Idaho honey production down 2%

POSTED: 06:50 PM MDT Mar 22, 2013    UPDATED: 06:51 PM MDT Mar 22, 2013 

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, honey production is down 2 percent in Idaho and 1 percent across the country. But, the survey also shows an increase of 9,000 honey bee colonies in Idaho.

Local beekeeper Wayne Jones said the cool, wet weather last spring killed a lot of blossoms, which means fewer flowers and less pollen. He also says colony collapse disorder could be another reason for the decline in honey.

In California, honey bee population is dropping significantly because of colony collapse disorder. The disorder first started showing up in early 2006 and could be tied to mites or toxins used to spray crops. Essentially, adult bees are disappearing from their hives.
But, why are there more colonies?

"It could be that more people are becoming aware that they need to register their hives with the state, so the state knows that they have them," said Jones.

Honey bees are responsible for 80 percent of insect-plant pollination. Without their help, trees cannot produce fruit.

"The pollination, the food we eat, of course we get honey, we get wax, beeswax is one of the highest qualities of wax you could get -- so it's very valuable for that also," said Jones.

Overall, honey profits are taking a hit in the Gem State. The average honey price per pound is down 17 cents from last year.

Beekeeping is a year-round business.North Dakota is the largest honey-producing state, distributing about 34 million pounds of honey last year. South Dakota was a distant-second, producing 17 million pounds.