London bee numbers may be too high

  • © aussiegall @

    © aussiegall @

    The London Bee Keepers Association (LBKA) has warned that there may be too many bees in London and has criticised an initiative by a business group offering hives to central London firms. This may lead to an unsustainable bee population in London and may be the reason for a reduction in overall honey yields in the capital.

  • Despite the scheme run by business group InMidtown reporting a 40% increase in honey production last year, the LBKA suggests that firms should focus on providing plant forage, since there are finite green spaces and forage opportunities in the capital.
  • The total honey crop for England and Wales is estimated to be at least 50% lower than an average year, a loss of £7m for UK honey production, according to a recent survey carried out by the Bee Farmers’ Association (BFA).
  • This loss is likely to be mainly due to bad weather preventing foraging on both spring and later flowering crops. The British Beekeepers Association warned that this is likely to have a longer term impact in terms of hampering the normal breeding process for queen bees, which mate on the wing, on still summer days.

Implications and next steps: The debate over the harmful effects of neonicitinoid insecticides continues and the provision of forage may be one tool that could be used to achieve effective maintenance and management of honey bee populations.


About Julia Chatterton

Systems modeller with a particular expertise in food, farming and agricultural systems. Working with life cycle assessment methods for over 4 years to assess and analyse the environmental burdens associated with food and other production systems.
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