Bees are welcome at school
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.
Amisfield School new entrant students in front of their New World Leafcutter Bee house.