Farewell to the library bees

beekeeper Cenna checking the beesIt is with heavy hearts that we advise that the Central rooftop is no longer home to our bees and their hives. Council reluctantly had to make this decision due to the forthcoming extensive building works in Te Ngākau Civic Square which will probably extend across years rather than a few months due to earthquake strengthening. This move will be for the foreseeable future, at least until the environment is more settled.

We have loved having the bees and working with Cenna Lloyd (professional beekeeper from Local Flavour Urban Honey company) who has been visiting and caring for the bees while they were part of our team!

If you are thinking of exploring adding bees to your property, here are some titles to browse:


Practical beekeeping in New Zealand, by Andrew Matheson.
This is a classic title which has just been updated in its 5th edition. This is the main local guide to keeping bees in New Zealand, and is suitable for both amateur and professional beekeepers but also the interested general reader with information about many beekeeping subjects, not only hive management.

The rooftop beekeeper : a scrappy guide to keeping urban honeybees, Megan Paska,
“This explores the ease and charm of keeping bees in an urban environment. Its approach is a practical manual – but is well illustrated, with checklists and plenty of tips and good advice. Covering all aspects of urban beekeeping, this book also includes plenty of sweet recipes for delicious treats, tonics, and beauty products to make with your honey.

Keeping bees in towns & cities, by Luke Dixon.
Keeping Bees in Towns and Cities features everything an urbanite needs to know to start keeping bees: how to select the perfect hive, how to buy bees, how to care for a colony, how to harvest honey, and what to do in the winter. Urban beekeeping has particular challenges and needs, and this book highlights the challenges and presents practices that are safe, legal, and neighbour-friendly. The text is rounded out with profiles of urban beekeepers from all over the world.” (Catalogue)

Save the bees with natural backyard hives : the easy and treatment-free way to attract and keep healthy bees, by Rob McFarland
Save the Bees offers different, easy and healthier ways to keep your own hive. Their approach is fresh, modern and easy for anyone to do. Learn step-by-step how to acquire a colony, care for it and reap the reward – that incredibly delicious, all-natural, chemical-free, unprocessed, honey.

September is Bee Aware Month

Spring is here at long last and that means it’s time to Bee Aware!
Did you know that without bee pollination we’d have no apples, blueberries, coffee, chocolate or even jeans? These are all foods and products pollinated by busy little bees and now they need our help. Not only do bees produce a wonderful, natural food source, they also play a significant role in supporting our food chain.
We want to do our part to help raise awareness for our buzzing little friends and how important they are so we’ve thrown together some tips and resources to help you get started.

These new bee books are a must see:

Syndetics book coverBackyard bees : a guide for the beginner beekeeper / Doug Purdie.
“Just about anyone can keep bees. All you need is a bit of space in your backyard (or on your rooftop) and a little love for the creatures that pollinate the vegie patches of your neighbourhood. Once introduced to the charms of beekeeping and the taste of warm honeycomb direct from the hive, you’ll be hooked. Backyard Bees is the ultimate guide to installing and maintaining a hive through the seasons. ” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSave the bees with natural backyard hives/ Rob and Chelsea McFarland, founders of HoneyLove.org.
Save the Bees will walk readers through the inexpensive and easy to use equipment, caring for the bees as they grow their colony, harvesting honey and prepping their bees for the cooler months. With the Save the Bees approach, readers will learn to attract wild bees and with minimal upkeep, the hives will pollinate local crops and flowers and provide a bounty of delicious, all-natural, backyard honey.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe rooftop beekeeper : a scrappy guide to keeping urban honeybees / Megan Paska with Rachel Wharton 
“This useful manual, at once a good read and a pretty object, features a relatable first-person narrative, checklists, numbered how-tos, beautiful illustrations and 75 color photographs. Covering all aspects of urban beekeeping, this book also provides readers with plenty of sweet recipes for delicious treats, tonics, and beauty products to make with home-harvested honey.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLetters to a beekeeper / Steve Benbow, Alys Fowler.
“Part beautifully designed coffee-table book, part manifesto, this collection of engaging letters, emails, texts, recipes, notes and glorious photos creates a record of the trials, tribulations, reward and joys of working with, rather than against, nature. For lazy gardeners to novice beekeepers (and everyone in between), this is the best rule-breaking, wildlife-friendly, guerilla, urban gardening insect-identifying, honey-tasting, wax-dripping, epistolary how-to book you could ever hope to own.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe urban wildlife gardener : how to attract birds, bees, butterflies, and more / Emma Hardy.
“Packed with planting ideas and simple gardening techniques to attract birds, bees, butterflies, beneficial bugs, and more to your outside space, if you would like to attract wildlife to your garden, you need to learn which plants to grow, how to provide nesting areas, when to prune shrubs or mow the grass and more.  No matter what size your outside space–from a single windowbox to a full-sized backyard, The Urban Wildlife Gardener contains hundreds of easy-to-follow tips and techniques, simple projects, and essential plant know-how.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)

