Beekeepers concerned about impact of cold spring

Estonia's beekeepers are concerned about the impact of the cold and windy spring on their apiaries.

Spring has finally arrived in Estonia, but the weather is delaying the bees' work, ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Monday.

Vahur and Ülle Talimaa have 150 bee colonies in Pärnu and Harju counties. While their bees survived the long winter, they are not yet gathering nectar due to the chilly, windy spring.

"As they have a lot of larvae and if the weather allows it, then they go out, if the weather allows it, to quickly bring water. And of course, if it is possible and it's a little warmer, then they will visit the maple and bring pollen. I think, with the cold, that there is no nectar excretion now," Ülle said.

Vahur said he is trying to encourage the bees by making a mixture of ground sugar and last year's honey but it has not been successful yet.

There are 55,000 bee colonies in Estonia and beekeeping has grown in popularity in recent years. However, keepers are facing new worries.

"Everything is becoming more expensive, be it fuel, be it electricity, be it sugar to buy for winter feeding. But the price of honey has remained more or less at the same level in recent years. So it's been a concern for beekeepers to see if it's still sustainable as a profession," said Aleksander Kilk, chairman of the board of the Beekeepers' Association.

Vahur and Ülle have retired, but they do not intend to give up their hives, they told AK. Their Austrian bees are friendly and the couple does not need protective clothes when tending to them.

"But in the summer, when I have back problems, nerve inflammation in my back, I usually ask my husband to put ten [bee] stingers there. And it helps a lot, it takes away the pain and the next day you can already work," Ülle said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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