REGINA – Saskatchewan honey producers are seeing lower yields this year due to hot, dry weather.
Andrew Hamilton’s Bee keeps just north of Regina and said its honey production typically runs from July to the end of August, but at the moment it looks like there will be no more honey from it. ‘by the end of the month.
âThere is just no rain, so there are no flowers and the bees are starting to starve,â Hamilton said. âNormally we feed [the bees] sugar water in the fall just so they can get through the winter, have enough food for the winter, and I don’t normally get a load of that until September and it happens [Wednesday]. “
He has a few beehives in the farmers’ fields in the area and one on his own property that he weighs every day. He sees the production of bees decrease.
âIn the last three days, they only brought in [one] grind [of honey] and normally it’s about five pounds a day, âHamilton said.
The hot summer weather also severely affected crops in Saskatchewan. Geoff Wilson, provincial beekeeping specialist, said poor harvest conditions can have a ripple effect on bees.
âWhen the crops suffer, the things that depend on the crops also suffer. So if canola isn’t healthy, the things that eat the nectar of plants, they don’t get as much nutrition, âsaid Geoff Wilson, provincial beekeeper specialist.
As agricultural producers begin to seek drier weather early in the harvest, Hamilton said honey growers are hoping for regular rains.
“If it rains, maybe there will be flowers coming back,” he said.
Hamilton added that the lower yields could lead to higher prices on the shelves for consumers, due to a lack of supply.
If conditions remain dry, consumers could notice a difference in the color of honey on store shelves.
Wilson said that in Saskatchewan growers typically shoot honey that is light golden in color, but dry crops and flowers can change that color.
âWhen it’s so dry, sometimes the nectar is really dry, so the plants don’t produce as much, but it’s actually thicker,â Wilson said.
Hamilton said at this time that he was pulling darker colored honey with a stronger taste. He said it might shock consumers, but honey is still perfectly safe to eat.