IBA update for 4th Quarter Newsletter

Contributed by J. Morgan

The season sure has flown by for us in SE Indiana. It seems like just yesterday we were talking about putting honey supers on our overwintered hives. Since then, we've already pulled our honey harvests, and we've been on to mite management, apiary increase and making FAT bees for the upcoming winter slumber. Here's what's been going on at SIBA over the last quarter.

Jason Morgan presented an alcohol wash (Also called an ether roll) as another method of mite management. An alcohol wash has its pros and cons just like the sticky board. Taking a frame of bees from the center of your brood chamber and making sure the queen is not on it before shaking a sample into a jar of alcohol is not something everyone wants to do. It both stirs up the bees from the shake, and it ultimately kills the bees in the sample. However, it did give us an instant, accurate mite count (measured in number of mites per 100 bees) that is similar to the results you would get back if you sent a sample of bees to the lab. Basically, you take about a half cup, to 3/4 cup of bees young/nurse bees from the middle of your brood chamber, and make sure the queen is not on this frame! Wash them in alcohol... and the mites fall off. You have to count all the bees in your sample... as well as all the mites that wash off. Then, take the number of mites, divided by the number of bees, then double the sum. Why double? Because we're trying to account for the mites that are still in the cells about to be capped over (not just the smaller number of mites on the bees we washed! Here's a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvZQeaHHXOo), but I plan to update this one with some corrections we've made since this one came out. We plan to come back and do another wash on this hive around October to see how our mitigation efforts have panned out. This is an ever-evolving topic and one of the most challenging things a beekeeper faces. Mites are going to be around for a while, so our group decided to dive deeper and talk about more serious methods of mite management. We're looking at powdered sugar rolls too (something that does not kill the bees during the test). We plan to demo this at a future meeting.

Seven members of SIBA made an early morning trip to the Indiana State Fair on Saturday August 3rd. We sold ice cream, honey from beekeepers around the state of Indiana, and demonstrated an observation hive. The closing money count revealed that on the SIBA-operated day, we took in a near record amount. We were only a hundred dollars below the all-time record from 2010... not too bad for a bunch of rookies. Find out the details and see pictures here: http://www.indianahoney.org/2013/08/SIBA-Debuts-at-the-Indiana-State-Fair.cfm

View the Gallery here: http://www.indianahoney.org/Honey-Bee-Photos.cfm?box_id=9888&grp_id=6624&kind=image

At the August meeting, Jim Orem and Jason Morgan led a discussion on "fat bees." How do we get as many as we can built up for winter? This requires proper nutrition and acknowledging weather conditions and the state of the hive. Having more young, fat bees in the hive in the fall helps bolster winter survival rates and makes for a good spring build up. We discussed reasons to observe different colors of pollen coming in to the hive. A multitude of colors suggests a varigated, more balanced diet. We also want to watch our supers to see if they are wet, or dry. Do we see "frosting" (new, white fresh drawn comb) Bees can only build comb during a nectar flow... so if nectar isn't flowing... those who feed, should have the feeders on. A good foraging force is critical to bringing in the bounty for the younger bees to use for proper winter preparations.

Garry Reeves continues to open his workshop to club members. Several of us came to try our hand at grafting eggs in to queen cups. Garry manages the starter and finisher colonies and always provides a well-rounded experience for everyone. Thanks Garry!


We have two new beekeepers that will present at the September meeting. They will tell us what they have learned... and also what they wish they had known getting started. We think this meeting will not only help the other new beekeepers in our club, but also remind our mentors what a new beekeeper needs to know. We recongize that new beekeepers are overwhelmed with a variety of concerns and so more experienced beekeepers tend to take for granted some of the information that may inadvertantly not be shared.

Jim Orem and Cindy Cottingham have always welcomed members to their spring and fall honey slinging events. Jim has scheduled his "Fall Haul" event for Sat. Sept. 21. He invites other SIBA members who have not yet seen how to get the honey from their hives to the jars to come and help,  or watch. Some people come the day before to help him rob the frames from his hives, other come the day of the event. Jim schedules time slots for those with no means of extracting their honey to bring their supers and use his honey house to extract. SIBA is so fortunate to have senior beekeepers willing to assist in so many beneficial ways.  See some pics of past honey slings here: http://www.indianahoney.org/Honey-Bee-Photos.cfm?box_id=9613&grp_id=6624&kind=image Thanks Jim and Cindy!

We also have a radical new idea/event being hosted by member Ginger Davidson. Last year, 'The Buzz About Bees' set a record for the largest single day educational event at the Clifty Falls State Park Nature Center. This year, 'The Buzz About Bees' is charting the way into another new territory by adding buzzing planes to the mix. Bees are some awesome flying machines so hosting this event at a world renowned grass runway airport along the Ohio River just makes sense.  Volunteer beekeepers will set up tents to help you learn more about bees. Here are the stations, A day in the life of a bee, What plants help the bees, Equipment needs for beekeepers and bees, Observation Hives, How to get the honey from the hive to your table, What other products can you make from the hive, Honey Tasting, Shop the BUZZ Market to take home your favorite honey, lipbalm, or other products, Kids can make their own buzzing bee, Indiana State Apiarist will be available to talk to you about bees, Plus . . .HONEY ICE CREAM!

This event is free to all! Saturday September 14, 2013 1PM – 3PM. Find more info here: http://www.geezbeezhoney.com/#!the-buzz-event/c200s

Well, that's all from SIBA this time through. Hope to see you at The Buzz!

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