In late March, the New Zealand government acted quickly and decisively declaring a National State of Emergency. New Zealand went into alert level 4 – total shutdown almost immediately. Our Bees & Trees honey business there was designated as an essential business because we are direct food producers, and because we are caring for livestock.
My operations manager in NZ and I quickly conferenced and developed a series of health and safety protocols for our workers. We divided our staff into 3 two-person teams and isolated each team to mitigate exposure risks. We had one team working to extract the honey we had just harvested, and two teams in the field working with the beehives.
Each of our personnel needed special ID cards to substantiate that they were essential workers who had business in the areas that they would be traveling. It was a tense and stressful time for our business. We needed to extract the honey just harvested in a timely manner, which is about a 6-8 week operation. If either of that team became sick, it could jeopardize that entire operation. Meanwhile, the two beekeeping teams had critical, time-sensitive tasks with all of the hives in the field including feeding the hives that had just come out of the Manuka crop.
Our team really rose to the challenge and thankfully New Zealand was able to quickly bring the outbreak of COVID 19 under control. At this time, we are at alert level 1 without restriction. A really amazing accomplishment which is a credit to how responsive all New Zealanders were to this crisis.
I’ve had to cancel my planned June trip to New Zealand and hope to return at some time in the NZ spring, which is October in the US. In the meantime, I take comfort in knowing our honey and hives are in good care by our team there.
Bees & Trees Founder
“The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it.”
-Hippocrates, Ancient Greek Physician
This quote by Hippocrates is what guides today’s communication. A strong immune system is the best defense against the threats to good health. And so, we offer resources you can use from your home.
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Have you heard that honeybees never sleep? It seems to be a notion that is perpetuated by word of mouth. Researchers say otherwise. It just goes to prove that you can’t believe everything you hear.
According to Jürgen Tautz in his book The Buzz About Bees, foragers enter a pronounced state of sleep—largely at night and in the hive. However, sometimes they sleep outside the hive as well. In addition, beekeepers and bee photographers the world over have reported seeing bees asleep in flowers. The bees may remain stationary for hours, only to fly away when disturbed.