It is now mid January in Central Otago, New Zealand and the temperatures are in the mid-thirties celsius each day. The days are long, dry and hot. But due to the heavy irrigation from the nearby farms the bees are still at work at the clover and the last flowers from the Kanuka trees. Manuka and its larger trunk, darker barked brother Kanuka are a popular flower for the bees. A lot of the local honey contains some nectar from this scented flower that comes through strongly in the honey even if it is labeled another variety. Altogether NZ has 28 native and 13 introduced species of bees. Many of the beekeepers here have large numbers of hives, 1,500 or more is not un-common and the families may have been in business for many generations. I will update more information at a later date.
(Click on photos for a larger image.)
Mt Aspiring valley along the Matukituki River and hives (40 in a semi-circle facing inwards and out)
The Matukituki River
Flowering Kanuka above Lake Wanaka viewed from Mt.Iron.