Tue, Mar 27, 2012 - Page 14 News List

90 percent less bees this year worries beekeepers
蜜蜂少九成 養蜂人家苦

Chang Ching-po, head of the beekeeper class at Keelung Farmers’ Association, holds up a beehive in Keelung on March 21.

Photo: Yu Chao-fu, Liberty Times

With flowers not blooming due to a climate in chaos and a long rainy season, only 150 of 500 hives kept by the 19 beekeepers at Keelung Farmers Association’ are left. Chang Ching-po, head of the beekeeper class there, said that each hive originally had 20,000 bees but now only has 3,000, leaving only a million of the usual 10 million bees, which is a big loss.

Chang said there are still two months until the spring honey is harvested during the fourth month of the lunar calendar, and that all they can do now is hope for normal weather and that it will stop raining so much. This way the number of bees increases, they have a normal harvest, and can lower their losses.

Chang also said it has been raining nonstop in Keelung since October last year and that there have been very few days with nice weather, which is a huge thorn in the side for beekeepers in the Keelung area. Abnormal weather coupled with low temperatures is making bees unwilling to leave their hives.

He said the main problem is that it keeps raining, which has affected the blooming of flowers in the Cidu mountain area. Flowers are now withering before they even begin to bloom because of the heavy rains. While they wait in their hives for good weather, the bees do not go out to get pollen and nectar, seriously affecting the amount of honey being produced. Chang said the scope of beekeeping at Keelung Farmers’ Association includes the Cidu mountain area, and Nuannuan and Anle districts, all of which are facing the same problem. Chang originally had 110 hives, which should each have 20,000 bees, but now there are only 20 hives left with less than 4,000 bees in each one.

Chang also said he has not seen such strange phenomena in over a decade. If bees are not freezing to death, they are dying outside. Aside from affecting the honey harvest, it will also influence the price of honey. He just hopes good weather comes quickly and things return to normal in the remaining two months.








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