[permaculture] 'Steady decline' in honey crop raises concern for honeybees' future | Environment | The Guardian

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Tue Oct 24 00:33:16 EDT 2017


'Steady decline' in honey crop raises concern for honeybees' future |
Environment | The Guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/oct/23/steady-decline-honey-crop-raises-concern-honeybees-future

'Steady decline' in honey crop raises concern for honeybees' future

British Beekeepers Association survey reveals worrying drop in honey yield,
with 62% of beekeepers saying neonicotinoids are to blame
Britain differs from the rest of Europe in that beekeeping is mostly
carried out by amateur beekeepers than bee farmers. Photograph: Lewis
Whyld/PA

Monday 23 October 2017 06.55 EDT

Beekeepers have raised concerns over the future of honeybees as an annual
survey showed a “steady decline” in the honey crop.

The survey by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) revealed beekeepers
in England produced an average of 11.8kg (26 lb) of honey per hive this
year, down 1kg on last year.

While weather can cause fluctuations in honey yield, the organisation said
it is the steady overall decline in quantity that is worrying, with
long-time beekeepers saying a crop of 25-45kg was typical in the 1950s.
Pesticides damage survival of bee colonies, landmark study shows
Read more

The survey also revealed the factors worrying beekeepers about the future
of their honeybees, with almost two-thirds of keepers stating they are
concerned about pesticides including neonicotinoids
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/29/pesticides-damage-survival-of-bee-colonies-landmark-study-shows>
which have been linked to declines in bees.

A third of beekeepers feared the loss of forage from agricultural
development, 28% were worried about varroa mite
<http://beeaware.org.au/archive-pest/varroa-mites/#ad-image-0> pests, 28%
had concerns about the invasive Asian hornet
<https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/20/threat-honeybees-asian-hornet-arrival-uk-confirmed-defra-invasive-species>
which preys on honeybees, and 28% were anxious about climate change.

The survey of 1,446 beekeepers in England and Wales, members of the BBKA
and the Welsh Beekeepers Association, found the south-east was the most
productive area, producing an average of 13.6kg of honey per hive.

The east of England saw beekeepers get an average of 13.3kg of honey. The
south-west and Wales, which suffered particularly wet summers, saw their
crops drop to an average of 8kg per hive.

Britain differs from the rest of Europe in that beekeeping is mostly
carried out by amateur beekeepers rather than bee farmers, the BBKA said.
What to plant in tiny spaces to help bees and butterflies thrive
Read more

Hives in suburban gardens were shown to be doing best, producing 12.5kg on
average, while rural gardens were doing least well, with an average of
10.2kg of honey.

John Hobrough, who has recently been awarded his BBKA certificate for 60
years of beekeeping and is the BBKA’s “adopt a beehive” campaign
representative in the north-east, said: “A honey crop of 50-100lb was
typical when I started beekeeping in the 1950s.

“In those days farmers underplanted crops with clover to nourish the land;
nowadays there just isn’t time or space for this style of farming. I think
it is having a huge impact on the honey crop, by reducing the forage
available not just to honeybees, but all our insects.”
The bees’ needs: how beekeeping changed the way I garden
Read more

Margaret Murdin, BBKA chairwoman, said: “Everyone can play a part in
helping honeybees and all the other insects they love such as butterflies
and bumblebees by planting the right sort of flowers and shrubs
<https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/29/bees-beekeeping-changed-way-i-garden-alys-fowler>.


“Check the label to see that anything you plant will be rich in nectar and
pollen as not all plants are equal in this respect. A crocus is so much
better for bees than a daffodil, for example.

“Our survey shows that suburban gardens and urban roof tops produce some of
the best honey crops, so how we garden really can make a difference.”


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