The Beehive state is ranked among worst beekeeping states

May 18, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: May 19, 2023, 9:16 am

Although Utah is deemed The Beehive state, Lawn Love just ranked it third-to-last for best beekeepi...

A honeybee moves from flower to flower in the Pollinator Conservation Garden at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Although Utah is deemed the Beehive state, Lawn Love just ranked it third-to-last for best beekeeping states. The ranking was given based on the number of colonies the state loses on an annual basis, its low beekeeper salaries, and a lack of bee-friendly legislation. 

Lawn Love, whose primary purpose is to provide insight into the best lawn care for each state, also conducts annual studies. This includes a study outlining the best states in which to keep a bee colony.

That’s the study where Utah ranked near the bottom of the list, just ahead of Wyoming and Arizona.

High total annual colony loss

Between 2021 and 2022, Utah was one of the leading states in bee colony loss according to BeeInformed, a non-profit research and education organization.

In its “loss map,” BeeInformed reports that Utah has approximately 2,467 bee colonies. Last year the state lost more than 1,200 of those colonies or nearly half. 

In comparison, places like California and New York are losing 20% of their colonies.

Utah’s bee losses aren’t new. Research data shows that since 2013, Utah has been among the leaders in bee colony loss. 

Low beekeeper salaries

BeeInformed estimates that between 2021 and 2022, states like California and New York offered average salaries of around $58,000 and $54,000, respectively, according to Salary.com

While in comparison, Salary.com reports that on average, Utah beekeepers make around $40,000 annually. The low end is $38,000. In 2021 and 2022 Utah had about 55 beekeepers. 

Bee-friendly legislation

Bee-related legislation dates back to the 1800s in Utah. But, outside of amended ordinances, legislation protecting bee colonies in Utah within the last decade is nearly non-existent. 

The Wasatch Beekeepers Association points out that every county in Utah has different ordinances governing bees. And, that each county allows beekeepers to elect a honey bee inspector thanks to the R68-1, the Utah Bee Inspection Act. These inspections help fight against pest and disease problems in hives. 

Protecting bees in Utah

State-wide laws for bees are limited, and according to Utah State University, registering your colonies is the best way to protect bees. 

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The Beehive state is ranked among worst beekeeping states