British Beekeepers Association

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British Beekeepers Association
28th October 2010

Honey Survey 2010

3.5 million pounds of honey harvested this summer for the nation's tea tables by amateur beekeepers 50 per cent increase in the number of bee colonies in the last six months four times the value of BBKA members' honey harvests goes to the economy through pollination 5,000 people sign up as Armchair Beekeepers to support Adopt a Beehive fundraising campaign

The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) estimates that each of the beehives kept by its members contributes four times more to the agricultural economy through pollination than the value of the honey received by the beekeeper. The findings come from the charity’s first countrywide survey of its members’ honey harvests released today, 28th October 2010

The survey found that, on average, each hive produced 32lbs of honey, worth £130* to the beekeeper, whilst the value of pollination provided to the agricultural economy by each hive has been estimated at more than £600. per hive.**

The figures show substantial regional variations of honey yields. The highest yields were in the south east with 10 per cent above average, while the lowest yields were in the north west with 34 per cent below the average. Speaking at the opening of the National Honey Show, Martin Smith, BBKA President, said:

“It is extremely encouraging that our members have produced more than three and a half million*** jars of honey this summer - that’s more than a third of all the nation’s home-produced honey. “We estimate that beekeepers have also increased the number of their bee colonies by 50% - up to 120,000 from 80,000 in March.****

“This summer too 44 per cent of beekeepers kept one or two hives which of course reflects the 40 per cent increase in people taking up beekeeping.” Mr. Smith contintued:

“The test of whether beekeeping in the UK is still improving however will come when we survey the number of hives which survive the coming winter. “But let’s not forget the £200 million contributed by honey bees through pollination and the resulting increased crop productivity.

” The current membership of the BBKA at just under 20,000 shows a near 100 per cent rise in the last three years coinciding with the huge public interest in bees and beekeeping.

The survey showed that while members on average have been keeping bees for just under 10 years, just over 40 per cent of the respondents had taken up the craft in the last 2 years only.

Beekeepers in rural areas tended to have kept bees longer at 10 years, than those in urban areas at five years whilst 42 per cent of rural beekeepers reported increased honey output compared with just 34 per cent in urban areas.

Commenting on the success of the Adopt a Beehive campaign, Martin Smith said: “The public has responded magnificently to the plight of the honey bee by either taking-up beekeeping or by becoming ‘armchair beekeepers’ through the recently launched ‘Adopt a beehive’ fundraising campaign which is providing funding for research and beekeeper education.

“It is not just beekeepers who can help bees to recover, everyone can play their part by continuing to plant bee friendly plants, fruit and vegetables in their window boxes, patio pots, gardens and allotments to provide desperately needed forage."

Adopt a Beehive, the BBKA’s first fundraising campaign in its 135 year history was launched on 19 March 2010 with the sponsorship of the Saga group and the support of Michelin starred chef, Raymond Blanc. www.adoptabeehive.co.uk