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Iowa Honey Queen shares importance of bees

October 30, 2017
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer (apeterson@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

Carly Vannoy, a self-proclaimed bee nerd, started beekeeping three years ago through the Iowa Honey Producers Association's Youth Scholarship Program, and currently manage three hives of her own.

Carly taught a group at the Estherville Public Library Thursday about how bees make mummies, the color of mystery honey, how to move and clean beehives, and why honey is different colors (it's based on what surrounds the bees.)

After serving locally and representing her local beekeeping club as the Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa Honey Queen, she was able to advance to state and now represent honeybees, honey, and beekeeping on a statewide level. It is Carly's goal to educate and inform about honeybees, and help people have an interest in and ability to start beekeeping.

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Drones are male bees whose sole purpose is to mate with the queen. The queen herself is the mom of all of the bees and has the ability to lay about 1,500 eggs a day during the spring and summer.

"Queens are fed very special food, royal jelly. Some people think that only the queen bee gets royal jelly, but all bees get royal jelly. The difference with the queen is she only gets royal jelly," Carly said. "In fact, she is fed so much that there is usually some left over. It is the difference between a worker and a queen. Royal jelly works to basically turn on genes in the queen bee as she is developing."

Vannoy explained the process the bees go through in order to produce honey, including extracting nectar from flowers, creating the honey in the hive and capping it off to reduce moisture. She also spoke about the work of beekeepers to produce honey for the greater public to enjoy.

"In the summer, we have two boxes where the bees can raise their brood and make their food," Vannoy said. "When the boxes are full with "their space" with the babies and honey supply, bee keepers will add their own space through a super box."

Carly said she never wastes honey, but pours a bit of hot water in to the bottom of a bottle to get every drop, because honey is a lot of work for bees.

"It takes 12 bees their whole lives to make a teaspoon of honey," Carly said.

Carly said our environment depends upion saving bees and other pollinators.

"Honey bees are an indicator species which, if they are dying, then something might be going wrong for the whole ecosystem," Carly said.

While the initial effects of honey bees dying out may not be immediately felt, Carly said there are many products, such as coffee and almonds, that would see an impact to production without the honey bee around to help.

The solution is biodiversity, Carly said. Whether it is a large garden full of a variety of plants and flowers or just a couple of potted flowers, any new and different habitats are helpful for the bees.

 
 
 

 

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