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Secrets of why bees in the East produce more honey revealed

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A study shows that the East has the most productive bees
A study shows that the East has the most productive bees

The secrets of why bees in this region are the most productive in the country have been revealed by a new study.

Bees in the East produced an average of 31.3lb of honey this year, up from 27.3lb last year, according to the Honey Survey, run by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA). By comparison, the average colony of bees in the UK produced produced 26lb of honey this year – an increase of 5lb over last year’s crop.

Beekeepers cited improved weather this year for the results – and those in the East enjoyed particularly good conditions, along with an abundant supply of forage, or food for bees.

Tim Lovett, director of public affairs at BBKA, said: “An unusually cold and windy spring prompted the National Bee Unit to issue a bee starvation warning to beekeepers urging them to feed their colonies. The situation was then compounded by the late flowering of many summer plants. A better summer followed by a long, warm autumn, however, gave the bees a chance to build up their strength and their honey supplies and we’re delighted to see the season end with a much improved honey yield.”

Louise Jutsum, a beekeeper in the BBKA’s East ‘Adopt a Beehive’ region, added: “A varied diet is as important to the health of the honey bee as it is to humans.

“While an abundance of yellow fields in flower with oil seed rape for example is good to a point, if that was only food for bees it would be akin to humans eating nothing but egg yolks all the time. So a rich variety of bee-friendly flowers in our gardens and native hedgerows remain vital food sources for honey bees.

“Planting the right flowers and shrubs, leaving ivy to grow wild, or helping raise funds to assist good beekeeping practice by supporting the ‘Adopt a Beehive’ scheme, are all good ways to help the honey bee.”

One of the projects the BBKA’s Adopt a Beehive scheme has helped fund is an exploration of how to create ‘pollen patties’ as a food supplement for honey bees. A nutritionally balanced diet is vital for honey bees to thrive.

Cambridgeshire has a thriving beekeepers’ association, with its Honey Show held annually at the Fenland Country Fair at Stow-cum-Quy.

:: Visit adoptabeehive.co.uk.

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