Too hot for honey: Drought conditions affecting bee population

(Wright, Wyo.) Just north of Wright, Dennis Lawrence checks on his hives. He had hives in 6 locations around Northeast Wyoming, trying to get a commercial honey business thriving. He recently had to bring 15 hives to one location near Wright from Weston and Crook Counties because of the weather. Drought has killed 50% of Lawrence's bees. There just weren't enough blooms to go around. [image: 20160721_110145.jpg] "They got less moisture. They didn't even get their haying equipment out," Lawrence explained. "You can't even see any grass over there, it's terrible." Because of the creek near the Durham Buffalo Ranch, they got enough moisture this year to get 200 tons of hay, and so the bees in Southern Campbell County have fared better. They're still alive, but they're not producing much honey. Now Dennis is hoping he can salvage the bees he has left. If not, he'll have to start over next June. He's already had to cancel orders that have been put in from Devils Tower Trading Post and other stores in Crook County, because there won't be enough honey produced this year to fill them. [image: 20160721_110327.jpg] *Just enough for themselves: bees aren't making much surplus this year* Gary Dawson of My Son Eat Honey lost thousands of bees in ten hives during the Kara Creek Fire near Moorcroft last month, and he says Lawrence isn't the only beekeeper suffering from the heat. "They are surviving well, but there just aren't enough flowers for them to make much surplus," he says of the bees of his that have survived the wildfires. "I caught 2 hives trying to swarm and they barely had enough honey for themselves. So they are healthy, but not much extra for the beekeeper this year." Despite Gillette becoming a certified "Bee City " -- meaning Campbell County and the City do as much as possible to promote pollinator health in the region -- you can't always compete with mother nature. Unfortunately, the National Weather Service is predicting more dry, hot, windy conditions this weekend, with a Fire Watch starting on Friday. #county17 #news