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Buzzing bumble bees among unusual freight

Buzzing bumble bees among unusual freight

Boxes of 100 buzzing bumble bees are among some of the more unusual freight that Fastway Couriers sends around its national network.

Hastings based company, Biobees sends the bees in small 100 bee hives via Fastway Couriers Hawkes Bay to orchards, hothouse growers and other horticulture operations around the North Island a couple of times a week nearly all year round.

The bees are used for pollinating plants and are transported in special enclosed cardboard boxes to prevent bee stings and the precious cargo escaping.

“We make sure the boxes are stowed carefully,” said Dave France, the regional franchise owner of Fastway Couriers, Hawkes Bay. “Stings have never been a problem.”

The Fastway Couriers team in Hawkes Bay picks up the bees and then transfers them to other regional franchise operations, sometimes via the line-haul trucking operation running between Auckland and Wellington, depending on the bees’ destination.

While spring is the busiest time for distributing the bees with all the outdoor orchards coming into their growing season, the hothouse industry operates all year round.

The boxed portable hives end up at kiwifruit, avocado, passionfruit and various berry fruit orchards in the Northland, Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne and Hawkes Bay regions.

They are also a vital component in the propagation of hothouse tomatoes and other indoor vegetables and plants.

Curiously, says Dave, the journey starts with about 100 bees in each hive, but by the time they reach their destination more have often hatched and customers can expect to eventually have double the number of bees from those that originally left Hastings.

Fastway Couriers Hawkes Bay has been distributing the bees to Biobees’ customers for more than a decade.

“I guess it is an unusual kind of freight,” said Mr France. “But we have been doing it for so long it has become normal business for us.”

For background on Biobees go to. –


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