(DES MOINES) – Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation on Thursday recognizing March 14, 2018, as Iowa Honey Bee Day. The proclamation highlights the importance of honey bees to Iowa agriculture and the environment. It also emphasizes the role humans play in protecting honey bees from diseases and pests.

According to the Iowa Honey Producers Association, honey bees are important pollinators for a third of the food humans consume. They’re also vital in production of more than 90 crops grown across the nation, many of which are in Iowa. Honey bees contribute to a healthy environment by ensuring the availability of fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers for both wildlife and humans.

Iowa has more than 4,500 beekeepers, from hobbyists to full-time commercial beekeepers. Traditionally, beekeeping occurred in rural areas of Iowa. Today, beekeeping increasingly occurs in urban areas, with the rising interest of hobbyists in keeping beehives in Iowa cities and towns.

The State of Iowa has an apiary inspection program to protect honey bees and beekeepers from the introduction and spread of apiary diseases and pests.

The Iowa Honey Producers Association will sponsor a reception on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, from 7-9 a.m. in Room 116 of the Iowa State Capitol. The reception will be open to the public and will provide an opportunity for legislators, beekeepers and the public to talk about honey bees and their importance in Iowa.