Thursday, October 16, 2008

uk honey shortage

even though i am a diabetic, i still find these stories about bees rather alarming. from tomorrow's telegraph:

"English honey to run out before Christmas
By Paul Eccleston

English honey is unlikely to feature on Christmas menus this year as supplies run out. The catastrophic decline in honey bee numbers has continued with populations down 30 per cent on last year. Combined with another wet summer - which prevented the bees gathering pollen - it has resulted in a honey shortage. Stuart Bailey, chairman of the UK's biggest producer, Rowse Honey, said: "Supplies continue to dribble through and we might have enough for another six weeks or so but I expect it to be gone before Christmas." Amateur beekeepers in England produce about 3,000 tonnes annually but the bulk - 80 per cent - is distributed to family and friends or sold at the garden gate or at farmers' markets. Supermarkets and shops rely on a few dozen big commercial honey farms for their supplies of English honey but there is much less available this year. Rowse, who have a third of the market in the UK, had hoped to supply supermarkets with 250 tonnes but Mr Bailey thinks it may be only half that amount. "It has been a terrible, terrible year possibly the worst for 28 years. Bee numbers are down again and the weather has been so bad it has prevented them from foraging. We will be lucky if the total honey crop this year amounts to 2,000 tonnes," he said."

the rest of the story is here.

add to that an earlier telegraph story that israel will soon no longer be the land of milk and honey but just the land of milk:

"The land of milk and honey is in danger of becoming just the land of milk after a 60 per cent fall in local honey production because of poor rainfall. Apiarists across Israel are reporting honey harvest levels well below half the norm following poor winter and spring rains. The poor rainfall meant there were fewer nectar-bearing flowers available for the bees. The bad weather has compounded already reduced levels of honey production caused by the mysterious global phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) where hives across the world have suddenly been deserted. Israel has suffered its fair share of CCD incidents and local scientists have identified a virus spread by a parasitic mite that could be the cause of CCD. This has yet to be confirmed. When Israeli academics reported the discovery of the new virus anti-Israeli articles started appearing on the internet accusing Israel of creating this virus as part of biological weapons programme."


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