Statewide Iowa — Iowans who are considering taking up a new hobby in the new year might consider taking a course in beekeeping. A record number of beekeeping classes will be offered in the state this winter at locations all over Iowa. State apiarist Andrew Joseph says the courses are starting as soon as January 9th, just over a week from now.
It can be a profitable hobby, Joseph says, and the number of beekeepers is growing.
Iowa’s 4,500 beekeepers manage more than 45,000 colonies of honey bees. Those bees produce about 4-million pounds of honey annually, valued at over $8-million. Honey bees are also responsible for the pollination of many Iowa crops, as well as home gardens and plants eaten by wildlife. The economic value of honey bees as crop pollinators in Iowa is estimated at $92 million a year. Joseph says the classes being offered by the state will be of help for those who are just starting out.
The state’s offering some 27 classes in beekeeping in a host of sites. There will be beekeeping training in Sioux Center in February, June, July, and October. Classes are scheduled for February and March in Spencer. The full list is at: www.abuzzaboutbees.com.