State addresses honey bee situation

In a perfect world, there is a solution to every problem. 

Honey Bees
Honey Bees

Posted on August 11, 2013

By Lee Coleman

In a perfect world, there is a solution to every problem. But in Cavalier County, there is a problem buzzing around without an immediate solution.

Literally. And by the thousands.

In a state that is the top honey producer in the nation, the honey bees are running amuck in Cavalier and last Monday, the Cavalier County Board of Commissioners discussed the enforcement of beehive laws at its regularly scheduled board meeting.

“The whole thing is about compliance of the laws,” said Commissioner Tom Borgen. “The county does not have any authority except on the easement of your roads.”

For example, if beekeepers were required to have the apiary (colony) one mile from the roads, bees can fly three miles in a stream to get to a canola field, Borgen said.

“It is not about compliance,” Commissioner Rick Ring countered. “It is about capacity. We have too many bees in Cavalier County.”

The complaints and horror stories about the omnipresent honey bees are many and as the anger and frustration has grown, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture is taking a lead role in seeking solutions to the problem.

In regulating the agriculture industry, the Department of Agriculture has oversight on the apiary “bee” industry and seeks to regulate beekeepers and enforce beekeeping law.

In a letter dated July 24 and read aloud by Commission Chairperson Elsie Magnus, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring wrote:

“We are becoming increasingly aware of certain problems and are working to resolve those issurs, such as hives being placed without landowner permission and too close to section lines or roads.

“The goal is to implement and enforce current beekeeping law by registering all locations and placing their name and contact information at the entrance of all apiary locations.”

According to Goehring, if a person has concerns with beehives or beekeepers in an area, a website is available to find a list of licensed beekeepers and registered locations, the beekeeping law and a map of all registered locations.

The website is www.nd.gov/ndda/program/apiarybees.

If there are other questions or a person is unable to access the website, call new State Apiary Inspector Samantha Brunner at (701) 328-4765 or by email at sbrunner@nd.gov.

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