East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association
Notes from 9/8/2014 Meeting
42 members attended, not counting spouses and kids. New members: Rachael Black, Tyler Coblenz, Rhonda Davis, Jonathan Fowlkes, Cassie Graber, Mickey Hudepohl, Dave Kaska, Matt McNeill, Kirk Shaunfield, John Tandy, Tom Woodward
Speaker Tim Wilbanks: Tim is a 4th generation member of a Georgia family that produces package bees and queens. He now has a honey business in the Kalona area, and expects to pass that business on to his sons, who attended the meeting, too. He told about growing up helping out in his father’s business, and contrasted conditions in Georgia (hot) with what he has found Iowa (cold). His father’s business concentrates on package bees, about 20,000 packages a year, producing honey only as a sideline. He has numerous beeyards within 75 miles of home, broken into three categories: queen-production, mating yards, and production of worker bees. Queens are produced by regular grafting, though on a gigantic scale. The mating yards have hives containing mostly drone cell foundation, producing drones to breed the young virgin queens. Bees from the worker bee yards are shaken into shipping boxes, leaving only about 10% bees in each hive to carry on. Each box then gets a mated queen in a cage, together with a feed can, and the box is shipped. They prefer trucking their own boxes, because post office service can be unreliable. Apparently USPS refuses to insure bee shipments.
|Tim Wilbanks talks about his families package and queen business in Georgia.|
There are at least two times of year when Georgia bees must be fed sugar syrup: in Jan-Feb, when red maples are producing pollen, but there are no blooming flowers, and in mid-July through late August, when there is a dearth of local blooms. Recently, cotton blooms have helped mitigate the summer dearth, but cotton honey crystallizes quickly, so is sold as mere “baker’s grade”. They keep all yards cleared of brush down to bare dirt to deter Small Hive Beetles, and rely on healthy bees to cope with both SHB and wax moths. Once harvested, honey is extracted within 24 hours, to avoid wax moth sliming. They are currently treating for varroa mites using Apivar. They are far enough north that Africanized bees are not a problem.
For overwintering here in Iowa, Tim prefers 8-frame boxes. That is because bees may not be able to break cluster in cold weather to access the outer honey frames of a 10 frame box. Floyd Otdoerfer commented that he replaces the outer frames with insulation in his 10-frame boxes for exactly this reason. Tim cautions against using completely honey-bound supers for overwintering; keep 1-2 drawn but empty frames in the center of any overwintered honey super for the cluster to occupy. Finally, Floyd demonstrated a heavy plastic material (“Silt fence”) he will try this winter instead of tar paper to wrap hives.
|Floyd Otdoerfer showing a method of feeding through the inner cover.|
· Thanks to helpers at our bee tent, Johnson County 4-H fair: Dave Irvin, Paul Millice, Darlene Clausen, Floyd & Pat Otdoerfer, Charlie Hoehnle, Theresa Dunnington, Dave Campbell, Bob Wolff, Larry & Arlene Spina, Dan Dillemuth, Peter Jochimsen, Matt & Patty Stewart.
· Honey Fest—Sunday, September 21, 12:00-4:30 p.m. Indian Creek Nature Center, 319-362-0664. Larry Spina will don a bee beard at 2:30. Beekeeper volunteers are needed to host attendees.
· Iowa Honey Producers Association annual conference—Marshalltown Best Western Regency Inn, Friday and Saturday November 14-15. Speakers are Keith Delaplane (UGeorgia, columnist for American Bee Journal), Marla Spivak (UMinn, developing varroa resistant strains), Amy Toth and Mary Harris (latest bee research at ISU). Vendors will include Dadant, Walter Kelly, and Mann Lake.
· Matt Stewart reports that entries were rather sparse at Iowa State Fair this year. Prizes were awarded through 6th place in all categories, and some categories didn’t even have that many entries. We need to do better next year.
==Dave Campbell, ECIBA Secretary