Helensville man's fear of bees leads to fascination

Brendon Day with a mini hive he has in his back yard.
DANIELLE CLENT/FAIRFAX NZ

Brendon Day with a mini hive he has in his back yard.

He was once scared of them and now he has them all around his home.

Over the last three years, Brendon Day has overcome his life-long fear of bees and has become a "hobbyist beekeeper" and swarm wrangler.

Although severely allergic to the insect, his move to Helensville three years ago was the main factor for getting his first hive.

Brendon Day catching a swarm of bees.
SUPPLIED

Brendon Day catching a swarm of bees.

Moving to a lifestyle block, Day had chickens in his backyard but they were constantly being attacked by hawks. Day decided to build an orchard to protect the chickens and in doing so, decided he needed a beehive to pollinate the orchard.

Day joined the Rodney Beekeepers Club and his fear turned into fascination.

"They are just such interesting creatures. They can manage themselves if it weren't for [Varroa mites]. They re-queen themselves, they adjust to the temperature. I just find them interesting and exciting to learn [about] and see how they grow," he says.

Swarm of bees Brendon Day caught.
SUPPLIED

Swarm of bees Brendon Day caught.

Day says being a member of the club has helped him overcome his fear.

"The Rodney Bee Keeper Club helped. They walk you through it. Just by being around the bees and when you are in a hive you fully suit up with the suit and gloves. That gives you your confidence because you have that barrier.

"I guess persistence is how I got over my fear," he says.

How bees make their honey.
DANIELLE CLENT//FAIRFAX NZ

How bees make their honey.

Day says he took a RAST - radioallergosorbent - allergy test before getting his first hive, finding out he was a three plus out of four.

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He was advised to stay away from bees but told if he was to come near them, he was to take a antihistamine and monitor his breathing.

Day now carries an Epipen emergency treatment device and takes the drug every time he gets stung.

Although saying it is painful every time he is stung, Day is testing whether he will become more immune to them over time.

He says he tends to go red and swell almost instantly after a sting but is quick to deal with them.

This is Day's second season helping with removing bee swarms in his local area and says he does so to protect the bees.

He has currently removed 12 swarms this season, which lasts from October to December.

 - Stuff

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