Honey production hurt by harsh conditions

8 November 2012

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7 November 2012 | Adam Leach

UK honey production has fallen by 72 per cent over the past year due to bad weather conditions, which have limited queen bees’ ability to produce offspring, according to a survey.

In 2011, an average of 30 pounds of honey per beehive was produced, but this year the average dropped to just eight pounds per hive. With such low levels of honey made, the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has warned that British bees face the prospect of mass starvation during the winter months and a continued drop in the volume of honey supplies.

The 2012 Honey Survey found 88 per cent of the 2,700 beekeepers surveyed had depleted honey supplies due to rain and cold. Honey, most commonly used as a spread, is also bought by a range of food and drink companies to use as a sweetener or for flavouring.

According to the association, the impact of the low level of honey may have a long-term implications for bee population levels. “The summer weather may have longer-term impact on the health of the nations honey bees as the weather is likely to have hampered the normal process of queen production,” said the BBKA.

“Virgin queens mate on the wing on fine, still summer days. If the weather prevents them flying within the timescale required then queens may be poorly mated and be unable to produce sufficient new brood to see colonies through the winter.”

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