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Wisconsin honey bees busier in 2012

A set of beehives sit in an open field
A set of beehives sit in an open field

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s honey bees were much busier in 2012.

The USDA said producers with five or more colonies made over 4.3 million pounds of honey last year. That’s a whopping 21 percent more than the previous year, while similar production nationally went down by 1 percent.

The Badger State is the nation’s 8th-largest honey producer. The state’s larger bee-keepers had 63,000 colonies in 2012, 6,000 more than previous year.

The state’s yield per colony was 69 pounds, 13 pounds higher than the national average. And Wisconsin’s honey brought a premium price of $2.04 a pound last year. That’s up from $1.89 in 2011. And it’s 9 cents higher than the national price of $1.95, which was a record.

North Dakota is the largest honey state by far. Almost a half-million colonies made 34 million pounds of honey in 2012. South Dakota was a distant second.