Province-wide honey yields are the lowest in decades, according to the Alberta Beekeepers Commission.

On average, Alberta beekeepers have been reporting anywhere from 50 per cent of their typical honey flow to total crop failure.

“It’s a very bad year for honey,” Connie Phillips, executive director of the beekeepers association, told CTV News Edmonton.

“What we’re hearing is, for some of the older beekeepers, they’re saying it’s probably the worst year they’ve seen in about 50 years,” she added.

Phillips said that smoke from wildfires in May, as well as the cool, rainy June and July months, are mostly to blame for the low numbers.

Richard Ozero

Beekeeper and CTV Meteorologist Richard Ozero has been no exception to the the trend.

“This year we’re sitting at about half the normal honey intake than an average year,” he told CTV News Edmonton.

“It’s pretty devastating to look at how many empty barrels we have,” Ozero said. “It’s really disappointing to do all this work all spring and summer long and to have so little honey to show at the end of it, because you’ve got the bills still.”

No response from Alberta government

The Alberta Beekeepers Commission sent a letter to Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry on Aug. 15 to inform him of the challenges the industry would likely be facing and to request a face-to-face meeting.

At time of publication, neither the association nor CTV News Edmonton had heard back from the minister’s office.

Historically, Alberta has been the country’s number one source of honey, producing roughly 42 per cent of Canada’s yield.

Road to recovery?

Phillips said that it will take one to five years of good weather before everyone in the honey industry has fully recovered, but added: “For some, they may not recover from it and others will kind of slow down and step back and regroup and move on.”

With files from Nicole Weisberg