Bees benefiting from drought, for now

BUCHANAN, Mich. - Drought is for the bees.

Honey bees and their hives are one of the few things actually benefit from dry spells.

“They’re collecting pollen,” said Glen Reava, a 2nd-year beekeeper in Buchanan.

Reava has four hives and 100,000 bees in his backyard. Friday was a good day for his pets because it has been dry and bees love those conditions.

“This season is all inside out,” said 25-year, master beekeeper Phil Hempel.

Hempel said rain washes away nectar and pollen from wildflowers. Drought allows bees to collect all the available food and maximize a queen bee’s reproduction.

This summer has been a struggle for bees, Hempel explained. Bees usually snack on fruit blossoms but many froze in April and May. The bees are left with mostly wild flowers and need to take full advantage.

“Right now they’re ok,” said Hempel. “But if this continues for the next week we’ll have a big problem.

It’s a delicate balance with bees. While they may be having a hey-day now, if the flowers die from lack-of-rain, drought will hurt them as much as its helped them.

“It makes you appreciate honey, because you see what they go through,” said Reava. Being a beekeeper can be one heck of a headache.


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