Featured Beekeeper of the
This month our featured beekeeper is Delmar and
Fern Nelson of Kellogg, IA. Rock Creek Honey is the name of their
beekeeping business. This is their story.
Delmar has placed his hives on 5 gallon buckets
to keep the mice out in this picture from 2005. He has also
recycled some old vending machines to use as storage cabinets.
I started beekeeping 3 years ago because my fruit
trees were not producing fruit. Since I knew very little about
bees, I took a beekeeping class by Phil Meyers. I started with
1 hive. The 2nd year I had 4 hives, and this last year I went
into winter with 12 hives. I plan to expand to 20 hives this summer.
The first year I sold honey at farmers markets
in 8, 12, 16 oz bears, 3, 5 lb. jugs, and Ross Rounds. This year
I started filling honey straws in 10 flavors and 9 flavors of
honey in 8 oz bears. The flavors were half of my sales so I will
add more flavors next year. I am experimenting with honey root
beer soda that I will sell this summer.
It is great to have repeat customers at the farmers
market telling me how much they like my products. My wife, Fern,
and I have found many uses for our honey. One is we roast black
walnuts in honey. For years we threw the walnuts away and now
have them for snacks all the time.
My future plans are to try new ideas to control
Varroa mites without chemicals. I use screen bottom boards now
and my mite count was lower this past year. Next summer I am going
to try bottom boards with plastic tubes in place of the screen.
I am a member of the Central Iowa Beekeepers
Association, Back to Basics Beekeeping Club and Iowa Honey Producers
Association. I try to attend as many meetings as I can as there
is so much to learn by talking to the members and everyone is
willing to help.
One of my most memorable experiences is when
I took the last of the honey supers off this past fall. I always
put the supers in my van to keep the bees out of them and take
them down the hill to my shop. When I got to the stop, there were
a few bees flying around inside my van so I decided to open the
tail gate and let the bees out. The bees were flying out and up
the hill so I went inside for coffee. When I looked out all my
bees from the hives were flying down the hill into my van. It
was a week before I could drive my van.
I plan on beekeeping as long as I can walk up
the hill to take care of them.
Thanks for your story Delmar!
Submitted by Ron Wehr
IHPA Pest Control Video
Work on the IHP video covering foul brood identification
and estimating Varroa mite load is progressing. Alex got some
excellent footage of the rope test for foulbrood.
After we got the footage we needed, we shook
the bees from two foul colonies into the same box of foundation
and gave them a new queen. We went back two weeks later for a
second look. The combs had been drawn perfectly and the bees were
We also have footage of ether rolls and using
sticky boards. The only thing we really lack is a colony that
has crashed from Varroa mites. There is a very funky looking appearance
of the brood when this happens. It can be mistaken for foul brood.
It would be nice to have the video done for the annual meeting
but I think spring is a more likely time frame.
Submitted by Phil Ebert