Statewide Drought Worsens

U.S. Drought Monitor

Some of the Texas panhandle drought conditions worsened in the past week, according to maps from the U.S. Drought Monitor.

More than two percent of Texas worsened to exceptional drought from last week. The U.S. Drought Monitor maps released today show more of the panhandle in the most serious drought category. Last week, just over 10 percent of the state was considered to be in exceptional drought- now it’s pushing 13 percent.

The second most severe level of drought also saw an increase in the percentage of Texas afflicted. This increase, too, was seen predominately in and around the panhandle.

And recent weather may have brought an uninvited guest: bees.

Recent weather is causing honeybees to swarm, or fly in large groups, around the state. Bees tend to do this when searching for areas with enough plant growth for a colony to survive. AgriLife extension entomologists say this migration may have to do with the fluctuating temperatures across Texas, but predict it is more influenced by drought conditions.

The migration also seems to be taking a toll on honey production. Molly Keck, AgriLife Extension integrated pest management specialist near San Antonio says area honey isn’t as plentiful as in past seasons.

“They really haven’t gotten into honey flow yet,” Keck said in the weekly AgriLife Crop and Weather Report. “We’ll see what happens after these periods of rain; things may change, and swarms may start up.”

Olivia Gordon is a reporting intern with StateImpact Texas.

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