Bees are known to be keystone pollinators. This means they are paramount to the functioning of ecosystems, and if they disappear, the effect is unpredictable and could likely lead to extinction cascades and ongoing impact.
We have around one million honeybee colonies in New Zealand, more than ever before. As an agricultural nation, we need a huge number of flowers to be pollinated, from those of fruit and vegetables that will be exported round the globe, to clover in vast pastures of dairy farms. Our honey industry is also booming and many more individuals are taking up beekeeping as a hobby.
We need to make sure the available pool of flowers grows with the number of bees, as a single honeybee colony needs to consume the pollen and nectar from around 1 billion flowers each year. By providing plenty of flowers, we ensure that all of our pollinators are fed – not just honey bees that are swelling in numbers.
- Once they find a good source of nectar they tell the rest of the hive where it is by waggling their bodies in its direction – this is known as the waggle dance.
- They have three eyes and see a spectrum of light we cant.
- They flap their wings 200 times per minute.
- They see 200 frames per second where we only see 24.
- Foragers fly up to 100 km per day to collect nectar.
- A honeybee queen lays up to 2000 eggs per day and a strong colony consumes over 150 kg of honey in one season just to run this magnificent operation.
- They have been found to travel seven kilometres one way and find their way home without fail.