Crandall Farms

submitted / Iowa Workforce Development

A local bee keeper has started working with an apprentice, thanks to a new state program. Last summer, an employee of Iowa WORKS in Davenport approached Phil Crandall, President of Crandall Farms in Coal Valley, as he was selling honey at the Freight House farmers market.

The employee, Martha Garcia-Tappa, asked if he'd be interested in starting a "Master Bee Keeper Registered Apprenticeship Program."

Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

The decline in populations of bees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators continues as the second annual pollinator conference is held in the Quad Cities.

Thousand of insects arrived at Augustana College over the weekend. Augie Acres, a club that grows pesticide-free crops and plants, received 20,000 bees on Saturday as part of long-term project.Professor of Biology, Tierney Brosius, says Augie Acres plans to use the two hives to pollinate its orchard, and eventually produce honey for the cafeteria. She also wants to use the bees for her entomology class. 

Brosius says she got the idea to buy the bees after noticing some old hives at Augie Acres earlier this year.


The bees, including two queens - were purchased from Ebert Honey in Lynnville, Iowa, and the hives were set up by Crandall Farms in Coal Valley. Brosius says they're Carniolan  bees, which means they have a good temperament and are easy to care for. 

Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

If you love apples, cashews, or string beans, you should love honeybees, too. Those are just three of the many foods that require bee pollination. Wild honeybees have almost disappeared in the US over the last 30 years. And in recent years, the number of commercial honeybees has also been dropping.

 On today's WVIK News Focus, Michelle O'Neill talks with three beekeepers about the reasons for the decline, in the second part of her series about the future of honeybees. 

Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News


Honeybees in the U.S. are in trouble. Their populations have been declining for years, but a long, cold winter put a huge dent in the number of hives in northwestern Illinois and eastern Iowa.

On today's WVIK News Focus, in the first of a two-part series, Michelle O'Neill talks with three beekeepers, including Phil Crandall at Crandall Farms in Coal Valley, IL.


(She also talks with Dave Irvin the President of the Eastern Central Iowa Beekeepers and USDA Senior Entomologist David Epstein.)