Honey yields at four-year high

Boost Your Bees_24158

It was a good year for honey production due to the good weather this summer – although yields are still a lot lower than they were 30 years ago.

Honey yields have hit a four-year high, as the record-breaking summer increased bees’ productivity by a third.

Hobbyist beekeepers in Britain produced an average of 30.8lb (14kg) of honey per hive this year, compared with 23.8lb (10.8kg) in 2017, a survey found.

The yield is the highest since 2014, but still considered small compared to averages a few decades ago, according to the British Beekeepers Association’s annual survey. It said that 50 years ago, beekeepers could expect close to 100lb of honey per hive.

Farming and bees

Britain’s farmers are working hard to encourage pollinators. Many rely on pollinators for their crops and so work hard to ensure the insects have plenty of sources of nectar before and after harvest. This involves planting margins with wildflowers, maintaining hedgerows and setting aside areas for flower meadows.

Find out what some farmers around the UK are doing on their farms to make a difference

Keepers and keen gardeners are now encouraged to plant more flowers which feed pollinators in the hope honey yields will continue to grow.

The annual survey revealed beekeepers believe the public can help honey production by planting more nectar and pollen producing flowers, shrubs or trees.

Avoiding pesticides, reporting sightings of invasive Asian hornets which prey on honeybees and leaving an area of the garden to grow wild are also encouraged.

Honey production has fallen on average since the Second World War as agricultural practices change and bees have less suitable plants to feed on.

Margaret Wilson, chairwoman of the BBKA, said: "Honeybees and all our wild creatures need food to eat and that can only come from what we plant and grow, so gardening and agricultural practices are incredibly important."

Create your own bee-friendly garden:

  1. Opt for single headed flowers
  2. Plant flowers for all seasons
  3. Don’t overlook shrubs
  4. Choose tubular-shaped flowers
  5. Purple flowers
  6. Create a ‘bee-bath’
  7. Provide homes for native bees

Find out more about helping honey production here. 

Last edited:08 March 2019 at 17:19

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