Honey Producers Association
Talking Points for the Apiary Program
Regulatory Function: The
Apiary program at the Iowa Dept. of Agriculture was eliminated
in 2001. The inspection and regulatory activities protected
Iowa’s bee pollinators and the public from diseases,
pests and Africanized “Killer” bees. The inspection
program was mostly funded in 2004 by the Iowa Honey Producer’s
Assn. The IDALS department regulated it.
State Apiarist: The State
Apiarist was the only professional bee expert in Iowa because
Iowa State University no longer has an apiculture program.
The position was eliminated in the budget cuts in Nov. 2001.
The State Apiarist provided up-to-date information on bees
and beekeeping to many farmers, beekeepers, agribusinesses,
horticulturists, home gardeners and school children. That
service is no longer provided. Individual beekeepers in the
state try to keep the public informed, but it is really difficult
to do so without any funding.
bees: The Apiary program, while in existence, was
successful in preventing the introduction of the Africanized
“Killer” bees into Iowa. Now there is no guarantee
that the “Killer” bees will be kept out of Iowa
with no regulatory help from IDALS. This bee has had a serious
impact in areas of Texas, Arizona and California where it
Iowa Imports Bees: Iowa
regularly imports queen bees, package bees, nucleus and full
size colonies of bees from Texas and California. Parasitic
mites, hive beetles, Africanized “Killer” bees
and diseases are transportable in shipments of bees brought
to Iowa. And who know what’s next?
Bee Pollination: The threatened
bee population benefits agricultural crops that need bee pollination.
The value of honey bee pollination is in the 10’s of
millions of dollars in Iowa annually. This value far exceeds
the $40,000 investment in the Apiary program proposed by the
IDALS budget. Many people recognize the importance of pollination
in their home gardens, flowers and orchards.
Beekeeping is a crucial part of diversified agriculture extending
well beyond the value of honey to fruit, vegetables, field
crops and a wide variety of trees and wild plants. The elimination
of the Apiary program is resulting in the loss of supplemental
income in rural areas derived from diversified agriculture.