Island Honey Bees
the early 1970s, Pitcairn's bee population had completely died out.
Pollination, particularly of vegetable crops on the island, then by
necessity, was being carried out by hand. Bees of an Italian yellow
strain (Apis mellifera
ligustica) were introduced in 1978 and again in 1992. The
present population is descended from both of these groups of bees.
In May 1998, the UK Government aid agency, the Department for
International Development, funded an apiculture programme for Pitcairn
which included training for Pitcairn's bee keepers and a detailed
analysis of the disease status of Pitcairn bees and honey. The aim is
to enable Pitcairn to export honey products to New Zealand and beyond.
The results were better than we could have hoped for. Pitcairn has one
of the most disease free bee populations of anywhere in the world and
the honey produced is of an exceptionally high quality. The
apicultural scientist conducting the project, also found that Pitcairn
bees were a particularly placid variety and within a short time, was
able to work with them wearing minimal protection. It would
therefore seem that the export of live Queen bees is another potential
earner for the Pitcairn Islanders.
bee keepers are now building up their hive numbers and preparing
product for export. The number of hives on the island is now around 30,
with potential for perhaps ten times that amount. We are hopeful that
approval for the export of honey to New Zealand will be given by the
time this issue is released.
The Pitcairn Islands' Honey Bees issue is Pitcairn's first
self-adhesive stamp and the world's first self-adhesive hexagonal
stamp. The artist,
Sue Williams, is married to the Governor of the Pitcairn Islands, Mr.
Martin Williams CVO OBE and visited Pitcairn earlier this year. It is
our hope that Mrs. Williams will produce Pitcairn's next definitive
issue, due for release in 2000. This will
have a botanical theme.
Pitcairn Island Honey Bees
Please Note: All prices are in New Zealand Dollars
|20c, $1.00, $1.80, $3.00
||First Day Cover
||Southern Colour Print, NZ
||35 x 35mm hexagonal
||100 x 74mm
||panes of 25 stamps
||9 per 2cm
||20 stamps per sheet, 2 x panes of 10
||20c, $1.00, $1.80 and $3.00 stamps
$1.00 miniature sheet
||JAC Australia non-phosphor self-adhesive
|20 August - China
'99 miniature sheet
12 September - 4 stamp issue