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Macy Arbuckle and her mentor Dennis Nielson examine one of her hives.

Vinton area residents are being asked to look for something that usually doesn't show up on a "missing" list: A couple thousand honey bees.

Jim Arbuckle says that he believes many of the Italian honey bees his daughter has been keeping in family's yard on the south edge of Vinton have migrated to up to two miles away from his house, and he's hoping that anyone who sees a new swarm will contact him.

The Arbuckle's daughter Macy is an apprentice with the Iowa Honey Producers Association, which offered her a scholarship to start the hive, working with mentor Dennis Nielson of Newhall.

Macy's friend, Kelsey Frank, is also one of Nielson's apprentices. Macy said people who see the bees may see them forming an almost black tornado-like cloud.

The Italian honey bees are golden brown in color, with a dark brown or black striped pattern.

Arbuckle said Nielson estimated the number of missing bees at around 2,000. He said they are likely to be found together.

A new queen recently joined Arbuckle's hive, and he believes the worker bees went to start a new hive. The bees are "docile," says Arbuckle, only likely to sting if they perceive that someone is threatening their hive. He hopes anyone who sees large quantities of the bees will call him so he can come retrieve them. His number is 319-472-4288. The bees are likely to be seen gathered around doors or entry points of whatever site they chose for a new hive.

The Arbuckles live on Highway 218 south of Vinton, across the highway from the Vinton-Shellsburg High School campus.

About the Italian Honey Bee

Italian honey bees, of the subspecies Apis mellifera ligustica, were brought to the U.S. in 1859. They quickly became the favored bee stock in this country and remain so to this day. Known for their extended periods of brood rearing, Italian bees can build colony populations in the spring and maintain them for the entire summer. They are less defensive and less prone to disease than their German counterparts, and they are excellent honey producers. They also are very lightly colored, ranging from a light leather hue to an almost lemon yellow, a trait that is highly coveted by many beekeepers for its aesthetic appeal.


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Comments (3)

I sure hope they are found!!
By: Jackie Bear on July 10th 8:54pm
I caught a swarm a week and a half ago, but live 6 miles east of this hive. Good luck on this girl finding her bees.
By: Kim Betts on July 10th 9:30pm
I have had Honey Bees , as a hobby for 47 years. When they swarm , they could be on a tree branch, in a bush. or in a building. Lots of Luck. I live in Vinton, but do not keep Bees in the City Limits.
By: Marlyn Duncan on July 11th 8:39pm

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