Greetings to the Iowa Honey Producers!!!
I always find this time of year to be a great
time for reflection, and this season has given me a great deal
to reflect on. It is hard to believe that it has 6 months since
the honor of being your queen was bestowed on me, and I must say
that it has been an incredible six months. I have visited many
places, given many speeches and presentations. However, the best
part of this time has been the time spent meeting people.
Since I wrote last, I was able to spend the day
at the Central Iowa Beekeeper’s Auction. It was a little
cold, but thanks to the hard work of many it was a day well spent.
I met many new people, and I look forward to working with them
With the summer months here, I want to remind
you to include honey in all of your cooking. Don’t be afraid
to experiment. After all, if it has honey in it you really can’t
go wrong. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was trying to find something
quick to take to a pot-luck. This might not have been a hard task,
except for the fact that I am a college student and my fridge
did not exactly contain the necessary ingredients for a gourmet
dinner. After a little digging, I discovered that 2 pounds of
ground beef, a jar of salsa, and a ½ cup of honey makes
a delightful sloppy-joe.
Thank you all for you encouragement and support,
I am truly excited to serve you more over the next few months.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me with anything
at (712) 779-0321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to help out in any way!
2005 Iowa Honey Queen
June Beeyard Report
We finished splitting on May 10th. I got my yard
mowed for the first time on May 13th. The horse had been eating
it but she doesn’t get a very even cut. We have gone through
an incredible amount of syrup. There just haven’t been many
flying days. We have spent several days working in the yards when
there was zero flight. When we finally hit a nice day toward the
end of splitting, I thought, ”The bees will be in good humor
today.” Since it was warm and quite humid, I only wore a
light shirt. This proved to be a poor choice. We hit a mean hive
on the second colony we worked and they stayed with us through
the whole yard. We had gotten a pickup stuck in this yard a few
days earlier. It’s at the bottom of a steep hill. We drove
in there after dark to pull the wraps. The grass on the hill was
tall and quite wet. We couldn’t get back up the hill. Adam
had to come and rescue us. When we came back with the flatbed,
we brought the chains. After we got the pickup out, I had a premonition
we were going to have a problem so we chained up the flatbed before
we started working the yard. I was really glad we didn’t
have to put the chains on with a lot of mad bees after us.
I nearly always overestimate what I am going
to get out of the bees. I look at the number left alive and project
a number of splits. I don’t know how many colonies wound
up queenless but it was quite a few. Some yards were good but
others had three of four queenless. We probably averaged around
two per yard. It you take that times twenty five yards, we are
down another fifty colonies. By the time we get back to super,
some of the big colonies will have swarmed even though we split
them. It makes one wonder how we make any money at this. I don’t
know where our colony count is but I think somewhere around 600.
All of the equipment we had stacked up has bees in it. We even
used all the junk I save for backup.
Adam has done his first graft. We will be keeping
nucs on hand for queen replacement until the middle of July. If
past trends continue we will need sixty to seventy nucs to keep
our colony count up. We also hope to sell a few queens. This is
the first year we have made any attempt to select breeding stock.
In the past we just selected a good looking queen that seemed
to be doing okay. Then we put the mating nucs close to a yard
that had a lot of drones. This year we selected the breeders and
drone mothers from our top producing colonies of 2004. The other
criterion was that they come through the winter with two boxes
of bees. We set these colonies up in a yard near home. At this
point the post office in Lynnville is still trying to determine
if we will be allowed to mail queens from here. UPS is a lot more
reliable but is more expensive if you are only sending one or
two queens. We don’t look for our queens but we find some
of them by accident. We mark the ones we produce ourselves. We
saw a number of them when we went through the yards this spring.
It was gratifying to see them doing well.
I had my first wax sale overseas to a soap company
in Japan. They have beeswax readily available in Japan but they
can’t find wax free of chemicals. They like to use beeswax
as it makes the soap set up faster. It wasn’t a big sale--around
$200--but it was exciting just the same. I have hopes it may get
Here’s hoping for a big year.
Submitted by Phil Ebert