Will California's Drought Cause a Honey Shortage?

California's punishing drought, which has been claiming victims both above ground and below, has set its sights on a new kind of prey: Our honeybees.

Until the last decade, California was the nation's top honey producer. But, with the crops that the bees usually feast on either not flowering or plowed under, bee colonies — which have already been hit hard by colony collapses — simply aren't getting enough to eat in drought conditions.

In the meantime, some beekeepers have landed on the temporary fix of putting the bees on a diet of simple syrup — which the bees will eat, but will not produce honey on. The AP explains:

Besides selling honey, beekeepers earn their living from pollinating crops such as almonds, cotton, alfalfa and melons. But farmers are renting fewer hives because the lack of irrigation water has forced them to tear out orchards and leave fields unplanted. Like many beekeepers, Brandi is feeding his bees a lot more sugar syrup than usual to compensate for the lack of nectar. The supplemental feed keeps the bees alive, but it is expensive and doesn't produce honey.

"Not only are you feeding as an expense, but you aren't gaining any income." said Brandi's son Mike, who is also a beekeeper. "If this would persist, you'd see higher food costs, higher pollination fees and unfortunately higher prices for the commodity of honey."

You can read the whole story on what's coming for California's honeybees right here.

Image: dni777