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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 08:01 GMT 09:01 UK
Storms starving Cumbria bees
Honey bee
The honey bees cannot get enough to eat
Bees in Cumbria are being hand fed because bad weather is stopping them from eating enough.

Beekeepers say storms and heavy rain have left honey bees unable to get out to feed.

Poor weather has already prompted a warning that honey production in the county will be badly affected.

Nick Mills from the Carlisle Beekeepers Association said: "This is a particularly bad year for us in Cumbria.

Honey
The price of honey in shops is rising

"Many beekeepers in the area have virtually no honey.

"In fact some are even having to feed their bees because they are starving.

"They simply aren't able to get out enough with the rotten weather to collect sufficient to sustain themselves."

Bee stocks have already been blighted after attacks by the varroa mite in Cumbria in 2001. The mite attacks drone larvae.

A spokesman for the British Beekeepers' Association said some areas were heading for their worst honey harvest for 40 years.

Honey is already in short supply in the shops and supermarket chains say prices of existing stocks have gone up.

People in the UK eat 25,000 tonnes of honey a year.


Click here to go to BBC Cumbria
See also:

05 Jul 02 | N Ireland
28 May 02 | England
13 Mar 02 | UK
19 Feb 02 | Health
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