February 2011

Meeting called to order by Ken Fielding at 7:10pm

Full room! 127 people in attendance! We're looking for a new location, anyone with any ideas for a FREE place to meet, please let Ken know at gospecialk@yahoo.com.

There's lots of opportunity to do lots of stuff for the club. Committees are being formed and we're looking for someone to do public relations especially so please let Ken know!

Tonight we're talking about mentors and many of us had some really good experiences with our own mentors. Ken's mentor was David Cheek. Mel's mentor was Horace Bryant. It's really nice to be able to just call on someone when you need help and have questions. So any new beekeeper that needs help should come to us to find members who are willing to help them either for visiting the bee yard or to call on the phone with questions. Ken asked to know how many people are interested in having a mentor and about 20 people raised their hands. We sent around 2 rosters for people to look at and get people who live near them. (NOTE: Until all of you new beekeepers have an assigned mentor, these folks have agreed to help mentor new beekeepers. G. Powell)

Jim Pickett introduced beesource.com, a great website for new and old beekeepers.

Jim Pickett also explained registering your beeyard, it's free and it's in place to protect all of our beekeepers. The registration form is linked on our website and can also be downloaded at the Plant Board Website. It's good to register before you get the bees so you know that you may have to place it somewhere special depending on your neighbors. Oklahoma residents don't need to register. If you buy bees from someone else in Arkansas, you NEED to be inspected.

The packages should arrive on 2 April. The package bees will be coming from Georgia and Tennessee. They are "survivor bees" that have survived the winters there and have survived well. They are of Italian and Russian stock. The beekeeper, John Seaborn, we buy from raises is queens in Texas, actually, but the stock comes from Georgia and Tennessee. Jim Pickett has done a lot of research to make sure John has a good reputation and we've had good experiences with him and his bees. If you are a new beekeeper, you NEED TO HAVE YOUR EQUIPMENT ready long before the bees get here. You can get your equipment from anywhere but our local source is Mark Eaton, 479-789-5575 or ozarkmountainman@aol.com. When you get your package, you need to feed them 1:1 sugar water so have feed ready. Pickett also tells people not to plan on making surplus honey off your bees the first year, just let them bee!!!

The queens (for people that JUST need queens) are scheduled to arrive 4 May, but we're hoping that they move the date up for us.

Current beekeepers, make sure you have checked to make sure none of your bees go hungry! Right now is when the queens are starting to lay and they're using up the last of their surplus honey and right now is when they are starting to eat ALOT. So make sure you are feeding now!

Recommendation of good books: Beekeepers' Handbook, and Beekeeping for Dummies is good, too!

There's a cool website called hivetracks. At our May meeting, we'll have a Skype presentation about their new software for keeping track of your hives online. Check it out ahead of time, though, if you're interested!

So that's about it, we don't usually cover much more at the February meeting because it's for ordering bees.....

Meeting adjourned at 7:56pm!!!