Tulsa Beekeepers Say Honey Supply Is Low After Winter Freeze Devastates Bee Population

Tuesday, August 3rd 2021, 5:33 pm
By: Sawyer Buccy

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Beekeepers said they don’t have as much honey for sale after this winter’s freeze hit Oklahoma’s honeybee populations. They said they expect to sell out of honey quickly.  

One Tulsa family is working with the bees they have to make this season as sweet as possible. 

Beekeeping is a delicate dance.

"We use smoke to help calm the bees," said James Deming from Shadow Mountain Honey Company.

News On 6’s Sawyer Buccy suited up to get up close and personal with the bees and see how the process works from hive to honey jar.

"By being capped like that, that tells me it is ready for harvest," said Deming. 

Deming has been a beekeeper since 2013. He started it as a hobby, and it turned into a business.

"Right now, we are harvesting honey from wild bee swarms that might not have survived otherwise," said Deming. "We acquire almost all of our bees through rescuing because our beehives are in town, we are truly giving Tulsa honey. Not honey from the outskirts of Tulsa but honey from the heart of Tulsa."

Once a year, Deming and his family sit in their driveway, and sell a third of their honey in that single day. That honey sale is August 14th, but this year will be a little bit different than normal.

"This winter and spring have been the most brutal on our bees we have ever seen in the last eight years, and we are hearing that from other beekeepers as well,” Deming said. “We lost 80 hives this year to that freeze, we are back up to around 120 colonies.”  

Shadow Mountain Honey Company expects to sell out of the honey they do have. Customers can stop by the house and pick up the products they need from the porch, by leaving money or Venmo, or stop by the honey sale. 

"Not just honeybees, wild native bees and other pollinators are responsible for the pollination of about a third of our food," said Deming. "One bad year, you fight through it and do what you can. If we don't keep going and everybody else quits too, then nobody is taking care of the bees and then we are going to have a real problem."

For more information about Shadow Mountain Honey Company, click here for their website or click here for their Facebook page.