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ND sees highest number of bee colonies ever

By Blake Nicholson

BISMARCK, N.D. — The number of bee colonies in the nation’s leading honey-producing state is on the rise, as is landowner acceptance of the boxlike colonies.

State and industry officials in North Dakota credit more beekeepers, a more concerted attempt to register colonies and a unique effort to help beekeepers and landowners live in harmony.

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said 221 beekeepers have registered 510,000 colonies this year, compared to 205 beekeepers registering 482,500 colonies last year. More than 12,200 hive locations have been registered, compared to 11,000 last year.

Goehring said there has been a spike in registration compliance because of education and outreach done by his department’s apiary staff.

There also are more colonies because drought elsewhere has steered more beekeepers to North Dakota, said Will Nissen.