By Andy Joseph
Quite a season. Haven’t seen any major bee health issues for a little while. Bees seem to do so well in years of a more wet spring followed by a hotter, dry summer. Lots of pollen still coming in this late August. Must be at least a little nectar still coming as well. I’ve been pulling honey and extracting in my “free time” this past week, and the bees have really been pretty well behaved. No crazy robbing or fighting me yet. The crop is good – this is true for most people I’ve talked to around the state. Boxes are full and heavy. Moisture content is fine to fairly low. Frames of foundation were drawn into nice combs well through July. Nearly every year, that last round of supers comes back in light or even empty, especially boxes without drawn combs. Beekeepers’ optimism… this year most of that final round of supers got drawn and filled. Very happy about this, though the greedy side of me wonders if I could’ve gotten lucky with adding even another box to some.
The fair was great. Tons of fun. Glad it’s over. See you all back there in 11.5 months. Thank you to everyone that worked there in the booth and to everyone who brought such quality entries. I met a lot of “new” people there this year. Had the opportunity to meet and work with several of the IHPA scholarship youth – impressive bunch all around. Thank you to Connie and Heidi and Rhonda and Doyle and all the incredible Vannoys – Carly, Carole, Scott – and the newly Mr.-and-Mrs. (congrats!) Foley and Maia and to the unstoppable Brandon Raasch. These are people who seemingly never stopped working from before it started until after it was over.
Many of you have heard that Arvin Foell (longtime beekeeper, IDALS Apiary Inspector, and many years of service as CIBA President) was in a terrible auto accident. Pictures of his smashed truck are horrific. Arvin is a lot tougher than he lets on. He hasn’t had an easy couple of years, but just keeps charging on. I just heard today that he has escaped the hospital and is at home to continue recovery. I’m ridiculously happy for this news. Hopefully by the time you read this he’ll be back into his hobbies of pole vaulting and hot yoga. Get healed Arvin. You have a state full of beekeepers thinking about you.
It’s getting late and I must get up and out early tomorrow to head over to Sioux City to meet with a great group of beekeepers. Can’t quit yet though – I haven’t harped about mites. This time last year, mite counts were awful for way too many beekeepers, including myself. Numbers that seemed acceptable mid-season turned ugly by the time honey supers were pulled. Colonies were crashing due to mite pressure and all the associated viruses. Happy to report that, at least for the beekeepers I’ve recently visited, the mite counts haven’t been quite so foul this year. They’re still too high – nearly all requiring treatment, but generally not as bad as the numbers last year. Don’t get comfortable. Check your hives and kill the mites. Make sure you have good, laying queens. Make sure they’re healthy by every knowable measure. I encourage you to feed them pollen sub and syrup into the fall to help boost their nutrition, extend healthy brood rearing, and ensure adequate food stores for wintering.
Take care everyone. See you!