Submitted by Tyson Hermes
Our group has been busy sharing knowledge and tips of this wondrous craft, while developing deep rooted friendships and camaraderie, and introducing new beekeepers to local mentors. In fact it has now become Jim Orem’s opening of each meeting to get a show of hands of new beekeepers, ask where they are from, and try to match them with a more seasoned beekeeper willing to help out. The mentor/mentee relationship doesn't have to be anything more formal than an agreement to answer questions. Throught this, we find friendships grow.
In March, Jim Orem presented the main topic of “Honeybee Swarms and Swarm Traps”. Jim cited Thomas Seeley’s book “Honeybee Democracy” as a great source to help understand the honeybees’ swarm mentality. We had over 70 members in attendance!
Also in March, Kathleen Prough, Indiana State Apiarist visited our Hanover/Madison group to talk about common mistakes she has seen, the importance of feeding, and re-iterate, “Drawn Comb is Gold”.
In April, Emily Beckman presented on Bee Plants. She talked about the types of plants bee like, as well as the types of soil and moisture necessary to help the plants thrive. She highlighted the importance of abundance (clumps of flowering plants together), sequence (overlapping blooms to provide an ongoing nectar and pollen source for the bees), and diversity (some plants are better pollen sources, other plants are better nectar sources – but all in all, bees need both).
The Moore's Hill/Milan group started a new activity this year! We're trying to line up a “Field Day” the Saturday following our monthly meeting at one of the member’s apiary. Both experienced, and new beekeepers are invited to attend. In April, Brian Batta kicked off the first Field day at his apiary. His bees not only survived the winter, but seemed to be doing quite well!
Also in early April, Mike Detmer and Jason Morgan presented bees to over twenty groups of 4th graders at the 21st annual Ag. Day Fair in Greensburg, IN. Thank you guys for helping to educate tomorrow’s beekeepers!
At right, Jason Morgan describes two drawn frames containing honey and pollen to the kids. Photo by Mike Detmer.
In May, Tyson Hermes talked about Spring Splits, and showed his method of apiary increase. Tyson also hosted the May Field Day at his apiary in Campbell County, KY practicing queen marking. At the May Milan meeting, we had our first Plant Swap, which was a huge success! Beekeepers brought extras of their favorite bee plant, and took other’s plants to help increase the diversity of pollen and nectar sources near their apiary. There were many choices in fruit trees, flowering shrubs, grape vines, and wild flowers.
The Hanover/ Madison met in May at Lee’s Bottom Flying Field for a Hive Inspection hosted by Ginger Davidson.
Last but not least, Garry Reeves is an official Indiana Queen Breeder and can be contacted for good quality cells and mated queens when available. Check the SIBA website for availability. Garry plans to produce two more rounds of queens and cells this season.