Bees work hard for us
Healthy bees are part of a healthy environment and a healthy food chain. We need them, and right now, they need us. Bees are hard-working insects that we couldn’t be without.
Bees are integral to our food chain. One third of the world’s food is pollinated by bees. They pollinate our food crops, orchards and paddocks. Bee pollination plays a significant role in our kiwifruit, pipfruit, avocado, citrus, berryfruit and some vegetable crops. Growers will truck hives around the country to ensure thorough pollination of their crops. Without bees we would not have many varieties of fruit and vegetables, not to mention food crops for animals.
But bees are in decline
Over the last decade or so, bee populations have been hit by a variety of threats, including varroa mite and neonicotinoid poisons. Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, first identified in the USA in 2006, has been devastating beehives across Europe and America. New Zealand is ripe for similar problems because we have many of the precursors of the disorder.
Neonicotinoids (neo-nic-ot-in-oids or neonics for short) are a group of toxins used to kill a wide range of insect pests, but unfortunately they kill bees as well. Using neonics doesn't make sense when people all over the world are trying to save bees.
Neonicotinoids are used for coating all sorts of seeds, and traces go right through growing plants into the nectar and pollen, and hurt bees.
Neonicotinoids are also used as sprays on plants in commercial operations. You can even buy neonicotinoid poisons at your garden centre. Yates Confidor, Rose Gun Advanced, KiwiCare Rose Force and KiwiCare Insect Hit are common labels.
The use of neonicotinoid insecticides runs contrary to efforts to help bees with the vital work they do.
We believe neonicotinoids should be taken off our shelves and out of our environment to help bees. We can have a healthy food chain, a healthy ecosystem and healthy environment that includes bees and other pollinators doing their important work.