Auckland couple's mission to save bees

An Auckland couple have made it their mission to rescue and re-home bees across the city's rooftops. 

The pair started 'Bees Up Top' in February and have set themselves an ambitious target to try and help stop the decline of the bee population.  

The business is the brainchild of Jessie Baker and Luke Whitfield, whose fascination with bees started close to home.

"We were looking for a flat and we came across this guy who had a beehive in his backyard  so we moved in with him."

Whitfield says the next three years of their lives became all about the insects. 

"This guy that we were living with was so passionate and Jess was so passionate that I just got sucked into this awesome vortex of beekeeping."

And what started as just "something fun to do as a couple" snowballed into a business.

Baker says the idea for 'Bees Up Top' came from a eureka moment during a sleepless night in Bolivia. 

"Luke woke up at 4 o'clock in the morning and said Jess let’s put beehives on rooftops."

And it works like this: 

People report a swarm to the couple, who rescue the bees from exterminators. 

They then take them out to a bee sanctuary at Auckland's Bethells Beach. 

"Once we've got them to a point where they're really healthy that's when we look to put them on a roof in the city." says Whitfield.

The couple say it's a win-win. 

Organisations provide a safe space for the hives and in return get to keep some of the honey that's extracted by Jessie and Luke. 

The pair say business is booming, and it's about to get busier because they've made it their mission to rescue 100 bee colonies this summer. 

"We need to give them homes, and we need to treat them for disease so it's really expensive." says Baker.

Whitfield says each hive comes with a $225 dollar price tag and it costs another $25 to treat the bees for Varroa. 

"We've been trying to do it ourselves up until now, and it has been working a little bit but it would just be nice to get a little help."

So they've launched a Pledge Me campaign to raise money, and help create a bit of 'buzz' around the project. 

"It's not about flooding the market with more bees it's about looking after and caring for bees that are already out there." says Whitfield.

The couple's hives most likely coming to a rooftop near you. 

To donate to Bees Up Top head to: