Honey Bee Program
Bee pollination is responsible for over 15 billion dollars in added crop value in the US each year. Honey bees are important as primary pollinators of almonds, apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, cranberries, cucumbers, forage crops, kiwi fruit, squash, and watermelons. Annual cash receipts of South Carolina commercially grown apples, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and watermelons are estimated at $25 million. There are about 2,500 South Carolina beekeepers who manage about 30,000 honey bee colonies. These colonies produce 1.2 million pounds of surplus honey annually and pollinate countless plants in our gardens and landscapes.
Honey bee decline has been documented for years, attributed to parasites, diseases and environmental toxins. However, many honey bee pests remain unknown. In an effort to identify pathogens affecting bee populations nationwide, DPI collaborates with USDA-APHIS in the National Honey Bee Pests and Diseases Survey. The data collected in this survey will inform and guide the direction of honey bee parasite, disease and pest research.
South Carolina apiarist Dwight Porter shows DPI inspector Brad Cavin bees during an inspection.