East Central Iowa Beekeepers Association
Minutes from June 11, 2018
The meeting was called to order at 6:30 by president Dave Irvin
New members were introduced and welcomed.
Dave gave a treasury report. Beginning balance was $223. $125 was spent for the tent at the 2018 Johnson County Fair, half of which was reimbursed by the Burr Oak Land Trust, which will be sharing the tent. $70 was spent to reimburse for mailing costs (envelopes, stamps, and mailing labels).
A sign-up sheet went around for people to sign up for our tent at the Johnson County Fair. The fair again will be 4 days, July 22-25th, but this year will begin on a Sunday and end on a Wednesday.
Updates from Floyd:
--The State Fair will be held August 9 through the 19th. Information about entering items to be judged can be found in the Iowa Honey Producer's newsletter—TheBuzz. The Iowa Honey Producers will also be looking for people to volunteer to work in their area, answering questions and selling products. Free fair admission is given to volunteers.
-Iowa Summer Field Days, an annual event, will be held Saturday, June 30th, at Dordt College in Souix Center, Iowa. Pre-registration is required and limited. Information can be found on the Iowa Honey Producers web site.
--Swarm season is at hand. Various members discussed their experiences with swarms this season. Floyd reminded people to watch your hives for wax moths already, and don't have more boxes on hives than bees can occupy and protect.
--Paul's Discount still has some bee equipment for sale as part of its closing sales.
--Floyd mentioned a beekeeper who used Apivar last August and had 100% survival over winter.
--Patty Stewart pointed out that the local publication Tidbits has articles about honey.
Bob gave a presentation on his trip this May to Ghana, Africa, to work in a collaborative project involving value added bee products, such as lotions, candles, creams, honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, bee bread and even bee venom. Following is a summary of his talk.
The project was a collaborative effort working with members of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. The goal of the program is not to eliminate poverty directly but to enhance opportunities for success, according to Bob. Products derived from beekeeping can be a way for people in Ghana to develop successful economic enterprises. Honey is a valuable commodity, being six times more expensive than oil.
The project involved learning about teaching about product development, marketing, holding workshops, making fielf visits, and holding community dialogues in three distinct regions. Workshops included working on hive construction, making creams and lotions and candles, among other things. Hives are of the top bar variety, with an African twist. Instead of the tapering sides, due to lack of tools to create those the hives are made from whatever wood is available and made into a square shape, typically 30 to 35 frames in length, with corrugated metal covers. Hives are kept on a metal stand with heavy oils put at the base of each leg to control ant infestations. The lotions have an oil base, varying amounts of wax depending on the consistency desired for each type, with selected essential oils added as well.
Bob indicated beekeepers in Ghana work with two types of stingless bees and then the African honey bee. The stingless bees produce small amounts of honey in what are called “honey pots”, made from a combination of wax and propolis. Where Bob visited, the two varieties were kept in hives in two separate locations, former chicken coops. The African bees present quite a challenge, as they are very aggressive. Even with very warm temperatures, it is essential that the beekeeper wear a full, long set of clothing under a full bee suit with any possible tiny opening covered with duct tape, since the bees will enter even the smallest opening. Bees are worked at night, with flashlights, in the jungle, when the bees are most calm (which isn't very!) and only once a month. Honey is cut from the comb and brood returned to the hive. The African bees do not have many of the diseases and pests we face in the West.
Bob plans to return to Ghana again and feels the project was successful. Ghanans face many challenges, such as tools and equipment, but inroads are being made to help with education and marketing.
Bob followed his talk with a short film about stingless bees. Look for a link coming soon to our website that will allow you to view the film online as soon as Bob can get it uploaded.
A wax strainer, donated by Ed and Rita Porter, former ECIBA members, was offered to any member who could use it.
Minutes submitted by Jim Davis, Secretary