Show me the honey

Those looking to boost their bee business, or just find some tips on a hobby of theirs, are in Marshalltown as part of the Iowa Honey Producers Association annual conference.

More than 300 people are expected to attend the two-day conference which started Friday at the Best Western Regency Inn.

Organizer and beekeeper Eli Kalke, of Clemons, said they have attendees from across the state and even out of state for the event.

“It’s way for us to come together to talk about bees with people who share the passion of bees,” Kalke said. “We talk about research and what’s new.”

One of the presentations Friday dealt with keeping bees healthy, which was one of the main topics of conversation at the convention.

“I’m here to learn more about bees and how to keep them healthy,” said Sheila Weldon, a hobby beekeeper from Knoxville.

She said the drought made for a down year on honey.

“There was no nectar flow because of the drought,” Weldon.

Other beekeepers like Dale Fields, who partners with Kalke, said it was a good year for honey. Fields said many come to the convention to learn new things.

“We learn new ideas and new technology in keeping honeybees,” he said.

While working with bees, getting stung is inevitable. But for some, getting stung is encouraged.

Bill Johnson, a beekeeper from Guttenberg, said he does not wear protective material when handling bees and gets stung more than 2,000 times a year.

“Getting stung is very helpful for my arthritis with the bee venom,” Johnson said. “For some of us, bee stings are a good thing.”

Aside from educational presentations, the conference featured a trade show, contests for food made from honey and the crowning of the Honey Queen. The queen travels the state promoting the benefits of honey.

The convention continues through Saturday at the Best Western.