All abuzz about new club

KELVIN TEIXEIRA
Last updated 11:07 30/01/2013
Kapiti beekeeper

Happy bees: The Buzz Club chairman Rusty Barrett with his backyard beehives.

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A new club has been launched to encourage bee keeping in Horowhenua and Kapiti in an attempt to keep bee numbers up.

The Buzz Club also aims to educate people in managing beehives.

Club chairman Rusty Barrett, of Manakau, said a healthy bee population is essential to pollinate food crops, both in commercial and home fruit and vegetable gardens.

''The decline in bee numbers due to disease and chemical use is a worldwide concern,'' he said.

''We'd certainly noticed the lack of bees in our garden.''

Mr Barrett said the club, which meets monthly in Otaki, could offer assistance to new bee keepers and educate them on the practical aspects of bee keeping.

''It's like keeping any other livestock. They're in a confined area and need looking after and managing to keep healthy and productive.

''Also, we want to make sure the actions of us hobbyists don't adversely affect commercial bee keeping operations.''

Mr Barrett, a retired beef and sheep farmer, said he remembers as a child his family having eight beehives on a quarter-acre section.

''Anyone just about can keep bees, whether you're in a suburban area or rural. And, if you're interested this club is the best place to learn how to go about it.''

The next meeting is on Wednesday, February 20, when Waireka Honey Centre owner Kate Smith will talk about bee keeping equipment and will demonstrate the use of items required to keep a healthy hive and harvest honey.

The Buzz Club meets monthly at Waitohu School, Te Manuoa Rd, in Otaki at 7pm on the third Wednesday every month. An annual subscription is $20.

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