gar­den cam­paign to boost New Zealand’s dwin­dling bee pop­u­la­tion.

Each New World su­per­mar­ket through­out the coun­try selected a school to re­ceive the boxes with Am­is­field be­ing the lucky re­cip­i­ent in Toko­roa.

The house comes with a sup­ply of co­coons for the school’s chil­dren to look af­ter and the bees will then re­turn the favour by pol­li­nat­ing the school gar­den which the chil­dren are grow­ing.

Prin­ci­pal Chris­tine Mcliesh said it was a great learn­ing tool for the stu­dents.

‘‘We have al­ways done a lot of plant­ing and the Leaf­cut­ter Bee is the bee that will do the pol­li­nat­ing with­out be­ing ag­gres­sive as they don’t have a hive to pro­tect,’’ she said.

‘‘Presently they are hi­ber­nat­ing but when the weather gets warm enough, as they need 21 days of be­ing warm, they will come out and will ba­si­cally stay around this area.’’

She said en­cour­ag­ing bees was essen­tial to the food chain.

‘‘They are more im­por­tant than honey bees be­cause we don’t need all the honey but we do need pol­li­na­tion and that’s all they do,’’ she said.

New en­trant teacher Karen Jones, who cur­rently has the box on dis­play in her class­room, agreed.

‘‘They pol­li­nate one third of our food world­wide so that’s very im­por­tant,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s been great re­ceiv­ing them as it links straight back into our plants which we have been learn­ing about.’’

‘‘Lots of chil­dren also don’t un­der­stand where their food comes from, they think it just ap­pears in the freezer so it gives them the op­por­tu­nity to try and learn about the cy­cle of foods they have planted,’’ she said.

Jones said it is sim­ple to look af­ter the bees once they have been placed in their house.

‘‘At the end of au­tumn they will hi­ber­nate and we just need to take them out and put them away again for the win­ter,’’ she said.

‘‘It has been very in­ter­est­ing as I didn’t even know there were Leaf­cut­ters Bees.’’

She said they were hop­ing a queen bee might come along too so that the bees will re­pro­duce.

LUKE KIRKEBY/ STUFF

Am­is­field School new en­trant stu­dents in front of their New World Leaf­cut­ter Bee house.

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