manuka honey, bee pollination

Wet Summer Conditions Effect Honey Harvest in Britain

Poor, wet summer weather conditions in England have caused honeybees to struggle to produce honey and this year’s harvest is projected to be just one-third of what was produced in 2014. Cold temperatures accompanied by windy and wet weather during the key times of the season, specifically when wild plants produce nectar, have left honeybees unable to collect enough liquid to produce the amount of honey that beekeepers and bee farmers were expecting from the 2015 season.

“The honey crop can fluctuate quite widely from one year to the next and, in the main, it’s all down to the weather,” said bee farmer Crispin Reeves of Haughton Honey in an interview with “After talking to bee farmers across the country, it looks likely that the honey harvest generally could be around a third of last year’s crop.” Unfortunately for beekeeper, bee farmers, and honey producers, the weather and life of local flowers and vegetation has a direct impact on the yearly honey harvest.

“We’re still processing, but there definitely won’t be anywhere near as much English honey around this season,” Reeves went on to say. While bees across the area struggled this season, honey bee colonies that are found in the South East areas of the country fared “slightly better” than those in the rest of the country. Additionally the honey harvest in Scotland was described as “not just poor, [but] disastrous” according to Margaret Ginman, general secretary of the Honey Bee Farmers’ Association.

Ginman also went on to add that, “There was under a third of the normal spring blossom honey crop and the long wet summer has meant colonies failed to build up for the heather honey. All in all this has proved a challenging year for the bee farming industry. Our members work hard to maintain continuity of supply to our customers.”

In addition to affecting the outcome of the honey crop, the weather has also affected the bee’s ability to build their colonies, which beekeepers believe will lead to excessive die-offs during the winter months. “The poor honey crop is not the only problem. Colonies have failed to build up so are going into winter relatively weak,” said John Mellis, a bee farmer from Dumfries. “This means there are not going to be enough winter bees to sustain the hives resulting in a prediction of high winter losses.”

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