Honey Fraud

HoneyMSN Food has an item about the top ten food frauds – one of them is HONEY (click to see item).

The item reads:

“Perhaps surprisingly, there’s a huge international network of honey launderers (sorry!). Honey is one of the most common food frauds of all, and a 2013 study found that there was more honey labelled as the expensive Manuka type in British shops than the total annual production of the variety, much of it cheaper, common-or-garden honey, mislabelled as Manuka.

Also, in 2013, German food company ALW was busted for the largest food fraud in US history, an $80 million scam to import cheap Chinese honey into America mislabelled as the produce of other countries. In a separate development, police in China’s Chongqing Hechuan district discovered a production site for fake honey last year and confiscated about 500 kilograms. “The artificial honey contained zero per cent real honey,” said a report, and was instead a mixture of water, sugar, alum powder and colouring.”

The message is clear – buy local honey from a beekeeper!  If you are in Pembrokeshire you can find some here.

Facebook Page Rebadged

Pembrokeshire Beekeeping CentreThe bee-eyed among you may have noticed that our Facebook page name has changed to “Pembrokeshire Beekeeping Centre”. 

The Facebook page

Concentrates on providing our followers, many of whom are not beekeepers, with photographs, news and events taking place at the Pembrokeshire Beekeeping Centre at Scolton Manor.  It will also get feeds of general interest (like this one) from our main website.

The main website

Provides the primary information about Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association and contains our main information library for beekeepers and members, contact information and calendar of events.

However you keep up with Pembrokeshire Beekeepers Association and the Pembrokeshire Beekeeping Centre we hope you enjoy what you find.

Honey Bees – Living Feral

Bees in Tree Trunk
Bees in Tree Trunk

We hear a lot about declining bee numbers.

While beekeepers can and should look for problems and take action to prolong the life of their own colonies bees living in the wild are at the mercy, or not, of nature.

Where do bees living in the wild come from? And are they related to the bees we manage?

A story on the BBC Nature website explains more – read it here.

Honey Bee Losses in USA – White House Demands Federal Action

On June, 20th a Presidential Memorandum was issued by the White House  titled Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. 

The memorandum states that:

“Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.”

On May 20th, National Geographic Daily News covered a USDA report that Losses over the 2013-2014 winter in the USA were lower than most previous years.  But commented:

Even so, the USDA’s survey of beekeepers found that nearly a quarter of the bees in managed honeybee colonies—a total of 23.2 percent nationwide—perished from October 2013 to April 2014.

That was far better than the average annual loss of 29.6 percent reported since 2007, and the 30.5 percent loss recorded during the winter of 2012-2013. But it’s appreciably higher than the threshold of 18.9 percent losses that beekeepers consider economically sustainable, the USDA said.

“This year’s survey results, while encouraging, do not provide much comfort because it is not known why the bees seemed to do better this past winter than previous winters,” said Gene Robinson, director of the Institute for Genomic Biology and an entomology expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We can’t rest until we really understand the factors that drive differences in losses.”

The White House Memorandum requires a “National Pollinator Health Strategy (Strategy)” to be developed within six months.

The food industry in the USA is huge and has become reliant on intensive use of chemical pesticides included neonicotidoids which have been banned since late 2013 for a two year trial period in the EU.  Will be interesting to see what action results from this – is it too little too late?