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Page added on July 30, 2007

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NZ bees boost biofuel supplies

Tens of thousands of willing Kiwi workers are contributing to a biofuel revolution sweeping Europe and North America.


The shipments of live bees play a crucial role in the production of canola which is used to make biodiesel.
Throughout the vast canola fields of Canada, millions of bees are pollinating crops that will end up as cooking oil and biofuel. And many of the workers have flown in from New Zealand to help struggling Canadian beekeepers.


“We need the bees to replace the ones that die during our winter, so we buy them from New Zealand and they ship them over to us,” says Scandia Honey president Reece Chandler.


Extreme cold and disease wiped out 30% of Canada’s hives last winter and Hawke’s Bay beekeeper James Ward helped to provide replacements.


The bees are exported in specially-made packages which contain a queen and food for 10,000 workers to survive the three day journey from to Vancouver.


John Gibeau from the Honey Bee Centre says when they reach their destination the bees are just “poured out unceremoniously” but queens are worth around $20 each and get special treatment in their own cage.


Ward exports 10,000 packages a year but he has lost count of how many bees.

TVNZ



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