Pia and Jerry Awram inspect one of the hives at Honeyview Farm. This year's supply of honey made from berry flowers

Dramatic drop in honey crop

Between the devastating global bee virus and the terrible weather, many honey farmers are in serious trouble.

Between the devastating global bee virus and the terrible weather, many honey farmers are in serious trouble.

“Our honey crops are way down,” Pia Awram of Honeyview Farm told the Progress. “It was a double whammy this year.”

Honeyview usually has about 4,000 hives at the Rosedale farm, but this year about half of their honey bees didn’t make it through the winter and spring.

They’re not alone. Bee colonies around the world are reporting high winter mortality numbers, and scientists are pointing to pesticide over-use, air pollution and parasites among the possible causes.

The local honey farmers had to act fast, so they divided up the hives, gave the remaining bees new queens, and are now hoping the colonies will thrive and succeed.

The Honeyview apiary is run by the father-and-son team of Jerry Awram and Peter Awram. Pia Awram operates the Honeyview farm store and packing operations.

The flowering of local blueberries, raspberries and blackberries is over for the summer, and the yields were all “very poor.”

The endless rain has also hurt them since the bees can’t fly in it, and the flowers don’t yield nectar, and that translated into a dramatic drop in the honey crop.

“We’ve never seen a year this bad,” said Awram.

The local farm has been making delicious honey in this location since 1985.

With the weather this spring and summer, it’s going to mean their poorest year on record.

“Berry crops are amazingly good, but not the honey crop,” she said.

Their bees usually pollinate the flowers needed by local growers to produce a good berry set.

“But we could barely supply the demand this spring,” said Awram.

The estimated value of honey bees for crop pollination nation-wide is more than $2 billion, according to the Canadian Honey Council.

Just to keep the bees alive month after month of rainy and cool weather, the Awrams had to spend a whopping $25,000 on sugar syrup and pollen supplement.

“We also spent time equalizing the colonies and dividing them to replace the lost ones. We had two extra full-time beekeepers.”

Those extra expenses add up for the hard-working farmers.

At this time of year, the hives are typically moved to Alberta for clover and alfalfa.

“Most have gone now,” she said.

But the weather has been just as bad across Alberta, as it has been here, she said.

The good news is there will be just enough honey from Honeyview to supply the provincial market and the public, but unfortunately they anticipate having to disappoint the bulk buyers in the export market this year.

“We hope our customers will understand if the prices have to be raised.”

Everyone is invited to visit the farm store to peruse a range of honey and bee related products like pollen or propolis, or try the Aromatica Fine Teas and Soaps on Young Road, Yellow Barn Country Produce or Cannor Nursery on Lickman Road.

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

twitter.com/CHWKjourno

Just Posted

Family of Chilliwack pilot killed in Honduras crash creates memorial scholarship fund

Parents, sister of Patrick Forseth fundraising to pay to send aspiring pilots to flight school

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

Weapons, drugs, cash, vehicles seized from downtown Chilliwack house

July 5 raid at Princess Avenue address led to one arrest and charges so far

OPINION: Victims too often pushed aside in B.C.’s criminal justice system

What do the complainants in criminal cases want to see done? No one is asking

VIDEO: Wet weather kicks off Lower Mainland toad migration

Thousands of small western toads were making the trek from pond to woods

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read