Stock photo.

Alberta beekeepers dealing with low honey yields after cold, wet summer

Alberta beekeepers have felt the negative impacts of wet, cold summer weather on their apiaries with honey crop yields falling below the norm.

As reported by the Edmonton Journal, weather conditions have deterred bees from flying while flowers also struggled to produce nectar.

Connie Phillips, executive director of the Alberta Beekeepers Commission, told the paper that on average beekeepers are bringing in about half of their usual honey yield.

She said the commission launched a survey to understand production losses and find out whether or not Alberta beekeepers are using insurance programs put in place as a safety net for when losses occur.

“Out of everyone that responded, 100 per cent said they were all below their three-year average with their honey crop,” Phillips said. “More than half of the those that responded were at 50 per cent or more of a loss.”

Barbara Sorenson, owner of True North Apiary in Alberta’s Leduc County, was one beekeeper who had low honey yields this year.

“We’re running about half the honey that we normally would on a normal year,” she said.

Her colonies usually produce about 150 pounds of honey, she said, but this year they brought in about 70 pounds.

She added that the bees weren’t as pleasant as they normally are and that queens were having a harder time going out and mating.

But Phillips told the Edmonton Journal that there could be a shortage in the province’s honey.

“Alberta is Canada’s largest honey producer, somewhere between 41 to 43 per cent of our honey in Canada gets produced here, so you have half that much,” she said. “It could have an impact on markets.”