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Celebrating World Bee Day - 20 May 2019

The United Nations second annual World Bee Day takes place this Monday 20 May 2019 with the intent of raising awareness of the crucial role of bees, the threats they face and their contribution to global sustainable development.

Bees are key to conserving biodiversity and are a cornerstone of The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. They also serve as sentinels for emerging environmental risks, signalling the health of local ecosystems.

Bees play a crucial role as pollinators to provide food, food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture, biodiversity, climate change mitigation and a healthy environment.

While our country’s bee colony losses are significantly lower than other countries, we can’t afford to be complacent - especially with global scale challenges such as urban creep and threats to our biodiversity.

World Bee Day coincides with a southern hemisphere season where New Zealand's hives are wintering down in preparation for the colder months.

Apiculture New Zealand is acknowledging this day by raising awareness about the critical role of New Zealand’s honey bees in our communities and economy, and our need to protect bee health.

“Not only does the honey bee provide us with a great source of natural food, but it also plays a critical role as a commercial pollinator in our agriculture and horticulture sectors,” says Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand.

“We encourage New Zealanders to celebrate the humble honey bee on World Bee Day and learn more about the important role they play and how they can help bees and support bee health,” says Ms Kos.

Fun bee facts:
> Bees have been producing honey for at least 150 million years
> Bees use their antennae to smell. They can detect nectar 2km away
> On one flight from the hive to collect honey, a honey bee will visit between 50 and 100 flowers
> A bee must visit about four million flowers to produce 1kg of honey
> One beehive of honey bees can produce up to 150kg of honey per year
> Worker bees produce about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in their lifetimes.

What you can do to help support bee health:
> plant bee-friendly plants in your garden
> refrain where possible from using pesticides in your garden
> offer a habitat in your garden, such as an insect hotel or shallow water.

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