A honey maker is reeling after a collapse in demand for its product has led to a massive drop in the price of the bumble bee.
Key points:Honey Bee stocks have lost more per cent in the past week than they did last yearHoney bee stocks have suffered an 18 per cent drop in price in the year to AugustThe company is selling honey at around the price it was selling honey for a year agoHoney bees are being forced to move to new areas due to a decline in supply and demandHoney producers say their business is in the redThe bumblebee is an iconic symbol of the bee, but a collapse this year has led beekeepers to take drastic measures to protect the bees.
The honey market has been affected by the collapse in honeybee stocks, which has driven up prices.
The price of honey has dropped by more than 80 per cent over the past year, according to figures compiled by the Australian Honey Bee Association.
Key Points:Hive losses have led to bumblebees being forced out of hives and into new areasThe bummer for beekeepers is a drop in demandHive loss is a big reason honey bee stocks are down, causing bumblebees to move further away from the hive.
The Australian Honey Board has forecast a 20 per cent decrease in the number of bumble bees in the next five years, a number which is likely to drive down the price.
“Honeybees are going to have to move out of our hives,” said Paul Waugh, CEO of the Bee Conservation Society of NSW.
“I have seen a lot of beekeepers who are in the industry in a very difficult spot.”
In recent months, the bee industry has been experiencing a downturn, with demand for honey collapsing by more to a level unseen since the 1970s.
The decline in demand has been driven by the drop in honey bee stock, which is now at a record low.
The ABC has learned bumblebybees have been forced out and in areas such as the NSW Central Coast, the number has dropped from around 300,000 to less than 300, but the overall bee population has been shrinking.
“It is a very, very difficult situation,” Mr Waugh said.
“You can only keep a bee in a hive for so long, you have to get rid of the hive, get rid and get rid, but it is still going to happen.”
He said the losses were taking place in a “very, very tough market”.
“Hive-based beekeeping has been on life support for about two years now,” Mr Whaugh said, adding there was still a lot to be done before honey bee survival was considered to be a viable option for beekeeping in NSW.
Honeybee stocks are at an all-time low, and have dropped by almost 50 per cent since 2013The Bee Conservation Association of NSW (BCANNS) is one of several organisations that are supporting bumblekeepers in the state, and is also trying to help farmers.
“We’ve got a huge amount of work to do, and the industry is in a tough position,” BCANNS chief executive Andrew Langer said.”[The] market is a bit volatile right now, but there are other things we can do.”
He hopes a lot more farmers and beekeepers will take the opportunity to secure new sites for their hives.
“There are people that are going out to get honey and have it stored in their hooch or to make sure that they have some space to grow crops in,” Mr Langer explained.
“If there is a bumble crop in that area that is going to grow really fast, it is a great thing.”
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