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July 2012 - Page 7

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Featured Beekeeper of the Month

Our featured beekeeper of the month is Sarah Ochs, one of the Iowa Honey Producer mentor participants. She is the daughter of Steven and Christine Ochs from Dubuque, Iowa. Sarah has two older sisters, Nicole, and Patty. She also has two Shi Tzu dogs, Minnie and Daisy and a Beagle named Larry. Sarah is in the 10th grade at Wahlert Catholic High School where she participates in student senate, cross-country, basketball, and soccer. Her hobbies are running, baking, hanging with friends, and dancing. After high school she plans to go to college and continue learning about beekeeping with her family.


Sarah learned about the IHPA mentor program at the Iowa State Fair and volunteered at the IHPA booth, working with  lemonade sales. She took training through Kirkwood College in Washington, Iowa and Bill and Louise Johnson are her mentors. Sarah writes, "This has been a year of learning! I've learned so much about how bees work in a hive and how to run a successful hive. It is so enjoyable to see the bees working together. Bill was an awesome mentor. He and Louise were always so kind to me. They taught me a lot.


Sarah and her mom putting the finishing touch on a newly built frame.


Sarah has a funny story about her beekeeping experiences. She says, "The beekeeping experience has taught me may things, but has also provided our family with a few funny stories. I think the story that we will never let my mom forget is this one: After collecting the frames or the last time of the season and placing them in our garage until we extracted the honey on a Sunday; the next day my mom thought she had closed the garage door after I left for school. Well, two hours later and after my mom received a frantic phone call from our next door neighbor about our bees, she realized that the garage door was open and that the "searcher" bees were all over the house and inside the garage. There were so many bees in the garage that every time we tried to close the garage door the bees set off the sensor and it opened back up again. We called my mentors and they suggested taking some honey and placing it closer to the hives. A short time later, the bees started to leave the garage and the surrounding house area and return toward their hive. My mom learned that day what searcher bees were and I learned that day to make sure the garage door is closed."


Sarah Ochs working with her brand new beehive.


Great story Sarah. Good luck with your beekeeping this year.

Submitted by Ron Wehr