Thursday, December 13, 2018

Minutes from December 11, 2018

Minutes from the East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association Meeting
December 11, 2018

President Dave Irvin began the meeting at 6:30
New member Chuck Smith introduced himself. Welcome to the club, Chuck!
--Dave Irvin
Dave announced the sad news that his mother has passed away. Our condolences go out to Dave at this time.
He also announced that he would like to remain president for 2019 but is considering stepping down after that. He'll talk about that in the fall.

--Winterization of Bees

Some kind of windbreak is important. Hives should face in a southerly direction, with upper and lower entrances.
The importance of having moisture control for winter is very important. Floyd showed the pillows he uses as a quilt box, and Jim Davis showed the boxes he uses which have wood chips in them to absorb moisture. James Miller uses a candy board with burlap bags above to absorb moisture.
James Miller talked about comments from the annual meeting of the Iowa Honey Producers which stressed the importance of going into winter with healthy bees, which means having good mite control. Healthy bees, feed, and moisture control are three important elements for successfully getting bees through the winter.

--Iowa Honey Producers Annual Meeting
James Miller gave a summary of his experience at the meeting. He strongly encourages people to attend, as there is a lot of energy, many vendors and great speakers. He mentioned particularly discussion of a new mite that currently is found in Asia but reproduces at a very rapid pace (tropilaelus mite). It may take some time to get to the US but will be a huge problem. Speakers said the bees raised in the US are among the worst in the world for hygienic behavior.
Dr. Ramsey talked about colony collapse disorder. It's important to note that winter kill is not the same as CCD. CCD occurs when there is an absence of worker bees, but the queen, brood, and honey stores remain in the hive.
Mary Ebert talked about the site of the meeting being a good location, being more centrally located, but the timing with home football and basketball games was not good planning. Dr. Ramsey talked about research showing the mites attack the fat of the larva rather than the blood.
James Miller talked about the increase in small hive beetles and an increase in the amount of European foul brood.

--Bob Wolff introduced his guests from South Africa, who are spending a year attending Kirkwood Community College on a grant. They are part of the Young African Leadership Initiative and are here to learn about agricultural practices, including beekeeping. Welcome to Iowa!

--Rendering Beeswax

Bob talked about his homemade 'Easy Bake Oven' for rendering wax.
Bob Wolff gave a talk on his method of rendering wax. First, after removing cappings, Bob works to get as much honey out as possible. He also uses wax he removes as part of recycling frames to reduce the amount of pesticide residue present in the hive. Bob has repurposed a refrigerator with a light bulb and Dell computer fan to keep the interior temperature at 120 to 160 degrees. He puts a pail of wax cappings, with water, in the device for 24 hours. The wax, being lighter than water, will float to the top where it congeals. A pail of wax gives about a 1 inch layer of wax floating on top. Bob removes this and cuts off as much black residue as he can. He then puts these wax chunks on a milk filter (available at Fleet Farm stores), in a basket over another pail, and again places this in his oven for 24 hours. It is liquid when finished, and he pours it into molds he gets by buying muffin cups and similar items at Goodwill or similar stores. To break the wax into small pieces, to more easily measure out small quantities for making lotions, he pours the wax into a pail of icy water and breaks it up by hand.  Bob also uses his oven to decrystallize honey as well.

Floyd talked about the method he uses to render his beeswax. He uses a serrated knife to remove the wax cappings, which drop into a filter basket, with the honey passing through into a tray. He puts the cappings into the top of a hive and let the bees clean the honey off, and after awhile its ready to be rendered. He puts the cappings, now cleaned of honey, into a filter bag, lowered into a deep pan filled with water. When heated, the wax melts and floats to the top. After all is melted, he takes the wax layer off while it is still pliable so easier to remove. He breaks it into chunks while still warm. Floyd uses the wax he gets to recoat his plastic frames, using a sponge on a clamp dipped into the melted beeswax and then brushed onto the plastic foundation. He also reminded people that if you put wax into a mold be sure to use some kind of release product so you can get the wax out of the mold.
Floyd shows the equipment he uses to render wax

--Killing mites with heat
Floyd mentioned a beekeeper he spoke with who uses a heating element to heat his hives to 102 degrees to kill mites. He claims it does not hurt the bees but is fatal to the mites.

--mentoring update
Several people recently have requested having a mentor to help with beekeeping. Jim Davis will coordinate this. A section has been added to the Classes and Events page on our website.

--Planting for Pollinators
In response to a request at the last meeting for some information on this topic, Floyd printed out some pages for members to take with information on herbs and flowering plants that are beneficial to pollinators. A section on the Resources page of our website also has been added.

--General Discussion
A member suggested some of the beekeepers in Kalona might be contacted about the need some farmers there might have to want hives on their property for pollination purposes. Willis Mast was suggested as a contact person.

Floyd generously provided several items for the drawing. Thanks, Floyd!

Submitted by Jim Davis, secretary