Beekeepers Witness Decline in Honey Bee Harvest - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Beekeepers Witness Decline in Honey Bee Harvest

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Contrary to the saying busy as a bee, North Dakota beekeepers are having a below average honey harvest. Gregg Stewart has been a beekeeper for twenty years in Bismarck. He says this year could be his worst one yet.

"Well not real good," says Stewart.  "It's going to be a below average crop. I'm still in the process, of course. So, you don't know for sure yet, but it's not going to be a real great year."

Since 2006, scientists have studied the decrease in honey bee populations across the country. Stewart believes that certain factors have affected his crop this year specifically.

"It's getting harder every year to get a good honey crop. Agriculture is changing in North Dakota and elsewhere. There's a lot more corn and soybeans grown seems like there's less forage for bees to produce a honey crop."

Honeybees rely on nectar producing plants, which have been replaced by corn and soybeans in most of the state. Stewart also says that the weather in North Dakota has had a negative impact over the last two months.

"Moisture is needed so the plants produce nectar to get a honey crop and we had that cool stretch in July and August. It was probably too cool for them and it did get dry here in August. So, it's almost too late for this year. It's been a weird year, when it was supposed to be cold it was hot when it's supposed to be real cool and now it's hot."

Stewart says he will finish harvesting in the coming weeks.  After harvesting his honey, he will send his bees to California to get away from the cold, and they will help pollinate almond and orange crops.

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