Submitted by J. Morgan
Each quarter, SIBA tries to provide an update to the IBA (Indiana Beekeepers Association) to make them aware what we're up to in our area. Here's what SIBA has been up to since March.
The bees have built up a lot since our Feb and Mar hive checks. Many of us were picking through deadouts, and cleaning up equipment for the incoming swarms. SIBA has had a number of new beekeepers popping in to see what all the excitement in beekeeping is about. We had intended to open the April meeting with a walk through the bee hive, but the wind kept us out of them! We ended up doing the walk-through for our May meeting. There's a certain feeling of satisfaction when we stop for a moment and talk to the new beekeepers about the basics. Our group is patient and they know that the more people we can get interested in beekeeping, the better. Jim Orem always asks the new beekeepers to identify themselves and see where they live so that we can connect them to the closest beekeeper willing to help or answer questions. We are always sure to ask if there are any questions and and delve deeper in to the basics if needed. Sometime's revisiting the basics helps the old-timers reconsider things they may have forgotten.
The spring build-up has been steady and fast! Many in our group have set the date they will pull honey off their hives. That date is June 20th for many. I myself have been in hives that have full mediums of beautiful capped frames of honey! In our club, we teach people to have goals for each hive. If the goal is to get honey, then all the manipulations you make should be conducive to making honey. If the goal is apiary increase, then you would treat that hive very differently, usually leaving the honey adding additional deeps so that one hive could be split in to 4 or even 5!
Many of us continue to run after the bees, catching swarms, and doing cut-outs and trap-outs. The SIBA map has proven to be a valuable resource for individuals and for our local authorities who can use it the map and click the closest pin to them to find a beekeeper who will come and get the bees when needed. The bees have really shaken things up this year. We're writing a blog now describing this more, but we've had to vaccum bees out of ornamental grass, and other odd places. In another instance, we shook some bees in to a box and went to grab some lunch while they settled. When we came back, that were gone again. Walking around the house to look around, we found them in another tree. After shaking them in to the box again, we locked them up for a day. Garry Reeves once told me that locking them up for a day or two usually does the trick on making them stay. I've been doing this regularly now.
SIBA members Mike Detmer and Jason Morgan presented BEES to 23 groups of 4th and 5th graders from 9am-3pm at the 20th Annual Agricultural Fair in Greensburg, IN. Jason Morgan presented an observation hive to the local Cub Scout Pack 604 for their May 2013 meeting. You can find more info about this and some great pictures on our facebook page here. Also on our page is a lot of images ranging from swarms to hive techniques, and much more. Hope you'll stop by and LIKE the page for regular updates that are syndicated from the SIBA website.
There's a group of us who, each year catch swarms and see them in to the hands of new beekeepers or those who may have suffered heavy losses over the winter. Jim Orem always says, free is better then cheap any day. In that spirit, the first couple swarms that I caught this year found their new home with some new beekeepers that I'll be working with this season. It's this working together that really makes our club strong, and at the same time forges some great new friendships.
Since there were many deadouts, we have been focusing on measuring and managing mites. Jason Morgan is experimenting with the "Jim Farmer Hive Beetle Bottom Bottom Board" described and shown on this recent blog. He also made an alcohol wash bottle using some information found on Randy Oliver's website. After the spring harvests, our club will be delving hard in to natural mite management using the Mel Disselkoen method of "on the spot" (OTS) queen rearing. This is where we notch combs over the right aged larva to get the bees to make a queen cell right where we want it. We'll try to get cells on 4-5 different frames and while we were building up bees in to 3 and 4 deep bodies, we'll have enough to start 4 or 5 nucs from one hive. This method effectively outbreeds the mite populations by depriving them of the needed brood to multiply. During this time, we'll demonstrate how and why to use sticky boards, as well as show the alcohol wash method of getting a mite count off of nurse bees. Check out this post on the SIBA site as Jason has put together a video demonstrating the technique. Jason also wrote a blog about the value of pollen in the beehive. The post also discusses "entombed pollen," something that we hope not to find in our hive for the reasons explained in the post.
SIBA Member Tyson Hermes, on his own merit is making up bumper stickers and T-shirts to both expose our group to the community, but also raise a little money for our club can.
Well, I know that's a short update from our neck of the woods this time around, but as they say sometimes, less really is more. Here's hoping for a fun and safe beekeeping season for everyone.