Bees aplenty good news

Finally, some good news in the agricultural sector. It’s about time considering all the ominous reports this year of disease in the state’s small grains crop and the ongoing railcar shortage.

According to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the number of bee colonies in the state has hit an all-time high.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said this week that more than a half-million bee colonies have been registered in North Dakota this year.

“Not only are the number of colonies and beekeepers up, so is compliance,” Goehring said. “In the meantime, we are getting fewer landowner complaints about bee colonies.”

Goehring said 221 beekeepers have registered 510,000 colonies in 2014, compared to 205 beekeepers and 482,500 colonies in 2013. More than 12,200 hive locations have been registered, compared to 11,000 last year.

Goehring credited the North Dakota Department of Agriculture apiary staff with taking action to improve compliance.

Still, disease and other threats to bee populations continue to be a concern across the nation, and Goehring’s department is already working on those issues.

North Dakota has led the nation in honey production for the past decade. In 2013, the state produced more than 33 million pounds of honey, 22 percent of the national total.