Illinois' Agriculture Director says there's been a 38 percent increase in the number of registered Illinois beekeepers.
Bob Flider says despite significant budget challenges the department filled a vacant position and now employs eight apiary inspectors.
According to a news release, due to pests and diseases, the number of wild honeybees has significantly decreased, greatly increasing the need for domestic apiaries. Many specialty crop growers now hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops.
The state's beekeepers currently manage more than 24,000 colonies.
Honeybee Facts: (Illinois Dept. of Ag)
- A honeybee must visit about 2 million flowers to make a pound of honey.
- Bees are required to make a total flight path equivalent to 3 orbits around the earth to make 1 pound of honey.
- The average worker bee lives for only 6 weeks during the summer and makes 1/2 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
- During the summer, one normal colony of bees contains 1 queen, 300 drones (male bees), and 50,000 workers (female bees).
- Bees use honey for flight fuel. They obtain approximately 7 million miles per gallon of honey.
- A bee flies at 15 m.p.h
- Bees have 5 eyes and 4 wings.
- The value of honeybee pollination to U.S. agriculture is approximately $14.6 billion.