Featured Beekeeper of the Month
This month our featured beekeepers are Kim and Tracy Douglas. They live on Hwy 16 near Wever, Iowa. Kim says they started beekeeping in the spring of 2005. They have 50-60 hives and sell creamed, raw, comb and chunk honey, as well as regular wax bars, cookbooks, and gift baskets. They love watching their hives and plan to keep increasing their colonies until their backs tell them to quit or they reach 100. Kim and Tracy also enjoy chasing swarms and talking to people or groups of 200 people about bees.
In the present day we need to preserve all the honeybees we can. They play a very important role in pollination and we need as many of them around as possible. Douglas Honey was started in January 2005 by Tracy and Kim Douglas.
Here is the story they sent:
HISTORY OF DOUGLAS HONEY
Douglas Honey was started in January 2005 by Tracy and Kim Douglas.
We started off our first year getting lots of equipment assembled and ready to go for the arrival of our first package of bees. We didn’t have much experience with bees but have a friend near Albia who keeps bees and encouraged us to give it a shot. We attended a course for beginning beekeepers that was set up through Back to Basics bee club in Oskaloosa, Iowa. That’s when we discovered that we were always going to have to keep bees, we were fascinated by them.
Since then we have taken any course we could that would educate us on beekeeping. In 2006 we attended a Master Beekeeping course at the University of Nebraska taught by Marion Ellis. In 2007 we went to the University of Minnesota to attend Marla Spivak’s course on Queen Rearing.
This year we were asked to participate in a mentor program for the Iowa Honey Producers Association. We happily accepted the opportunity to educate others on Honeybees. We were assigned to a 12-yerar old youth in Wever that we have been helping get ready for his first beehive. We love to see people get excited about beekeeping, especially young kids. It has been a good experience for the both of us. We encouraged him to attend a course that was provided to him by the IHPA at Kirkwood Community College in Washington, IA. It was a beginner’s course but we decided to join him. We enjoy meeting with new and current beekeepers.
We also do swarm collecting. We work with local county extension offices and exterminators to safely remove swarms of honeybees. In the present day we need to preserve all the honeybees we can. They play a very important role in pollination and we need as many of them around as possible.
One of our newest projects is speaking with others about beekeeping. We recently attended Mrs. Armento’s class at Richardson Elementary School in Ft. Madison to speak. They were studying a bee unit and wanted to learn more. The kids were great and it was exciting to see what they had already learned about honeybees. We also have an upcoming presentation at Kumar’s Dining for the Lee County Passport Club. Beekeeping is a very fascinating experience and we get asked a lot of questions. We don’t know all the answers but learn something new with every trip to the bee yards!
We sell our honey products at many; different locations. It is for sale at Hy-Vee on Angular in Burlington, Hy-Vee on Agency in Burlington, Hy-Vee in Mt. Pleasant, Dean’s Produce in Wever, Kumar’s Dining & Catering in Ft. Madison, and many local farmers markets. We also take orders for delivery by calling (319) 528-6175 or email us at email@example.com
Submitted by Ron Wehr