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Honey production collapses in Switzerland

A Zurich apiarist checks her bees in April © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The short spring and wet summer means Swiss bees have produced ten times less honey than usual. As a result the price of honey is set to increase.

After last year’s exceptional harvest, 2021 is looking very meagre: while a hive normally produces 15-20 kilos of honey, the current figure is 0-3 kilos, Swiss public radio, RTS, reportedExternal link on Thursday.

“The scarcity of honey is mainly due to the weather, which has been very unfavourable, both for the first harvest in spring and for the second harvest,” Francis Saucy, president of the Beekeeping Society of French-speaking Switzerland, told RTS.

“It rained a lot and the bees had very little time to collect nectar. There was also very little nectar on flowers and trees,” he said.

Swiss honey will therefore be difficult to find on shop shelves, and the few jars that will be sold will be expensive. According to specialists quoted by RTS, honey will cost CHF25-30 ($27-32) per kilogram.

Unlike wild bees, honeybees are important to commercial production. Yet few of the 500,000 farms in Switzerland keep hives – “they don’t bring in any money,” Saucy said. This means the country’s 20,000 bee farms are generally run by amateurs.

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