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N.D. Honey Season Looks Sweet

Only a few report of colony collapse disorder surface.

The mysterious malady that has caused the disappearance of millions of honeybees in the U.S. this year seems to have largely bypassed North Dakota.

"It looks like North Dakota beekeepers are on their way to another good year," says Roger Johnson, North Dakota agriculture commissioner. "Our field inspectors are impressed by what they have seen this season, and we have had only a few, unconfirmed reports of the colony collapse disorder that has caused so much trouble elsewhere in the country."

The North Dakota Department of Agriculture is participating in a nationwide survey to find evidence of the possible causes of CCD. Judy Carlson, who directs NDDA's apiary inspection program, recently took survey samples from colonies in Burleigh and Emmons counties.

The samples will be tested for the Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), thought by some scientists to be the cause of CCD, as well as for evidence of varroa mites, nosema (a fungal disease) and pesticides. The mites can harbor the virus.

The nationwide survey is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Apiary Inspectors of America and Penn State University.

Reports of the state's three bee inspectors show the state has a very low incidence of bacterial diseases such as American foulbrood and European foulbrood, but that there is a wide incidence of chalkbrood, a fungal disease of bee larvae.

"Beekeepers have been doing an excellent job of treating their hives for both AFB and EFB," Johnson says. "The relatively few cases we are finding seem to be related to a growing resistance to these treatments."

North Dakota apiaries have a high incidence of varroa mites and many beekeepers have reported the small hive beetle.

"Despite the disease and parasite problems, North Dakota beekeepers are on track, I believe, to maintain the state's number one ranking in honey production," Johnson says. "Our field inspectors, Allan Aufforth of Bottineau and Greg Machart of Grand Forks, both reported that the industry is in good shape, heading into the fall."

Source: North Dakota Department of Agriculture

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