25 % drop in honey harvest
It has been a disastrous year for British honey, with bee farmers reporting heavy yield losses. After the worst honey crop in years, could some of Britain's most distinctive flavours be at risk?
"It's been absolutely terrible this year," says Derbyshire bee farmer Tony Maggs.
"I'm down 90% on my normal yield of honey. It's been the worst main crop I've ever had."
The total honey crop for England and Wales is estimated to be down 50% on an average year, which equates to a loss of £7m for UK honey production, according to a recent survey carried out by the Bee Farmers' Association (BFA).
"It is not being alarmist to say that… many bee farmers will cease to trade as a result of this season," says Margaret Ginman, general secretary of the BFA.
But given that the majority of the UK's honey is imported, is this a serious cause for concern?
"In Britain we underestimate the diversity of regional flavours, especially if you consider that only 15% of our honey is produced in the UK," says Ms Ginman.
"As we don't really have mono-floral honeys in the UK, every flavour combination is unique."
And this means that some of the UK's more unusual flavours may be lost.
The problem started earlier this year when Britain experienced its wettest spring on record.
Despite good early spring nectar flows, the prolonged period of cold and wet weather between April and August meant that honeybees had less opportunity to leave their hives, so little pollination took place.
"This year has been almost apocalyptic for bees," says Steve Benbow, owner of the London Honey Company, who has seen his honey yield drop by 25% this year.
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