Hive + Wellness donate to bushfire relief

Drought and Bushfire Relief Honey Launched to Support Australia’s Beekeepers and their Honey Bees Hive + Wellness has today launched a specially marked “Drought and Bushfire Relief” Capilano Honey Pack, with 20 cents from every sale to go directly to supporting struggling beekeepers via Rural Aid charity’s ‘Hive Aid’ campaign.

The new 340 gram packs are on sale in supermarkets and stores immediately, although the full roll-out will take several weeks.

Hive + Wellness, which sources honey from more than half of Australia’s 1500 professional beekeepers for its iconic Capilano product, said it hoped the New Year launch would begin a better year for honey bees and their keepers.

Chief operating officer Ben McKee said: “It is no secret that 2019 was an extremely difficult year for beekeepers across the country, particularly those affected by the worst of the drought and bushfires in NSW and Queensland.”

“The situation is not one we can turn around easily, with drought conditions still prevailing across much of the typical beekeeping countryside, and some areas unlikely to recover for years. Bushfires, which are causing such devastation around the country, have a cruel impact on wildlife and that includes our vital honey bee population.”

“I know that many Australians are concerned about what our farmers and beekeepers are experiencing. Our Drought and Bushfire Relief honey is a very practical way they can help, while also enjoying the taste of pure Australian honey.”

Dr McKee added that 20 cents from every 340 gram classic honey pack would go to the cause, even if the packaging did not display the new Drought and Bushfire Relief label. “It will take some time to get these special packs across our retailers, but the nation’s beekeepers need help now. We have therefore made the commitment in relation to every 340 gram Capilano classic pack sale from January 1.”

The Drought and Bushfire Relief honey is part of a suite of initiatives Hive + Wellness is implementing in support of beekeepers, who have seen their bees suffer, honey production plummet, and incomes slide for many months. In December Hive + Wellness joined charity Rural Aid and industry body AHBIC to establish Hive Aid, a hardship fund accessible to beekeepers.

Drought impacting on beekeepers

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.

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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.