President: Joseph Klingelhutz 319-530-7949 // Vice-President: Will Swain 319-530-3343 // Secretary: Jim Davis 319-331-9542 // Treasurer: Diane Kuhlman

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Minutes from February 12, 2024

Change of Meeting Date:

 Please note that there is a change of meeting date for our April meeting.  Due to the solar eclipse on the regularly scheduled date of April 8th, some of the officers and members won't be able to attend.  Instead, the meeting will be at the regular time and place on April 15th.  Hope to see you then.


Attention Members:  You can now reserve the oxalic acid vaporizer.  Go to this link to get started.


Our Trading Post page now has the most recent updates to bees for sale in 2024.  Check it out if you are looking to buy bees in our area.


Minutes for February 12, 2024


President Joseph Klingelhutz called the meeting to order at 6:30. PM

Three new Members were welcomed and introduced.

Slight changes to bylaws wording: Discussion of slight wording changes to the by laws were handed out. There had been some discussion of the wording changes at the last meeting and they had been posted on the website, but they needed a formal vote in order to make those actual changes.  A discussion was opened, followed by a unanimous vote, to accept those changes.

Election of officers: Joseph gave a brief description of the duties of the officers. Diane Kuhlman had been elected during the February meeting as our new club treasurer. The President, Vice President and Secretary positions were still open. Joseph Klingelhutz expressed a willingness to continue service as President, and Will Swain agreed to continue as Vice President. Those positions voted on and unanimously approved.  Jim Davis had decided to step down as secretary. There were no takers to fill the position. After some encouragement from the other officers, the discussion was tabled until the next meeting.

Club Apiary Update: Joseph gave a quick update on the prospects for a location for a club apiary site. Michael and Anne Welsh have a property a short distance south and west of Hills for the site. There was a discussion about club insurance for such an undertaking. Also a committee for the upkeep of the hives and some misc other issues was needed.  Shaun Webb, Rob McCain, Will Swain, and Joseph Klingehutz all volunteered to be on the apiary committee.

Trading post on website: Joseph noted the “trading post” portion of the club website as a potential source to order bees. Many people who sell bees have posted contact information on that web site. A general discussion of good bee sources followed. Those mentioned included Tyler Holton, who will be delivering nucs to Iowa City. Randy Hahn will have nucs for sale as well. Other possible providers that were mentioned included James Miller, Floyd Otdoerfer, and Ellen Bell.

Club Material Purchases: There has been an ongoing discussion about possible larger club material purchases that might not make sense for a hobbyist to buy, but would be useful for a hobbyist in the club to have access to. Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is an example of the type of equipment that our club members now have access to. Four ideas were proposed by the group: 

1.Wax Cappings melter.

2.Folded Nuc Boxes in Bulk and Charging members reduced price for individual boxes,

3.Honey Extractor.

4.Heated Paraffin Trough for dipping equipment.

Honey extractors had the least amount of interest. The Heated Paraffin Dipper, caused the club’s discussion of liability insurance to resurface.

Round table open discussion of winter losses:

As a lead into Joseph’s discussion of “Dead out autopsies” people discussed winter loss rates On balance many beekeepers experienced a good winter, with minimal loss percentages.  Will Swain was a bit of an outlier, losing three or his four hives. (I write that with some embarrassment) 

Dead out autopsies: Joseph Klingelhutz presented a powerpoint with what to look for when diagnosing a dead hive. Mites, Starvation, Nosema, and viruses like deformed wing virus, were all mentioned.  The power point was excellent with pictures of what exactly starvation looks like in a hive, (butts out of the cell, faces deep in the cell.) Bees unable to get to food stores due to a “cold barrier.” Nosema was mentioned as an intestinal bacterial disease when bees were unable to make cleansing flights.  Darker streaky poop on the sides of the hive or near the entrances are the tell tale sign. Mite washes can even be performed on dead bees. 

The mysterious case of no bees in the dead hive was also discussed. Will Swain, Rachel Vakulich, Rob McCain, and Joe Klingelhutz all reported at least one deadout being mostly free of bees. Will hypothesized that this was likely a high viral load, and the bees left the hive to die in the late fall. Often these hives are full of honey. The collapse is fast, mostly full of bees one week, gone the next. (It used to be called colony collapse syndrome) Generally thought to be high, late-summer-mite-load, related.

Some dead bees in the snow or near entrances are not necessarily a bad sign.  There are always some dead bees and the removal of them is a normal healthy behavior.

The importance of removing dead outs and cleaning them out was also discussed.

Spring Feeding: Will Swain opened a round table discussion on feeding strategies in the spring. He doesn’t typically feed until February and doesn’t like to open hives until it is at least 40 degrees outside. He feeds sugar bricks and avoids pollen until March or until he sees it coming into the hive on the legs of the bees. 

Craig uses a candy board system with an insulation box on top of that

Both Randy and Shaun use 5 alive fondants.  (All three Have insulations and ventilation systems in conjunctions with their feeding systems)

The consensus was that Pollen feeding usually is not done until March.

Rachel, Joe, and Craig Also discussed open feeding of honey and pollen at feeding stations. Care should be given to place feeders far enough from hives so as to not encourage robbing.

The meeting concluded with a reminder to pay the yearly $20 per family membership dues.  

The next meeting will be held April 8th. 

Minutes submitted by Will Swain.  February 15th