September 11th, club state newsletter editor, Whitney Cooley, organized and hosted the first annual Lawrenceburg River Sweep. The event began with a mobilized, exceptional performance from the 35th Indiana Pipes and Drums performing a bagpipe salute in respect to those who lost their lives and in tribute of our first responders. As the band went on to perform in other towns, we began cleaning the half mile stretch of river bank. Volunteers collected two dumpsters of trash in only three hours! The Ohio River is 981 miles long and supports 160 species of fish; it is a source of drinking water for more than five million people! Every bit of litter removed makes a huge impact on our wildlife, ecosystem, and drinking water! We look forward to making the river sweep an annual event and look forward to seeing you there next year!
September 16th, Don Burkart, club librarian, continued his discussion on bee behaviors from the previous month. In August, we covered swarming, floral fidelity, flight training, washboarding, and bearding. With much left to cover, we discussed hygienic behavior with regard to influences from genetics and bee roles from emergence to foraging. We debated the noise responses to tell if a hive is aggressive due to a disturbance, if they were swarming, or if a hive is queenless. Additionally, we recalled scenting behaviors such as fanning to mark a new home and where the queen is located, recognizing a hive or a bee belonging to the hive, as well as the distribution of alarm pheromones.
On October 1st and 2nd, our very own Mike Bentz ran an apple cider smash at Doll’s Orchard in Oldenburg, IN. He brought along with him, his observation hive to spark the interest of those who attended the smash! Through all activities we can promote bee health and survival!
Two weeks later, Aurora, IN held its 112th annual Aurora Farmer’s Fair. We had an amazing turn out as 11 of our club members brought their hive products from honey, to candles, to lip balms to sell at our club booth. Additionally, all our shifts from September 29-October 2nd to run the booth were graciously covered by numerous members who volunteered their time! The event helped to advertise our club and raise funds to continue our monthly educational meetings. We were able to also have an observation hive so that visitors could identify the queen and observe the roles of the bees in the hive.
In our October meeting, at our meeting venue, one of the server’s mother gifted us seven bee club pens she had designed to distribute amongst our group. Our club librarian, Don, suggested the first seven people to check out a book from him would receive a pen; his suitcase of books was much lighter over the next month! We went on to discuss the three biggest threats to winter bee survival: 1) mites/disease, 2) starvation, and 3) moisture. Additional tips for winterizing bee hives included considering wind breaks, reinforcing hive boxes to ensure integrity, and taping seems to reduce wind and weather entry. The overall meeting was lead by our club MC, Dave Broxterman, who focused on how to make a candy board from the ½” hardware cloth to the bit of white vinegar in the ‘candy’ to prevent spoiling.
Bee Club pens by Jay Ramey
Finally, at our November 18th meeting, David Hocutt, presented on bee biology. David Hocutt is a Certified Eastern Apricultural Society Master Beekeeper. The discussion included their lateral heart structure, means of respiration through spiracles, open circulation system, useful tools of their legs, proboscis and honey stomach, as well as pheromones, communication, and much more! A wealth of information was presented and was certainly an enjoy switch up in topics!
We are looking forward to our Christmas party on December 18th at 6:30p at the Moores Hill Senior Center. Additionally, good luck to everyone this winter! May it be mild and mite free!