Beekeeping in the News

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Report on November Meeting

The Crossroads Beekeepers held their monthly meeting on Monday, November 10, 2014, at the University of Illinois Extension Center in Effingham.  Twenty-six members and guests were present for the meeting.

Larry Quicksall, club President, called the meeting to order and announced the passing of chartering club member John Michl of Saint Marie.  John passed away at his home on Thursday, October 30th, and his memories were presented to the club by his wife, Rose Michl, and granddaughter, Arianna Goss.

Officer reports were presented, and Dave Dhom also shared recent information about the Illinois Queen Initiative and the Illinois State Beekeepers Association.

Club elections were held for the 2015 club officers, and the following were elected for a one-year term:
  • Michelle Barnick – President
  • David Dhom – Vice President of Programming
  • Nick Brummer – Secretary
  • Nelda Campbell – Treasurer
  • Rose Michl – Membership Director


Current officers and officers-elect will meet prior to the next meeting.  The 2015 officers will be installed at the December 8th meeting.

Elections were also held for the 2014 Beekeeper of the Year, which will be announced and presented at the December meeting.

Barb Brayfield and Michelle Barnick provided the meeting’s program on various products that can be made from the hive as gifts for the Christmas season, including beeswax, infused honey, soaps, lotions, and balms.

The 50/50 drawing was won by Arianna Goss and the door prize of soaps and lotions was won by Travis Dollarhide.


The next meeting of the Crossroads Beekeepers will be held on Monday, December 8th, at 6:30pm in the basement of the University of Illinois Extension Center, 1209 N. Wenthe, Effingham.  Enter the west doors and go downstairs.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Meeting - Speaker on Mite Control

The next meeting of the Crossroads Beekeepers will be Monday, October 13th at 6:30pm at the U of I Extension Center, 1209 N. Wenthe, Effingham.

Please enter the west doors and go downstairs….listen for the buzzing of the beekeepers!  As always, the general public are invited to attend.

Don Bennett, beekeeper from Wayne City, Illinois, will be our speaker for this month's meeting. Don and his wife Cathy operate Scrub Hill Apiary, and Don will be speaking on the use of organic acids for the control of parasitic mites in honey bee colonies. He has experience in using formic acid mixtures and has been investigating the use of oxalic acid by beekeepers in Europe and South America for highly effective and low cost treatments to preserve bee hives from the destructive Varoa mites. Oxalic acid is being promoted by the American Beekeeping Federation who has applied to the EPA for approval based on European research and regulation. When approved, a safe and inexpensive mite control tool will become a reality. Organic acids are not conventional pesticides and use naturally occurring substances to attack mites without damaging bee health or causing honeycomb contamination if prepared and applied properly.

Following the presentation, nominations will be taken for the 2015 officer elections that are held at November's meeting.  Positions available include President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Membership Director.  All paid members are eligible to run for these offices. 


REFRESHMENTS!!!  Please bring your favorite treats to share following the meeting.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Honey Judging on August 11th

The next meeting of the Crossroads Beekeepers will be Monday, August 11th, at the U of I Extension Center, 1209 N. Wenthe, Effingham.

Please enter the west doors and go downstairs….listen for the buzzing of the beekeepers!


This will be an exciting meeting with our annual  Honey Competition!  Dan Wright, beekeeper from Kansas IL and Apiary Inspector for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, will again serve as our judge.

If you have honey that you would like to enter in the competition, please bring it in a clear (preferably glass) 1 pound jar that is NOT labeled.  Be sure an fill jars to the top with minimal air space and avoid any froth or foam at the top.  Judging will consider the following areas: appearance & suitability of containers, uniformity & accurate volume of honey, freedom from crystals, freedom from impurities including froth, uniformity of honey in container, color, brightness, flavor & aroma, and density  (water content).

Registration of entries will begin at approximately 6pm with club meeting and judging starting at 6:30pm.  As we learned in the past, judging takes time, so please try to register your honey closer to 6pm rather than waiting until 6:30pm.

During the judging we will have Question and Answer time, opportunities to network with other beekeepers, refreshments & take time to celebrate our clubs 4th Birthday!!!

Following the official judging of the honey, EVERYONE will have the opportunity to conduct their own judging and tasting of the honey!!!  Bring you Sweet Tooth!!!

REFRESHMENTS!!!  Please bring your favorite treats to share during the meeting, as this meeting is a fun time of celebrating the joy of beekeeping!


Below is information from the  Internet that you may find helpful in explaining honey judging.


JUDGING LIQUID (EXTRACTED) HONEY
1.    Density or Moisture Content   :  All honey contains moisture or water; honey is really a variety of sugars dissolved in water.  Excess moisture increases the growth of yeast cells that naturally occur in honey and can result in fermentation which will spoil the honey and make it unfit for human consumption.
 
Judges often use a cut-off pont of 18.6% and disqualify entries with additional moisture.  This level (18.6%) is based on considerable research and honeys with moisture levels over that amount are much more likely to ferment than honeys with lower water levels.  Some judges will also assign more points to honey of very low moisture contents but that practice varies considerably.  Containers of honey with moisture levels over 18.6% do appear very watery (fluid) to the naked eye and the beekeeper can have the honey tested with a refractometer in most states at the land-grant or state university and the state Department of Agriculture.
 
