Why import honey at all?

We are importing honey …
… because there is not enough produced in Europe.

For example: In 2015 Germans consumed 85,000 tons of honey, but less than 25,000 tons were produced in the country. In order to match the per capita consumption of 1.06 kg (2020) 88,000 tons of honey had to be imported (some German honey is also exported). These numbers have barely changed, the situation in the UK is even worse.

We are importing honey …
… because we want to raise awareness regarding the threat to indigenous pollinators.

Each region on earth has ‘appropriate/regionally adapted’ bees (and other animals), which serve as pollinators for the local fauna, and some of them also produce honey.

When it comes to bees, as everywhere else in nature, no single solution fits all, different habitats suit some species better than others and vice versa. The key for the ‘functioning’ of nature is biodiversity.

Despite numerous reports in the media, Apis mellifera (the ‘European honey bee’) is pretty much the only honey bee species that is (when seen on a global perspective) not under threat, despite the horrendous numbers of declining colonies particularly in the USA (and Europe). The number of Apis mellifera colonies world wide is actually increasing, because industrial agriculture has made Apis mellifera the pollinator and honey producer of choice. These bees are now as ubiquitous in fields and orchards as are the high yielding black and white Holstein cows in the dairy industry. Apis mellifera produces more honey than any other honey bee, and it can be taken to wherever pollination is needed. Unfortunately, it is particularly unsuitable for tropical climates (it cannot procreate there naturally). It is outcompeting local pollinators – e.g. Northern America had some 400 native pollinators well adapted to the local flora before European settlers brought Apis mellifera across the Atlantic. Many of the indigenous pollinators are now in decline. Industrial agriculture, which is a major cause for environmental pollution and climate change, relies on Apis mellifera and massive numbers of hives in apiaries with 1.000s of colonies. It is the exact opposite of diversity.

We are importing honey …
… because we want to support our supplier partners.

Our main partners are:

Under the Mango Tree

Under the Mango Tree (UTMT) sees bees as a key for improving the lives of subsistence farmers in India. UTMT offers courses that last for more than a year, during which farmers learn how to keep bees. The honey harvest is only an added benefit – of far more importance are the bees’ pollination services: Cashew and mango trees produce up to 60% more fruit when a colony of Apis cerana is located in the orchard. Chilli plants in the field next to a hive produce up to four times as many chillies, and in some areas, thanks to pollination, a third harvest has become possible. When UTMT asked why European honey regulations prohibited the import of Apis cerana honey, the founding of Diversity Honeys Ltd. resulted from our attempt to find the answer.

More information on the work of UTMT can be found here.

Hoopoe on a Hill

Hoopoe on a Hill is a women’s group in Kodaikanal in the hills of southwest India. The group also sells honey in its own shop, but as far as Diversity Honeys Ltd. is concerned it supplies wax wraps made by the women themselves. These wraps are the perfect natural alternative to plastic cling foil. The idea to source the wax wraps came about when for six long years we failed in our attempts to import honey. Hoopoe’s wax wraps are unique compared to other similar products, because the wax used for them is from Apis dorsata, the hornet sized ‘rock bee’ that lives in the wild.

The original tribal inhabitants of the tropical rain forests in the Western Ghats are nowadays required by law to live in villages outside of the forests, but they retain the exclusive right to use and harvest products from the forest (such as honey or wax). At night they enter the forest in small groups, in order to harvest honey from the single half-moon shaped combs which can be up to 1.5 meters wide. Usually only the ‘corner’ in which the bees store the honey is cut from a comb, which allows the bees to repair the damage and restore their stocks fairly quickly.

More information on the work of Hoopoe on a Hill can be found here.

Here you can see a 58 second long video which was taken by a group of honey collectors themselves. It shows the harvesting of honey from an Apis dorsata colony in the Kodaikanal region.

Here you can see a 58 second long video which was taken by a group of honey collectors themselves. It shows the harvesting of honey from an Apis dorsata colony in the Kodaikanal region.