Bee Harvest Not as Sweet

Bee Production Down Because of Drought

North Dakota is a sweet spot for honey production.
In fact, we are the top honey producing state in the Nation.
But, like everything else Ag in North Dakota, production is down.
And for bee keepers in Hebron, this years drought was all the buzz. 
(Paul Roeder/Honey Producer) "It's a family business"
Paul Roeder, has been in the bee business since forever.
It's all he's ever known, since this is what his father did too.
(Paul Roeder/Honey Producer) "My brother and I bought it from my dad."
They came here, from Nebraska in the 90's.
Paul says North Dakota is pretty sweet compared.
(Paul Roeder/Honey Producer) "Nebraska, there nothing but corn beans and grass, there's nothing for the bees."
In fact, he say's North Dakota is the last state in the nation still appealing for bee farmers because of the variety of flowers.
There's wild clover, alf-alfa, canola, sunflowers, you name it.
Paul admits, herbicides are a bee keepers worst nightmare, but this year, so was the drought.
(Paul Roeder/Honey Producer) "Everybody's down."
We caught Paul on his last day of honey harvest.
"Best honey, buckwheat honey"
He estimates honey production is down a-third, maybe even a half.
No rain, makes for a not-so-sweet harvest.
(Paul Roeder/Honey Producer) "All of the flowers were there but it was just so dry that even they didn't produce, ya know."
And he says alf-alfa weevil hurt one of the bees favorites.
(Paul Roeder/Honey Producer) "It gets in to the alf-alfa, and stunts the alf-alfa.
Like everything else ag in North Dakota, Paul says bee's are a gamble, he just hopes next year will be better.
"that's all you can do"


  We reached out to Keven Jenson, with the North Dakota Bee keepers association.  
  He says honey production was hit a miss across the state because the rain was sporatic.
  He also said that the rain later in the season sure helped the bees for winter pollination.


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