중앙데일리

Cold, wet weather kills beekeepers’ buzziness

Apr 28,2010
This year’s unusually cold and rainy spring is causing a major headache for the local agriculture industry from growers of fruits and vegetables to bee farmers.

The government may soon offer assistance to bee farms since a large number of the insects have frozen to death.

This follows a government plan announced last week to offer 340 billion won ($305.8 million) in aid to local fruit and vegetable farmers whose crops were damaged.

The number of bees currently being raised at 38,000 bee farms in Korea amounted to only 30 percent against the same period last year, according to a joint survey by the local beekeepers’ association and the state-run Rural Development Association.

About 40,000 bees are generally raised at each artificial beehive, but the number is less than 15,000 this year, said one official at the Agriculture Ministry.

“Many worker bees have died, leaving small larvae uncared-for, and the queen bees are not producing as many eggs as before,” said Choi Kyu-chil, head of the Korea Beekeeping Association.

Local beekeepers usually raise bees from early February to early April and take the beehives to southern regions of the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces, where the pollen-rich acacia flowers bloom each spring.

The season’s honey collection generally makes up most of the beekeepers’ income for the year.

“We’re considering an option to offer financial assistance up to 10 million won for each farm, once the scale of the damage is determined,” said the ministry official.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the nation’s average rainfall from February to April 20 amounted to 223.4 millimeters (8.8 inches), up 37 percent from the same period last year, while the number of rainy days was 29.7 days, up nearly 50 percent from a year earlier.


By Jung Ha-won [hawon@joongang.co.kr]



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