THE BEEYARD REPORT
We have fallen into the weather pattern of the last three summers--wet and wetter. I'm writing this on June 20. We have already had between 9 and 10" of rain. The average for June over the last three years is 12". "Normal" is between 4" and 5". I had a brief conversation with Tony Schmitz. He likes to keep posted on weather conditions so he has some idea where his honey is going to come from. He had called people all over the country and all were unanimous that the weather was really bad. We still have time but I am a little nervous.
We had some good weather at the end of May and the first few days of June. There was a good locust bloom. I saw wild raspberries in bloom May 29 and yellow sweet clover on June 1. There was some Dutch clover in May but the really good emergence was around June 3. We started putting supers on around May 15 and were finished by June 1. We have a few colonies with honey on them. A few cut comb boxes are almost finished. Our best yard is at the south end of Marion County. Most of the others have yet to store much.
I finally mowed the grass on June 3. The horses had been eating part of it but it was so tall you couldn't tell where they had been. The first time through, I cut part of it but a lot of it just got bent over. It looked better after the second time.
Our colony count in the Lynnville area is around 580. Adam has another 150 south of Cedar Rapids so, overall, our numbers are up. We peaked somewhere around 600 last year. I am amazed we can make a living with such a small number of colonies. It helps that we are diversified. We have more to rely on than honey production. Adam is backed up on queen orders. He is getting 5 to 15 calls a day. There are only a little over 120 mating nucs that are loaded right now. Demand is way ahead of supply. We didn't have enough bees early on to start all the nucs. Our first job was to fill the holes in our yards. Queen rearing is secondary.
We are changing our tank setup. I want to be able to hold two barrels in the overhead tanks above the bottling sump. The present setup only holds one barrel. Timing has to be just right to have the tanks empty so they can hold the next barrel. I need more flexibility. We are also making some small alterations to our extracting setup. All that involves is moving one of the extractors to make it easier to get the empty supers out of the extracting area.
I had to buy a cell phone. It was becoming difficult to find a pay phone. I am not mentally geared to being "hooked up". I don't like to answer the phone during the day unless I happen to be in the house. Don't ask me for my cell phone number. The last thing that occurs to me is to look for something on the internet. I have needed a new bug baffler for a couple of years. I couldn't find one in the sporting goods stores. Diana has the internet on her phone. One day, when we were driving between yards, she looked one up for me on the internet. Ordering it was a simple matter.
By the time you read this, I will have turned 69. I am starting to feel it. I just don't have the juice I used to. Alex has had to pick up the slack the last couple of years. I am always surprised when some of the Viet Nam guys look old to me. That was my era. I came down on orders twice for Viet Nam but they were cancelled both times. After I got out of the army, I spent three years on an Israeli Nahal settlement next to the Gaza Strip. It was nothing like Viet Nam but I know what it's like to be shot at. It puts you in touch with your own mortality.
Let's hope for dry weather
Submitted by Phil Ebert
Iowa Honey Queen
I have been on the go constantly sometimes running like chicken with its head cut off. I have been working very hard on the classes I am taking at dmacc for the summer while at the same time doing jobs for the Iowa state pre vet club. I have yet to find a job but things have to get better. I can't wait to see you all at field day and the state fair. Keep me in your thoughts.