2.    Absence of Granulation or Crystallization :  All honey will eventually solidify (granulate or crystallize) even though the process may take from several months to many, many years.  Crystallization is the term usually used to describe liquid honey which has been solidified under controlled conditions, and granulation describes liquid honey that has solidified under natural or uncontrolled conditions.  Neither crystallization nor granulation are good attributes for liquid honey prepared for judging or for sale.  The presence of crystals or granules can usually be detected in the honey if they occur in more than a very small amount, and they give an uneven or gritty appearance to the honey.  This can result in two problems.  The first is a minor cosmetic problem and many consumers assume that crystallized or granulated honey is spoiled and they will either not purchase it or discard it if the granulation process becomes apparent after the honey is placed in the home.  A more serious problem is that the formation of granules/crystals in liquid honey will increase the moisture content of the remaining liquid portion of the product which can lead to fermentation.  Judges will subtract points for honey that is granulated or crystallized.
 
3.    Cleanliness   :  A look at Figure 1 shows that this category accounts for 30% of the total points assigned by the judges for liquid honey.  Cleanliness including lint, dirt, wax, and foam are among the most easily controlled factors by the beekeeper and carry a high penalty if Adirty@ honey is entered into competition.  The terms are self-explanatory with the possible exception of foam, which refers to air bubbles trapped in the honey.  There really is no excuse for dirty honey.
 
4.    Flavor   :  Flavor is a very subjective characteristic and the use of flavor as a factor in judging honey is usually limited to checking for fermentation and overheating.  Fermentation will give a sour taste to the honey and overheating will give the honey a caramelized (burnt sugar) taste.  The flavors associated with different honey sources should not be a factor in honey judging, unless the floral source produces a honey with a very disagreeable flavor.
 
5.    Color and Brightness   :  Most consumers prefer honey with a clear color and some brightness.  The judges will consider these characteristics but it should be noted that color does not mean that a light color honey will receive more points than a dark color honey.  Liquid honey is usually grouped into color categories by the superintendents or the judges of the honey show prior to judging. The factors of clear color and brightness in honey are partially a result of cleaning or filtering the honey and slightly heating it prior to competition.  The process may consist of pouring the heated honey (never heat honey over 140oF for any period of time) through a filter of some sort to remove impurities.  This process not only improves the cosmetic appearance of the honey but it also decreases the possibility that granulation and fermentation will occur.
 
6.    Container Appearance   :  The actual requirements for container type should be specified in the entry requirements for the honey judging.  Be sure to comply with those rules and don=t enter the wrong size container or a container made of an unacceptable material.  The judges will pay special attention to the cleanliness and lack of wear to the container and its lid. This attention to container and lid cleanliness includes the inside of the lid.
 
7.    Uniformity of Entries in Class   :  Most judging contests will require that multiple numbers of honey containers be entered for a category (usually three jars of extracted honey).  This requirement helps to ensure that the entrant really produced the honey and did not just buy a jar, and it also demonstrates that the entrant can package more than just one jar of high quality honey.
 
Entering honey into judging competitions can be an educational and valuable experience for the beekeeper.  Good judging based on an objective criteria can be used to evaluate packaged liquid honey and also suggest areas for improvement.  Always ask for completed evaluation forms from the judges for your entries and consider their comments.  Honey judging can help the beekeeper improve his/her product, improve the honey's future marketability, and even give some bragging rights.
 
Prepared by: J.T. Ambrose, Extension Apiculturist - September 1997 See also Beekeeping Note #16a Preparing Liquid Honey for Competition & Sale.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 14th Meeting

The next meeting of the Crossroads Beekeepers will be on Monday, July 14th, 2014, at 6:30pm in the basement of the U of I Extension Center, 1209 N. Wenthe, Effingham. Please enter the west doors and go downstairs….listen for the buzzing of the beekeepers!

We will be covering Extracting Honey, Hive Robbing during Dearth, Preparations for Honey Competition next month.

Members are encouraged to bring a snack to share following the meeting.

As always, the public is encouraged to attend.

For more information regarding the Crossroads Beekeepers, please visit their website at http://crossroadsbeekeepers.blogspot.com/, or friend them at http://www.facebook.com/crossroadsbeekeepers, or contact Larry Quicksall at 217-347-5937.

Monday, June 9, 2014

No Regular Meeting for June

There will NOT be a regular club meeting for the month of June.  The next meeting will be Monday, July 14, 2014, at the U of I Extension Center, 1209 N. Wenthe, Effingham. Please enter the west doors and go downstairs….listen for the buzzing of the beekeepers!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

June 8th Field Day

The Crossroads Beekeepers enjoyed a Field Day at the farm of Larry Quicksall.  Below are some of the photos from the event.










Monday, May 5, 2014

Next Meeting is Monday, May 12th


The next meeting of the Crossroads Beekeepers will be on Monday, May 12th, 2014, at 6:30pm in the basement of the U of I Extension Center, 1209 N. Wenthe, Effingham.  Please enter the west doors and go downstairs….listen for the buzzing of the beekeepers!

This meeting will feature two programs .  John Michl, beekeeper from St. Marie and Crossroads Beekeepers 2013 Beekeeper of the Year,will meet with experienced beekeepers to go into details about adding supers, mite control, small hive beetle, and Queen replacement.

In addition, Larry Quicksall will meet with new beekeepers to provide basic beekeeping information and to answer specific questions for those starting their first year of beekeeping.

Members are encouraged to bring a treat to share following the meeting.

As always, the public is encouraged to attend.

For more information regarding the Crossroads Beekeepers, please visit their website at http://crossroadsbeekeepers.blogspot.com, or friend them at http://www.facebook.com/crossroadsbeekeepers, or contact Larry Quicksall at 217-347-5937.