MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota and Wisconsin are some of the leading honey producing states in the nation — but the extreme drought is putting honey production at risk.
Eske Bennetsen, a beekeeper at River Road Honey Farm in Prescott, Wisconsin, says there are 3.6 million bees on his farm, which typically produces 85 pounds of honey per hive.
But this year, the business is only seeing 50 pounds of honey per hive. Bennetsen is blaming the dry conditions.
“There are a lot of wild flowers, they’re not blooming when it’s so dry. Simply, everything is dry and dead,” Bennetsen said.
The summer drought is causing plants to produce fewer flowers, and this means less nectar and pollen for bees. Other honey farms have reported a decline in bee population because there’s less food.
Bennetsen and his wife sell their honey products at farmers markets in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. There’s a concern they won’t have enough for next year. Fortunately, last year was a record year, so the couple is able to sell some of the honey from that crop.