November’s Ramblings of a Bee Bumbler, from your PRESIDENT
Summer is soon leaving us and fall is in the air. Well at least north Louisiana has seen some rain, and football season is here. This has been your typical Louisiana summer with dry days, hot nights and not much for the bees to do but fight the hive beetles and try and keep the varroa under control. There are some signs of goldenrod blooming around the state and the fall flow should be in full swing by the time you read this. I am hoping for a good fall crop as honey price hold steady and demand continues to climb.
We have been having some growing pains with the new LBA website, but it should be on line now. We hope the new sight will be user friendly and a better way to serve our members. The registration for the fall field day at the USDA bee lab is on there as well. This year’s event will be held October 27. We want to thank those that work at the lab for helping us put this field day on each year. The event gives beekeepers around the state an opportunity to learn what the lab is currently working on, meet and talk with the scientist there, listen to really good speakers and mingle with other beekeepers from around the state. We look forward to seeing and talking to you there.
Convention plans are still in the works for this year’s event in Sulphur Louisiana near Lake Charles. The list of speakers is growing and we are planning several breakout sessions to meet the needs of you, the beekeeper. There will be an auction at the banquet to raise money for future events and to fund the Save the Honey Bee Scholarship program. Be sure and attend the session featuring our first recipient of the scholarship, C J Fellows, as he explains what his research involves. As usual we plan on a varied group of knowledgeable speakers and vendors in attendance. We will have our annual membership meeting which is your opportunity to make decisions on who runs your organization and where we grow from here. This is also the time that we elect board members, officers and adopt resolutions that the association will work on during the year. There may be some by-law changes to vote on also this year around term limits and our election process. If you have an interest in serving, please contact one of the current board members or Keith Hawkins who is the nominating committee chairperson.
The Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation (LFBF) is also looking for beekeepers to serve on their Honey Commodity Committee. Each parish is allowed to have two representatives on the committee. The committee meets twice a year. Each year, the committee meetsin New Orleans for an annual convention. At the convention, not only are recommendations to enhance the program are accepted but interesting speakers and presentations are provided. Commissioner Strain always makes a point of stopping by. The committee also meets during the LBA convention to elect a chairperson and conduct whatever business comes before the committee. If you are interested in serving, contact your parish Farm Bureau president to have your name added to the committee members.
I do want to take this opportunity to thank each of you for allowing me to serve as your current president, past vice-president and secretary. The association continues to grow, and I hope, continue to meet the needs of our members and beekeeping both as a hobby and as a business. As my term ends, I look forward to watching our association continue to grow and our conventions and field days get better and better. The association is only as good as its membership and the work/cooperation each of you supply. Thanks again for allowing me to follow my passion in serving you and I will see you at the field day in October.
Randy Fair, LBA President
Spring rains have brought the spring flowers and the flow is on. Summer is fast approaching, and the Tallow flow is next in line. Swarms have been hived. Colonies have been split. Queens have been raised and introduced to their new families. Honey supers are on and some harvesting has begun. There was a good privet and clover bloom but cool nights hurt the daytime nectar flows. The rains have slowed down, temperatures are rising and the work in the apiary goes on. Here’s to a safe and plentiful harvest for all. And if it does not happen, well there is always next year.
As of May 20, 2018 I’m not too impressed with the nectar harvesting being carried out by my bees. It looked to be a good year back in March but with April I had my doubts. Lots of swarm captures and cut-outs and the splits and nucs I’d made did well. I’ve three hives at the home yard that I use to make splits and nucs and they are also doing well. But the hives in the two yards in the field just aren’t laying down the additional supers I’d hoped for. The disparity between new queens and old queens from last fall’s replacements don’t seem to show much difference in nectar returns. I’m about to retire four of them where the new queens just didn’t take hold or the old queens are failing. I often pull the old darker brood frames in such hives replace them with new foundation/frames. I carry out this procedure in the spring and fall months rather than limp through the summer or winter with weaker hives. It is easier to replace them with younger stronger hives. This is where I utilize the nucs I’d made earlier in the spring.