Busy Bees – Spring time is a hive of activity

Spring has well and truly sprung around our region and you’ve likely noticed a surge in honeybee activity with the change in season. The worker bees have emerged from their hive and can be spotted flying from blossom to blossom, foraging for food like nectar and pollen, while helping to pollinate flowers, fruit trees, vegetables and other plants along the way.

During springtime, Barna is busy checking in on all the Tiaki Bees hives across the Southern Lakes, making sure everyone is healthy and that the hive is buzzing as it should be. Spring is a particularly busy season for the bees too – as they’re focused on replenishing their food stores after a long winter inside – and it’s the time of year where new worker bees are born.

Spring starts off with a health check of each colony because bees can get sick just like the rest of us and it is important to make sure everything is in order. We also treat for the varroa mite, that may have had the chance to multiply in the hive during winter.


Barna checking the health and wellbeing of the Tiaki Bees

Once we are happy with the general health of our bees, we start feeding the hives so as to stimulate the Queen to start laying eggs and build up the colonie for the upcoming busy season. Queens have one of the most important roles as they are responsible for laying eggs (about 1,500 to 2,000 eggs each day) and making sure that the colony is strong and healthy. If the health of the Queen bee declines so is the health of the rest of the colony. This is why in spring we also introduce new, young queens if we see that it is necessary to do so.

However, a hive can also be too strong, and some of us might have seen some swarms during this time of the year. When there are too many bees in a hive, the colony decides to make a new queen and half of the hive will leave with the old queen to find a new home. We had to split some of our stronger hives (making two hives from one) in order to avoid this phenomenon, and also managed to rehome some swarms that we caught around the area.

So spring is busy for us beekeepers, but is a very exciting time as we see our older colonies re-emerging and new colonies being created. We are now looking forward to going into the summer with healthy and happy bees that are ready for the even busier times ahea

Hosting Hives: Tiaki Bees features in QT Magazine

Hosting Hives

Hosting hives has been becoming more popular in urban areas, such as New York and Sydney for some time. Barna, Wanaka beekeeper and owner of Tiaki Bees, is now making hive rental accessible in the Southern Lakes and QT Magazine took some time out to interview Barna and publish more about this venture in the Autumn Edition of their magazine.

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The story behind each spoonful of honey

How do bees make honey

February to March is the best time to harvest honey in the South Island of New Zealand. Find out more about bees, for instance: How much honey does an individual bee make? Which bees make honey? And why is honey so special?

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Interesting Facts about the Honeybee

Interesting Facts about the Honeybee

 Bees have been the subject of study for hundreds of years. Still, they continue to amaze us all. Researchers have unravelled many honeybee facts that answer some of our questions. However, we will still have some mysteries to solve and new things to learn.

Facts to know:

  • There are over 20,000 species of bees in the world. Many of these are solitary bees that do not live in large families
  • There are only 7 species of honeybees in the world
  • Honeybees are insects– they have 3 main body parts: head, thorax and abdomen
  • Honeybees have small hairs on the surface of their eyes. It is believed that these hairs help detect wind direction
  • Honeybees can see light, colour and motion
  • Worker bees danceto tell other bees where to find food
  • Bees construct hexagon cells.Hexagon shaped honeycomb cells give the most storage space using the least amount of beeswax – no wasted space
  • The honeybee’s scientific name is “Apis Mellifera” this means honey-carrying bee
  • People have been interacting with honeybees for thousands of years
  • Ancient Egypt was an early centre of beekeeping, some people used honey as a payment for taxes
  • Each beehive has 3 different kinds of bees : worker, drone and queen
  • The colony is a balance of individuals with 1 queen, a few hundred drones (in Summer) and thousands of Worker bees
  • The queen and the workers are female bees, and the drones are male bees
  • Only female honeybees have stingers: workers and queens
  • Honeybees also collect pollen to feed baby bees
  • Honeybees only sting as a form of defence
  • Each bee colony has a distinctive scent that allows members to recognize each other
  • Honeybees gather nectar from millions of blooming flowers
  • Honeybees do have a nose – their antenna functions like a nose
  • Bees use their acute sense of smell to locate food rich flowers
  • Honeybees beat their wings 200 times per second – this is what creates the buzzing sound we hear.

Springtime and the Honeybee


Spring is right around the corner. Birds are chirping and temperatures are rising. We know what’s going on around us, but what is going on in the honeybee colony when this exciting new time blooms?

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