Backyard beekeeping has become increasingly popular in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as residents embrace sustainable practices and the benefits of local honey production. Whether for hobbyists or those seeking to support dwindling bee populations, beekeeping offers a rewarding experience and contributes to the ecosystem's health. However, there are regulations in place to ensure the safety of both beekeepers and their neighbors. These rules typically cover aspects such as hive placement, distances from property lines, and registration requirements. By adhering to these guidelines, beekeepers can enjoy their hobby while fostering a thriving bee-friendly environment in Cedar Rapids.

Here are a few close-ups of the larvae breaking through and experiencing life for the first time.  The other family members will begin feeding the larvae royal jelly and that will sustain them.

Sloppy Joe/TSM
Sloppy Joe/TSM
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Sloppy Joe/TSM
Sloppy Joe/TSM
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The Homegrown Iowan says that, as of now Cedar Rapids, only permits beekeeping within the agriculture zone district, and that is generally limited to large undeveloped lots on the outskirts of town.  Essentially, the city doesn't permit beekeeping within or near neighborhoods.  There have been some grumblings about changing those ordinances and one initiative, at one time, of the city's EnvisionCR plan was to amend those rules for urban agriculture to allow for more flexibility.  The plan would allow more flexibility in areas like beekeeping, gardens in the right of way, and front yard gardens in certain zoning districts.  The city's Community Development Department said an ordinance could be designed, similar to the city's backyard chicken ordinance, which would include notification of neighbors, setback requirements, a permitting process, and limits on the number of hives.  With all that said, the city of Cedar Rapids still does not have an ordinance permitting beekeeping of any kind other than what was previously stated.
Iowa State University's Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology and Entomology Department reports there are 20,000, species of bees doing most of the pollination all over the world.   Honeybees are the main managed pollinators, but native bees are also important contributors.  Bee colonies can have anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 bees.  and understanding bee biology is paramount to obtaining a healthy and productive hive.
If you are thinking about being a beekeeper it can be a little pricey getting started. Taking part in groups can be a great way to get first-hand information and the possibility of buying used tools for a cheaper price.
Some things that could aid your successful hive:
  • Make sure YOU are not allergic to bees
  • Try it out  - find a local beekeeper (Facebook groups are great for that)
  • Location, location, location (Near flowers and trees, quiet, level, and legal)
  • The Hive (Hive stand, bottom board, hive bodies, frames, comb, and covers)
  • Protective gear
  • Smoker
  • Hive tool
  • Equipment for handling the honey crop
  • Bees
Iowa State University's Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology and Entomology Department recommends some of these resources for Iowa beekeepers
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The following gallery shows tools, set-up, and techniques for the new or experienced beekeeper.

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