To mark World Bee Day on May 20, Lawn Love ranked 2023’s Best States for Beekeeping.
We compared 39 of the 50 states (with available data) based on four categories. We looked at honey production, colony loss, and apiculture classes, among 15 total metrics.
Some of the nation’s most populous states — California (No. 1), New York (No. 2), and Texas (No. 4) — buzz to the top of our ranking among apicultural epicenters like North Dakota (No. 3). North Dakota produced 31,200 pounds of honey in 2022 — nearly three times the amount produced by California.
Utah (No. 37) may be The Beehive State, but that nickname is irrelevant when it comes to discussing the state’s beekeeping industry. Utah disappoints with high total annual colony loss, low beekeeper salaries, and a lack of bee-friendly legislation, landing alongside Arizona (No. 38) and Wyoming in last place. These three states fall behind with low scores across the board.
- California cultivation: The Golden State brings home the gold medal overall and in Distribution and Support. California offers the highest number of apiculture classes and establishments. California also boasts healthy bees with the lowest average annual colony loss in our ranking.
- Flickertail hives: Swarming to third place is North Dakota with the largest overall honey Output. The Flickertail State impresses with the biggest total honey production and the most honey-producing colonies, 520 — 215 more than the next state, California.
- Sweet salaries: Beekeepers have the biggest opportunity to pollinate their savings accounts in Illinois (No. 10), which takes the top spot in Earning Potential. New York (No. 2) pays the highest average annual beekeeping salary, followed by Illinois and Colorado (No. 17).
- Colony conservation: Neonics are commonly used across lawns, gardens, and farms and have devastating impacts on bee populations. To help save the bees, New York (No. 2), New Jersey (No. 22), Vermont (No. 23), and Maine (No. 30) have each passed legislation limiting the use of neonics.
- Buzzworthy sales: There are many opportunities to sell hone
- y in states like New York (No. 2) and Ohio (No. 5). New York leads the way in honey suppliers, while The Buckeye State takes second place. Ohio boasts the most farmers markets, followed by New York.
- Nectar network: It’s easy for beekeepers to connect in North Carolina (No. 8), thanks to the many beekeepers associations. Tennessee (No. 18) and Kentucky (No. 29) take second and third places, respectively.
- Handling honeybees: For aspiring beekeepers, Ohio (No. 5) offers the second-largest number of apiculture classes, while Washington (No. 12), West Virginia (No. 33), and Mississippi (No. 27) all tie for third place.
- Behind the rankingFirst, we determined the factors (metrics) that are most relevant to rank the Best States for Beekeeping. We then assigned a weight to each factor based on its importance and grouped those factors into four categories: Output, Earning Potential, Distribution, and Support. The categories, factors, and their weights are listed in the table below.
For each of the 50 states, we then gathered data on each factor from the sources listed below the table. We eliminated 11 states lacking sufficient data in a single category, resulting in a final sample size of 39 states.
Finally, we calculated scores (out of 100 points) for each state to determine its rank in each factor, each category, and overall. A state’s Overall Score is the average of its scores across all factors and categories. The highest Overall Score ranked “Best” (No. 1) and the lowest “Worst” (No. 39).
Final thoughts: What’s the buzz?Bees have been under attack from a swarm of issues, ranging from colony collapse disorder to parasitic bee mites to impaired navigation and communication due to pesticide consumption.
Honeybees are important, even if you don’t particularly like the taste of honey. Without pollinators, we wouldn’t have access to nearly a third of our nation’s food supply.
Thankfully, homeowners can help bees out without donning a bee suit.
“Bee” a friendly neighbor by following these helpful tips:
- Replace your grass with clover.
- Plant native plants.
- Use organic pest control methods.
- Lawn Love operates in over 120 cities and 900 neighborhoods. Check out our locations or enter your ZIP code in the quote form to find your lawn care service provider.