East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association Notes from 12/10/2012 Meeting
30 members attended. New members: Rhonda Davis, Matt and Jamie Kearney, Meg Maithes, Gregg Redlin.
1) Merlynn Sorrenson, a founding member of ECIBA, died 11/20/2012 at age 89. Those interested in buying any of his beekeeping equipment can contact Dave Irvin 319-331-6590.
2) Boyd Palmer reports that small hive beetles are showing up in many of the apiaries he has inspected recently. He cautions us to check cracks in hives and bottom boards for them. Boyd is the only remaining volunteer hive inspector for the state of Iowa. State Apiarist Andy Joseph also inspects hives, mainly in western Iowa. The state is currently looking for other beekeepers to help out with this important job.
3) Floyd Otdoerfer reported some of the things that struck his interest at the IHPA Convention held in Marshalltown November 16-17:
- 2012 was a good year for honey. Andy Joseph estimates Iowa hives averaged around 80 lbs/hive of honey in 2012, with the best production in western Iowa. In general, Iowa had strong colonies with much swarming. The long dry summer led to more Varroa cycles, though, with foulbrood and small hive beetles also a problem. Andy has found about 60% of samples he checked had at least one of the two Nosema species. He also has been forwarding samples of wax to a lab to check for pesticide residues.
- Katie Lee, U Minnesota, reported her work on Varroa mites. She says 61% of Minnesota beekeepers don’t check for Varroa, so suffer accordingly high winter losses (about 33%). She urges beekeepers to check often for Varroa mites, and recommends treatment if more than 3 mites per 100 bees are found. Make several successive treatments in order to kill mites that are newly emerged from infected larvae. A strain of Varroa Sensitive Hygene (VSH) bees is being developed in Minnesota. UMinn bee website is http://beelab.umn.edu.
- David Mandes, Florida beekeeper, moves ~40 semis of bees each year to pollinate almonds in CA, blueberries in ME, and cranberries in MA. He re-queens each of his 15,000 to 20,000 hives each year, feeds each a particular pollen mixture he has developed, and requires each hive to have 8 to 10 frames of brood. He replaces all combs after 4 years. His focus is on providing strong, healthy bees for commercial pollination, not honey. Despite this monoculture feeding, he hasn’t noticed CCD. He must keep all pallets of hives from touching the ground, so as to not spread fire ants. He has noticed that bees will cap (entomb) pollen that is contaminated by pesticides, and not use it.
- Amy Toth is a newly-hired Assistant Professor at Iowa State Univ. She will study bee viruses.
- Bob Cox, former Iowa State Apiarist, emphasizes good bee nutrition. Usually, monoculture nutrition leads to poor bees, whereas bees with a variety of plants to choose from do well. Result: bees in suburbs often are healthier! Tip: feed pollen substitute just before corn tassels, so bees don’t fill up on poor-value corn pollen.
4) Bob Wolff reports that Health Inspectors have ticketed several honey sellers at Farmer’s Markets, for not having a registered kitchen where they bottle their honey. This happened because the Iowa Code seems to include honey with certain baked goods. You need to know that such tickets are a mistake; IHPA has gotten a clarification/exemption for honey, but some Iowa Health Inspectors still don’t know about it.
Dave Campbell, ECIBA Secretary