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17.08.2017 - Bears crave for arctic honey


Despite the unusually cold summer we have collected some honey. It has been the coldest summer in decades. Some parts of Finland have lacked a single hot day, when usually they have over ten of them. In addition to the weather, the increased bear populations have made beekeeping a risky business in some areas. Without an electrical fence it would be impossible to keep bees in Eastern Finland.

Few weeks ago we got a good example of this by the Russian border in Nurmes, North Karelia. One of the bee colonies was looking for a place and settled in the middle of a swamp, where we then located the beehive. A week later we came to check it out, but the beehive was no longer there, as a bear had destroyed and eaten all of it.

We have received worrying messages from other beekeepers: They say, that even an electrical fence is not enough to stop bears with honey cravings. It is estimated, that there are over 2000 bears in Finland with a population increase of 10 percent each year. Usage of game cameras is increased, so the beekeepers get real-time information about the location of the bears and the damage they have inflicted. That’s also why we might get a real bear selfie in our e-mail address!

Climate change has also had its clearly noticeable effect also in Finland. Before we had cold winters with a lot of snow, followed by mostly hot and sunny summers. Now tables have turned, as winter is mild and summer is relatively cool. It is a big disadvantage for honey production in the north, where the summers are short to begin with. Luckily despite these challenges we have started the harvesting season and have collected a reasonable amount of honey.

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