11 Nov 2009

Campaign launched to save honey bee

7:50 pm on 11 November 2009

Federated Farmers hopes a campaign launched on Wednesday to plant bee-friendly trees and shrubs will help save the honey bee.

About $3 billion of New Zealand's GDP is dependent on the intensive pollination of horticulture and agriculture crops by the honey bee.

However, bees are under threat from diseases and pests including the varroa mite, and Federated Farmers says the loss of flowering plants is also starving them of pollen and nectar sources .

Its bee industry spokesperson, John Hartnell, says the Trees for Bees guide shows farmers and growers what plants provide good food sources for bees.

The guide was developed with Landcare Research. It includes natives such as the cabbage tree, five finger and hebe, and exotics such as gum and bottlebrush.

Mr Hartnell says it's not just farmers who suffer when bees die.

Mr Hartnell says one third of all the calories we consume comes from food dependent on bee pollination, and the dinner plate would lack colour without the bee's help.

The programme was launched at the Royal New Zealand Show in Christchurch.