[7 March/NZ Farmer]

The hottest summer on record in many parts of the country has caused a challenging season for beekeepers as bees have stopped making honey so they can gather water to cool their hives down. Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand, Karin Kos, said beekeepers were expecting a slightly below average honey harvest and that variable weather conditions have interrupted honey flow as a result. Peter Ward of Alpine Honey Specialities added that his crop was down this season and that nobody was taking a good crop this season. He noted that for some beekeepers throughout Otago, Manuka had yielded reasonably good crops so what was lost in quantity was recovered in quality. Ms Kos acknowledged that there was an 11 percent increase in registered hive numbers, and that it was good to see strong demand and premium prices for New Zealand honey with average export prices increasing.