Bees Keep Watermelon Prices Down

Local News

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the Lower Rio Grande Valley has the second highest  watermelon shipments and crossings in the United States.

Typically, you can buy watermelon at local markets for around $5, some believe that may not be possible in the years to come.

KVEO spoke to a local beekeeper to find out why.

“Bees are the only insect known to man that have been domesticated, you’re able to use [bees] to pollinate a certain type of crop,” said Luis Slayton, owner of Bee Strong Honey And Bee Removal.

Slayton removes bees and relocates them for a greater purpose.

“The flower is blooming and needs to be pollinated,” Slayton told News Center 23 at a local watermelon field. “Pollen needs to be transferred from flower to flower, the bee does this process rather than a human.”

There are at least 16 million bees on the 500 acre watermelon field in Santa Rosa.

“You can see an average of 40 to 60 percent increase on yield, by placing beehives in commercial agriculture,” he said.

On  the Texas Watermelon Association website, shows the fruit is the most consumed melon in the United States.

 “If there’s only a few watermelons everybody’s going to want [them],” he said. “The price is going to go up to the highest bidder.”

“Since you’re able to produce a whole bunch of [watermelon] the price drops or stays the same,” Slatyon said.

Bees help farmers meet the supply and demand of watermelons. Without them, pollination of the fruit would be difficult. The offset could make the price of watermelon go up. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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