Indiana 4-H Beekeeping – Questions & Answers Suggestions from a state fair judge: Fill level: the honey should be filled to the jar shoulder, not over, nor under. Chunk honey should go in a wide-mouth jar, preferably one specially made for chunk honey (see beekeeping catalogs). Be careful to distinguish “chunk honey” (comb in jar) from “cut comb” (comb only in box). 2012 Q – I have a family that has a 4-Her in Advanced Beekeeping, and they are having trouble coming up with activities to do. Can you suggest what 3 activities they can do from the advanced manual for completion of the project? I looked through it with them and we had a hard time defining what was an “activity” in there. Thanks! A – You are correct – the Advanced Beekeeping manual is not written with the traditional activity format (see the next question for more information about that manual). And, we have so few 4-H members in Advanced Beekeeping that I have never had this question! Dr. Greg Hunt wrote the Advanced Beekeeping manual based on information that he shares with beekeepers at trainings and workshops. Consequently, it is written for someone who is very involved in Beekeeping rather than as a 4-H activity manual. Consequently, I would recommend that you do not require “3 activities” as happens with many other projects, but ask the 4-H member to read parts of the manual that interest them, begin or continue with record keeping (see pp 28-32) and, perhaps, experiment with requeening (pp 14-17) or another topic. You could ask them for a report on what she/he did if you need some sort of record. As you probably know, the exhibit guidelines for the upper levels of beekeeping are to exhibit honey. I would encourage this seasoned 4-H member to consider exhibiting a poster to share information that they learned or an experiment that they did in the “Advanced Topic” exhibit option OR to mentor younger 4-H members and exhibit a “Mentoring” poster. We have not had either of these exhibits come to the state fair in beekeeping yet and it would be great to see 2007 Q – When was the Division 3 beekeeping manual rewritten? I notice that it has a lot more information than the old manual. A –The Division 3 manual, Advanced Methods, was rewritten during the spring and summer of 2006. It was extensively rewritten and now includes information that Dr. Greg Hunt, Purdue’s Bee Specialist, uses in adult workshops. Consequently, both youth and adults may find this publication useful. Topics that have been incorporated include: Managing honey bee colonies Taking care of your queens Seasonal management Colony troubleshooting Short guide to using honey bees in pollination The beekeeping manuals are online at: https://secure.agriculture.purdue.edu/store/, enter “beekeeping” and click on Search. Q – In the 4-H Beekeeping I manual a book, "Starting Right with Bees," is mentioned. Its publisher is the A.I. Root Co. Where can I get this book? A - This book is available from the publisher, A.I. Root, at (800) 233-7929 or800-289-7668. When you call, ask for Jim Thompson. He is happy to send a price list to County Extension Educators. Q - I have a young 4-H member who is interested in beekeeping, but does not have a hive or access to one. Do you know of any leasing programs? A - The president of the Indiana Beekeepers Association indicated that some members would be interested in leasing a hive to 4-H youth and helping them learn about bees. Contact me (Natalie Carroll, email@example.com) for help in identifying beekeepers in your area that would be willing lease a hive to an interested 4-H member. Q - What plants are considered honey plants? A - The best way to determine which plants bees will use to make honey is to watch them. The following lists will help youth know which flowers to watch. Many of the flowers do not make much surplus honey because of their duration of bloom or conditions in a particular year. The plants listed first tend to produce more surplus honey. yellow sweet clover white sweet clover apple blossom (and other fruit trees) small white (Dutch) clover mint black locust blue vine or climbing milkweed (mostly blueberry (bees are very important for in southwestern IN) blueberry pollination) elm basswood box elder tulip poplar (tulip tree, the state flower) silver maple, red maple (maples mostly goldenrod (late summer to fall, different important for pollen, not honey) kinds) raspberry asters (in fall - especially the small white blackberry frost weed aster) ground ivy dandelion (important in the spring currant and gooseberry because it blooms early) The following plants must be pollinated by honey bees (or wild bees): blueberries squash, pumpkins cucumbers fruit trees There are also a lot of exotic plants in people’s gardens that are attractive to bees. Q – The Understanding the Honey Bee manual (4-H 571) states "It is a good source of nutrition in infant feeding." (page 5, under "the value of honey bees" 2nd paragraph, 4th line down). I have heard this is not a good idea. Is it ok? A - Honey is not recommended for infants. (We have changed the current manuals but old ones may still have this incorrect information. Please correct any old copies you have of 4-H 571) Because of a very slight chance of botulism that infants are sensitive to, the recommendation has long been not to feed it to infants. Pasteurized honey would be fine but not all honey is pasteurized because too much heat makes the honey less flavorful and a little thinner, but keeps it from crystallizing. Small beekeepers do not like to heat their honey too much. The website www.honeycouncil.ca/pasteur.html has more information about this topic. Q – Is it a good idea to move a bee hive into a building to protect it in the winter? A – It is not recommended to move your hive into a building for the winter in Indiana. A few beekeepers do that in some areas of Canada, but the building temperature must be carefully monitored. It needs to be kept cool enough that the bees are not too active, yet warm enough that they can get out of the hive to defecate. Beekeepers in Indiana should leave their hives outdoors. Q – What is the Beekeeping Essay contest? Who is it for? When is it due? A – The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees and the American Beekeeping Federation holds a beekeeping essay contest for 4-H members each year. This year (2006) the essay topic is “Pollinator Conservation.” Essays are due at the State 4-H office on January 15, 2007. The top Indiana essay will be forwarded to the national competition. Each state winner will receive a book from the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees and the top three national winners receive cash prizes. Additional information is available through the Indiana 4-H Beekeeping homepage.
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