Beekeeper’s Record & Journal
The following was reprinted with the permission of the estate of Richard Taylor. The material is from the book, “Beekeeper’s Record & Journal”, text by Richard Taylor, and designed and illustrated by Cynthia Diamond. This book (among other items) was donated to the youth during the 2009 IHPA annual meeting in October at the Best Western Regency Inn in Marshalltown. After the meeting, this book was not taken and is now the property of the Iowa Honey Producers Association, Historian. I have enjoyed reading it, and thought the membership would also. As stated by Kim Flottum, Editor of the Bee Culture; “We have a Gem”.
Peggy Ennis, IHPA Historian
June is the month of sudden completion. Even through May life seemed like a struggle. The bees worked feverishly to enlarge their colony, to bring it to a strength adequate to any adversity, and to the point where it could safely divide itself by casting a swarm. In June it achieves this, and from now on we see hives of bees settled into the routine of honey gathering-provided, of course, we have anticipated their impulse to swarm, and taken steps to prevent it. In June the foliage, too, has completed its fullness. A few days ago, it seems, the trees were budding, and it was as though summer would enter casually. But than with a rush it was over, and summer was unmistakably here. Gone are the trillium, columbines, violets and hepaticas of spring, replaced by the sweet clovers, mustard and sumacs that promise honey in the combs.
June is a time for supering up. The first supers went on in May, but the first spectacular gains recorded on the hive scales are likely to be in June. June also marks the height of the swarming season. Not matter how you tried, or how timely you were in taking precautions, it will be strange indeed if none of your colonies swarms, Besides this, calls will come from far and wide, summoning the beekeeper to come deal with swarms of unknown origin, clustered in unlikely places. Do not be afraid of bringing bee diseases back to your apiary with wild swarms. It rarely happens, in spite of a widespread superstition of the contrary. More than one person has suffered dreadful injury by climbing after a swarm, though it is almost never really necessary to climb at all. If you can get a comb of unsealed brood up into contact with a clustered swarm, then within an hour or so the bees will cluster upon that, and it can be lowered, swarm and all, to the safety of the ground. And if you keep on hand a few simple screened boxes, about the size of a hive body, you can keep stray swarms in these for several days at a time, in a cool place, then hive them at a time and place of your choosing. To get a swarm into such a box, you can dump into a large funnel, thence through a hole in the side of the box. That is far easier and simpler than hiving them on the spot, than being obliged to move the hive later on.
Richard Taylor was born 1919 and passed away October 30, 2003 in New York. He earned his PhD at Brown University and taught principally at Brown University, Columbia, and University of Rochester. He was an American Philosopher, renowned for his dry wit and his contributions to Metaphysics. Although it is well known he was a philosopher – he was far better known as a beekeeper. It is often said – “I have never met a beekeeper who has not heard of Richard Taylor”. He owned 300 hives and from 1970 produced mostly comb honey. His significant contributions to beekeeping are - authoring many books on beekeeping - among these are the two; “The comb Honey Book” and “The Joys of Beekeeping”, and regularly writing articles for bee journals. His near legendary honey stand at the roadside in front of his country home operated on the honor system, secured only by gentle solicitations to honesty posted on its walls.
To “bee” continued next month……
THE BEEYARD REPORT
Things are really rolling in the beeyards. Pollen has come in steadily since the beginning of April. There was a great dandelion bloom. Add that to hot days and we have had the perfect storm for bees. We have made up our death loss, expanded our numbers and still had bees left to sell. It has been a real horse race to get around fast enough. At this writing, we only have about 2/3 of our yards supered. Some of them are storing honey already.
We have been melting old combs for the last couple of years. Both years were really bad for drawing wax. Last winter we wintered quite a few colonies as a story and a half. We wanted to get them into doubles so we have been putting lots of frames together. I like to get the frames preassembled but there weren't going to be any available until mid summer. I'm not a big fan of plastic frames even though they are cheap.
So, we had to get out the staple gun. I have been torn as to whether to super or give foundation. There is honey coming in. Finally, we gave most of the colonies foundation. This may be the best chance we have all year to draw wax.
Most of the bloom has been way ahead of schedule but the sweet clover is gong to be about normal. It is just showing in the road ditch. The temps hit 90 on the 21st. The dutch clover really opened up that day.
Alex had a big swarm hive itself in some boxes he had on the truck. That is a first. It took two boxes to hold it all. It sure beats climbing a tree to shake them down. The boys have been pulling a frame or two of brood out of the big colonies when they super. It really seems to hold down swarming. Of course, now that I have said that, the bees will probably make a liar out of me.
The Field Day is pretty much going to be about how we do things. The way we do it may be totally wrong for you. I would still encourage you to come and see if you can pick up an idea that would fit your system. I'm not real creative. Most of my good ideas were stolen from someone else.
I am good at recognizing things that will fit my system. You are welcome to walk through the building during the registration period. The boys will be around to answer your questions. We will try to give you some idea of what the flow is. Understand, though, that no building is ever big enough.
I went to the Small Food Manufacturers Conference put on by the University of Nebraska. It was well attended. I think the economic development people may have outnumbered the producers. There were some illuminating sessions on dealing with brokers and distributors. There were also some good sessions on internet marketing. I'm not much of a techie. We have web site but Alex deals with that.
Let's hope for a good summer.
Submitted by Phil Ebert