News from our State Apiarist, Andy Joseph

Hello from indoors. As I write this, the Iowa Honey Bee Day event is planned for tomorrow morning at the Capitol. Forecast of -6oF for the morning, I believe the coldest of the year. Right now I just keep thinking, “I hope my truck starts”! It always does… I’m looking forward to seeing several of you there. It has been a good time these last couple years, and it creates a great presence of our beekeeping industry down among the legislators.

Tons of thanks to Jamie and all involved! It’s been neat to see the IHPA Facebook updates of cities across Iowa which have signed onto the proclamation in celebration of Honey Bee Day as well.

I still don’t have any great insight into how our bees are wintering across the state, but from what I’ve been hearing, things are going pretty well, overall, so far. Losses seem relatively few. Deadouts I’ve seen personally seem to be mite-related over anything else. These last couple winters have been fairly rough. We still have a ways to go but even if our loss numbers double over the next 6 weeks or so, I think we’ll still come out better than 2018 and 2019! …That observation is both encouraging and depressing depending on your perspective. It would be incredible to catch a decently early spring and open boxes of well-wintered bees all ramping up nicely.

Beginner bee courses are coming along nicely. The amount of new interest in beekeeping never ceases to amaze. Welcome to any new BEELINE readers! I’ve visited several classes here and there and have been impressed with the enthusiasm and interest in getting started off right. We have a lot of good course instructors dedicated to helping new beekeepers succeed. There sure is a passion (and obsession) in practicing beekeeping that goes beyond other industries and interests.

The CIBA winter meeting went really well – despite nature trying its hardest to squash the event. I was sad to miss Larry Connor. I always enjoy what he has to share, and I really like checking out everything new from Wicwas Press. His flight plans were nothing but delays and cancellations but at least his books made it to Iowa! 

Thank you to Dr. Wu-Smart and Sheldon Brummel for making the trip and presenting their work. The Great Plains Master Beekeepers program sounds excellent, and I’d certainly encourage anyone to check it out. Master Beekeeping Certification is all about becoming a proficient, successful beekeeper regardless of scale, becoming a leader in the local beekeeping community, and becoming a knowledgeable and confident instructor, speaker and media contact. This program seems like a really nice framework to develop these skills and talents. I’m excited to see it take off.

Here’s to a great Iowa Honey Bee Day and an early Spring!

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