bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Number munching

Statistics lovers will drool over the latest US honey production figures [small pdf file] from the USDA (the United States Department of Agriculture). The figures seem to include only producers with more than five productive colonies.

In 2003, USDA says there were:
  • 2.59 million colonies of bees (up 1% on 2002)

  • producing 181 million pounds of honey (up 5% on 2002)

  • with an average colony yield of almost 70lbs (up 5% on 2002)
  • selling at an average (mainly wholesale) price of $1.40 per pound (up 7.7% on 2002).
The biggest beekeeping state is California (480,000 colonies), followed by North Dakota (340,000), and Florida (210,000). I have no idea what the nectar sources are in North Dakota — but I'm going to find out ...

UPDATE: I'm still not quite sure but it seems that North Dakota and South Dakota are staging posts in the annual pollination runs of beefarmers [pdf - page 6]. They arrive from fruit pollination in Oregon and Washington and forage clover, sunflowers and basswood trees in the Dakotas. There is also a substantial amount of oil seed rape (canola) in North Dakota and it's difficult to imagine that they are ignoring that!


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