California drought hurts honey harvest
In this Wednesday, July 16, 2014 photo, a bee works on a honeycomb the Gene Brandi Apiary in Los Banos, Calif. The state is traditionally one of the country's biggest honey producers, but a three-year drought has left hillsides barren and forced farmers to tear out orchards and leave fields fallow. (AP /Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Terrence Chea, The Associated Press
Published Thursday, August 21, 2014 7:34AM EDT
LOS BANOS, Calif. -- California's record drought hasn't been sweet to honeybees, and it's creating a sticky situation for beekeepers and honey buyers.
The state is one of the country's largest honey producers, with abundant crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar that bees turn into honey.
But the lack of rain has ravaged native plants and forced farmers to tear out orchards and plant fewer crops, leaving fewer places for honeybees to forage.
The historic drought is reducing supplies of California honey, raising prices for consumers and making it harder for beekeepers to earn a living.
The drought is the latest blow to honeybees that have been decimated by pesticides, parasites and disease.
The record low rainfall is worsening a worldwide shortage of honey that has pushed prices to all-time highs.