I’d like to tell you how I became a beekeeper and why I’ve been a member of CIBA for over forty years. My first experience with honey was as a boy when we visited my Uncle Elmer’s farm and ate some comb honey he had taken from a bee tree. Even though Uncle Elmer was a honey robber, not a beekeeper, it was the best tasting food I had ever eaten.
About a dozen years later, it’s 1977 and I’m a senior at ISU. I needed a biology credit to complete my degree in Animal Science and my advisor told me to take the beekeeping course. There was a lab with the course and we got to work with the bees – I found them fascinating.
That spring, I bought three full-sized colonies from the Stanley brothers. I was a beekeeper! After I got the bees, the Stanley brothers got tired of me calling them with questions all the time and suggested I join the Central Iowa Honey Producers (now known as CIBA). At each meeting, I could talk with and ask questions of several beekeepers who had been keeping bees for several years. Not only did they answer my questions, but they guided me through my first season.
I quickly learned that each beekeeping season is different. As I got more experienced, I still relied on the advice of other beekeepers as I encountered problems and new situations. Even now, I often collaborate with other beekeepers to come up with new ideas, and I help to guide newer beekeepers as they start their journeys.