The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) says bee-friendly planting in gardens has helped the boom and estimates that each of the beehives kept by its members contributes four times more to the agricultural economy through pollination than the value of the honey received by the beekeeper.
The findings come from the charity’s first countrywide survey of its members’ honey harvests released today.
The survey found that, on average, each hive produced 32lbs of honey, worth £130 to the beekeeper, while the value of pollination provided to the agricultural economy by each hive has been estimated at more than £600 per hive.
British Beekeepers’ Association president Martin Smith said : "We estimate that beekeepers have also increased the number of their bee colonies by 50% - up to 120,000 from 80,000 in March.
"The test of whether beekeeping in the UK is still improving however will come when we survey the number of hives which survive the coming winter. But let’s not forget the £200 million contributed by honey bees through pollination and the resulting increased crop productivity."
The current membership of the BBKA at just under 20,000 shows a near 100% rise in the last three years coinciding with the huge public interest in bees and beekeeping.
Average number of hives
N East 5.4
N West 4.6
S East 5.2
S West 5.3
N Ireland 6.8