By Tyson Hermes and J.Morgan
Our diligent efforts in preparing for Winter seem like it was months ago now. As we are snuggling in watching snow fall, we can only hope our bees are doing okay. I personally am already anxious for Spring’s arrival.
It was a busy quarter in SE Indiana. Our Moore’s Hill meetings have been growing in popularity, and some beekeepers are driving from almost an hour away to attend! The meeting attendance ranges from 40 to 80 members each month, depending on the weather, topic, and people’s availability. Of special interest, we performed what we call a winter split. We're working on a sister club that will meet in the Hanover/Madison area the 2nd Thursday of each month. Find out more about this under December, below.
Back in Moore's Hill... Jim Orem welcomes everybody, and calls the meeting to order. He recognizes new beekeepers, and checks to see if each is paired with a mentor. If not, we see who in the room may be close to that new beekeeper and if someone speaks up, we simply ask if they are willing to make themselves available to answer any questions from the new beekeeper. This is how we start mentor-ships. It's nothing more than a verbal commitment. It's a small part of each meeting, but probably one of the biggest secretsto our groups success. From there, Jim gives a few tips on what we should be doing right now, and what we should be preparing to do the upcoming month. With that completed, Jim turns it over to whomever is speaking that evening.
In September, we heard from Tim Krebs and Tyson Hermes about some of their experiences as a new beekeeper. They talked about some advice that was good, and some that was not so good. They gave a few pointers on things that made it easier for them to get started.
In October, we heard from Regina Faulkner and Tyson Hermes about wax processing and candle making. Tips, hints, and safety precautions were reviewed. Find out more information on this session, that includes video here: http://www.indianahoney.org/2013/10/Processing-Beeswax-and-Beeswax-Candle-Making-at-Home.cfm
In November, the group met at the Milan Library for our first winter meeting. Just to curb some of the winter weather parking conditions we have experienced in the past, we moved out winter meetings to the library this year. Jim Orem reviewed the Winter To-Do List and talked about different types of bottom boards. Here's a detailed listing of what we want to look for in December.
Also in November, a large group of SIBA beekeepers met up with others at the IBA meeting at Clifty Falls, and enjoyed hearing Michael Bush talk about natural pest management, and practical beekeeping. Here again, we put up videos of Michael's presentations: http://www.indianahoney.org/2013/11/Videos-of-Michael-Bush-presenting-at-Clifty-Falls-November-2013.cfm
In December, Michelle Colopy will be talking to the group about the National Pollinators Defense Fund. And on the following Saturday, the wine- and mead-makers in our group will meet for the annual holiday gathering back in Garry's Workshop in Moore's Hill. Each brings a sample of some of their finest along with a dish to share with the group. Here, we share ideas for the next season, and stories from the previous season. The winemakers gathering is always a fine close to the year and it's great to share it among great friends, new and old.
The first SIBA Hanover/Madison meeting
Photo by J. Morgan
Last but not least, more info on this 'winter split.' SIBA member Ginger Davidson, took the initiative to explore setting up a new group in the Hanover/Madison area so that people would not have to drive all the way up to Moore's Hill/Milan.
SIBA Hanover/Madison will meet the second Thursday of each month, at 6:30pm. On Thursday Dec. 12th, we kicked off the first meeting. A few people from the Moore's Hill group drove down to help out. It was a huge success.
Approximately 25-30 people were in attendance for the first meeting. To put it in perspective, Ginger said she'd be happy if 10 people showed up. Of course it will take time for word to spread... but we don't think it'll take long... and with this initial turn-out, we're thinking we could be tapping a larger bee community in the Hanover/Madison area real soon. We're looking for volunteers to help out with very basic tasks! If you are in this area and are reading this, contact Ginger Davidson. You can do so through the SIBA website at http://www.indianahoney.org. Like in a bee hive, the chores need to be spread among more people to help make things work efficiently! In summation, both groups will be continue to be referred to as Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association, but we'll have 'SIBA Moore's Hill/Milan' and 'SIBA Hanover/Madison.' Let's just say in SE Indiana, we'll have beekeepers covered! We'll keep you updated on our progress!