Monday, March 17, 2014

Minutes from March, 2014 Meeting

East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association            
Notes from 3/10/2014 Meeting
70 members attended.  New members:  John, Diana & Christopher Colgan, Greg Redlin & Shirley Schreilin (sp?), Gabriel Beachy, Tom Sweeney, Cindy Fisher, Scott Sievers, Lynelle Mellecker, Jack & Patti Weiland, Mike Hammer, Gary Tomlinson, Mark Cramer, Shane Bixby, Meleah Mathahs, Dan Welter, Paul Trieu

Dave Irvin presents his report while Dave Campbell takes notes.

President's report:  Dave Irvin has paid first installment of this year’s insurance to display at fairs.  Again this year, ECIBA will sponsor a $25 prize to the Outstanding Beekeeping Project at the Johnson County 4-H fair.  He commented that hive boxes must be nailed securely—many are not.   Dave warns that this year he will charge $100 for removing bees from places where he must do carpentry work to get them.  Like most of us, he does not charge to pick up swarms of honey bees that have clustered somewhere out in the open.

Membership report: ECIBA presently has 106 members (counting couples or families only once) on our rolls, after dropping 11 from the 2013 list.  We drop any who haven’t come to at least one meeting during the year.
And the winner is.....
Hive raffle and dues payments:  Thanks to Paul Gardner for donating the complete hive we raffled to raise money for the club.  We sold 46 raffle tickets at $5, and had our youngest member Christopher Colgan draw out the winning ticket.  The hive was won by Mark Cramer.  As of meeting’s end, 59 members had paid their $5 ECIBA dues for 2013.  To clear up some possible confusion: belonging to ECIBA does NOT automatically make you a member of Iowa Honey Producers Association.  Joining IHPA is a good idea, though.

Mark Cramer, left, was the lucky winner of Paul Gardner's well-constructed hive.
Thanks, Paul, for the generous donation again.
Winter survival rates.  Polling around the room showed that this has been a hard winter for our bees.  It appeared that only one-half to one-third of our hives have survived.  Only two members had survival rates above 90%.
IHPA Legislative Committee Member Bob Wolff reviewed what we know about the effects neonicotinoid pesticides are having on our bees.  A thorough (42-page) report on this is at  This and other links are posted on our ECIBA website that Jim Davis maintains,  Clearly, more documentation of pesticide beekills is needed to make our case with EPA or legislators.  Iowa Department of Agriculture has facilitated the two critical responsibilities we beekeepers have here: first, to register our apiary locations with them, and, second, to report beekills (515-281-8591).  State Apiarist Andy Joseph has streamlined the reporting process to EPA.  Iowa laws now cover commercial applicators, but additional problems may be due to too-heavy pesticide applications by farmers and gardeners who are not covered by law.  The law does provide that you can be compensated if you suffer a beekill that is reported and documented.  We need to reach out to people who may be over-using pesticides; local farm co-ops, garden clubs, golf course managers, and so on.  Iowa State has printed a University Extension pamphlet, “Protecting Bees in Iowa” to use for outreach.  In particular, we do better by building partnerships with such folks, rather than by blindly accusing them.  Such a co-op between beekeepers and applicators in Ontario resulted in a clear determination of the link between neonicitiniods and bee mortality up there.

Floyd Otdoerfer talked about swarms, reminding us to check for queen cells every 10 days or so.  He pointed out that late-season swarms are not necessarily doomed to die, but that some of them take over weak hives and rejuvenate them.

==Dave Campbell, ECIBA Secretary

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