Honey maker of the year is just in it for the buzz

An amateur has been crowned queen of Latvia's bee-keepers after being awarded the prize for producing the country's tastiest honey of the year. 

Beekeepers have generally been happy with a summer that was neither too hot nor too cold and has resulted in a good vintage for the sweet stuff.

But top of the lot is Ingūna Čauna, who has been honored by her fellow apiarists for taking care of the year's must-have hive.

Čauna has kept bees for 25 years and declares herself a big fan of the industrious insects but insists she remains an amateurs rather than a professional.

Analysis of honey shows that it contains the nectar of 500 different plants.

"In its bouquet you can understand how busy and productive the bee is - this is one unique insect," says the beekeeper.

"If you don't give a bee work to do, it'll leave you. The beekeeper is the one to blame if there's a lack of honey. If you don't clean out your frames, you'll also get no honey. And the bee will say bye-bye!" says Čauna.

She has 80 bee colonies divided into four sheds, each containing 20 families. And then look for a suitable place for hives.

As with humans, location is everything when it comes to providing a harmonious life for busy bees, Čauna explains.

"There is a lot of agricultural land, growing grain, where there is nothing [for bees].So we look for forestry sites, where there are meadows, natural conditions, and no fertilizers used," she says as one of the keys to tasty honey.

Beekeeping is more for pleasure than profit, Čauna says.

"I give the honey to poor families, relatives, friends. Davin. To mke money you really need 100 hives. we are a family of three with 88 hives, so it's really a hobby," she says.

However, Čauna's success and that of other Latvian bee-keepers could offer an important future industry for the country. With many countries reporting catastrophic falls in the number of bees they maintain, Latvia's bee population is actually rising with 85,000 colonies managed by around 3,000 beekeepers and exports flowing to Finland and Germany.

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