Beehive numbers soar as keepers chase lucrative manuka honey profits

Bees are starving in some areas as beekeepers keen to cash in on the lucrative manuka honey industry are overcrowding  the bush with hives.

Beehive numbers have soared in the last 10 years. In 2005 there were only 294,886 registered hives.

Just in the last eight months, total registered hive numbers have jumped to 650,000 from 575,000, said Federated Farmers bee chairman John Hartnell.