State spending for bee health research

MINOT, N.D. - Bee populations worldwide have been on the decline in recent years.

That's not good news for North Dakota, which ranks number 1 in the U.S. in honey production.

The Department of Agriculture is stepping in to fund research on issues relating to bee health.

North Dakota is buzzing with folks in the honey industry, bringing in nearly $70 million annually to the Peace Garden State.

But not all is well in the hive these days.

“The bee population has been going down because of their health issues. A lot of them have to relate to Verroa mites,” said Keenan Lopez, bee keeper.

This is just one of the bee-related issues the North Dakota Department of Agriculture is looking to solve with $130,000 of grant money.

Lopez says another major problem has nothing to do with bee health, but people stealing colonies.

“There have been people calling up as well as trying to look on the web for your bee hive locations and trying to get into the bee industry without paying for it,” he said.

Lopez travels throughout the state tending to his hives, and says he's happy the state is taking action on these problems.

“It’s important as we're number one that we stay number one, and that we have the research and technology in front of us, and doing our due diligence to make sure that we don't get wiped out,” he said.

Trying to stay at the top of this sweet business.

Complete information on applying for funds is available on the NDDA website at www.nd.gov/ndda. Grant applications must be received by May 31, 2019.

You can seek out more information by contacting Samantha Brunner at 701-328-4765 or sbrunner@nd.gov.