Iowa beekeepers join petition against EPA


Photo by bwohack, Flickr.

Beekeepers around the nation, including in Iowa, are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to stop using the pesticide clothianidin.

The beekeepers believe this chemical, and other similar chemicals, are killing honeybees.

Read an article from the Des Moines Register about one Iowa couple’s choice to join the petition here.

Read an interview from University of Iowa professor Steve Hendrix on the declining bee population here.

Beekeeping schools offered throughout Iowa in 2012


Photo by xsannyx, Flickr

This upcoming year, 12 beekeeping schools will be available in Iowa. The Iowa Honey Producers Association is the primary host of these schools.

Most of the schools start between the middle of January and the first week in February. The duration of the classes varies; some meet once a week for 4-8 weeks, and some meet periodically throughout the entire year.

Bees are important pollinators in Iowa, and consequently have a large economic impact on our state.

Beekeeping is of added importance right now because of the declining bee population. University of Iowa professor Steve Hendrix discussed this issue with the Iowa Environmental Focus back in August.

For more information on the beekeeping schools, read the Estherville Daily News article here.

Iowa takes notice of bee problem


Photo by Goshzilla - Dann, Flickr

The plight of the bees continues to receive attention in Iowa. In late August, Steve Hendrix, a University of Iowa professor, spoke with Iowa Environmental Focus about his attempts to determine if wild solitary bees are experiencing a similar population decline to honey bees. The Gazette also addressed the bee issue today, detailing the particular declines seen by Iowa bee owners:

“We never had a problem like this when I started in the 1990s,” owner Matt Stewart said of the phenomenon, first identified in the United States’ bee population in 2006. “Ones with the disease, they’re leaving. They’re going off to die somewhere.”

. . .

Colony collapse takes an annual toll. Like many other Iowa beekeepers, Stewart has been losing up to 70 percent of his bees each year. Before the disorder, about 20 percent might die over winter.

As described by Stewart, Colony Collapse Disorder decimates bee populations. The condition is characterized by bees suddenly disappearing from their hive while leaving behind all of their foodstuffs. It is still not clear what causes the disorder.

UI Professor Steve Hendrix explains importance of bees


Steve Hendrix and assistant Caitlin Digman in the field

Steve Hendrix is a professor in the University of Iowa’s Biology Department. He is also a CGRER member, and recently received a seed grant from the organization. One of the focuses of Hendrix’s research is on bees – specifically, the possible decline of wild solitary bees. Hendrix discussed this research with the Iowa Environmental Focus.

How Professor Hendrix first got involved in plant-animal interactions:

“When I was a graduate student I took a graduate seminar in which I reported on a recent finding of insect molting hormones in plants, specifically in ferns. I was just fascinated by the fact that there could be plants that could produce these hormones. Then people immediately said that [the hormones] must be a defense against insect attacks. Continue reading