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  1. ITV Report

Beekeepers concerned as honey crop declines

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

Wet conditions in Wales saw low levels of produce with an average 17.8lbs. Credit: PA

The British Beekeepers Association's (BBKA) survey revealed beekeepers in England produced an average 23.8 lbs of honey per hive this year, down 2.3 lbs 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 50-100 lbs was typical in the 1950s.

17.8lbs
Wales produced an average of 17.8lbs after wet conditions.

A third feared the loss of forage from agricultural development, 28% were worried about varroa mite pests, 28% were concerns about the invasive Asian hornet which preys on honeybees and 28% were anxious about climate change.

Wet conditions in Wales saw low levels of produce with an average 17.8lbs.

The survey found the South East was the most productive area, producing an average 30.1 lbs of honey per hive.

East England saw beekeepers get an average of 29.3 lbs of honey.

The South West, which suffered a particularly wet summer, saw its crop drop to an average 17.7 lbs per hive.

Experts say everyone can play a part to increase the crop yield. Credit: PA images

Hives in suburban gardens or other areas were shown to be doing best, producing 27.5 lbs on average, and rural gardens or areas doing least well, with an average of 22.5 lbs of honey.

Beekeeper John Hobrough, says how we garden can make a difference.

In those days (1950s) farmers under-planted 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.

– John Hobrough, Beekeeper

Experts say everyone can play a part to increase the crop yield.

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. 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.

– Margaret Murdin, BBKA chairwoman