‘Worst year ever’ for honey

Beekeepers may have to use all their skills to prevent mass starvation of bees this winter after possibly the worst year ever for honey. Average yields for 2012 are down to 8lb per hive- the yearly average is 30lb-and the entire crop is down by 72%.

* Subscribe to Country Life Magazine and get the Ipad edition at no extra cost

These are the findings of the British Beekeepers’ Association’s (BBKA) survey, in which 2,700 apiarists participated-the average beekeeper has kept six hives for eight years and 56% have attended some form of training this year. London hives fared worst, with 5.6lb of honey compared to 25.8lb last year; Northern Ireland performed best, but was still down by 53%. Many warn that the wet, cold summer could have a knock-on effect on 2013 as well, after virgin queens were deprived of the fine, still summer days they need for mating.

To join the BBKA’s ‘adopt a beehive’ scheme, visit www.bbka.org.uk. For £30 you can adopt a beehive in the area of the country of your choice for a year.

* Follow Country Life Magazine on Twitter