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Dakota Midday: Bee Survey Shows Losses Continue

Amanda Bachmann

According to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, there are about 216 South Dakotans keeping bees. Around 93 of these producers maintain their bees on a commercial scale. The state usually ranks in the top five states for number of hives. South Dakota also ranks second in the nation for honey production.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about $15 billion worth of crops are pollinated by honey bees, including more than 130 fruits and vegetables. But managed honey bee numbers have been declining over the past 50 years. Since 2006, about 30 percent of honey bee hives in the United States have been lost each winter to diseases, parasites, poor nutrition, pesticide exposure and other issues.

According to preliminary results of the Bee Informed National Management Survey reported by the USDA, there was a 42 percent total honey bee hive loss from April 2014 to April 2015. In South Dakota the loss was 36 percent. Joining us now for more about honey bee loss and health in the state is Amanda Bachmann, SDSU Extension Pesticide Education and Urban Entomology Field Specialist.

To read the Bee Informed National Management Survey, click here.

To read Amanda Bachmann's iGrow articles on plants and flowers that attract bees, click here.

Karl was born to northeastern South Dakota crouton farmers, but was orphaned as a toddler during the Great Salad War (1966-67). Rescued by a flock of chickadees, he grew up in the woodlands of Sica Hollow. Legends of a bird boy living in the trees attracted the interest of renowned ornithologist and amateur bandoneon repairman Dr. Vogel Gehrke. With a handful of suet, Dr. Gehrke coaxed the timid boy down from the trees. He adopted him, named him Karl and taught him not to molt on the carpet. Dr. Gehrke’s book, The Bird Boy of Sica Hollow, was a best seller and Karl became a minor celebrity and teen idol. He appeared as a guest star on numerous television programs, most notably an awkward role on The Love Boat as the boyfriend of Captain Stubing’s daughter, Vicki. After critics panned his 1980 album, Bird Boy Does Disco, Karl retreated from public life and returned to Sica Hollow. Living in an isolated tree house, Karl achieved a reputation as a mystic. Pilgrims and seekers from around the world came to ask him about the meaning of life and for vinaigrette recipes. Growing tired of answering questions, he climbed down from his tree, shaved his massive white beard and took a job as the host of SDPB Radio’s Dakota Midday where he could ask the questions instead. After three years in that position, he ran out of questions and became host of Jazz Nightly instead. Karl makes his home in Vermillion with his charming wife Kari and three delightful children, Kodey, Kasey and Spatula. His hobbies include reciting the alphabet, combing his hair and doing volunteer work with delinquent songbirds.
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