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What’s the buzz?

IHPA holds annual meeting

December 3, 2018
By LAURA CARLSON - Farm News staff writer ( , Farm News


AMES - One could almost say that the people at the Iowa State Center were buzzing with excitement on Nov. 9 and 10.

That's because the Iowa Honey Producers Association was holding its annual conference at the venue, held on the Iowa State University campus.

The 106th annual conference offers something for everyone interested in bees, from bee care experts to lobbyists.

Dr. Samuel Ramsey, with the vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab at the University of Maryland, was the keynote speaker this year.

He completed research on the effects of honey bee parasites on individual and colony level survivorship specifically targeting Varroa destructor and Nosema ceranae recently.

One session of the conference focused on Tropiaelaps mites in the bee colony.

Another speaker was Dr. Meghan Milbrath, who began working bees more than 20 years ago when she was a child.

Today, she owns her own business, The Sand Hill Apiary, a small livestock and queen rearing operation in Munith, Michigan.

Milbrath spoke about overwintering, swarm biology and swarm control.

Tom Repas, a veteran beekeeper of 35 years, shared his passion of breeding mite resistant northern adapted bees and homebrewing mead - an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water, sometimes with various fruits, spices, grains, or hops.

He is a master beekeeper.

Additionally, ISU's Dr. Keri Carstens, who holds graduate faculty status on campus, introduced a new partnership between Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont, and two groups, the National 4-H Council and Pheasants Forever.

The program, called Corteva Grows Pollinator Habitat, is designed to support monarch butterfly and pollinator habitats at specific sites from Minnesota to Texas along the Interstate 35 corridor, using the Pheasants Forever youth program and the 4-H youth program.

The partnership began Nov. 9.

Along with the presenters, ISU apiarist Dr. Andrew Joseph shared progress in the state's honey production.

This year's conference saw more than 300 IHPA members attend the educational sessions.

"I've registered 50-75 people today as walk-ins for the conference," said IHPA treasurer Rhonda Heston. "Our statewide membership is over 1,000 this year. IHPA has experienced rapid growth in the past few years as people discover honey and its benefits."

She added that a number of vendors were present this year.

When asked about the quilts hanging behind the booth, Heston said that members can take a precut fabric packet home and sew it together.

Then the quilts are assembled and either raffled and auctioned off at the banquet, which was held Nov. 10.

"So many members wanted to make a square that we now have two quilts offered each year," Heston said.

Last year, 20 scholarships were awarded to the youth by the IHPA.

"Each youth receives a hive, the bees, educational classes, and a mentor to make sure they know what they are doing," Heston said. "We ask the recipients to keep a record of their experience and share it with us at the next year's youth luncheon."

The Iowa Honey Producers Association is divided into six districts with a director in each district. There are 21 bee clubs currently listed on the IHPA website, as are 2019 bee keeping classes scheduled throughout the state.

The group was formed in 1912.



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