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Bad weather is bad news for London bees

Pic: Ian Visits/Flickr

Beekeepers across East London have experienced a sharp decline in honey yields as this year’s bad weather has left bees without enough food.

A cold and wet summer has been blamed for preventing bees from collecting the amount of nectar they have been able to in recent years.

Hackney beekeeper Sally Haywill told Eastlondonlines of the troubles she and other local beekeepers have been facing.

“East London beekeepers have certainly not had the honey yields we are used to, and several of us have had a much more difficult year than usual.”

Camilla Goddard from Capital Bee, a company set up to help establish honey bee colonies in South London, has taken precautions to avoid starvation in the hives.

“I try and make sure every colony has 40lbs of honey stored in their brood chambers over winter as an insurance policy against bad weather each year.”

Goddard stresses that you do not have to be a beekeeper to support London bees.

“At this time, planting crocuses is good for the bees as it is one of their first sources of pollen in the spring.”

Goddard encourages gardeners to focus on ‘bee favourites’, as they are very selective and focus on flowers with the best nectar and pollen.

“Honeywort, birds foot trefoil, and rock rose are popular and don’t cut off the clover flowers on the lawn or dandelions,” she said.

According to the British Beekeepers Association, national honey yields are down 72 percent compared to 2011. However, it is London that has been the hardest hit.

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