Lottie Hedley


Bees are social, communicative, good at maths, can sniff out diseases, create food, and make our ecosystems go round. They’re also in trouble.


Gold rush

Mānuka honey has exploded in value in recent years, and now it’s a high-stakes business, attracting hive thieves, counterfeit products, unscrupulous players—and triggering a race for the blossom every spring, wherever the trees are in flower.

Living World

In search of a better bee

Unaffected by Varroa, tolerant of cold and able to pollinate in enclosed spaces, bumblebees offer new hope for New Zealand’s primary industries. If only we knew how to build a nest they wanted to live in…

Science & Environment

Plight of the humble bee

In April 2000, New Zealand honeybees received a death threat in the form of the varroa mite, an insect parasite which, if left uncontrolled, is capable of destroying hives and wiping out bees from entire regions. Once inside a hive, the mites multiply rapidly, weakening the honeybee colony and making it susceptible to disease and hive robbers such as wax moths—the culprit behind the destruction of comb in this hive on apiarists Tony and Jane Lorimer's Waikato property. Though confined at present to the North Island, varroa is predicted to colonise the entire country, decimating wild honeybee populations everywhere.

Living World

Keeping the Bees

As the spectre of Colony Collapse Disorder and plummeting bee populations engulfs the globe, so goes the fate of our horticulture, agriculture and the natural pollination of the living world. Yet hope may exist on Chatham Island, where beekeepers are focused on keeping the bees.