Thalassa Kawachi with her bee hive at her central Nelson home. Photo: Kate Russell.

Healthy Hives the bee’s knees

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With hobby beekeepers on the rise around the region, the Nelson Beekeepers Club are offering a free check-up of hives to ensure their health heading into winter.

The club is giving any beekeeper in Nelson and Tasman an opportunity to have their hives inspected by experienced beekeepers free of charge, with a focus on identifying American Foul Brood disease, Varroa infestation and general colony conditions including queen-less hives or those with too many drones.

Nelsonian Thalassa Kawachi has just had her first full season as a hobby beekeeper and says she was so happy when she saw that they were offering the hive checks.

“I paid to get mine checked, which is fine, but any help is good help.”

She says what started out as fun with a single beehive in her backyard has grown to now having eight hives at different locations.

“I have young children and I’m a biologist so we both love bugs and biology in general and bees are quite interesting insects.”

She says it’s been a successful year which has provided a “little bit of honey” and a big learning curve.

Thalassa wants others to know that it’s a hobby that can quickly turn into a job.

“There are so many factors involved and it’s a big responsibility, if you don’t take care of them, diseases can spread to other hives and there’s the maintenance.”

The Nelson Beekeepers Club has grown to include more than 100 members and club secretary Catherine Moisan says it is the responsibility of all beekeepers to keep an eye on the health of hives.

“Beekeeping can be tricky, and sometimes help and support can go a long way.”

She says the checks are a good way of troubleshooting any problems before winter and the experienced beekeepers performing them will provide advice and support to help manage hive condition.

To register your hives for a health check, go to www.nelsonbeekeepers.org.nz and click on the healthy hive check link.