The BBC is reporting today that the UK honey harvest this year is 72% down on what would normally be expected (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20139062). As a beekeeper myself, this comes as no surprise. Indeed, "I picked a fine time to start beekeeping" would be an appropriate description for me. We got our first hives last year and this year was meant to be our first year of production. Like other beekeepers, the wet and cold spring and summer washed away our plans. We had a tiny honey crop, 3.5kg, from one hive, nothing from the rest. I am hoping that next year will be an improvement but for that we need some decent weather.
The other disappointing issue is that beekeeping is very much a cottage industry. It is based on a large number of people running small honey producing businesses. I am a great believer in self-employment (as well as self-sufficiency!) with people running micro and small businesses that supply goods and services to local markets. It is one of the routes to economic recovery after the disaster of the financial crisis. The weather seems to be doing its best to stop that recovery taking place.