Breaking News
More () »

'Honeycombs will collapse and start melting': Record heat in Arizona is threatening bees

A local beekeeper said bees are working harder to keep themselves and their hives alive in the summer.

PHOENIX — Bees are just like people-- trying to stay cool in Arizona's record-breaking heatwave.

While most Arizona bees are acclimated to the hot weather, a local beekeeper said the high temperature is another threat to the already declining bee population.

"It's just too much for them to maintain the heat at this time since it's so consistent, so hot for so long," said beekeeper Jonathan Young.

Young, the owner of Stung and Sticky Beekeeper, told 12News he's seen the impact of hot summer days on hives across the Valley.

"The honeycombs will collapse and start melting," Young said. "Some hives we've seen have died."

He said bees know how to cool themselves and their hives through an evaporation system. They collect water, put it on their wings and flap really fast.

"They like it to be anywhere from about 89 to I believe 97 degrees," Young said.

RELATED: Arizona's record heat is even killing saguaros

Experts said sometimes their evaporation system isn't enough when the temperature outside rises above 115 degrees.

"Your colonies can shrink rapidly," Pinal County Assistant Horticulture Agent Anne LeSenne said.

LeSenne said the shrinking colonies impact humans and the food they eat.

“When we have heat like this, there’s not going to be as much pollination happening, and so, that means less crops, less quality of crops," LeSenne said. "So, all of the fruits and vegetables that depend on pollination, especially at this time of year, they’re not going to get pollinated.”

Young said he's seen about two dozen melted hives in people's roofs and attics this summer. He said it can cause damage to the house.

“Honey leaking down your wall is going to cause mold," Young said. "You’re going to get ants, and roaches, and rats. It’s a food source, so it’s going to attract a lot of pests to that specific area. It can also cause damage to your drywall if it’s soaked with honey."

Beekeepers said it's common to see bees foraging for water in their yards. They recommend letting the bees do their thing unless the people are allergic.

If someone thinks they might have a hive in their home, they recommend calling a beekeeper to have it safely removed.

Up to Speed 

Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.

Before You Leave, Check This Out