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UK's beekeepers concerned over fall in honey yield.

BEEKEEPERS have raised concerns over the future of honey bees as an annual survey showed a "steady decline" in the honey crop.

The British Beekeepers Association's (BBKA) survey revealed beekeepers in England produced an average 23.8lbs (11.8 kg) of honey per hive this year, down 2.3lbs 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 50-100lbs was typical in the 1950s.

The survey also revealed the factors worrying beekeepers about the future of their honeybees, with almost two-thirds (62%) concerned about pesticides, including neonicotinoids, which have been linked to declines in bees.

A third (31%) 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 honey bees, 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 30.1lbs of honey 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.

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

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 28, 2017
Words:251
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