SIBA Update for IBA 2nd Quarter Newsletter

Submitted by Krista Cook and Ginger Davidson

The overall themes this winter in southeastern Indiana have been education and preparation. We are anxious to find out if the safeguards that were put into place this fall have protected our hives from moisture and the extreme temperatures that we endured this winter. In the meantime, we’ve used these winter months for ongoing education about things like preferred bee forage and nutrition, battling varroa and SHB, and we’ve gotten together to build and repair hive boxes and other equipment. Many of us attended the bee schools and other state meetings. All of our thoughts have been on the promise of spring!

Congratulations go out to Ginger Davidson and her Madison/Hanover group for a successful first quarter. Their first meeting was in December, and they have been meeting on the 2nd Thursday each month in the Hanover/Madison area. Until further notice, we'll be sending updates from both our SE Indiana groups in one update.


Bob Ewing reviewing a frame from Kathleen Prough’s educational hive
at a SIBA- Hanover/Madison meeting. Photo by Ginger Davidson.

The newly formed chapter of the Southeastern Indiana Beekeeper Association (SIBA) which meets on the 2nd Thursday of the month at the Hanover College Campus Center during the winter months has seen a great turnout for their meetings. A majority of the attendees are new to beekeeping and the focus has been to share information in a timely fashion in order to help them be successful.

We have discussed resources available to beekeepers: website links, state and national organizations, extension services, the state apiary inspector, as well as books and magazines. Ed Cozart brought in a hive and reviewed all of the parts while Bill Gallman opened up his beekeeping tool bucket and talked about what he finds most useful. We have explored the different types of personal protection options and ended one meeting with a little fashion show where everyone brought in their suits, gloves, veils, etc. to share. Ginger Davidson discussed her opinions about buying packages of bees versus nucs: the pros, cons, and the installation processes. Kathleen Prough visited for an evening and talked about the mistakes she has seen new beekeepers make; which was also a great review for those who have been keeping bees for a while too.

Most everyone has procured their bees and supplies. Therefore, we are waiting for spring to finally arrive to get out in the bee yard. We’d welcome anyone and everyone to attend our meetings.

Moores Hill/Milan

The Moores Hill/Milan meetings have become standing-room only events! We have been holding our winter meetings at the Milan Library since the winter parking arrangements at Garry's workshop (our normal meeting place) have been trivial. SIBA-Moores Hill/MIlan meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday each month and the Hanover/Madison meetings are held the 2nd Thursday each month. Visit to find specific meetings times, and locations!

Tim Schwipps. January 24, 2014. Photo by Jason Morgan.

We are so pleased that more and more people in the area are interested in beekeeping, and that our group has been able to make new beekeepers feel welcome and supported in the endeavor. We boast a deliberate lack of formal structure, but certain elements have become standard. Each time that we meet, moderator Jim Orem always asks that new beekeepers identify themselves so that he can assist in pairing them with potential, more experienced members. Mentorship is the key to avoiding certain pitfalls and having the greatest chance at success. Better success keeps new beekeepers engaged. Between December and March, member Garry Reeves opened his workshop to anyone interested in coming to make their own equipment. He hosted 4 workshop days and each brought in several new beekeepers who left with equipment made under the direction of Garry. Pictures from the workshop days are available on the SIBA website.

Jeff Ginn assembles those frames he's been needing to get to at one
of Garry Reeves’ Winter Workshops. Photo by Jason Morgan.

In January, the Moores Hill group met at the Milan branch of the Osgood Public Library, where we welcomed Roy Ballard, a Purdue Extension Educator from Hancock County, and Tim Schwipps, District Conservationist of the Ripley County USDA Service Center. Roy's topic of discussion was Keys to Successful Honeybee Pasture Establishment and Management. The over-all message regarding bee pasture success is variety of seeds, and consideration of the variables that affect your property. Customized blends are more likely to succeed than commercial selections with the ultimate goal being to try and get bee-friendly forage that is available all season long, even during typical derths.

Our second guest at the January meeting was Tim Schwipps, District Conservationist of the Ripley County USDA Service Center. Tim explained several of the state and federal programs that support beekeepers, and provided written materials for further details.

February’s guest speaker was Dwight Wells, who talked with us about sustainable beekeeping. Dwight shared a lot of knowledge gleaned from many of the most progressive minds in beekeeping. Networking with the beekeeping teams at Purdue, Penn State, and beyond as well as attending the major conferences around the country. Dwight presented many practical ideas on sustainable beekeeping. Treating hives (for those who treat) with the approved medications is sometimes necessary if we seek to keep our bees alive. In addition, adding the best genetics is key to propagating quality queens and ultimately drones.

Many in both the Hanover and Moores Hill groups attended the IBS beeschool in February. Like always, these events help us keep our eye on the ball... and remind us of the little things we may have forgotten. The thiemese

Rick Faulkner and Garry Reeves assemble a pane that will be the top cover
to the solar melter they made. Photo by Jason Morgan.

The beekeepers March “To Do” List, by Jim Orem & Ginger Davidson is available on our website. March is a critical time for the bees. It's easy to believe by March that the bees have made it through the hard part, however, it's important to remember that the queen has been laying, and how there should be more bees in the hive. Food stores are often near depleted and having even more bees in the hive can use those stores quickly. As a result, March is a prime month for starvation. Get in those hives on the nice days and add pollen supplements and sugar cubes in the top of candy boards if you run them.

That about all from our neck of the woods. We're all looking forward to the 2014 season. From Southeastern Indiana, we wish all of our fellow Hoosier beekeepers a successful spring!

Here are a few upcoming events happening to put on your calendar. Find more details at

SIBA Hanover/Madison Meeting
Thursday, April 10
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

SIBA Milan/Moores Hill Meeting
Thursday, April 17
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Bedford Beekeepers Bee Intensive Field Day
Saturday, April 26
8:00 AM - 3:00 PM

ISBA Summer Meeting
Saturday, June 21
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Heartland Apricultural Society (HAS) Annual Conference
Thursday, July 10
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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