Was the weather in June good for honey bee foraging in Ireland?

After a month of difficult foraging conditions for bees in May compared to historical conditions, beekeepers around the country were hoping for better weather in June. You can read our blog about May’s honey bee foraging conditions here.

That blog reported on the honey bee foraging conditions model that we are developing which indicated that conditions were worse than the ten year average for May.

Luckily for Irish beekeepers and the colonies they manage, Met Éireann reports that June was dry overall with high pressure dominating our weather for most of the month.


Figure 1. a) Foraging conditions in Ireland throughout June 2021, lighter shades indicate better foraging conditions. b) Comparison of June 2021 foraging conditions to the 10-year historical average for June, blue areas experienced a worse June than average while those shaded red had a better month than average.

Rainfall was below average country wide with Met Éireann’s station in Dunsany, Co. Meath recording only 18% of its long-term average for monthly rainfall in June. Temperatures were also above average for the most part although parts of the west coast were the exception to this rule with Mace Head Co. Galway recording a mean temperature of 13.1°C in 2021 compared to a long-term average of 13.8°C for June. The month was also a calm sunny one with no gales, strong gales or storms reported and almost all available sunshine totals above the long-term average.

The model we are developing reflects this good weather and shows that meteorological foraging conditions were better than their long-term average in large parts of the country in June and slightly below average in parts of the west coast. You can see this in Figure 1 which shows the results of our model for June 2021 compared to the average for the previous 10 years, using historical Met Éireann weather data from around the country.

Here at our research apiary we noticed that most of the good weather conditions for foraging were concentrated towards the end of June. In other parts of Ireland this may have differed with weather stations in Dublin recording absolute droughts in the first two weeks of June according to Met Éireann. How did conditions vary for your apiary across the month?

Of course, there are many other at factors at play here for the bees beyond the weather, including the forage available locally. Did you notice a June gap this year where there was little forage available to your colonies? Did you provide any supplementary feed during this period?

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