Greetings from the President of the IHPA
Dear Honey Producers,
Another Iowa State Fair is finished. Thank you to so many volunteers for helping make it a success. Facts and figures will be given after all bills and commitments are calculated. It is so amazing that the fairgrounds change so much during the fair. Fairgoers are very interested in our products and are always asking questions. The theme in the Agriculture building was –Ask a Farmer, we changed it to –Ask a Beekeeper! We get many questions so we decided to capitalize on it for our theme also. Thanks again to all those who worked in the IHPA sales booth, provided products, entered exhibits, or to those who visited the fair and those who helped me out.
Amber was her usual bubbly self and helped immensely in the booth by answering questions, helping to judge the food made with honey entries and presenting talks to the public.
September is National Honey Month, so let’s celebrate honey and beekeeping. Plan to have some extra events to bring awareness to the public. It really helps a business when there is a promotion going on. Contact newspapers and radios for news releases. If you need information, check out the National Honey Board website, nhb.org. Put information on websites, etc. It is really easy to get people excited about honey.
September usually brings on the extracting parties! Please check out the article concerning September tips. Remember to check for mite levels, treat if needed, check the honey stores for the bees and make sure that the honey bees are well prepared for winter. I sure hope your honey bees made lots of honey this summer and you have a great supply of wonderful Iowa Honey for your customers and of course, for yourself.
Make plans to attend the Annual Meeting of the Iowa Honey Producers Association. The event will be held in Marshalltown at the Best Western Regency Inn on November 5th and 6th. Lots of great speakers, fun, fellowship and networking is always present at the meeting. Please consider running for an office or become a board member. Serving this organization with your energy is a great way to improve beekeeping in the state of Iowa. There will be contests and we will get to meet the new group of youth scholarship recipients. Contact Pat Randol with questions.
Speaking of the youth program, the deadline is September 15. If you know of a youth desiring to become a beekeeper, contact Mike at (712) 778-4255 or email@example.com or get the information from the IHPA website, ABuzzAboutBees.com. The youth need to fill out a completed application and get it mailed to Mike by September 15. We have really been fortunate to have such great kids participate.
September is extremely busy around our home. Apples are getting ready, people have been asking for them since May. We will be giving tours to school children and others. We are having events almost each week-end in September and October to attract additional customers. Hope your harvest is wonderful and you will “bee” pleased with Iowa products for your customers.
Bee safe and have an enjoyable September. I enjoy this time of year even though it is so hectic. Hope you do also.
Donna Brahms, IHPA President
Possible Breakthrough in Breeding
A British beekeeper says he may have discovered a strain of honey bee immune to a parasite that has been gradually wiping out populations of the vital insect worldwide. Scientists have been trying to find a way to fight the pesticide-resistant Varroa mite.
But now a retired heating engineer who spent 18 years searching for a mite-resistant breed may have found a breakthrough. Ron Hoskins, 79, from Swindon in southern England, says he has managed to isolate and breed a strain of bees which "groom" one another, removing the mites.
[Ron Hoskins, Bee Researcher]:
"We noticed that some of them were very healthy and surviving, not debilitated at all and it triggered: 'Why, what's happening, what's going on?'"
After examining enlarged images of dead mites recovered from the hives containing healthy bees he found some had been damaged.
[Ron Hoskins, Bee Researcher]:
"That damage is obvious, it's done by another bee tearing this off a sister bee."
His work received backing from Francis Ratniek, professor of apiculture at Sussex University, south of London.
[Francis Ratniek, Professor of Apiculture]:
"I certainly agree with the general idea of trying to breed disease-resistant honey bees and in fact we’re doing that at the University of Sussex. What we're breeding for in Sussex is what we call ‘hygiene’ – not so much grooming, but the removal of dead or dying individuals so that the Varroa mites can't breed easily and other diseases can't spread on larvae and pupae."
Hoskins says recent research has found more than two thirds of Britain's honeybees have been lost to the parasite. He is now looking for funding to further his research and has an invitation from Australian officials and counterparts eager to keep the parasite at bay.