Beekeepers Look to Grow Illinois Bee Populations

Published 08/13 2014 02:07PM

Updated 08/13 2014 06:54PM

ILLINOIS STATE FAIR -- Bee populations in Illinois suffered after the harsh winter. But they're on the rebound thanks, in part, to members of the Illinois State Beekeepers Association.

The ISBA is made up of professional and amateur beekeepers (apiarists) and bee enthusiasts. They're the first to sound the alarm when problems strike the bee population. 

"This year was really rough on our populations. Many colonies ran out of food. And because it was less than 45 degrees, the bees couldn't fly out [to find more]," said Rich Ramsey, ISBA Vice President.

Ramsey notes that the weather and certain mites pose the biggest threat to local populations. But any problems posed to our colonies are minor compared to the problems faced by colonies on the east and west coasts a few years ago.

The ISBA has a booth in the Illinois Building at this year's State Fair. There, you can see a live bee colony, honey combs, and some of the best honey selections from around the state. Also back this year: honey ice cream.   

Click the video to learn about Illinois honey and what makes it some of the best in the country.

For more information about the Illinois State Beekeepers Association, including how to join or to start raising your own bee colonies, visit their web site:

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