It’s hard not to love bees. Not only are they an essential part of the ecosystem, they are endlessly fascinating with their quirks, intelligence and ability to survive.
Fun fact: The 1984 Space Shuttle Challenger mission took 3400 worker bees and one queen into space. By the end of the seven-day mission the bees had adapted to microgravity and were able to produce honeycomb – the queen even laid around 30 eggs.
That said, these winged wonders still need our help in order to thrive in an urban environment and all Aucklanders can get involved.
Bees in the city
Auckland’s inner city is probably one of the last places you’d expect to find bees, but you may be surprised!
There are beehives located on the Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Centre. The Town Hall hives act as an early-warning system for threats to bees arriving through the port and are monitored regularly for exotic diseases and pests.
Bottling of the honey is handled by the beekeepers who manage the beehives. Some honey is presented as civic gifts and some is sold to raise funds for the continual maintenance of the town hall hives and bee health. Most recently honey from the Aotea Centre hives was gifted as a welcome to the Matilda crew.
If you’d like to connect with city bees, then For the Love Of Bees is the project for you. This city-wide collaboration aims to bring bees and other pollinators back into the heart of Auckland, and is supported by Auckland Council and the Auckland Design Office.
The project provides multiple opportunities for residents to learn more about and interact with bees including:
Vote early and celebrate spring and election day with a Spring Biking Bee Adventure.
Hop on your bike and take part in an exploration of the city from a bee’s-eye perspective. On this adventure you’ll learn as you go and get your hands dirty – each site will be left more bee-friendly than before.
Get educated during lunch
Each week a drop-in class is held at The Griffiths Garden aimed at helping you garden in ways that are safe for bees. Come for 10 minutes or the whole two hours. And watch this space for weekend and school holiday workshops. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the class, you can print the lesson plans off right here!
Go to bee school
Yes, Auckland has a bee school and – even better – it’s free! The Natural Bee School meets the first Sunday of the month from 10am to 12am in the Campbell Free Kindergarten in Victoria Park and moves across to the three hives situated in the park.
These beekeeping classes are where beginner beekeepers, hobbyists and bee enthusiasts can come and learn natural beekeeping techniques from an experienced urban beekeeper. All ages are welcome.
To keep up with what’s happening on the For the Love of Bees project, follow the Facebook page.