Fast Facts

  • U.S. per capita consumption of honey is about 1.3 pounds per year.1
  • U.S. honey production in 2016 from beekeepers with five or more colonies totaled 162 million pounds, up 3 percent from 2015.2
  • Honey is produced in every state. The top honey-producing states are North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Florida. 3
  • Honey bees enable the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America. Globally, 87 of the leading 115 food crops evaluated are dependent on animal pollinators, contributing 35% of global food production.4
  • Pollinators contribute more than $24 billion to the United States economy, of which honey bees account for more than $15 billion through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets.5
  • Some crops, such as almonds, are almost exclusively pollinated by honey bees, and many crops rely on honey bees for more than 90% of their pollination. California’s almond industry alone requires the pollination services of approximately 1.4 million beehives annually—60% of all U.S. beehives—yielding 80% of the worldwide almond production worth $4.8 billion each year.6
  • Humans have collected honey from wild bee hives for more than 8,000 years, as shown in Mesolithic rock paintings dating from 6000 B.C.E. By 2500 B.C.E., Egyptians were keeping bees in artificial hives.7
  • To make one pound of honey, the bees in the colony must visit 2 million flowers and fly over 55,000 miles; it requires the lifetime work of approximately 768 bees.8
  • Melittosphex burmensis, the oldest bee fossil ever discovered, dates to 100 million years ago.9
  • Mead, or honey wine, is believed to be the world’s oldest alcoholic libation.10
  • The largest food fraud case in U.S. history is attributed to the illegal importation of honey.11
  • The color, flavor and even aroma of honey differs, depending on the nectar of flowers visited by the bees that made it.12

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