CEDAR RAPIDS – You can’t yet (legally) keep a bee hive in your backyard in Cedar Rapids, but you can take a class to learn how to be a beekeeper.
Iowa has seen an uptick in beekeeping classes that are offered throughout the state, with a record 27 courses that will be held in the coming year.
That compares to about 20 locations over the past year, said State Apiarist Andrew Joseph.
“Our Iowa Honey Producers Association is responding to the growing interest in beginner beekeeping by hosting these courses largely through the volunteer efforts of its membership,” he said.
Cedar Rapids had considered allowing beekeeping in urban areas (it is allowed in agricultural zones) earlier this year, but nothing came of the issue.
Seth Gunnerson, planner in the city’s Community Development Department, said Cedar Rapids is looking at beekeeping as part of its comprehensive zoning code update.
“We are in the final stages of evaluating consultants and expect to have Council approval to begin the update in January, so it’s something that will be beginning very soon,” he wrote in an email.
Learn more about the efforts in Cedar Rapids.
Joseph noted that a new website addresses ordinances in dozens of Iowa towns. The undertaking, and future maintenance of the site, is possible through the support of the Iowa Honey Producers Association and a Specialty Crops Block Grant. Find information at: www.beelaws.org
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today recognized the record number of beekeeping courses.
“We continue to see interest grow in bee keeping, both among hobbyist who might just have a hive or two and commercial producers who can have 1,000s of hives,” he said in a press release. “These courses provide an excellent opportunity for new beekeepers or those who are interested in getting started to learn from experienced Iowa beekeepers who understand our seasons and environment how to successfully raise bees.”
There are currently about 4,500 beekeepers in Iowa that manage more than 45,000 colonies of honey bees. These honey 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. Field and horticultural crops, home gardens and plants eaten by wildlife are dependent on bee pollination for the production of their fruits, nuts and seeds. The economic value of honey bees as crop pollinators in Iowa has been estimated at $92 million annually.
Early enrollment for many of these courses is important so courses can meet minimum enrollment numbers. Fees will vary by location. For more information, please refer to the IHPA website and online monthly newsletter at www.abuzzaboutbees.com or contact Andrew Joseph, State Apiarist with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, at (515) 725-1481 or firstname.lastname@example.org
A Cedar Rapids beekeeping course is included in this year’s classes through the Indian Creek Nature Center, 6665 Otis Rd SE.
Members are $60 and nonmembers, $90.
The class will be 7-9 pm Jan. 15, with eight sessions throughout the year. Find more at the
Indian Creek Nature Center or contact Julie Walters: 319-362-0664 or email@example.com
Hello. Just wanted to mention that beekeeping classes are being taught at Linn County conservation Department’s Wickiup Hill Learning Center. Our instructors are Shane Bixby, Erin Miller and Bob Wolff. Shane and Bob used to teach for ICNC but along with Erin Miller they have since started their program and teaching apiary at Wickiup. We would love to envite you out in April durning bee installation.
Thank you, Shane! What day will that be?
We don’t have an exact day as of yet, but around April 14th. Due to the fact that we won’t know the exact date that the bee packages will be arriving. We normally are notified about 3 days prior to their arrival. If you would leave you name and phone number with the office at Wickiup Hill, I’ll will add you to the Notification list, or if you’d like to sit in on one of our classes please let me know.
2017 Beginner Beekeeping Class Overview
1. Beginner Beekeeping Series
at Wickiup Hill, Toddville, IA
Join us for this nine session series designed for individuals serious about becoming a beekeeper. This series will walk participants through the annual cycle of beekeeping from establishing a hive to harvesting the honey produced. This is an in-depth, total immersive learning experience. Classes will be held at the Wickiup Hill Learning Center and students will have the opportunity to take a look into hives at this location.
Class Times for 2017 Beginner Beekeeping Class A : Times 7-9pm
Monday January 9th
Monday January 23rd
Monday February 6th
Monday February 20th
Monday March 20th
Monday April 3rd
April TBD Bee Pickup
August TBD Extraction
Monday September 18th
Class B : TBD
Class Cost: $150.00 Fee covers: Your class, informational handouts, Beekeeping handbook, support: online/mentoring/phone line and if necessary hive inspection by an instructor at your location.
Bee Together with your family, children under 18 may attend free with an enrolled parent*. This program is a comprehensive beginning beekeeping class. *Some restrictions apply.
It is recommended starting two colonies of bees. The cost is approximately $800 -$1000 for 2 hives, equipment, and bees.
Beekeepers usually devote 2 hours weekly to working in their apiaries April-September, with several additional hours in the early spring and fall.
Disclaimer: Check with your local government to see if you can legally keep bees before doing so.
For any additional information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Bee Classes
Space is limited.