Iowa beekeepers face inflation and supply shortages

With warming temperatures, beekeepers in eastern Iowa are beginning to prepare for bee season, but there are concerns about the dual economic impact of inflation and supply shortages. KCRG reports that HR Cook took up beekeeping as a hobby when the COVID-19 pandemic started two years ago “After COVID you still end up with a hobby, well, I’m ended up with about 100,000 bees,” Cook said. Now he also finds himself having to pay more for the materials he needs for beekeeping, which includes wood, with prices three to four times higher than in the past 10 years.” in honey, which are made in China, they have to be shipped from China,” he said. “There are millions of these cubs sitting on cargo in glass jars that we put the honey in and sell at farmers markets.” But Cook said people who make a living from beekeeping are likely to feel the impact the most. He explained that commercial beekeepers typically ship their bees to California during the winter to pollinate almond trees, and now bringing them back with high gas prices and inflation is proving quite a challenge. “Now is when they have to bring them back, when they come back to the hives in Iowa,” he said. “Gas prices have almost doubled for diesel prices, so it’s very expensive to bring them back to Iowa for commercial beekeepers to make a living.” Phylicia Chandler, beekeeper and member of the Dubuque Swiss Valley Bee Club, said beekeepers are also dealing with supply shortages. She said that she knows other beekeepers who have struggled to find hive equipment and honey extractors. She pointed out that not having the necessary equipment and materials could be very detrimental to beekeepers. “When we need something, we need it now,” she said. “what you need, then you have nowhere to put those bees if you don’t have that extra hive.” However, Chandler said something good came out of those tough times. She said she noticed how many beekeepers in eastern Iowa came together to support each other. “Beekeepers work together, so if they are in need, we call on other beekeepers to help us,” she said.

With warming temperatures, beekeepers in eastern Iowa are beginning to prepare for bee season, but there are concerns about the dual economic impact of inflation and supply shortages.

KCRG reports that HR Cook took up beekeeping as a hobby when the COVID-19 pandemic started two years ago.

“After COVID you still end up with a hobby, well, I ended up with about 100,000 bees,” Cook said.

Now he also finds himself having to pay more for the materials he needs for beekeeping, including lumber, with prices three to four times higher than in the past 10 years.

“Up to the honey bears, which are made in China, they have to be shipped from China,” he said. “There are millions of these honey bears sitting on cargo in glass jars that we put the honey in. and we sell at farmers markets.

But Cook said people who make a living from beekeeping are likely to feel the impact the most. He explained that commercial beekeepers typically ship their bees to California during the winter to pollinate almond trees, and now bringing them back with high gas prices and inflation is proving quite a challenge.

“Now is the time to bring them back, when they come back to the hives in Iowa,” he said. “Gasoline prices have almost doubled for diesel prices, so it’s very expensive to bring them back to Iowa for commercial beekeepers to make a living.”

Phylicia Chandler, beekeeper and member of the Dubuque Swiss Valley Bee Club, said beekeepers are also facing supply shortages. She said she knows other beekeepers who have struggled to find hive equipment and honey extractors.

She pointed out that not having the necessary equipment and materials could be very detrimental to beekeepers.

“When we need something, we need it now,” she said. “And it can be a matter of if you catch a swarm and you don’t have what you need, then you have nowhere to put those bees if you don’t have that extra hive.

However, Chandler said something good came out of those tough times. She said she noticed how many beekeepers in eastern Iowa came together to support each other.

“Beekeepers work together, so if they are in need, we call on other beekeepers to help us,” she said.

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