After a scorching and dry July, the first week of August was generally quite wet, with low pressure dominating towards the end of the week. However, as the month developed most of the country experienced spells of warmer, drier weather. Nearly all mean air temperatures at Met Éireann stations were above their Long-Term Average (LTA) for the month.
The Knock Airport and Newport stations in Co. Mayo recorded the highest deviation above the average of 1 °C while Dublin Airport was an exception, recording temperatures 0.5 °C below the LTA. Athenry Co. Galway reported the highest temperature of 26.3 °C on Thursday the 26th (its highest max temperature for August since 1976).
Rainfall totals for the month were also below their LTAs at the majority of stations although totals tended to be higher than their LTAs in the northwest.
The model we are developing shows that meteorological foraging conditions were slightly better than their 10-year averages at almost all the stations analysed. You can see this in Figure 1 which shows the results of our model for August 2021 compared to the average for the previous 10 years, using historical Met Éireann weather data.
Was the weather in August good for honey bee foraging in Ireland?
Figure 1. a) Foraging conditions in Ireland throughout August 2021, lighter shades indicate better foraging conditions. b) Comparison of August 2021 foraging conditions to the 10-year historical average for August, blue areas experienced a worse August than average while those shaded red had a better month than average. Uses Met Éireann Data licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence.
Overall, this summer, taking August into account, meteorological foraging conditions were good for Irish honey bees in 2021 according to our model.
After a cool and wet May, with meteorological foraging conditions worse than their long-term average everywhere we analysed, June was the third driest June on record and there were widespread heatwaves during July. The improved conditions were reflected in our analysis for both June and July with the vast majority of stations recording better conditions than their 10-year averages in June and all of the stations recording better conditions in July.
There are many conditions beyond the weather that contribute to your hives honey yield, including the forage available locally, colony health and the synchronisation of good meteorological conditions and good forage availability. Do you keep records of your honey yield? How does 2021 compare to other years?
Read our recent blog on honey production and honey adulteration to learn more about some of the biggest issues affecting beekeepers around the world.