13 May 2013

Bee decline worries unjustified, says honey producer

4:48 pm on 13 May 2013

A New Zealand honey producer and exporter says there's too much unjustified doom and gloom about the health of the world's bees.

Reports of wide-spread bee losses and colony collapses in Europe, Asia and North America have raised the alarm about the survival of honey bees.

The European Union has recently banned a group of systemic neonicotinoid insecticides.

However, Airborne Honey managing director Peter Bray says global honey statistics show bees are actually doing well.

He says world honey figures show beehive numbers and honey production per hive are up, and world trade is increasing.

Mr Bray says New Zealand's beekeepers and the honey industry are also in good heart.

He says New Zealand believed it had a big setback with the varroa mite entering the country in 2000.

At that point, he says, New Zealand had about 320,000 hives and now has more than 420,000 hives.

In 2000, New Zealand exported $11.5 million worth of honey and in 2012 that had risen to $128 million.

He says there has been a concentration of hives in the hands of those who are making a good financial return out of it.

Mr Bray says he's not discounting the problems beekeepers face, but they are overcoming those problems and becoming better beekeepers and business people.