Sales of honey have dropped for the first time in six years, as British bee colonies continued to decline due to colony collapse disorder and bad weather. Figures from the British Beekeepers Association revealed that nearly a third of hives failed to survive the winter of 2007 while a fifth of the UK’s colonies were lost in 2008. This has forced prices up by almost 18 per cent which has led to a fall in of some 5.4 per cent. The Daily Telegraph
I had some rather nice sweet and sticky urban honey the other day produced by a beekeeper from Stockport. The recent massive growth of interest in amateur urban beekeeping is a positive counterpoint to the general gloom besetting the industry. More on urban beehives.
The population of the UK’s honeybees continues to fall, with almost 20% of colonies dying last winter, according to figures from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). The figure is an improvement on the 30.5% for winter 2007-08 but is way short of the 7-10% which until the last five years had been considered acceptable. Average national losses of 19.2% were highest in the north of England at 32.1%, and lowest 12.8% in the east of England. Mass bee deaths termed colony collapse disorder are blamed on disease possibly compounded by pesticides, changes in agriculture, and climate. Bees are estimated to be worth around £200m to the UK economy thanks to the job they do pollinating crops.
With one third of everything we eat involved bee pollination, the current collapse in honey bee populations could cost country £200 million Hives in the UK and elsewhere have suffered massive losses in the last few years largely due to a disease known as varroa mite. Other factors blamed for the decline include the loss of habitat like wild flower meadows, climate change, pesticide use and a mysterious condition known as “Colony Collapse Disorder”. Daily Telegraph.
It is estimated that there are 274,000 bee colonies in the UK. These produce an average of 6,000 tonnes of honey a year, managed by some 44,000 beekeepers. Honeybee numbers in the UK have fallen between 10 and 15% in the last two years due to colony collapse disorder.