New Zealand live bee exporters are in the middle of one of their busiest ever seasons, as they work to meet the increased demand from their dominant market, Canada.
The two big exporters, Kintail and Arataki, expect to airfreight a total of about 45 pallets of packaged bees this year.
The trade is growing as bee populations around the world come under increasing pressure from disease and farming practices and as honey prices increase.
James Ward of Kintail Honey, says his company started exporting in February and is expecting to send about 25 pallets containing more than 15 tonnes of live bees to Canada this year .
Russell Berry, who heads the Rotorua division of Arataki Honey, says there are Canada experiences losses of bees due to harsh winters and colony collapse disorder.
Both exporters say despite having to treat hives to keep the varroa mite at bay, they are well off for supply of export bees this season, with more apiaries contributing to the trade.