Bees in Virginia have a wide array of pollen to choose from when they begin honey production in the spring, making for a variety of delicious honey that can add depth and complexity to cocktails. From springtime to the final harvest of honey in September, the commercial honey industry in Virginia produces around 250,000 pounds of honey each year from roughly 7,000 colonies, with a value of approximately $500,000 annually. When hobby beekeepers are included, these numbers increase to around 38,000 managed colonies producing about $1 million worth of honey.
In addition to its value as a sweetener, honey is also important for crop pollination in Virginia. Between 12,000-15,000 colonies are used each year for this purpose, primarily for apples, cucumbers, and melons, but also for pumpkins, squash, blueberries, peanuts, onions, cabbage, and peppers.
The value of honeybee pollination to Virginia's apple industry alone is estimated at $23 million, contributing about $235 million to the state's economy.