"Things are definitely looking up in the beekeeping community,"
Flider remarked in a welcome address to the group. "Almost 700
beekeepers registered with the department for the first time
this past year. As a result, the number of active, registered
beekeepers in the state now totals more than 2,500."
Flider affirmed his agency's commitment to help manage and
protect honeybee colonies. He said that despite significant
budget challenges, the department has filled a vacant position
and now employs a full complement of eight apiary inspectors.
"Since joining the department, I've become aware of the
importance of Illinois' apiary industry and the contributions of
honeybees to our environment and economy," Flider said.
"Honeybees are critical to the pollination of Illinois'
nation-leading pumpkin crop, as well as many other fruits and
vegetables on your table. In fact, they pollinate about a third
of all food-producing plants."
Due to pests and diseases, the number of wild honeybees has
significantly decreased, greatly increasing the need for
domestic apiaries. Many specialty crop growers, for instance,
now hire beekeepers to pollinate their crops.
"Experts have warned that the continued high annual loss of
wild honeybees puts tremendous pressure on the sustainability of
honeybee populations," Flider added. "The cause of these losses
hasn't been determined, which is why meetings like this, where
information is shared, are so critically important. I'm hopeful
the dialogue will help find answers."
The state's beekeepers currently manage more than 24,000
colonies. The department's apiary inspectors assist them by
periodically checking their honeybees for pests and diseases.
[to top of second column]
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 three orbits around
the earth to make 1 pound of honey.
The average worker
bee lives for only six weeks during the summer and makes 1/2
teaspoon of honey in her lifetime.
During the summer,
one normal colony of bees contains one 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
Bees have five
eyes and four wings.
The value of honeybee pollination to
U.S. agriculture is approximately $14.6 billion.
Illinois Department of
file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]