Hot weather jeopardizes local Kentucky honey production


LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – Recent heat waves have impacted just about everything from livestock to agriculture.

Even the city of Lexington recently implemented a heating plan due to the impact of the weather on people.

But the heat found another victim.

The Kentucky State Fair kicks off in August and is an opportunity for farmers from across the state to show off their best produce.

But this year, shoppers may struggle to get their favorite local honey.

Tommy Steele of Cherrey Steele Farm has been beekeeping since he was young. He got into the industry after an uncle on the family farm introduced him to the trade. Steele said the complexity of the insect fascinates him.

Steele explained, “You get a new beekeeper, you get that first hive. They’ll take a chair up there and set down and watch these things. Take yourself a cocktail up there in the evening and it’s mesmerizing.

It’s an attraction for dozens of other beekeepers like Ruth Jeffers. Jeffers and Steele raise bees to produce honey, either to give to family and friends or to sell at local markets and at popular events.

Jeffers said, “A lot of beekeepers sell to people they know. but another way for people to sell locally is at the Kentucky State Fair.

This year, locally harvested honey may be in limited supply. Steele added, “You never know what the weather is going to be like. This year we had a dry June, which caused a lot of problems. This is our biggest nectar flow in June.

The high temperatures that bluegrass has experienced so far this summer prevent worker bees from going to work.

Jeffers explained: “It affects the bees in that the nectar available in the plants can dry up sooner. thus, there is less nectar to bring into the hive for the bees to turn into honey.

Less honey for the bees means less honey for the beekeeper and ultimately for you.

Even though there has been a decrease in honey production, beekeepers tell FOX56 News that doesn’t mean an increase in the price of your local honey.


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