The amount of bees that died this past winter was nearly 70 percent according to the state apiarist. So for many beekeepers, they have to order bees from out of state and ship them over here.
In Story County, beekeeper Arthur Fleener lost many of his hives, and was only left with three. He showed us the process of buying a queen to handling the hives.
“Bees often come from California or from Texas because they’re raised over the winter time the climate’s more temperate so they can do that. And then when it warms up here, they ship the bees to Iowa.”
Fleener bought seven hives and it costs about $91 to ship a package of a queen and bees from California.
In a good year you can get a 120 pounds of honey per hive. He says it takes about 2 million flowers to produce one pound of honey, which is about 55 thousand miles of traveling.
“It’s just something that I was always kind of interested in and we started with one hive and then we expanded to two, and then I have two boys, it was just kind of a good way for them to learn just a little about business and reaping the benefits at the end of the year.”