Category Archives: recipe

Honey Cookie RecipE

Icebox Honey Cookies

Remember the honey cookies at CIBA’s Winter Seminar 2017? It came from Taste of Home magazine. The original can be found here, which I have copied below.

Icebox Honey Cookies

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min./batch 

YIELD: 8 dozen.


  • 1-1/2 cups shortening
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 1. In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in honey and extract. Combine remaining ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  • 2. Shape into two 12-in. rolls; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
  • 3. Preheat oven to 325°. Unwrap and cut into 1/4-in. slices. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

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Quarterly Update from Andy :: 12/2017


Sunny but cold as I’m writing this.  Time to get adapted to working indoors for the next couple months.

Thanks for a good year.  I’ve enjoyed getting out on the road and working bees with a good number of you.  I got to meet a ton of new beekeepers this year, which is among my favorite parts of this work. This past decade has at least tripled the number of beekeepers in our state.  The IHPA membership has quadrupled I believe.  And today I realized that no less than 36 beekeeping courses are being offered this winter.  By contrast, there were 8 courses offered in ’08 and ’09.  Amazing, right?

Most recently the inspection work has focused on the bees being moved out to the almonds.  I enjoy this work because of the great group of commercial beekeepers who live here in Iowa.  These inspections and the related paperwork allow me to have at least a quick point of contact with these guys.  I feel lucky to know them and I typically end up learning a thing or two in our short conversations during this busy time of their year.

Here’s hoping your bees are tucked away nicely for the winter.  There was plenty opportunity to get a good mite treatment accomplished and get them heavy with stores of food.  Hopefully things have come along well for each of you.  On a warmer day, consider checking them to be sure they haven’t eaten too much already.  While the milder temperatures over the past month allowed us ample opportunity to care for the bees, it also allowed the bees to stay pretty active and burn right through their stores if you weren’t paying close enough attention.  On a 40+ degree sunny day you can pop a lid and check to be sure they’re clustered low with plenty of food above them.  I like to find a good day or two around the first of the year to peek in on them.  If they’re cluster high in the hive right under the lid and the box is no longer as heavy as it was, I’ll give them some winter food.  This supplemental feeding sure is a lot cheaper than buying replacement bees.  I’ve done a lot of “mountain camp” dry sugar feeding in mid / late winter, and it works well but is messy and can be a bit wasteful.  The winter patties being sold now are great and aren’t too expensive especially if you have just a handful of hives.  I encourage you to throw a couple/few on at a time as needed.

For all the hype and excitement over oxalic acid use during the warm season, I’m still not convinced at all that it’s worth your time.  Hopefully I’ll eventually eat my hat, but I think while brood is present, all OA provides is false confidence.  Now we’ve come to the time of year when OA could be just the ticket.  Now that we’re more-or-less broodless, all we need is that good window of a couple days in the mid-40s.  A blast of vaporized OA or a dribble of OA in syrup into loosely clustered bees could kill nearly all the mites remaining in the hive.  No brood = no hiding place, and great exposure.

Enjoy the cold and the indoors and the familytime and the holidays and the plan-making for spring.


Topics for the upcoming year

Labeling/Active water content (Rueber, Feb. 2017)

Winter prep

Swarm prevention

Making splits (Sander, May 2017)

Checking for mites (Folkerts, Aug 2017)

Treating mites — heat and chem

Feeding in spring

Feeding in winter

Bottles (BL Plastic, July 2014)

Winter care (Jan 2017)

Harvest (Aug 2014 w/ Andy, potluck)

Potluck (multiple through the years)

Heat treating for mites (Ray, 2016 and Damon, 2017)

On-site inspections of top bar and langstroth hives (multiple, all years from 2011)

Making nucs (Sander, April 2016)

Movie viewing, Queen of the Sun (Feb. 2016)

How you got into beekeeping and how it’s been for you

Hive theft (Rob Taylor, June 2017)

Flow hive (sander, Sept 2016) and honey harvest (Sander, July 2017)

Verticomb hive (Justin, Sept 2017) and inspection (anticipated 2018)

State fair entry (Andy, May 2014)

Queen rearing (julia’s note: i think this is too much material here for one meeting)

Craig’s weight and temp tracking

advocacy/city ordinances

Vet Feed Directive (Dr. Jacobson, April 2017) helps Iowans place beehives

For Immediate Release

Jan. 4, 2016

Iowa Honey Producers Association Announces Availability of

Learn where to keep bees legally

West Des Moines, IA— Jan. 4, 2016The Iowa Honey Producers Association (IHPA) proudly announces the immediate availability of This website helps Iowa residents learn their city’s ordinances related to beekeeping.­­­ It is believed to be the first searchable bee law website in the nation.

Anyone curious about placing a bee hive can open the website, choose a city listed on the front page, read pertinent excerpts from that city’s ordinances, and see contact information for city staff. Digital code citations are given where possible.

“I am very excited for this new website,” said Roy Kraft, President of the Iowa Honey Producers Association. “One of the most common questions we get as beekeepers is if it’s legal to keep bees where someone lives, and no one really knew until now.” Andy Joseph, State Apiarist for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS), chose 77 cities from around the state for inclusion on, with the hope of growth in the number of apiaries in and around those cities. Cities where beginning beekeeping classes were held in 2015 were also included on the website. No more cities will be added in 2016 while Julia McGuire, Project Investigator, conducts analysis of the bee law website and its impact.

