How the Drought Affects Bees

Farming and Ranching aren't the only industries impacted from this year's drought. Gregg Stewart, a Bismarck beekeeper, needs water to keep up his hives.

"If it's extremely dry, the plants just won't produce much nectar and of course, if it's really, really dry then the plants will just burn up and not produce anything," said Stewart.

Without that nectar, bees can't produce honey. But Stewart has been lucky, the crops around his hives have had some plants to feed off of. 

He added, "The bees have done fairly well, probably better than I would have thought. Earlier in the summer, back in June, I was on the verge of panic because it didn't look good."

Stewart has been a beekeeper since the early 90s and can't think of a time since when it's been this dry. But late rain showers in July saved the day for the hundreds of hives he takes care of.

Stewart said, "I think there has been just enough rainfall this year for them to produce some nectar to make some honey. I'm not exactly sure how the season is going to turn out yet, like I said, I haven't taken any honey off yet. But it's not going to be a really great crop, but it's not going to be a disaster either."

Recently, bee populations have been declining which has caused major concern across the United States.Thankfully, the drought may not worsen the problem much more. 

"I don't think the drought is going to have too big of an impact on that. It may affect the health of the bees somewhat, and you may not see that until later this fall or in the winter," said Stewart.

And Stewart says beekeepers around the Bismarck-Mandan area have experienced about the same. However, the further west, it may not be the same story.


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