By Alison Knue
It's been business as usual at the Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association (SIBA). We meet on the third Thursday of every month. As in the past, winter time brings parking challenges to our usual meeting space. Throughout the winter months we've been meeting at the Moores Hill Senior Center at 16610 N Broadway St, Moores Hill. We'll be meeting here through the March meeting before moving back to our usual location; member Gary Reeves residence and Shop, at 14759 State Road 350 Moores Hill. Meetings are very well attended by our tenure members as well as new beekeepers. We continue to get first time attendees each month and pair them with local mentors to help them in their beekeeping adventures outside of meetings.
While harsh winter weather keeps us out of the hives it does not keep us totally out of beekeeping. The blustery months are a great time to inventory, build and repair equipment and brush up on education. Dave Reiman does a fantastic job as librarian for our mobile library. The library is growing; as is the patronage. At the January meeting Pat Seevers gave a book review on Beeconomy by Dr. Tammy Horn. Pat challenged our members to read and give book reviews at future meetings. We look forward to hearing more of these reports. We've also had several Saturday winter workshops at Gary's where members, old and new, have constructed and assembled all types of equipment. It's a great opportunity for fellowship, sharing equipment ideas, and utilizing the resident expertise and workshop tools. We thank Gary and Kathy Reeves for their unparalleled hospitality.
We've had several successful and fun monthly meeting raffles. It's been amazing to see some of professional grade homemade items being donated. Items donated in the past have included hive and nuc boxes, o.a. vaporizers, candles, queen marking and alcohol mite wash kits, SIBA promotional items, queens, and many other misc. items. Many of us have already bought tickets for the March raffle of a nucleus colony. Along with raffles we, on occasion, pass "SIBA The Honey Bear" (collection jar) where members make free will donations to fund raise. Along with our summer field day picnic these funds are used to cover insurance, guest speakers, and misc. costs. Just a few days past the Indiana Bee School XV; those guest speakers are fresh on our minds. SIBA was well represented at the school with many members attending and even recruiting guest speakers for future meetings.
Bastin Honey Bee Farm of Knightstown has been attending our winter meetings with their "store on wheels" trailer in tow. Many club members take advantage of the shopping opportunity after the meetings. Thanks go out to the Bastin Family for providing us with great "shipping free" shopping.
Our meeting was lead by Scott Novinger and we went over the list of things to be done for our bees in the days ahead. We've been experiencing very mild weather and have seen our bees flying on warm days. We're reminded to check bee stores of honey and/or candy boards. Several members are already feeding pollen patties to their colonies.
Members Trish Bellmore and Jeff Ginn spoke about their business Ginn Farms. Their mission is to increase area pollination, farm to table, and farm to school produce production.
The meeting topic this month was Candle making. Our keynote speaker Tyson Hermes gave a presentation on candle making. He covered many aspects of the process from start to finish with an emphasis on safety when dealing with high heat and wax. Tyson also explained a foundationless frame set up where he uses tongue depressors, coated in bees wax in place of foundation. Harvesting the honey from a foundationless frame is difficult but this is a good way to get comb honey.
Jim Orem lead the meeting. As usual we were given a run down of good husbandry tips for the upcoming month. The record setting warm spells have given us opportunities to take peaks into our hives and see if the girls are still buzzing. While we're not out of the woods yet, surviving numbers look good.
The meeting topic this month was homemade equipment and tools. Nearly a dozen members brought in their favorite pieces to show and tell the club. Among them were John Lewis with his newly made steam powered wax melter. Mike Kissel explained several of his tools including a hinged bi-folding frame to hold "cut out" comb, and his portable "hive butler" stand used to hold bee boxes at a more user friendly height while working in the field. There were lots of great inventions and tips that left many of us thinking "Why didn't I think of that?"
Slated for March
Dave Broxterman and Jason Morgan will demonstrate several methods of making splits. We'll still be meeting at our winter location, the Moores Hill Senior Center, so an in-hive demonstration is not likely. Depending on interest, Gary offered up a hive in his apiary the following Sat. to do some real splits.