Dates To Bee Remembered
10/29/2009 IHPA Board Meeting at the Best Western Regency Inn, Marshalltown at 7 p.m.
10/30&31/2009 Annual Meeting at the Best Western Regency Inn, Marshalltown, IA
October Tips for the Beekeeping Year
Are your bees ready for winter? You might want to consider the following:
Apply either terramyacin powder or patties as an American Foul Brood preventative.
Wrap your hives with the hive wrap of your choice. Remember that the honey bees need to be able to exit the hive during warmer weather for cleansing flights, don't wrap them too tight, leave an escape route. Note: Honey bees keep the hive around 90 degrees winter and summer, wrapping them too tightly might result in suffocation.
Ensure that they have enough reserves for winter. Feed the bees as needed.
Place a small stick or pebble (about 1/16" thick) under the inner cover to vent the hive. Moisture is one of the major problems for a hive during winter months.
If you haven't installed your entrance reducers, do so now. They help keep rodents out of the hive.
If you are not wrapping your hives, move the colonies to their protected winter location, usually facing south.
Register for the Annual meeting. Many helpful tips can be obtained by attending the Annual Meeting of the Iowa Honey Producers Association on October 30th and 31st in Marshalltown at the Best Western Regency Inn. Fellowship results in many different options for keeping honey bees.
Bring your award-winning photos, your outstanding honey foods and any mead or wine that you make to the Annual meeting for the contests between members. It is great fun to see the photos, taste the scrumptious food and to sip the different meads that our members offer.
Consider becoming a mentor for the IHPA youth scholarship beekeeping program. Contact Mike Brahms, (712) 778-4255 or firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer. We need you to let us know that you would be willing to guide a young person in learning the skills necessary to become a beekeeper. The youth are the future of this organization.
Iowa Beekeeping on the Brink
Glen L. Stanley
Iowa State Apiarist Emeritus
Iowa beekeepers witnessed the second poorest honey crop in the beekeeping history of Iowa beekeeping. In just a few days in June some colonies managed to store some honey in the surplus honey supers. That was followed by weeks of weather and days when the bees didn’t bring enough honey for their own use. The end result of that is devastating.
Under any ordinary circumstances colonies would remove and use the honey that had been stored in the surplus honey supers. NO, NOT THIS TIME! The bees used the honey that was in the brood chambers and as the cells were emptied the queen expanded her egg laying so as of the middle of September most colonies have ten or more combs of brood at a time of year when they should have maybe three or four. This has left the brood chambers feather light as far as honey is concerned.
I haven’t weighed my colonies yet but I expect to put at least 30 pounds of honey back into them.
One other year, it may have been in the 1960’s there was an average of twenty-five pounds of surplus honey on our own few hundred and that was the State’s average. All during those years our colonies would produce from 125 to 150 annually. However, that year recovery was much easier since even then the bees had provided themselves fairly well in the brood chambers. SO, Wintering the colonies was no different than usual.
Keep in mind that two standard brood chambers with empty combs weighs 37 pounds. By having no questionable amount of honey, bees and brood the total weight needs to be 115 pounds without the outer cover. Then no need to be concerned until next April.
With doing everything possible I may be a bit pessimistic BUT I for see at least 80 percent plus loss of colonies in the months ahead. You will not have honey available to supply the need and get adequate sugar syrup into them is next to an impossibility. Iowa State College Bee research told us years ago that it takes two pounds of sugar to equal one pound of honey. Then the bees work hard to convert the sugar to invert for their use. So, if 30 pounds brings my colonies up to weight it would require 60 pounds of sugar.
We always say “maybe next year”, I hope there is a next year.
Glen L. Stanley