Sunday, June 16, 2013

Notes from Meeting June 10, 2013

East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association Notes from 6/10/2013 Meeting
34 members attended. New members: Dan Dillemuth, David Erenberger, Maureen Mims.
Johnson County Fair: We still need volunteers to man our beekeepers tent at the Johnson County Fair, July 22-25. There are 3 shifts each day: 1st Shift = 10:00 a.m. to 1:30p.m., 2nd Shift = 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., 3rd Shift = 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Volunteers so far: 

Date                10:00 AM-1:30 PM          1:30 PM-4:30 PM               4:30 PM-8:00 PM

Mon 7/22          Dave Irvin, set-up              Paul Gardner                         Darlene Clausen

Tues 7/23          Floyd/Pat Otdoerfer          Charlie Hoehnle                     Bob Wolff

Wed 7/24          Dave Campbell                  ----open----                           Larry/Arlene Spina

Thurs 7/25         Paul Millice                      Matt/Patty Stewart              Dave Irvin, teardown

Contact Dave Campbell (319-545-7143) or Dave Irvin (319-331-6590) if you can cover one of the empty shifts. You may sell honey and beeswax during your shift. All members are welcome to help out at the booth any time.

Iowa State fair: Iowa State Fair will be August 8-18, 2013, in Des Moines. We hope to build on last year’s success (the 100th anniversary of Iowa Honey Producers Association), and have even more entries this year. There are 24 categories and $1500 in prizes. Cash prizes in most categories are awarded through 6th place, so it hasn’t been hard to win something. Indian Creek Nature Center (319-362-0664) plans to provide transport for entries; drop them off at ICNC on the Tuesday before fair opens (August 6th), and they will go up on Wednesday. Contest categories and entry forms can be downloaded from Because you never know what apiary products you will actually have available at fair time, the absolute deadline for submitting entry forms is very late, August 1st. Apply early, and they will mail your stickers (for fairness, no identification is allowed on any entries except for these official entry stickers). If late, though, you will have to go personally to pick up your entry stickers.

State apiarist Andy Joseph talked about the following:
Demo of a homemade nuc box. Size of a standard 10-frame hive body with divider in the middle. Four frames each side to give lots of space so as to not roll and damage bees or particularly the queen. Bottom board is divided to prevent bees crossing from one side to the other, with entrances on opposite ends for the two sides. Used for splitting colonies early in the season so as to have spare bees to boost poor colonies later on.

Sensitive crop directory. Somehow, not all apiary entries registered this year. Check your entry to see if it made it and re-enter if it didn’t.
USDA Survey. There are extremely serious threats to North America honey bees; in particular,
Asian bee mites (Tropilaelaps spp.), Asian honey bees (Apis cerena) and slow paralysis virus (SPV). Asian bee mites are thinner and faster than varroa mites, and far more devistating to hives. Asian honey bees are smaller and make little honey, but will displace our bees if they get into the continent. SPV paralyzes bees and appears transmitted via varroa mites. All of these threats are already devastating bees in Australia, and may have been introduced here this spring when Australian bees were brought in to pollinate pecans in California. This was allowed through a Free Trade Agreement, which USDA now hopes to modify. Meantime, USDA is mounting a broad survey to check whether these threats may have already invaded our domestic bees and are asking apiaries with more than 12 colonies to volunteer for testing.  Click here to see more information about the survey.

Iowa bee report. Present levels of varroa in Iowa appear to be down. Andy recommends we keep it that way by treating for varroa every fall as soon as the supers are off. On the other hand, the inspectors have been seeing lots of European foulbrood this spring. Symptoms: patchy brood, larva orange white with white stripes, blobs smelling like rotten milk.
Neonicitinoids: Bayer company is in full denial that their product is killing our bees. Whenever there is a bee kill, their lawyers look for something else to blame it on (“weren’t you treating varroa with some non-approved technique?”). In fact, though, it may be impossible to sue for such losses the way our laws are currently written. Iowa pesticide inspectors are trained to do rigorous tests after bee kills, including sampling and testing of dead bees. We need to get enough careful documentation on our side to make our case that the Bayer and BASF neonicitinoid pesticides are truly to blame.

Dave Campbell, ECIBA Secretary