16 Mar 2018

Beehive losses remain steady at 10 percent

3:34 pm on 16 March 2018

The annual honey bee colony survey shows that just under 10 percent of colonies were lost in New Zealand last year.

Honey output has plummeted.

Honey output has plummeted. Photo: 123RF

It is a similar figure to the two previous years.

Apiculture New Zealand's Barry Foster oversees the survey, which involves 2000 private and commercial beekeepers and people in the sector.

He said the results reflected several different threats to bee survival.

"We've had varroa [bee mite] for 17 years now and that does impact on losses.

"But probably the biggest reason for loss is what is termed 'queen problems'. These can be the result of an old queen dying or a queen not being properly mated.

"The second major reason for losses was to do with starvation and colony loss."

Mr Foster said this year's survey showed some regional variation with estimated losses substantially higher in the middle South Island and lower South Island in 2017 than in 2016.

"We will be interested to find out more about the regional variation experienced this year."