When you think about the necessity of water in agriculture, fruit trees, row crops, and cattle probably come to mind, but you might not think about bees. As if honeybees and beekeepers didn’t have it hard enough these days, they face another challenge: drought.
“Normally at this time of year, I have honey coming out of my ears,” says Spencer Marshall of Marshall’s Farm Natural Honey, who has about 80 apiaries in the Bay Area and beyond. In recent years, the Marshalls have been noticing a steady decline in their honey production as local nectar sources dry up. Honey is made from flower nectar, processed in the “honey stomach” of a bee and evaporated in the hive until the sugar concentration reaches about 80%. So when nectar is scarce, so is honey.