Drought affects Northstate honey production

PALO CEDRO, Calif. - California is known as one of the country's largest honey producers.  California's abundant crops provide nectar for bees to turn into honey. But because of the drought there is little to no honey left.

Farmers across the state are either losing their bees or spending large amounts of money to maintain them.

Wooten's Golden Queens in Palo Cedro said they have been struggling for the past three years because of the lack of water.

Glenda Wooten is one of the owners, she said there has been no honey production this year.

"Frames that are in the super should be full of wax and honey and so right now it's just very bare," Wooten said.

She said in the 33 years that she's been at this location she has never experienced a drier season.

"We like to see the hives go to winter with 60 pounds of stored house honey in them and I don't know if we'll have 20 in them," she said.

Crates that are usually filled with honey sit unused in storage. Wooden said what made it more difficult this year was losing their agricultural water.

"What do you do when, you know, your livestock, which bees are kinda our livestock, aren't gonna have anything to eat? You're gonna figure different ways to feed them and nourish them," Wooten said.

The drought also affected their cows which limited their water usage.

"We are sure hoping it's gonna be a wet year because this ground is really hurting for moisture," Wooden said. " Between the cows and the bees and the water it's been kinda tough, but you gotta work through it. Farming isn't always guaranteed income, farming is usually mother nature controls everything."

Even though it's been a rough season for California bees, Palo Cedro's Honey Bee Festival will still go on even though some of that honey will have to come from out of state.

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