New Brunswick

Honey production down by up to 90%, says beekeeper

A dry and hot summer has taken a toll on honey production in the province with one beekeeper estimating that production from his hives alone has plummeted by up to 90 per cent.

Andrew Buyers says a strong start to the summer season didn't materialize into a bumper crop

Beekeeper Andrew Buyers could expect to see up to 100 pounds of honey per hive, this year he averages about 10. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A dry and hot summer has taken a toll on honey production in the province with one beekeeper estimating that production from his hives alone has plummeted by up to 90 per cent.

Andrew Buyers, the president of Central Beekeepers Association, has beehives in both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Production at some of his hives has fallen by as much as 90 per cent this year, he said.

"I was averaging about 10 pounds per hive of honey," Buyers said.

"I'd be thrilled with 100 [pounds] but expect about 50."

Drought-like conditions to blame

Buyers said the drought-like conditions this summer are to blame for the drop in honey production.

Less water means less food for the bees, which prompts them to go into survival mode. The change in behaviour reduces the amount of honey.

Buyers blames the reduction in honey on a dry, hot summer. (CBC)

"The bees themselves, when there's less food, they're sensible, they look after themselves," said Buyers.

"They say,' Let's just slow down here cause there's not going to be enough food for all of us.'"

Buyers said he compared two of his hives, one along the St. John River and another farther inland.

The hives closer to the river saw higher yields, which Buyers said he believes further proves the dry weather is to blame.

Strong start, weak finish

Buyers said the season actually started strong, and he even added another level to his hives, expecting more honey. The honey never materialized.

"The first of the summer into July, I was quite pleased," he said.

"The honey really didn't increase much from that point."

Despite the difficult season for honey production, Buyers said he doesn't expect the quality or taste of the honey will decline.

"The quality of the honey is going to be there, the taste of the honey's going to be there, just the quantity [will be down,]" said Buyers.

Buyers also said he doesn't suspect the price of local honey will change much, even with less supply. But there will be less to go around.

"Get in there and get your honey before it runs out," said Buyers.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton

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