Texas honey production below average due to summer heat, drought

“This is the worst season that I’ve seen in 20 years of beekeeping.”
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Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 11:41 PM CDT

EAST, Texas (KLTV) - The Texas summer heat is now behind us, but the aftereffects are beginning to show in our agriculture, like honey production.

Experts say honey production is below average this season due to the summertime drought.

Owner and operator of Sugar Creek Honey in Flint, Jim Biles says he extracts honey in May which regularly carries his production over until next spring. But this year, he is out of honey at this time.

“Two reasons I’m out is one, my production was way down this year. And the second is that early on, the people that regularly go to local beekeepers in order to get local honey knew that production was down almost immediately.” said Biles.

And according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, the cause of this low production being down about 50 percent is because temperatures rose earlier in the year than usual, causing a lack of moisture.

“Bees will stop foraging, or they at least slow down and reduce their foraging when it gets to over hundred degrees. So throughout most of the state, we were above hundred degrees a lot of the time. So there were less available resources, but also less bees out foraging.” said Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service Entomologist, Molly Keck.

This is the second year where production was sub-average with 2021 impacted by the winter storm. But Keck foresees more rain for beekeepers to bounce back as we move into the 2022 winter season.

Keck adds, “And that’s really good news at this time of year, especially because it gives those bees that extra bit of food and nutrition to store and harvest to make it through the winter. And the more bees that make it through the winter and out in the spring means there’s more workers and foragers able to go gather nectar.”

A few other factors to the low production include more housing developments that lessened the environment for bees to forage.

KLTV 7's Kristine Guevara spoke with a local beekeeper, Jim Biles, about how this year's dry conditions negatively affected his honey production.