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May 2012 - Page 6

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Featured Beekeeper of the Month

Our featured beekeeper of the month is a participant in the Iowa Honey Producers' mentor program and her name is Sophia Wilson. Her parents are Alex and Jennifer. Their family lives in the country near Nevada, Iowa where they are surrounded by farmland. Cross-country, soccer, choir, speech, key club, and studying are keeping Sophia busy during her freshman year at Nevada High School. After graduation she plans to attend college and possibly become an ecologist.


Sophia Wilson installs a package of honeybees with guidance from mentor John Johnson.

Sophia found out about the beekeeping program through the local co-op at Wheatsfield [Ames, IA]. She says she decided to accept the challenge to learn beekeeping because few people keep bees even though they are greatly needed in agriculture. John Johnson is her mentor. She took classes during the winter last year at Marshalltown Community College, and learned the basic information about keeping bees. She also learned bees are ornery when she managed to get stung on the back of her knee while wearing her suit and boots and her little sister was safely standing about three feet away only wearing her rain-boots. In the spring her plans are to move her bees to a place where there is more diversity in plants and the bees can collect more pollen, thus creating an opportunity for more honey production and success next year.


This year Sophia is looking  forward to helping at the Iowa Honey Producers booth at the Iowa State Fair.


Good luck with your honey production this year Sophia.


Submitted by Ron Wehr




As I sit down to write this, the foremost thought in my mind is that I don't have time for this. My second foremost thought is that we are spending incredible amounts of money. The bees look fabulous. We have to do something with them. Our original projections for equipment needs proved to be woefully inadequate. We are buying boxes, frames and lids by the pallet. For a business that grew one piece at a time, this is quite a change. Our cash flow is good so we are not borrowing money for this. Long ago, I resolved never to borrow money for anything to do with bees. I will borrow money to buy honey but not bees or equipment. If you have money invested in bees and equipment and have a bad year, the bank still wants their money. That can be difficult. You can always make something on honey.


We are making splits, building nucs and getting ready for our 2nd load of package bees. Distribution of the first load of packages went smoothly.  We only had two leakers plus one 4# pkg that I dropped. That was exciting. I later discovered, to my dismay, that Alex had captured that little fiasco on video. It was a special moment. We had 120 people pick up bees on the first load. There will be over 100 on the 2nd load.


One of the customers on the first load backed into the water hydrant.
The water for the steel building feeds off that line. I didn't know anything had happened until I found out we didn't have any water in the building. My neighbor came over the next night with his backhoe. We dug it up in the dark. I put a cap on the line but I still need to get the hydrant back in and the hole filled up before the next wave of customers arrives.


Queens were late arriving. That has compounded our problems. We finally got the first 150 from Texas and now we have California queens coming in. We put third stories on the colonies that were really strong early. We'll pull those boxes for our split. We are putting in lots of foundation in the hope that it will give the bees something to do until we can get the supers on.


That's it for now. Try to stay ahead of things!!


Submitted by Phil Ebert




Printed from COOKS.COM

3 c. chilled pineapple juice
2 ripe not brown bananas
3-4 tsp. honey
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 c. crushed ice
2 whole fresh strawberries


Put all the above ingredients in blender except strawberries. Blend until smooth. Pour into chilled glass. Top with fresh strawberries.