ADAM RUSSELL Texas A&M AgrifLife
Texas honey production declined slightly, along with the number of bee colonies, in 2021, according to an expert from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.
Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension entomologist and Beekeeping 101 instructor in Bexar County, said winter storm Uri in February and drought conditions in early spring negatively impacted honey production.
Keck said the combination of stressful conditions occurred at a critical time for overwintering bee colonies.
“The winter storm delayed the blooming of the wildflowers and that definitely impacted honey production,” Keck said. “It probably caused bee losses, especially in South Texas, where bees are not acclimated to this kind of freezing cold. But the lack of rain during the winter until the end of April exacerbated the lack of forage availability for bees as the hives became more active.
Texas, national honey production
The United States Department of Agriculture’s annual honey report in March showed that there were 157,000 honey-producing bee colonies statewide in 2020. Texas honey contributed 8, 9 million pounds worth $ 17 million to the overall US output of 147.5 million pounds worth over $ 299. million.
Keck said reduced production could mean higher prices for retail honey, but local conditions and the success or failure of production could play into what consumers ultimately pay for locally produced honey.