Also, don’t miss the September issue of New Zealand Gardener from one of our branches or borrow an online copy through PressReader.
Wondering what happened to our Central Library rooftop bees? Don’t worry they have been hibernating all winter but will be out there looking for pollen soon so get planting.

If you want more info or want to see what’s on during Bee Aware Month, check out these websites:

Apiculture New Zealand
Bee Aware Month Facebook Page
Wellington City Council Bee Aware Month Info
Wellington Beekeepers Association
News – Dominion Post, 7 Sept 2016

So let’s all help spread the bee love and don’t forget to tag your social media posts with #beeawarenz17

There is a buzz at the Central Library

September is Bee Aware Month and Wellington City Libraries is excited to announce a very special project that will bring a buzz to Civic Square. We wanted to do our bit to help the bee population and the invaluable work those little insects do to  contribute to our food chain. The large empty space on our rooftop seemed like an obvious place to set up some beehives.

IMG_7933After months of preparation, there was a hive of activity on the Central Library’s rooftop recently when Sarah Adams, Urban Agriculture Advisor for Wellington City Council and Cenna Lloyd, professional beekeeper from Local Flavour Urban Honey Company joined us to make space for bees that will be calling our vast roof space home in the next few weeks.

It was an exercise in preparing a welcoming and safe home for the bees that will be introduced to their new home later this Spring, once the weather is warmer and more settled.

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The hives will be sitting on a pallet that was carried up the stairs and secured to the railings. Cenna arrived with a whole bunch of bee friendly plants which we placed in a few planters around the beehive space to provide a local source of pollen.

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We are now ready for the bees and the good weather!

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If you are thinking of setting up a beehive of your own in your backyard or rooftop, here are a few titles to get you started.

Syndetics book coverThe rooftop beekeeper : a scrappy guide to keeping urban honeybees
“The number of urban beekeepers has escalated with more than 25 percent increases year over year in the United States and the United Kingdom. From a go-to authority on beekeeping and backyard farming the Rooftop Beekeeper is the first handbook to explore the ease and charm of keeping bees in an urban environment. Covering all aspects of urban beekeeping, this book also provides readers with plenty of sweet recipes for delicious treats, tonics, and beauty products to make with home-harvested honey.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverBetter beekeeping : the ultimate guide to keeping stronger colonies and healthier, more productive bees
“This book takes serious beekeepers past the beginning stages and learning curves and offers solutions and rewards for keeping bees a better way. Better queens, better winters, better food, and better bees await any beekeeper willing to take on the challenge of having the right number of bees, of the right age, in the right place, in the right condition, at the right time.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverVictory gardens for bees : a DIY guide to saving the bees
“This book investigates the growing problem of bee mortality and offers practical measures we can all take to help. In ecological terms, bees play a critical role in the survival of many plant communities and the continuation of life on this planet. Now that bees are facing unprecedented levels of die-off caused by a toxic mixture of environmental stresses, a community-based effort is needed to make gardens, fields and landscapes healthy sanctuaries for bees. Victory Gardens for Bees is also buzzing with DIY projects that will provide nesting sites and essential supplies for precious pollinators.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverSave the bees with natural backyard hives : the easy and treatment-free way to attract and keep healthy bees
“The husband-and-wife team behind the nonprofit HoneyLove make the case that beekeeping ought to be treated as more than a hobby or money-making enterprise. It is an entrance into a complex and sometimes fierce world that must be engaged and understood on its own terms.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverKeeping bees and making honey / Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum.
“You don’t need acres of secluded gardens to be able to keep bees–hives can be found on many an urban rooftop, inner-city balcony or mounted on walls in the strangest of places. Keeping Bees and Making Honey covers everything you need to consider before you set up your colony. Packed with images, information, practical advice, recipes and gardening tips, Keeping Bees and Making Honey is the ideal companion for every aspiring beekeeper.” (Syndetics)