Virginia scores success in beekeeping survey

National Pollinator Week began June 20, and a new ranking places Virginia among the best for beekeepers.

Lawn Love used a variety of metrics to rank states based on data points ranging from honey production and the number of active bee colonies to the number of beekeeper associations, and gave Virginia the 10th place on the 40 states for which there was enough data to do. an evaluation.

(The full survey and methodology is available at

California, home to 1,600 native bee species, was first on the list; among its bee-friendly attributes is the legal classification of bees as “fish” (yes, really) so it can extend protections for endangered species.

California was followed in the rankings by New York and then North Dakota, which in 2021 produced the most honey of any state.

Florida, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, Washington, Virginia and North Carolina round out the top 10.

(Virginia’s place in the rankings was bolstered by its second-highest position among states in earning potential for beekeepers.)

Utah may be known as Beehive State, but in this ranking, it ranked 39th out of 40.

Fears about the decline of bees due to a number of factors have spread, as they play a vital role in the overall ecological health of the planet.

“We’ve seen a tremendous loss of native bee diversity over the past few decades,” said Dr. Margaret Couvillon, assistant professor of pollinator biology and ecology in Virginia Tech’s department of entomology. “The disappearance or extinction of a species that lived in a particular area is an indicator of additional future consequences.”

Regarding the business (and hobby) of beekeeping, Couvillon notes that there has been a 60% decrease in the number of hives managed since its peak in the United States just after the World War II to the present day.

“I don’t think they will go away, but it has become more difficult and much less profitable to keep bees,” she said. “This decrease is occurring even as our reliance on their pollination services increases.”