THE BEEYARD REPORT
I'm way late getting this in. It's April 29. We were super busy and then my computer went down. So here we are. Package bees are history--much to my relief. It got pretty hectic. The first load wasn't too bad. We only had about fifty people. The 2nd load was the big one. The truck didn't arrive until about 3:30 in the afternoon. People started lining up in my driveway at 7:00 AM. There was quite a crowd here when the truck showed up. I knew we were going to be jammed up so I had asked Larry Burnell to come down from Grinnell to help us. I thought I could get the invoices handed out by my self. How wrong I was. It got jammed up in a hurry. Fortunately, one of the ladies stepped up and helped me. I am not totally sure who she was. I thought it was Paul Bixenstine's wife but I noticed the name on the check was Jason Bixenstine. Whoever you were, your assistance was greatly appreciated.
Hauling package bees is tricky business. The main problem is the heat they generate but it is still possible to get them too cold. Temperature is controlled with air flow that is regulated with vents on the trailer. Ambient temperature in the trailer can be right but the bees can still be chilled by cold air rushing by them if the outside temp is low. Craig Greene hauled for us this year. He did a nice job but it wasn't without problems. The biggest problem was when his truck blew up near Rock Springs, Wyoming. He dealt with everything that happened and got the job done.
Later on, I was talking to Yvonne Koehnen. A name came up and she said, "I remember him. His truck blew up in Reno." Some years ago, I met Phil Kurkoski on the road to pick up some packages. We both pulled out of the parking lot at the same time but going in opposite directions. I watched him in my rear view mirror for quite a while and noticed it took him a long time to pull away from the stop sign. I found out later that he only made it around the corner when his transmission shelled out. He had to rent a cube van to put the rest of the bees in. Luckily, it was cold with snow on the ground. They stopped every hour or so and threw snow into the box to cool off the bees. You don't have to lose very many packages to accumulate a loss of several thousand dollars. We are insured against catastrophic loss but the smaller ones, we have to eat.
There are some really interesting people that come to get packages. I knew of Jim Cherry but I had never met him before. I instantly noticed his Smokejumper belt buckle. He jumped with the Missoula group around 1960. That is about the same time I was fighting fires with Hot Shot Crews in Southern California. The Smokejumpers and the Hot Shots are the crazy people. They go where nobody else goes. We are also both Forestry graduates--Jim from Iowa State and me from Oregon State. Jim has had an interesting path through life. Ask him about it if you meet him.
Our bees look great. Alex gave many of the colonies a third story so he wouldn't have to haul the boxes home. We are finding all three boxes full of bees and some have swarm cells. The only question in my mind is, "How many colonies can we handle without Adam?" The problem is in the fall. There are too many things to do all at once.
I hope you are all having a successful spring.
Submitted by Phil Ebert
The “FBI” is now in Central Iowa!
Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa (“FBI”) is a new club in Indianola, IA. The FBI was organized by the spring beekeeping class of Mike Wyatt. The name was inspired by instructor Mike Wyatt, who after retiring from the FBI, had to find a hobby. And what started as a hobby has become a passion for him. He is now teaching beekeeping to others.
As old and new beekeepers know, one can never have too much information or support. That’s what the FBIs are all about. Whether you’re curious non-beekeeper, a new or experienced beekeeper, we would like to have you join us.
The FBI will meet the Fourth Thursday of each month, April through October, at 6:30 to 8:30pm with a Guest Speaker and discussion. As the weather warms, bees will fly and beekeepers will seek the sunshine, tours of bee yards and honey houses will be scheduled. The dates, times and locations will be announced in upcoming meetings. The FBIs will meet at the Indianola City Public Library, 207 N. “B” Street, on the corner of N “B” Street and E Boston Avenue. There will be no meetings in November or December due to the holidays.
All are welcome!! Please come join us.
Friendly Beekeepers of Iowa
Contact: Judy Spence
12839 Carpenter Trail
Carlisle, IA 50047
Judy Spence (515) 988-8397
Rhonda Heston (515) 724-2124