Hive + Wellness has warned that Australia faces a potential honey shortage, as the nation’s beekeepers grapple with some of the most difficult conditions in the industry’s history.
Honey production in the current season is forecast to be the lowest on record, with further declines predicted for 2020/21 if we see no improvement in Australian weather conditions.
A survey conducted by the company amongst its suppliers found that 98% of respondents had been adversely impacted by the ongoing drought, with some beekeepers seeing their production drop to zero. Bushfire and heat had exacerbated already difficult conditions, devastating bee populations as well as their source of food.
Ben McKee from Hive + Wellness said: “Australian beekeepers are the forgotten farmers in this drought. Just as livestock farmers have faced challenges in feeding their animals, a lack of flowering trees means beekeepers have struggled to ensure sufficient food for their bees.”
“They are experiencing significant declines in both the population of their hives and in production levels as there is simply not enough nectar for bees to collect. The bees are also affected by water scarcity and the relentless heat.”
The outlook for the 2019/2020 honey season is grim, with expectations of the lowest national crop on record, which has been aggravated by poor honey production in previous seasons.
Bert Seagrave, an Emmaville based beekeeper from the New England region of NSW, and supplier to Hive + Wellness, said: “We are facing the worst honey production in my lifetime, and we are working tirelessly just to keep our bees alive”.
Hive + Wellness is the largest honey packer, marketer and supporter of beekeepers in Australia. Its beekeepers account for a significant proportion of the nation’s honey production.