Where has all the honey gone? (Long time passing.)

Where has all the honey gone? (Long time passing.) May 27, 2015

Roberto A. Ferdman:

Not long ago, chances were that any given honey jar sitting on a table or tucked away in a pantry here in the United States was locally produced. Now, after what has been a decidedly disastrous decade for the bee industry, that couldn’t be any less true. “We’ve lost a lot of bees here in the U.S.,” said Mark Jensen, a beekeeper from Montana who serves as the legislative chairman of the American Honey Producers Association. “And it’s really affecting honey production.”

Over the past 10 years, the United States has gone from producing more than half of all the honey it consumes to importing the vast majority, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today, Americans eat about 400 million pounds of honey each year, roughly 350 million pounds of which is produced outside the country.

“This is an important industry with a rich history, but it’s really been suffering,” Jensen said in an interview Thursday morning. Honeybees have been dying at unprecedented rates. Just this past winter, about 40 percent of the honeybees in the country met their maker, marking the second-largest disappearance ever recorded.

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