Contributed by J. Morgan
July started in Garry Reeves bee yard, demonstrating the method of combining weak hives with strong ones using newspaper. Our discussions spanned the many different methods to combine hives, and introduce queens. Many people replaced queens for various reasons... and others participated in some exciting queen rearing techniques that Garry Reeves has been doing. We covered the many tools and equipment that can be used in queen-rearing such as the Nicot Queen System, cloak boards, starter hives and finishing hives. Grafting techniques were discussed and debated.
On Saturday, July 21 2012, several people met at Garry's shop to experience hands on grafting. Everyone who attended was able to watch the process and then graft 2 larva into prepared cells marked on the frame with tape and their initials. These were placed back into a starter hive prepared by Garry. After being moved into a finisher hive a day later, many of the grafts were successful, and others... not so much. Interestingly, the bees cleaned the masking tape from the grafting frame bar that had peoples initials on it. So, success could only be judged as a group and not individually. Still, Garry came through with a surplus of cells from his efforts and made sure everyone who needed a queen, received one. It was a very good experience for all who participated. Others, were interested enough to get some books.
One of our members, Kevin Fancher, hosted the annual beekeepers picnic on Saturday August 11, 2012 at his farm. We got a chance to see his apiary and the beginnings of his honey house. Kevin's got a great place for bees to live and we thank him for hosting the picnic and having us over!
Our August meeting had passionate discussions on feeding. We discussed pros and cons as well as peoples fundamental beliefs about feeding. This spurred a number of beekeepers to question feeding in some cases. Examples are when you have many hives, it becomes expensive and laborious. There's written articles about how sugar is un-natural to the physiology of the bee... and over time can cause an infection in their gut. Many have found interesting people around the net who keep bees in a systematic way that does not include refined sugar. Instead, they leave a lot of honey in the hive, or make reserves of feed using honey and water.
Getting hives ready for the fall and winter has been an ongoing topic at SIBA since August. Sean Burgess, the KY State Apiarist is scheduled to come and host an open forum of discussion as well as provide a report to our KY members! We'll certainly be talking about preparing hives for the fall at the September and October meetings.
SIBA member, Tyson Hermes coordinated a large group order with Kelley Bee supply in Clarkson, KY. Enough people made orders, so Kelley's arranged to have everything dropped off at our meeting place for pick-up at the September meeting. Thanks to Tyson for making this happen!
SIBA Member Ginger Davidson coordinated and rounded up volunteers to put on a large bee event at Clifty Falls State Park. On Saturday August, 25 2012, "A BUZZ ABOUT BEES" was held at Clifty Falls in SE Indiana. Ginger was able to recruit help from the park board, IBA and SIBA to deliver an action-packed two hours of hard-core education about bees. Over 350 people visited the nature center at the park to enjoy and learn about bees and beekeeping. Seven stations provided participants with a different aspect of beekeeping. Those hoping to start the new hobby spent time learning about equipment and the bee's life cycle. Those already captivated exchanged insightful information. The Nature Center provided an air-conditioned environment where one could take a break, sit down, and watch an intriguing video about bees. Once outside the rustic building, the patio provided a wonderful place to hang out and eat your ice cream topped with local honey while the canopy of the trees in the yard provided both shade and a fantastic back-drop to one of the largest events ever hosted at the Clifty Falls State Park Nature Center. Youngsters were fascinated watching bees in observation hives and could make their very own 'buzzing bee' with DNR naturalist Annie Walker.
A 5-minute hike out to a feral bee tree was a popular attraction and DNR naturalist, Dick Davis, pointed out many plants along the way that were indigenous or invasive to our state. We applaud Ginger Davidson and other members from SIBA, and IBA for making this event such a success.
Well, that's all from the Southeast corner of Indiana. We hope everyone has the best fall honey season that there is to be had!