7 Aug 2014

Bee survey may not be all it could be

7:00 am on 7 August 2014

A survey of the country's bee population to see whether it's declining is to be carried out - but a lack of funding means it may not be the comprehensive survey which the Government says is needed.

A bee census is needed - but the project is limited by a shortage of funds.

A bee census is needed - but the project is limited by a shortage of funds. Photo: PHOTO NZ

New Zealand Beekeepers Association chief executive Daniel Paul said there were anecdotal reports from beekeepers of losses in some parts of the country that at times had been significant.

Mr Paul said a field survey would pinpoint the worst areas for bee deaths, but a shortage of funding meant the survey would have limitations.

Beekeepers would have liked a national survey.

"However, our funding is very limited and we need to find the best model this time around that we can then replicate and may be scale up in future because we would like to be able to do this kind of thing every couple of years so we have on-going, trending benchmarks," Mr Paul said.

"So this first one may be a little bit of a pilot project, I'm not certain, we need to look at the proposals our providers have sent us".

Mr Paul said the Ministry for Primary Industries would provide some funding, but the beekeepers association wouldl need to find the rest.

The need for a comprehensive national bee survey was emphasised in a recent government report - which said New Zealand needed a clearer picture of bee losses, rather than just relying on anecdotal reports.