19 Oct 2010

Slow start to spring for pollinators

1:52 pm on 19 October 2010

A Bay of Plenty beekeeper says it's been the worst spring in more than 40 years for nature's pollinators, with extreme wet and windy conditions preventing the bees doing their job.

Thousands of hives are used in orchards during flowering every year to pollinate fruit crops like kiwifruit, avocados and apples.

Tauranga beekeeper Neil Mossop who supplies about 7000 hives to orchards in the the Bay of Plenty, says he is only just finishing placing hives in gold kiwifruit orchards.

Mr Mossop says the weather is warming up now, which is allowing bees to leave their hives.

National Beekeepers Association vice-president Barry Foster, who is a Gisborne beekeeper, says there has been a slower start to flowering in most regions across the country because of the cold conditions.

He says pollination is about a week to ten days behind.

Mr Foster says flooding in Gisborne last week forced some beekeepers to move their hives, but there were no bee losses.