As the weather turns colder at the end of the growing season, most commercial honey beehives are moved out of the Northern Plains to warmer states. Only five percent of the hives overwinter in our region. Sixty-three percent of the colonies that are moved into California come from the Northern Plains. A report from USDA’s Economic Research Service found the pollinator transportation business has a significant economic impact. “From an economic perspective, that was valued between $250 (million) and $320 million annually,” said Jennifer Bond, who was one of the researchers on this project. “For comparison sake, they make about the same from the production of honey so the pollination services are an important part of the economic balance for beekeepers.” North Dakota is the number one honey bee state in the country due to crops like canola and a high concentration of Conservation Reserve Program land. California almond farms account for 80 percent of payments for pollinator transportation services.
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