Positive Environmental Impact

With national concern over pollinator presence and pollinator habitat, aims to responsibly fill the knowledge gap of Iowans interested in bee keeping. “With increased interest in beekeeping over the last year and a half, I want to help people keep bees and I want to help them do it legally,” said McGuire, coordinator of the Des Moines Backyard Beekeepers club and beekeeper since 2011. “ aims to remove the burden of taking time to find the appropriate staff member at city hall, and then potentially facing negative impacts. If you cannot find a place in town to legally keep bees, you can hopefully use the website to find legal, nearby areas without having to spend a lot of time on the phone and free of risk.”

Written in lay terms, is a mobile-friendly website and is supported by the IHPA and the Iowa Specialty Crop Block Grant Program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) through grant 15SCBGPIA0001.

Founded in 1912, the IHPA, a 501(c)(5) agricultural organization and affiliate of the Iowa State Horticultural Society, serves over 900 members through monthly newsletters, a summer field day, and an annual meeting for education and networking. The organization aims to grow the Iowa honey industry through education and promotion.

The website content of was valid at the time of the 2015 survey and is solely the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA, IDALS, or the IHPA.

The Des Moines Backyard Beekeepers is an informal club with internet presence at and with a Facebook group

Andy Joseph became State Apiarist with IDALS in 2008. IDALS is responsible for a wide range of programs that affect the quality of life of every Iowan.  Both Iowans living on the farm and those in our towns and cities are impacted almost daily by the work of the Department, including the Sensitive Crops Directory and enforcing “Pesticide/Bee Rule” of the Iowa Administrative Code Chapter 21-45.31(206).  Effective January 22, 2009, the Rule was designed to help protect honey bees from chemicals that are toxic to bees.


Quad Cities Pollinator Conference: June 10 – 11, 2015

Very detailed information can be found at this webpage:



I am writing to let your organization know about the inaugural Quad Cities Pollinator Conference, June 10-11, 2015 at Jumer’s Casino and Hotel in Rock Island, Illinois. Our planning committee believes your organization, or its members, may have an interest in learning more about pollinators and pollinator health. If so, please help us spread the word about this exciting event!

Short summary

Quad Cities Pollinator Conference, June 10-11, 2015 at Jumer’s Casino and Hotel, Rock Island, IL. Keynote dinner by John Phipps, commentator for US Farm Report. Sessions on: plant-pollinator relationships, pollinator decline, designing pollinator support plantings, conservation measures, pollinator-friendly landscapes in agricultural and urban settings, and more. Knowledge-sharing, networking, and pollinator-related goods and services! Register by 6/1 at

Facebook event (set up through Nahant Marsh Education Center)

Please help us spread the word by sharing this through your social media networks!

Info can also be found at:

Thank you in advance. Please contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information.

Erin Vorac

Conference Planner


2015 Beginning Beekeeper Classes

Information on central Iowa beginning beekeeping classes follows. Please contact the person listed below for more details on that specific course and to register.

  1. Central Iowa Beginning Beekeeping Course

Instructor: Andy Joseph, State Apiarist

When: Tuesday evenings, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.,  Feb. 3 through March 10 (6 weeks)
Location: the DCI conference room in the Iowa Laboratory Facility, Ankeny – adjacent to the DMACC campus

Price: $30/person, $15 each additional family member, and includes everything: tuition, book, handouts, field day expenses, etc.  Cash or check made out to “IHPA.”


Need more info? Send email to Andy at


  1. The Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa (FBI) Beginning Beekeeping Course

Instructor:  FBI members, slated by the week

When: Thursdays at 6:30-8:30pm, Feb. 5 through March 26, 2015 (8 weeks)

Location: Calvary Baptist Church, 2708 N Jefferson Way, Indianola, IA 50125.

Price: The cost of the course will be free, but for first time beekeepers we require you purchase the book, “First Lessons in Beekeeping” by Keith Delaplane, which will be available for $8.00. A power point presentation provided by Andy Joseph, State Apiarist, follows the “First Lessons in Beekeeping” book that we will use as a course outline. This information will be available the first night of class.

Need more info? Send email to Judy at Our club welcomes all levels of beekeepers. Most of us continue to attend the course after the first year, as there is always something new to learn! We are of all ages and willing to help and support all.

Youth in 4-H Polk County Bee Keeping Club

Youth and adults interested in bee keeping are invited to join 4-H Polk County Bee Keeping on October 11, 2014 from 10 a.m. – 12 noon.

4-H Polk County Bee Keeping will be meeting at the Chapter House at the Ankeny Izaak Walton League, located at 4857 NE 110th Ave, Elkhart, IA 50073

We plan to build a couple more hives, butterfly houses, mason bee houses, plant flowers in the spring, put in flower beds, how to properly keep honey bees, and lots of fun stuff.

4H registration is $30 a year per child plus $20 club fee  (if your child is in k-3rd then they are a Clover Kid; 4th – 12th is 4H). To register and pay, you will need to do this with ISU Extension, either online (link here) or in person (1625 Adventureland Drive, Suite A, Altoona, Iowa 50009 (515) 957-5760
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.). If you’re unable to pay a club fee, consider if sharing your tools, supplies, knowledge, etc. — we’ll work something out! Families who are curious about 4-H can attend Find-Out Night this Thursday evening: click here for more information .

Thanks everyone!


What we do

We support each other wherever we happen to be on our beekeeping journey.

  • If you want general support, our monthly meetings are a great place to start. Put your shyness aside and ask away!
  • If you want to ask questions outside of our meetings, we have a Facebook Page.
  • If you want to see a bee vacuum, ask for a show and tell meeting next month and make sure you’re there to see it.
  • If you want to catch a swarm, use the Contact Form to get your name on the Swarm Page.