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South Dakota beekeepers facing industry’s “darkest days”

South Dakota beekeepers — among the largest players in the U.S. pollination and honey industries — are reeling from a nationwide spike in honeybee colony losses that has the potential to affect 90 different agricultural crops across the country and could raise the price of fruit, vegetables and nuts if the problem gets worse.

In 2018, the state’s beekeepers brought in more than $23 million from the sale of honey from roughly 255,000 hives. South Dakota ranked fourth in the nation in terms of honey production that year. But declining numbers of bees, both domestic and wild, threatens yields on crops ranging from almonds and apples on the West Coast to cotton and cranberries in the East.


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