Featured Beekeeper of the
This month our featured beekeeper is Gale Urquhart.
He and his wife Connie live in Des Moines, Iowa. His business
name is tentatively Spring Creek Honey.
Gale writes to explain his beekeeping business
and says, “I started beekeeping because I had a nervous
breakdown and while in therapy it was recommended that I take
up a hobby. My wife and I went to the State Fair and visited the
IHPA booth and I became so interested in the insect that I took
a beginning beekeeping class given by Phil Meyer. This has proved
to be a wonderful hobby for me, as there is something that needs
to be done in spring, summer, fall and winter. It keeps me busy
all the time. Maybe that is because I’m not the best beekeeper
in town, never the less it has not seemed to stress me or add
to the stress level. I sure don’t kneed another one of those
Gale says he started with one hive in 2004, over
wintered it and expanded to 9 hives in 2005. The bees produced
about 50 gallons of honey to share with friends and family and
some to market. He only produces liquid honey.
Even though he has already lost one hive Gale
says his biggest satisfaction in beekeeping is that it takes his
mind off the daily stress of work. The bees amaze him, the fact
that they recover after he robs their honey. I think he has experienced
their retaliation on parts of his body not covered.
If all goes well Gale plans to expand to 50 hives.
He belongs to the Central Iowa Beekeepers Association and is vice
president. Membership is about 65. They meet every quarter with
Pat Randol as President. The club has question and answer periods
to help members learn the art. Gale says, “I’m also
a member of the IHPA and at the moment I’m on the committee
trying to increase the membership through beginning beekeeping
classes at DMACC, this has not become a reality yet but my hopes
are high. I’m also working on a new membership list, so
if you have not sent me your membership, please do. email@example.com”.
Asked the question what beekeeping experiences
have you had that would interest others and Gale says, “I’m
sure my experiences in beekeeping would not be of much interest
to most members. My experiences are so mindless.”
Advice: “Wear protective gear or you will
get stung and that does hurt and if you’re like me you swell
up real bad. Keep you r dog out of your bee yard! He will just
stir up the bees and then when you try to beat the bees away from
the dog, the dog things you are beating the tar out of him and
it takes you forever to get his trust back. Make sure you keep
enough room to maneuver around and between your hives with ease.
Don’t have hives around your honey extraction house or area,
they will find you. Do know what a mite looks like and check your
hives. Treat if needed. The biggest experience I’d like
to share is if you’re going to start from scratch as a beekeeper,
you must be patient and let the bees draw comb. Don’t expect
anything until that happens and some bees are better at it than
others. Become a member of a local club and the Iowa Honey Producers
and listen and learn and listen and learn and listen and learn.
Become involved within your limits an d have fun.
Thanks for your story Gale. You’re learning
Submitted by Ron Wehr
The video “A Year with Honeybees”
is doing well. We have sold about 100 of them. Lee Heine has taken
50. That gave sales quite a boost. Draper’s took 15. The
rest have gone one at a time. We have approached Mid Con, Dadants
and Mann Lake as possible distributors. I also placed ads in newsletters
in Missouri, Nebraska and Kansas. Several copies have been donated
to schools. It works great if you have to put on a program somewhere.
I usually show some equipment and tell about our operation. Then
I show the video and take questions. It’s easy to fill a
60 to 90 minute slot.
Submitted by Phil Ebert
The beekeeping education classes will finish
up in mid March. We had 66 total students in five classes. I think
this has been a successful venture. Thanks to all the instructors
who donated their time. Ron Wehr, Vern Ramsey, Pat Randal, Gale
Urquhart, John Johnson, Margaret Hala, Pat and Peggy Ennis and
Submitted by Phil Ebert
Both bee magazines are available to IHP members
at a reduced rate. To qualify for the discount, you need to get
a coupon from Gordon Powell. He can e-mail it to you or send a
copy in the mail. You can contact Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 4012 54th St, Des Moines, Ia 50310
Annual Meeting Date
Speakers have been lined up for the fall annual
meeting. Dates for this years meeting will be Nov 17& 18.
Jamie Ellis of the University of Georgia and Zachary Huang of
Michigan State University will be the headliners. The business
meeting will be Saturday morning. Workshops will be in the afternoon.