I attended a meeting of the Southeastern Indiana Beekeepers Association (www.indianahoney.org) last week. I must admit I was skeptical about going. I have spent my most of my life avoiding clubs and associations. It would have been a shame to have missed this. The meeting was led by a man named Jim and was in an open forum fashion, “this is what I am doing, do you think I did the right thing? If not, what would you do differently and why?” It was refreshing. Some individuals were doing some of the same things that I have been experimenting with. There was a lot of beekeeping experience and wisdom in the room. Many of the people attending had been in their hives earlier in the week and were reporting drone brood, some drones walking around on comb, and even one account of some queen cups being present.
The best aspect of the meeting for me was meeting a gentleman who has been keeping daily weather, blooming, and moon phase data for the past 20 years. I should have written his name down, but unfortunately I didn’t. He was very knowledgeable about bloom times and the sequences and interrelationships that occur every year in this area. I spoke with him briefly after the meeting. He originally began logging this information as a hobby associated with his gardening. He is going to bring some of this data to the next meeting. Looks like I will need to make time to get there.
You are lucky you have a personable association close to you. The one close to me is rather flakey and argumentative. I didn’t attend a meeting, but I have seen them airing their grievances on their list serve. It made me want to avoid them, but I must say some were very helpful when I asked a question about the feral hive.
“…some drones walking around on comb…” Can you tell me the significance of that?
Nice site, beekeeping sort of becomes a mental illness starts out innocent enough then you turn into “that crazy person” “points to self”. This year is the first year I wintered all my hives without any winter kill, only difference from last year is I am using warre hives instead of top bar hives :), our dandelions should be blooming within a week or so, the willows are already starting, and colts foot has been up for a couple weeks now, very exciting!
The drones thing would be timing, in the spring a hive has to raise new drones, sooner it does the sooner swarm season can start.
I am obsessed to say the least. My wife and daughter say that bees are ALL I ever think about. I use Langstroth hives, but in the winter I use quilt boxes (they are my swarm traps in the summer). I believe quilts make a huge difference over winter. This year they showed evidence of A LOT of moisture. Way more than last winter. I took pictures of some of them, and will be writing about it. I wish I had pictures from last year. Just keeping that moisture from dropping back down on the cluster must keep colonies from dying. Dandelions have been really blooming here for almost a week. I am getting excited as well. I have made it through all of my hives and won’t be messing with most of them for a long time. Hope your spring goes well.