Beekeepers are starting to get ready for the bee season as temperatures warm up — but the twin impacts of inflation and supply shortages are causing concerns.
H.R. Cook picked up beekeeping as a hobby when the COVID-19 pandemic started two years ago. Now he also finds himself having to pay more for the materials he needs for beekeeping, which includes lumber, with prices that are up three to four times what they have been for the past ten years.
He tells KCRG TV some supplies have been hard to get — like those plastic bear containers for honey.
”Which are made in China, they have to be shipped from China,” he says, “there are millions of these honey bears sitting over on a cargo ship, to glass jars that we put the honey in and we sell at the farmers markets.”
Phylicia Chandler is a beekeeper and member of the Dubuque Swiss Valley Bee Club. She told KCRG TV she knows of other beekeepers who have struggled to find hive equipment and honey extractors — which could be very detrimental to beekeepers.
”When we need something, we need it now,” she says. “And it can be a matter of if you are catching a swarm and you do not have what you need, then you have nowhere to put those bees if you do not have that extra hive.” Chandler says the good side of the issue is she has noticed how so many beekeepers in eastern Iowa have come together to support one another. ”Beekeepers work together, so if they are ever in need we call on other beekeepers to help us out,” she added.
Cook says people who make a living out of beekeeping are probably feeling the impact the most. He says commercial beekeepers usually 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 to be quite the challenge.