Lean honey harvest in 2021


October 25, 2021 - (Source © lid.ch) - This year's bad weather has also significantly reduced the honey harvest of Swiss beekeepers: On average there was 7.2 kilograms of honey per colony - this year's honey harvest is 75 percent smaller than last Year.

After last year's record harvest of up to 40 kilograms per bee colony in some cantons, the year 2021 has shown a completely different side, writes the umbrella organization of the Swiss beekeeping associations Apisuisse in a message. Because of the cold and wet spring, the spring honey harvest was already meager and the quantities of summer honey suffered greatly from the weather with a lot of rain, hailstorms and floods. As a result, the bees would not have been able to fly out to collect nectar and pollinate the meadow flowers and fruit trees. According to Apisuisse, the bees even had to be fed regionally, otherwise they would have starved to death.

Across Switzerland, the spring honey harvest averaged 1.9 kilograms per colony - in the previous year there was an average of 11.2 kilograms. The lack of pollination also led to a very poor cherry and plum harvest in 2021. Heavy rain and hailstorms would have prevented a forest costume in summer, but short phases of calming weather would have helped the bees to tap special nectar sources such as linden blossoms and late blackberry blossoms. As a result, this led to an average Swiss-wide summer honey harvest of 5.3 kilograms per colony, which was significantly lower than in the previous year at 18.7 kilograms. According to Apisuisse, the total annual harvest was 7.2 kg per bee colony - in the previous year there were 29.9 kg. These figures also include the harvest volumes in Ticino, which was largely spared the bad weather during the forage months and, despite a decrease compared to the previous year, was still able to achieve a total amount of honey of 25.9 kg per colony - more than twice as much “Best” cantons north of the Alps.

Some beekeepers could still sell honey thanks to their stocks from the abundant previous year, but for most of them the year 2021 also means a financial loss. This applies in particular to professional beekeepers, who, unlike the fruit and vegetable farmers who are also affected, do not receive any subsidies from the state, it says. And the little honey that goes on sale at all is likely to cost a lot more because of the scarcity.

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