Battered last year by drought, bees primed to produce more honey this year
Sunset Valley - — The bees were hungry.
Months of sweltering heat with little rain blanched the landscape. Flowers withered, if they bloomed at all. The drought, a death rattle to so many farmers and ranchers in Texas, also deprived bees food to forage from, and honey production dropped.
Lacking a well-balanced diet rich with protein and nutrients, Texas bees grew weak last year and were increasingly susceptible to sickness. Mark Gretchen, who has kept bees since the early 1980s, fed his 130 hives scattered around South Central Texas sugar water and a pollen supplement since July to boost the meager food supply.
About 30 percent of his colonies died anyway.
"It was probably the most difficult year we've ever had," said Gretchen, the owner of Gretchen Bee Ranch in Seguin.
Information from Austin American-Statesman