What a quick and busy winter it has been! It seems like just yesterday we had our Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association (SIBA) Christmas party. Located at the Moores Hill Senior Center, many of the SIBA members gathered to celebrate another year of beekeeping and club success. The members graciously brought covered dishes and homemade meads to share!
Prior to the Christmas party, our club librarian Don Burkart, who has been making wine for over 20 years, gave an excellent presentation on making mead. The presentation ranged from necessary equipment to determining alcohol percentages, and when to enjoy the homemade delicious beverages. With the presentation just before the Christmas party, there was not enough time to rush home and make mead prior to the celebration. As mead’s taste gets better in time and you should wait at least 6 months before enjoying, we are expecting our members to provide a variety of meads at the next Christmas party!
Gearing up for a busy season of beekeeping and honey harvest, we navigated the state’s rules for bottling and selling honey at our January meeting. Beekeepers of Indiana’s very own Debbie Seib, treasurer, and her husband Mike, who have both been beekeeping for decades, gave an excellent presentation on the nuances of selling honey legally. From home-based vendor to wholesale and retail qualifications, the Seibs helped to break down the circumstances and application processes required.
As we enter March, we find ourselves focusing on swarm prevention and hurrying to get our boxes and frames repaired as needed. Although the winter may have seemed quick for us, the bees have had it tough this year. We entered the winter following a dry fall with little nectar flow for many. We have had many cold nights with the temperatures in the low teens and highs no greater than freezing. There has been limited time to let the bees get out and “stretch their legs”. Many have lost hives while many are also thriving. Our club continues to make strides to educate beekeepers in over wintering bees, ensuring low mite counts, reducing moisture through proper ventilation, and ensuring there are enough food stores. Our club has two hives that we maintain at the same site as our meetings to allow us to give real-time demonstrations on mite counts, mite treatments, and more!
For those with booming hives, preventing swarms is of utmost importance as demonstrated in our February meeting. Jeff Montag and Gary Reeves presented on how to prevent swarming and maximize honey production. With a multitude of questions, they could not emphasize enough that each hive is different and the time to add supers and feed is based on the hive itself. Every hive is different and should be treated as such. From reversing boxes, to queen excluders, super set ups, and queen cells- these guys covered it all!
As we focus in on the upcoming season, some of our club members plan to attend the Indiana Bee School in Muncie, IN! We are excited to see what they learn and bring back to the club!
Please join us March 17th as Mike Bentz presents “Queen Rearing Basics and Equipment”.
March 17 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm