Greetings from the President
I can’t believe another month has gone by. It seems just yesterday I was writing the August news letter. It would make sense if I submitted last month late and this month on time but that is certainly not the case as this article is the latest one yet.
The harvest is well underway and the crop looks fairly good so far. The potential for a fall flow seems slim but we can still always hope. The State Fair has come and gone and I think we had another very successful event, as good as or better than many in the past.
Donna managed to come up with enough people to staff the honey lemonade stand as well as the “Bee Hive” sales booth. I worked a couple of evenings at the booth but Connie, our Iowa Honey Queen, Ellie Johnson, and her Grandmother Bev Powell was at their post rolling candles every single day of the Fair. Connie also spent time helping at the booth and selling lemonade. Judging the amount of honey used for the lemonade, I think it may be a record year of honey lemonade sales. Honey and wax sales seemed to be good also, judging by the amount delivered was equal to or greater than last year. I am anxious to get a report from Donna to see how the final figures came out.
Andy Joseph will be taking over as the Apiary Division Superintendent for the 2012 Fair replacing Melanie Bower who has done a good job for the past several years. The Apiary entries seemed to be down this year. The more common classes had good participation but the others had few entries. There was only one display showcase and only two Observation hives. The Observation Hives are one of the big draws to get people to the booth, so when I saw the shortage I went home and made up two more so we could at least fill up the bottom row. I can’t complain about the entries much this year because Connie or I didn’t make the entry deadline this year so we didn’t get anything entered. I think it might be a good idea to use IHPA funds to establish a better incentive program to get new people or more people to get apiary entries to the Fair. The observation hives are a tradition to many and they just have to go see the “Bees”. Going past the “Bees” will take them past the entire IHPA display as well as the sales area. We need to strive to make this our educational and enjoyable experience. I think we should be paying more to those who take the time and effort to enter the Observation Hives class because taking the Queen and frame of bees and brood from a good working hive can and will cause the hive serious problems is certain procedures aren’t followed. A replacement Queen plus monetary payment might provide more incentive. I’ll think more about encouraging more State Fair participation for the 2012 Anniversary Year and talk about it in the next president’s message or at the Annual Meeting in November.
Anybody who has questions or concerns about IHPA Activities or has suggestions about changes in procedures, comments about IHPA committees, state fair entries, or state fair sales booth or officer positions feel free to contact me by phone or E-mail.
Have Fun but Work Hard
Harvest Your Honey
Treat For Mites
Bee Happy, Curt Bronnenberg
Cell # 515-480-6075
E-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org
Survival of the Winter Bees
As I write this the month of August is rapidly becoming history. As we get into September it becomes time to make inspections in order to determine which colonies meet any or all qualifications for wintering. By the first of October all colonies should have three combs with some brood to provide the late hatch of bees that will survive the winter. If no brood it is for sure the old bees within the hive will not live through the winter.
By one means or another all colonies should be brought up to weight to assure there will be adequate stores for the long months of no source of nectar. Those months are from September to April. Without a scale for weighing, the best test is the equivalent of one FULL brood chamber of honey.
Within most any beekeepers management there will be approximately ten percent of colonies that are so far under par that it is not practical to attempt building them up to wintering condition. So, winter the best well and by using a brood equalization program make up the Fall losses in the Spring.
It is amazing how those, more or less beginning beekeepers, and some that have been keeping bees for years believe they have the ideal management while at the same time are having winter losses ranging from 10 percent to 50 percent or more. Ten percent should be the maximum, but 2 percent is about the best that can be expected.
Most losses of colonies during the Winter can be attributed to starvation. At a time when the Story County Beekeepers group was comparatively new, a Professor at Iowa State College that was connected with the beekeeping industry said, "None of you are keeping bees to the best of your ability." That is likely the case throughout the country.
Glen L. Stanley