Archives for: September 2017

Goldenrod Season and Iowa State Fair Ribbons

by Jorge

We've had a pleasantly warm and much drier September experience this year. That has been a magnificent helper as I work to clear off the hives and treat for mites. Everything goes better with some heat....bees are massively less defensive, they evacuate the boxes more readily, treatments vaporize effectively, they can forage rather than depend on feeding, and extracting is more efficient when the honey isn't cold in the comb and resistant to spinning. I'm sure the typical coolness of autumn is just around the corner, but there is nothing to complain about in recent weeks.

There is not a massive goldenrod flow in all of my locations, but they've certainly put on some weight or maintained themselves respectably as the fall flowers opened. Some locations actually started pulling a little leftover foundation. One of my fall tricks with harvested singles is to choose the ones overflowing with bees and give them a deep box of foundation to hold the bees and stimulate them to pull it at the end of the year. It won't work after the cooler temperatures arrive or the nectar stops, but I've drawn a surprising amount of deep comb with that method in the past several years (though it doesn't always work). This is one of the Lynnville bees at work gathering pollen from goldenrod, so we happily accept any productive outcome! Strong young bees shall result!

As we close down the 2017 harvest year, I'm also reminded that we earned several ribbons at the famed Iowa State Fair this year. Here's the full array of several displays. Our creamed honey in the lower left corner brought home the blue!

The Iowa Honey Producers Association has a long history of running a quality booth in the Agricultural Building, including the always delicious honey lemonade stand on the second floor :)

Old Threshers Reunion and an Extractor Is Born!

by Jorge

Every year Old Threshers Reunion in Mount Pleasant is a highlight on our calendar. Thousands of people gather to see old-time equipment in action, have some good food, and watch quality shows. I rarely get to go down myself since it is during Mount Mercy's academic year and the bees need attention in late summer, but Alex and Phil have made the journey for many years. Here is their current setup--it has grown a lot since the first foray they made to sell our wares! The much-loved Iowa Honey Queen even came to help us this year--she has been all over the state making presentations. She is talking to my dad in the pic (surprise, the one with the crown!)

Back home in extracting land, here is Andrew's new pastime....lending a hand in the extracting room!

I still have a clear memory of uncapping with a hot knife and cranking a four frame extractor when I was a couple years older than him, so he's a bit ahead of the curve running a 50-frame radial at age 3!