Valley Drought 2014: Get Ready To Pay More For Honey
FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KMPH) —
If your sweet tooth craves honey, be prepared to pay a little more for a jar of the sweet treat. Honeybees aren't finding any nectar due to Valley Drought 2014.
The drought has been brutal for honeybees and beekeepers, because there are fewer wildflowers and crops to forage in production is way down.
KMPH Fox 26 News reporter Rich Rodriguez talked to Bryan Beekman, because he's been in the bee business for nearly 40 years.
"When there's no rain, there's no flowers. When there's no flowers there's no honey. No honey, no money," said Beekman.
Beekman has 7,200 colonies of bees and each colony has as many as 50,000 bees.
Beekman says the queen lays up to 2,000 eggs each day. "When she walks over every little cell [of the honeycomb] she's looking at every single cell to see if there's an egg there already," said Beekman.
These worker bees have little to do this summer; since there are few flowers to pollinate they're producing a minimal amount of honey.
Normally the season runs from late April to October. "This year we've only turned the machines on twice for about two and a half weeks. Just because we have no honey in the field to rob off the hives, bring back here to the shop to run through the machinery," said Beekman.
Beekman usually sends 1,000 55 gallon drums of honey to the plant each year, but he expects he'll only make 400 barrels this year. "This is the worst year that I've seen in the 30 almost 40 years I've been doing bees. It's been really, really tough," said Beekman.
Since there's little to pollinate, the bees have to be fed a sugar syrup to keep them healthy.
Beekman says his herd will go thru a 50,000 gallon tank every two weeks, which costs up to $18,000 to fill.
Expenses don't go away during the drought but Beekman has seen honey production dip by seventy percent this year alone.
According to the National Honey Board... the price for a pound of honey has climbed from $3.83 to $6.32 in recent years.