The number of beekeepers in Illinois has been increasing for more than a decade. The Illinois Department of Agriculture yearly report says there were 700 new beekeepers in 2013. The statewide total is more than 2,500 beekeepers operating more than 24,000 colonies. The number of registered beekeepers has increased every year since 2002. Steve Chard is with the agriculture department. He says colony collapse disorder has helped increase awareness of the importance of honey bees and contributed to the increase. Beekeepers started reporting the disorder about a decade ago. Chard says it's too soon to determine if the increase has made up for losses due to the disorder. Union County in southern Illinois has more than 2,000 colonies, the most in the state.
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