Western IL Beekeepers Meeting
Minutes February 15, 2016
WIBA Executive Board Meeting Past President Ed said he had been at a program about pollination given by Sean Pence from the US Soil and Water Conservation Agency. It was an excellent program and we agreed that Ed should ask Sean to do a program for our group in May.
Full Board Meeting President Ron Welcomed all and introduced Bee Inspector Susan Kivikko. He mentioned that we still had bees for sale; see Treasurer Mike to purchase a package.
Treasurer’s Report – Our current balance is $4,297.09. Ed still has several packages of bees available.
Secretary’s Report – Please notify Diane if you have any changes in your contact information. She will wait a while longer to get an updated roster out to the membership. If you know any new members, please remind them about the upcoming meetings in case Diane hasn’t updated her roster and they don’t get an email.
We discussed our junior beekeeping program and how we should decide to distribute the packages. One package is going to Lily to replace the hive she lost last year and we will have three new hives to give away. Several suggestions were offered and we decided to work through the high schools that have 4-H or FFA programs. West Prairie High School is one such example. Bill Murdoch suggested that we have student’s write an essay to tell us why they want bees and submit it to the teacher or faculty advisor. Anne Knowles is a current member and is an FFA teacher at West Prairie. We will work with her to distribute the hives. We also discussed if any of our members had equipment that we could donate to the junior keepers. We will discuss this again in March.
Bee Inspector Susan Kivikko gave an excellent program. Her talk centered on bee health. She warned us to examine our packages as they came in to see if they are diseased or if the already have mites. Nosema remains a problem for beekeepers and European Foulbrood is also a big problem. She believes that too many keepers are treating preventatively and that lowers the effectiveness of treatment. We discussed the effect that pesticides used in the fields have on bees. Bees bring in the contaminated pollen and can kill the hive. She said that Monsanto is working on the problem, but we need to be vigilant about knowing the signs of bee poisoning and reporting bee kills caused by crop dusting and other pesticide applications like spring burns which send poison into the air.
She urged us to do a mite count every 21 to 30 days and keep on top of treatment. Keepers need to learn how to count mites – some keepers use powdered sugar; others use alcohol to kill some bees and then do a count that way. Susan was pleased to discover that most our members treat for mites. There are some natural ways to prevent an infestation like disrupting the brood cycle or putting in foundation for drones to keep the mites away from worker larvae. (Mites like drones better!) Keep a chart of mite treatments. You can find supplies like a vaporizer and treatments at several bee supply companies. There is also a new bee supply store that will be opening in Princeton, IL.
Randy Oliver’s website, scientificbeekeeping.com has good information and many videos that are helpful. There is also an app called “bee health” that you can download to help identify various bee problems. Diseases like Nosema require that the affected frames be burned. To prevent wax moths, frames should be put in the freezer overnight.
Susan also gave us some suggestions regarding nutrition. A good supplemental feed is: 2 parts water, 1 part sugar. For every quart of mixture, add 3-5 drops lemon juice, and a drop or two of lemongrass extract and mint extract. Lemongrass, Hyssop, Anise, mint and other wild flowers and herbs provide nutrition for bees. The lack of genetic diversity is another problem for bees. In many places, feral bees have all but disappeared. We are lucky in this area to have feral bees and the flowers we plant and the water we provide our own bees also benefit the wild bees. Thank you, Susan for a VERY GREAT program!
Becky Larson moved to adjourn; Donny Darnell seconded. Meeting adjourned at 8:10.
Our next meeting is Tuesday, March 15, 2016