Honey harvest down 72% after dismal summer
British honey yields have fallen by almost three-quarters following the cold and wet weather this summer.
Just eight pounds of honey have been produced per hive this year, compared to an annual average of 30 pounds, meaning shops will suffer shortages and bees will face mass starvation without help from their keepers this winter, according to The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA).
Respondents to the BBKA’s annual honey survey attributed the 72 per cent fall in yields compared to 2011 to the cold and wet weather this spring and summer, which prevented bees from foraging for food.
Peter Hutton, a beekeeper in Tunbridge Wells said: “It has been the most difficult year I have known in my 53 years of beekeeping.”
London hives fared the worst producing just 5.6 pounds of honey compared with 25.8 pounds last year whilst Northern Ireland bees performed the best but still produced 50 per cent less honey than 2011.
Angela Woods, Secretary of the London Beekeepers Association commented: “The results for the London area suggest that it was not just bad weather that was the problem. They may also highlight the lack of forage in the city for many bees. Rather than putting beehives on office roofs, we encourage companies in London who want to help to look at different ways of supporting bees and beekeepers.”
The poor weather this year may also have long-term effects on honey bee colonies. Queens mate on still, fine summer days so they may not have produced big enough broods this year to see colonies through the winter.