Local bee keeper sees smaller honey crop due to cooler summer - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Local bee keeper sees smaller honey crop due to cooler summer

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A month-long string of cooler temperatures in the Dakotas this summer has honey producers anticipating a drop in the states' honey crops. 

North Dakota and South Dakota are the nation's top two honey producing states, with North Dakota churning out 34 million pounds in 2012 and South Dakota producing 17 million pounds.

Experts say those numbers will likely be down for 2013. 

Weston Parsons, 19, has been a bee keeper in Tea, SD for the past five years.  Right now he is just beginning to harvest his 2013 crop at Parsons Honey Farm and says he can already tell there is less honey than a normal year. He usually produces about ten thousand pounds of honey each year. 

Parsons says the cooler temperatures meant less flowers and production for the bees. This week's hot weather won't make up for the earlier cooler temps—in fact, the high temperatures will just make Parsons' job more difficult as he heads outside to harvest the honeycomb wearing his full protective bee suit.

South Dakota state apiarist Bob Reiners says the bulk of the state's honey crop was likely made by bees in the early part of the summer before temperatures cooled. 

Bonnie Woodworth of the North Dakota Beekeepers Association says conditions have been good in the western and northern parts of the state, but eastern North Dakota has suffered from a lack of forage and warmth. 

With honey production down in both North and South Dakota, it could mean a jump in honey prices.  We won't know the official numbers for the 2013 honey crop until spring.

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