(The Center Square) – Just in time for the June 20 start National Pollinator WeekWashington finished in Lawn Love’s top 10 rankings of the best states for beekeeping.
The online platform to find, book and pay for a landscaping or lawn care provider ranked the Evergreen State 8th in bee friendliness.
Lawn Love’s rankings are based on several metrics, including total honey production, number of active bee colonies, beekeeper salaries, and honey suppliers. Colony losses and whether a state protects bees from harmful synthetic insecticides were also considered.
Ten states plus the District of Columbia were excluded from the study due to a lack of data available from the US Department of Agriculture.
“We’re not surprised Washington State ranked 8th overall in this year’s ‘Best States for Beekeeping’ study,” said Jason Medina, a data analyst who worked on the study, in an email to The Center Square. “It has had the lowest total annual colony loss among states between 2020 and 2021, boasts the 2nd highest average beekeeper salary in the nation, the 5th highest number of beekeeping employers and only two other states offer more training opportunities for beekeepers.
Another factor in the state’s high ranking is Washington’s prodigious honey production.
“But Washington is also important to the national and global beekeeping industries for a number of reasons,” he said. “First, it is the 10th largest honey producer in the country.”
Medina went on to note that the people of Washington understand the importance of bees, which play a vital role in pollinating fruits, vegetables, flowers and agricultural crops.
“Bees are also important for pollinating alfalfa, apricots, plums, peaches, canola, sunflowers and other flowers, vegetable seeds and cranberries in Washington,” according to Washivore.org, a website showcasing agriculture in the state. “Because Washington agriculture supports so many statewide jobs, the importance of bees to our state cannot be overstated.”
It is a message that the people of Washington take seriously.
“Washingtonians are also deeply passionate about preserving the natural world, including the bee population,” Medina observed. “Washington State University’s Bee Program, for example, is the only research program in the United States using cryopreservation to ensure the survival of Caucasian honey bees.”
WSU Bee Program includes the Honey Bee Pollinator Research, Extension and Education Facility – a former Monsanto corn breeding facility in Othello in eastern Washington – which opened in March 2020 just before the closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Caucasian white bee, Apis mellifera Caucasusis a subspecies of the western bee known for its gentleness and productivity.
“And just a few years ago, the state took steps to protect its population of beekeepers from civil liability,” Medina pointed out. “So it’s clear that Washington is committed to not only ensuring the survival of bees, but also the survival of its beekeeping industry.”
In May 2019, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1133 after it passed 96-0 in the House and 47-1 in the Senate. The law provides liability protection to beekeepers who register with the state Department of Agriculture as beekeepers and comply with all city, town, or county ordinances regarding beekeeping. .
Although Medina praised the state of beekeeping in Washington, he offered a scathing rebuke.
“Despite all the buzz the state has caused in public policy and research, however, it is failing to take other protective measures like banning neonics, a type of pesticide that is deadly to bees,” he said of the widely used neurotoxic insecticides that have been involved in the decline of bees. “We hope to see this change in the future, which will likely bolster Washington’s already impressive rankings in future editions of our study.”
Top 10 states for beekeeping:
2. New York
3. North Dakota
10. North Carolina
The 10 worst states for beekeeping: