Articles | Sustainability

GIB® Tape Helps the Plight of the Honey Bee

Wednesday, 1 August 2018
By Karen Richter

Most of us think of GIB® paper joint tape as the go-to  bedding in tape for strengthening joints. But for Taupo’s Phillip Haycock, it has become an unexpected lifeline for the New Zealand bee population, currently under threat from the Varroa mite.

Beekeepers across the country have been working on new ways to deliver organic acid miticide into hives to combat the destructive mite. And rural Taupo beekeeper Phillip has come up with an ingenious, and highly effective, solution using GIB® paper joint tape.

“In the past this organic acid was limited in economic viability because it required multiple applications to each hive to be effective. It was extremely labour intensive,” says Phillip.

“A core group of us from online beekeeping forum began looking into other ways to deliver the  acid, with the aim of creating an environmentally-friendly absorbent product that would store and slowly release it into the hive over a two-month period, as a single and inexpensive treatment.”

Phillip’s idea – a GIB® paper joint tape laminate – has  proved to be extremely effective, and although it is not the only Varroa mite treatment available, it is quickly gaining recognition as being amongst the best.

The Varroa mite (also aptly known as the Varroa Destructor) was first discovered in Southeast Asia in 1904, and then reappeared in Florida in the 1980s. It arrived in New Zealand 18 years ago and has wreaked havoc with our bee population ever since. The tiny parasitic mite sucks the blood out of bees, compromises the overall health of the hive, and spreads viruses from hive to hive.

Phillip’s GIB® treatment is one of a number now being used by beekeepers across the country, in a bid to combat the mite. “Before I became a beekeeper I worked in the construction industry. My brother, a Tauranga plasterer, first introduced me to GIB® paper joint tape andtaught me how to bed it in and apply a first coat.

“I always knew there was something special about this GIB® product – but little did I know it would end up playing such a significant role outside of the building industry, benefiting beehives all over the country.”