Early estimates suggest last year’s honey production was down more than 30 percent.
The dismal numbers are partially due to problems that have been plaguing honeybees for several years. The insects are dying at alarming rates, and scientists say some combination of pesticide use, viruses and parasites could be to blame.
This is a problem nationwide, but in Kentucky and Indiana weather contributed to both the honeybee die-off and dismal honey production.
Rob Green is the director of the Indiana Beekeeping School. He says for years, as beekeeping declined, the country relied on feral bees to pollinate crops. But:
“The feral population crashed rather alarmingly over the last decade,” he said. “So the number of wild hives that are out there is greatly reduced.”
And he says encouraging people to take up beekeeping as a hobby is one partial solution to the problem.
“I think realistically, beekeepers keeping bees in a beehive at least allow us to analyze the problem we have, to take the measurements, to do the analysis on the bees, down to the genetic level, if necessary.”
The Indiana Beekeeping School is holding a two-day workshop for aspiring beekeepers later this month in Madison. Click here for more details.