The harsh winter and cool spring weather has have not been kind to the state’s beekeepers. Keepers typically lose 30 to 60 percent of their honeybees during the winter, but in some parts of Illinois, the losses this year were upwards of 80 percent. Northern Illinois Beekeepers Association President Corky Schnadt believes that while that may delay honey production in the state, beekeepers are already getting back on track by bringing in new bees.
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“They have to buy a package of bees, which is about 10,000 bees, put them in hive, and then the hive has to repopulate”, Schnadt says. “So the hives are a little bit smaller because they had to do that, but besides that, beekeepers are doing exactly what they’d normally be doing during the second week of June.” Schnadt says since a single queen bee can lay up to 3,000 eggs per day, it won’t take long for hives to catch up.