Bee experts have revealed that a dry and sunny spring has caused a bumper yield of honey.
Colonies in Germany are producing an average of 21.2 kilogrammes (46.7 lbs) of honey, nearly six kilogrammes (13.2 lbs) more than during the same period last year, a study has revealed.
Bee specialist Dr Christoph Otten – who oversaw the study – has put the boost down to perfect spring conditions.
Dr Otten – who heads the Centre for Bees and Beekeeping – explained: “This spring was mostly sunny and dry.
“Plants and flowers grew exceptionally well under these conditions, whereas bees were able to collect lots of nectar.”
He added: “The fact that the soil was still wet nevertheless was another positive aspect for beekeepers during the first harvesting sessions of this year.”
Cold weather and rainfall can drastically reduce beekeepers’ honey harvests.
Dr Otten said: “The longer it rains, the less active bees are.
“Last year’s springtime was dominated by rain.
“This year’s figures are exceptionally good. However, they were far from breaking any records.”
Colonies in Central Europe mostly have two nectar flows, one in late spring and another in late August.
There are around one million bee colonies in Germany, according to Dr Otten.
Most of Germany’s 170,000 beekeepers are hobbyists, he said.
Dr Otten added that 8,412 of them had participated in his organisation’s study on springtime honey production.
The Centre for Bees and Beekeeping is headquartered in Mayen, Rhineland-Palatinate, in south-western Germany.
The figures on springtime honey harvest in Germany follow a renowned expert’s warning from a deadly new disease variant which currently cuts a swathe through global populations.
Prof Dr Robert Paxton from Martin Luther University in the German city of Halle, Lower Saxony, recently said that the latest variant of the Deformed Wing Virus had the potential to wipe out honey-bee populations all over the world.
Paxton called the virus – which is spread by varroa mites – the “biggest threat to honey bees right now.”
Paxton’s investigations have revealed that the new variant has already replaced its predecessor in Europe – and it is quickly spreading in other regions.
Paxton explained: “Our analysis confirms that the new variant is already the dominating force in Europe. We fear that it’s just a matter of time before it will have forced its way all over the world.”
The virus causes serious damage to the insects’ wings before eventually killing them.
Apart from the varroa mite, excessive usage of insecticides and construction projects are regarded as the biggest threats to the existence of honey bees.