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What's The Buzzz?

January 14, 2016
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

Cold winter days allow your mind wander to warmer times. Garden catalogs come in the mail and there just isn't enough space for all the wonderful plants that would look beautiful when they bloom. Along with the flowers, come the bees.

A couple of news releases crossed my desk about honey bees. We all know the benefits of local honey, especially for people with allergies. And we know there is concern about the honey bees population.

Wouldn't it be great to have an apiary in your back yard? Not so fast - there are no doubt city ordinances to regulate keeping bees. I haven't checked at Emmetsburg City Hall, but there must be some rules somewhere.

So it was interesting to read about the website This is a website that will educate Iowans on where to keep bees legally.

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.

"Iowa continues to see significant growth in beekeeping. The number of beekeepers in Iowa has increased roughly threefold in about a decade. We've grown from approximately 1500 beekeepers in the early 2000s to an estimated 4500 beekeepers today. Much of this new small-scale beekeeping effort is taking place within more urban areas. This typically works very well for the bees, bee keepers, and surrounding landscape. But beekeepers within city limits should be conscious of their municipal codes," said Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture.

Okay, so maybe this isn't as easy as it sounds. Let's look at what kind of equipment we might need for an apiary. Another news release came across my computer from Blain's Farm and Fleet. This one came with a list of places to chat with bee experts. Most of them were in Wisconsin and Illinois, with a couple in southeast Iowa.

Beekeeping as a hobby sounds great and is being promoted as "simple and sweet." Before getting started, they tell us, make sure you know the ins and outs of beekeeping and have the necessary equipment to have a fun and enjoyable time.

Here's the plan: set up your hive and the bee colony will constantly work to pollinate, make their honey and wax. Surely there's more to it than that.

What supplies do we need? Beekeeping Clothing -Beekeeping Tools - Honey Extracting Tools - and - a Beehive. Also, we need to order some bees.

Hmmm - Good thing we have a good deal of winter left to think this plan through. It sounds like we could be doing as much work as the honey bees. Buzzz!



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