Big Bee Loss

Due to the weather conditions and bee-killing insects, Iowa honey production fell significantly and so did the crop value. Find out more!

Honey Production in Iowa Is Down due to Disease and Bad Weather

In 2018, honey producers with five or more bee colonies ended up producing 1.86 million pounds. This is eight percent down compared to 2.03 million pounds from the previous year, as noted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The entire state’s 2018 honey crop was $4.38 million, which is five percent lower than the previous year’s revenue of $4.59 million. For all marketing channels in Iowa, the average price per pound was $2.35. This is an increase, i.e., it is nine cents more than in 2017.

These prices were based on retail sales and sales to cooperatives and private processors. In 2018, the number of colonies in Iowa rose from 35,000 to 38,000 in just one year. However, this number excludes the producers with less than five colonies or the ones who didn’t harvest honey.

A colony produced an average of 49 pounds last year, and once again, this is lower than 58 pounds in 2017. The state of Iowa kept the 18th place in the national ranking in honey production.

President of the Iowa Honey Producers Association Roy Craft stated that the year 2018 brought a series of events which had a significant impact on bees and honey producers. Craft added that just after they harvested the honey, there was a cold spell that caught them off-guard. Hence, the producers had no chance to get rid of mites on time. The result — many bees were killed by mites.


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