[Photo by Yonhap]
Honey harvest has become the worst in 30 years in South Korea as honeybees are going extinct due to climate changes and infectious disease spread.
According to the Korea Beekeeping Association on Monday, beekeeping farms totaled 24,044 overseeing 2.32 million hives as of March. Of them, 416,409 hives have stayed empty from October to March 2, hurting harvest for 18 percent of the farmers.
By region, South Jeolla Province suffered the largest damage, followed by North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang. Bee-less hive phenomenon has spread across the country.
“At this rate, it could be a matter of time before the honey and beekeeping industry in Korea completely collapses,” said an official from the association.
The void of honeybees has huge ramifications on the farming industry as value of agricultural crops depend on them.
Fruits such as watermelons and oriental melons gain higher sugar content through pollination. As 90 percent of watermelon farmers and 80 percent of oriental melon growers rely on pollination, their yield inevitably would be impacted.
Experts are pointing at unusual weather patterns and ensuing infectious diseases for the past two years as the reason for the phenomenon. As the flowering started earlier due to warm weathers, bees did not take honey on time and their immunity decreased, making them vulnerable to infectious diseases.
By Woo Sung-deok and Jenny Lee
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]