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Knoxville – A severe drought in the Deep South is hurting honey production, but Tennessee’s honey industry is in better shape.

A bee expert from the University of Tennessee said good weather has helped.

“There was a good nectar flow, which is what bees use to make honey,” Dr. James Parkman said, “and that results from good rainfall, so the honeybee hives we’ve seen have put away a lot of honey.”

Parkman said a third consecutive year of drought in Georgia has punished their honey production levels.

“In drought years, low rainfall totals can affect honey production,” Parkman said, “because plants can-t produce as much nectar, so more of the honey is consumed within the hive and less is available to harvest.”

Honey production in the Southeast is down by 25 percent from a few years ago. The drought is partially to blame, along with mites and beetles that can infest hives.