From the American Honey
Greetings Iowa Beekeepers!
The semester here at ISU is quickly flying by, and I am looking
forward to the excitement of the spring and summer months. The
shock has not yet completely worn off from the ABF convention.
Whenever I think about the wonderful promotions that the next
year will bring, I almost feel like I need to check to make sure
the crown is still there.
Speaking of those promotions, back in January
I had the opportunity to join Polly Carver-Kim from 93.3 KIOA
on her Sunday morning show called “Information Iowa.”
We spent about 15 minutes talking about the wonderful things that
bees do for people, and even shared a couple recipes on the air.
I was also able to submit recipes for her monthly newsletter.
On March 3rd and 4th I will be in Overland Park,
Kansas for the joint meeting of the Kansas Honey Producers and
the Missouri State Beekeepers. There are many wonderful speakers
planned. Furthermore, I will be helping in the selection of the
new Kansas Honey Queen as well as doing some training with both
the Kansas and Missouri Queens.
Something that I have been working on intensively
this past month is a new program that is in the works for the
IHPA. It is called the IHPA Youth Beekeeping Partnership Program,
and it is a program designed to help get new youth involved in
the industry. More information will be printed in The Buzz next
month, but begin thinking about possibly helping out. The whole
purpose is to bring young people into the organization, strengthening
both the IHPA and the industry. The backbone of the program will
be YOU, the members, and we will need people who are willing to
serve as mentors to the young people. Be thinking about the option,
and watch for more information next month.
Until then, please do not hesitate to contact me for anything.
I can be reached at (712) 779-0321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2006 American Honey Princess
The Beeyard Report
We had looked at about 275 hives in 17 yards
as of the 15th of February. There were 14 dead ones and 38 that
I rated as weak. That means they have less than four frames of
visible bees. 127 were excellent. That means they have a box full
of bees. Everything in between is rated as good. Some of the colonies
I rated as weak will have bees in the bottom that I didn’t
know about. By the same token, some of the good ones will dwindle
down to almost nothing. It evens out.
It’s too early to predict actual death
loss but things look promising at this point. If I had to put
a number on it, I would estimate our death loss will be around
20%. I was concerned about the early end to brood rearing last
fall. The young bees that go through the winter have higher protein
content in their bodies. They need it because they have to live
until spring without any pollen coming in, Most of the colonies
looked like they had plenty of bees but we put the pollen supplement
to them anyway. I find making patties a real pain. We mix the
supplement with three parts syrup. It’s just stiff enough
to hold together when we dump it on the top bars. It has to be
pretty wet or it will dry out and get hard before the bees take
it down. We used to put it in with a big spoon but the supplement
always stuck to the spoon. It got to be real inconvenient. We
found this year that an ice cream scoop works real well. We get
as much as we can on the scoop. The ejection mechanism on the
scoop dumps the supplement out nicely.
I went up to Orange City to visit Anthony last
November. I stopped at Storm Lake on the way home to visit Bob
Guntren. Bob is out of the bee business but he had some odds and
ends left. Among the things I picked up were 50 winter cartons.
I had never used them before. This spring, the best bees I have
seen so far are the ones in the cartons. I don’t know if
the cartons are better or if it’s just the luck of the draw.
We have used colony quilt to wrap the last few years. It’s
pretty good but seems to stretch over the winter. It looks tight
when we put it on. When we go back in the spring, it’s real
baggy. This really cuts down on the heat retention.
In other new developments, we bought a Swinger.
I had been thinking about a Swinger or Bobcat for some time. In
early January, I was driving past the skid loader dealer in Sully.
I was really surprised to see a Swinger with a bucket sitting
in his lot. We dickered on it for a month before I decided to
buy it. I can’t think of anything I like about having bees
on pallets except that they are easy to move.
I don’t think we will ever get all of
our bees on pallets. Some of our best yards are hard to get into.
Pulling a trailer into them is out of the question. Others are
not level enough for pallets. I want to get around 200 colonies
on pallets this year. This should be enough to show if this is
a workable system for us. The up side of pallets is that it gives
us the option of going to California for almond pollination. There
will be a lot of new acres coming into production in 2008.
It makes me nervous to start tinkering with
a system that has worked well for us. The hope is that it will
make us more efficient and give us more options on the things
we can do. We’ll see if it stands the test of time.
Submitted by Phil Ebert