2. HONEYBEES, BUMBLEBEES AND NATIVE BEES ARE ALL GOOD POLLINATORS
Whereas honeybees are active throughout winter, keeping their hive warm and safe, the bumblebee hibernates.
The last bumblebee brood of the summer colony contains a number of queens. Each of these new-generation queens mates, before hibernating underground over winter. In spring she emerges and begins looking for a new site to start a new colony. The bumblebee nest is developed by a single queen, who lays her eggs and forages for food to store for her young. Once hatched, the larvae feed on the stored food. After a period the larvae stop feeding and pupate; about two weeks later, the adult worker emerges. Eventually, these adults take over the foraging duties from the queen.
A honeybee hive, on the other hand, can survive many years. During winter the bees typically stay in their hives. Honey stored in the hive during summer and autumn feeds the bees during the winter months.
New Zealand has a number of native bee species. Most lead solitary lives and don’t produce honey, but they are good little pollinators and can often be found on native Asteraceae (such as olearia and senecio), Myrtaceae (rata and manuka), and Fabaceae (kowhai and clianthus), among other plants. Most of our native bees make their nests in holes in tree trunks, soil or sand, with only one family in each nest. Each female lays three to 10 eggs before dying. Any females from those eggs go on to build their own nests. Our native bees overwinter either as adults or prepupae.
When honeybees and bumblebees emerge from their nests or hives as the weather becomes warmer, it is important they find a source of nectar and pollen immediately. Without it,