Greetings from the President of the IHPA
Dear Honey Producers:
What a wonderful time we had in Germany. We have had several inquiries and the weather was really nice, only sprinkled a couple of afternoons and the flowering trees and plants were just gorgeous. We walked and walked and walked to visit many different places. One in particular was the Brahmshaus in Baden-Baden. When we arrived at the museum, we were given special treatment because no other Brahms's had visited before. The beekeepers over there are having trouble just as we are with keeping honey bees alive. Another problem is that the beekeepers are getting older and the children or other family members don't wish to continue with the beekeeping. They are experiencing fewer beekeepers. The amount of fruit trees and garden plots were just amazing to us. Everywhere we looked we could see flowering trees and gardens.
We did find several markets with honey and products for sale. We talked to them about honey, but sometimes the language barrier got in the way. We even found one complete store filled with honey, beeswax products, mead and candles. We also found another store that supplied beeswax candles for churches. Boy, were there some wonderful looking candles. One person we talked to thought that President Bush should really be concerned that the beekeeping industry was experiencing trouble. When we went through customs in Atlanta, we declared that we had honey and mead, so we were routed to the area where our suitcases could be scanned and looked through. The inspector didn't even bother to look at the honey or the mead, he was concerned with the candles that we had purchased. He said with colony collapse disorder that honeycomb couldn't be brought into the country. I tried to explain that it was no longer honeycomb, but refined beeswax now and the honey bees wouldn't even get close to it. He had been a beekeeper assistant for a couple of years and didn't quite grasp the nature of what we were trying to tell him. I finally said that they were candles now, not raw beeswax. I guess they are trying to protect our industry, but they weren't quite sure how to do it. We did make it home with all of the honey, mead, candy and candles. We toured a glass-blowing factory in the Black Forest that had bees on their dishes. Needless to say, we brought several pieces home with us.
We need to thank everyone that made the package delivery for the youth program possible. Thanks to Louise Johnson and John Johnson for taking over the responsibility for distributing the packages. We have heard from several of the youth participants and their bees are doing well. Thanks for your help with this very important aspect of our organization, without youth our growth is limited.
By now several of you are aware that the Libraries in Iowa are doing a summer program, Catch the Reading Bug. I don't know if you have been contacted by your local library, but I sure have been asked to speak at lots of them. I have been referring names to them. I hope if you are contacted that you will make every effort to give a presentation. It is great exposure for our Iowa beekeepers.
I have been contacted by some members about the apiary registration process. I do realize that in the past we have had some issues with the registration. We now have a state apiarist to assist in the process and will handle complaints of spraying or anything else that arises. We didn't have that luxury in the past 6 years. The over-worked staff at the IDALS department were not always able to respond. Please give the registration another try. It is the only recourse you have if your hives are affected by spraying. Remember if you don't register your hives, how is anyone to know where they are located and who they need to contact when they are in the area to spray. The street goes both ways--we need to work with the chemical companies and they need to have the information to contact us and work with us. If you have any suggestions, please contact me or let Andy know your concerns. I will talk to Andy concerning your suggestions and about the letters that I have received.
Don't forget about the Queen Rearing Field Day coming soon. [Page 6] It will be held on June 14th in Perry at Curt and Connie Bronnenberg's. Don't forget to send in your registration and plan to attend a fun, educational day learning about queens. You will also get to spend some time with fellow beekeepers. I will be available for part of the day to sign people up for working at the state fair. IHPA t-shirts will also be available for purchase that day.
Check for the article concerning the need for workers at the Iowa State Fair in the IHPA sales booth. [Page 5] We are hoping for record sales again this year, so we need lots of volunteers to help in the booth. A new aspect of the state fair for the IHPA membership will be the informative talks given each day at 2:00 p.m. in the new Paul R Knapp Animal Learning Center and Christensen Farms Hall. There is a committee working on the outline and the material for the presentations. We will have a standard presentation that can be given by several presenters throughout the fair. If you are interested in helping with this, please let us know.
Don't forget about the National Honey Board promotion with the Iowa Cubs on July 9th. The game time will be 7:05 and the NHB representatives will be on hand with honey stix. If an IHPA member wishes to attend they would be very welcome to help hand out information. There is another article with the details in this issue. [Page 8] This is another great opportunity to spread the work about honey, beekeeping and the necessity of the honey bee to the public.
We are putting on supers like crazy right now. I hope this continues. Our fruit trees and strawberry patch are just loaded with blossoms. They appear to come alive when we pass by them. The buzzing sound has intrigued our grandchildren. Jack, JoAnn and Zane have been looking for honey bees on the flowers. Jack even walked over to the strawberry patch, squatted down, looked at the flowers and "called" to the honey bees,"come over here honey bees, I want to see you." He was just thrilled when he found a bee on a flower. JoAnn and Jack also witnessed a hummingbird displace a honey bee on a dandelion flower. They were excited about that also. Hope your honey bees are doing well and are bringing in the pollen and nectar. Keep an eye on your hives and make sure there is enough room for the growth of the bee population and enough storage room for nectar at all times throughout the nectar flow. This should help keep down the swarming.
Enjoy this busy time of year, but don't forget to smell the flowers also.
Donna Brahms, IHPA President