MASON CITY — Wednesday is Honey Bee Day in Mason City and the state of Iowa. Mayor Bill Schickel and the City Council recently approved a proclamation to recognize the importance of honey bees and beekeepers around the area.
Peter Bieber of the North Iowa Beekeepers Club says his group and others from around Iowa will be promoting the importance of honey bees to state lawmakers. He says, “This Wednesday at the state capitol, the Iowa Honey Producers is hosting a meet and greet for state legislators. That’s an opportunity for us to talk about all things related to honey bees and pollinators, things we can do to continue to grow honey bees and beekeeping in the state of Iowa, as well as to help increase our overall number of pollinators.”
Bieber is one of about 45-hundred beekeepers around the state who handle over 45-thousand honey bee hives that produce about four million pounds of honey valued at over $8 million, as well as provide an estimated $92 million economic value to Iowa crops from their pollination.
He says, “People like me the, the hobby beekeeper, people that keep one or two hives in their backyard, up to 50 hives. Then you have what we call the ‘sideliners’, the people who do it as a side business, they keep 50-200 hives. We do have some commercial beekeepers that keep several hundred hives to several thousand hives. Overall we represent a fairly very small footprint in Iowa’s overall agricultural system, but when you think about the fact that honey bees and pollinators are responsible for 35-percent of our food supply, you can see the impact is significantly more.”
Listen to our full interview with Bieber by clicking on the audio player below