The health of North Dakota’s honeybees is important not just in the Northern Plains, but all over the nation. North Dakota is the nation’s leading honey supplier and the state has more honeybees than any other. North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring said those facts mean his department pays close attention the health of honeybees.
“I would say overall bee health is pretty good,” he said. “The last three or four years, we’ve been working with the beekeepers and we’ve been working with the National Agricultural Genotyping Center to identify other causes of bee death.”
That genotyping center is located in Fargo. Goehring said working with the center is proving beneficial.
“I was quite impressed and excited about the fact that they identified four or five other viruses that potentially could be causing colony collapse disorder or at least a lot of mortality in the bee population,” he said.
“We’re hopeful that we can put a lot of this to rest, because if we can identify a cause then we no longer have to continue to speculate or have certain elements in our society that continue to speculate and say that agriculture is the problem,” Goehring explained. “When in the reality, agriculture is probably the answer with respect to bee health.”
The center is continuing its research into the causes of bee health decline.
He says the state will continue to promote its pollinator plan and maintaining best practices for bee health.
“We will continue to do health inspections on bees, continue to take samples, and work with the bee keepers to ensure that they can safely move their product, the bees, wherever they need to go,” he said.