Final Submission by John Barger
This winter has been rather rough on the bees; my hive was completely dead by the end of February. It made me kind of upset with all the effort I put in them, but then I came to realize that it just happens. So I decided to replace the bees and buy an extra package. To this day I’m still not sure how they died but my guess is starvation, even though I was trying to keep up on their feeding.
As soon as I get my new bees going, I’m going to treat them like I did last year, such as feeding them 1:1 often, checking on them, adding supers when needed, and maybe even if I’m lucky take some honey. I will continue the same quality care I have been giving in the past year to my bees. I promise this I will never give up beekeeping; it has become one of my most favorite hobbies. A good thing for the beekeeping hobby is that several of my friends are even showing interest with bees.
Overall, I would like to thank my mentor Mike Whisman, President Kenny Schneider, my family, and other fellow beekeepers for passing on information and experience to me at the Spring Valley IBA meetings. Most of all who I should really thank is the Brent Bridwell Project, if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be where I am in beekeeping. If you are eligible for this program, I suggest you enroll now because you benefit a lot from it and you get to start a very fun and interesting hobby.
Submitted by John in Q1
Fall and early winter have been somewhat slow other than preparing for winter. Although in the middle of fall, my mentor introduced me to anther fellow beekeeper, which has been beekeeping for 50 years, I also give him a hand with his hives because he can use the extra help. He is very knowledgeable and has taught me a few of his old tricks. It’s kind of nice to have two mentors because you get to see both of their opinions and methods of beekeeping.
Both of these gentlemen have given me some good pointers on getting the bees ready for winter. I started giving them 2:1 for about 2 ½ months and purchased a few winter patties from Dadant, I have also wrapped my hive just to add a little extra warmth. As late as it is, the hive is still very strong, and I am very pleased with how my first year worked out in beekeeping. It is very enjoyable passion for me, from working with the bees, to the IBA meetings, and doing Beekeeping in 4-H. It is extremely fun and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the Brent Bridwell Project. Thank you guys so much and please continue to do this project so other kids can get involved with Beekeeping.
Submitted by John in Q4
The late summer and early fall was very slow with my beekeeping but I have done exciting things for it though. I saved enough money to purchase another all-medium beehive. It came with everything I needed including a feeder! On July 6th I finally got to put to action when I got my first ever swarm call. When I got to the lady’s house and found the bees, I very soon found out it was not a swarm, but a hive. Sadly I only got about 150 bees because the hive was all torn to pieces by the construction crew, I don’t even think I got the queen. I set them in a hive at my house just to see what they do. I knew more than likely they would not last, but the construction crew was going to spray them anyway, so it would not hurt to try. I put them on 1:1 but within a month they were only about 10-15 left, I guess it doesn’t hurt to try.
On the first of July my mentor Mike Whisman asked me to help him give a beekeeping presentation to a few girl scouts. We discussed basic equipment and some science behind bees. We let the kids look into the hive and pull honey; they really seemed to enjoy that. We let them cut the cappings and extract honey. By the end of the day everybody had headed home with sticky fingers and a little bit of honey. I have extracted once from my own hive and used it for my 4-H project. I got Reserved Grand Champion at our 4-H county fair and I went to State, I did not do so well there. I have tried to extract 2-3 times but the frames are not quite full. I honestly don’t think I’ll get to before winter. At the moment I haven’t really done much with the bees but very soon my mentor and I will begin winter preparation.
Thanks again for the Brent Bridwell Beekeeping Project, it is a great program. I will soon be installing the Bridwell plaque on my hive.
Submitted by John in Q3
Thank you so much for the beekeeping kit. I would have had to work forever to get a kit like that. Before I had the kit I just helped my mentor, Mike Whisman, with his hives but I wanted a hive of my own. I wanted to have the responsibility of taking care of bees, now I’ve got it.
Ever since I left from Columbus, IN where I met Mike Seib, most of my time I’ve spent with my bees or doing something to do with beekeeping.
My new hobby started after I got my hive together, on April 20, 2012 Mr. Seib brought a nuc of bees to my hive’s location at the Feed Store and Nursery in Charlestown, IN. We put the bees in two of the mediums but we had a problem. The nuc frames are deeps. So we stuck the deep frames into the top box and where the deep frames hung out the bottom we removed medium frames so the deep frames could hang. On top of the second box we stuck on the inner cover. Then on top of the inner cover we stuck on the feeder, we filled it with 1-1 sugar water. Then we stuck my third box with no frames around the feeder then stuck on my outer cover. My hive was finally ready so I could start my new hobby.
I fed the bee’s 1-1 from April 20th-May10th and I started to notice that the hive was growing very quickly so I knew it was time to get another honey super.
On April 29th my dad and I got on Walter T. Kelly’s site and ordered 2 honey supers[$23.00], 20 frames and foundation[$20.00], Smoker[$40.00], Spacing tools[$10.00], and frame rests [$4.00]. That purchase game me all the tools I needed to work with my hive more efficiently.
On May 2nd I took out my entrance reducer and Mike told me to take out the feeder on May 10th. On May 8th we got my supplies I ordered and on May 10th I took out the feeder and filled that box with frames. I also added another honey super and frames. The deep frames we had in the second medium we moved them so they were the outside frames. So now there are 4 mediums on it.
We really seemed to aggravate the bees so we did not touch them until May 12th. All we did on May 12th was open it up to see the activity. They didn’t really hit the top box yet but the third box they hit pretty good. We went to Mike’s family’s farm outside Marysville, IN. He has like 9 hives there, most are strong hives but he has a few that stink. On May 14th, Mike and I went to the IBA Spring Valley meeting ran by Kenny Schneider. He seems like a well educated beekeeper and very nice. My favorite part of the meeting was when they were talking about swarms and they showed us a picture of what looked like a giant butterfly net to catch swarms.
On May 25th Mike invited me to his house to extract honey off his hive. I learned how to take off the cappings and use the extractor, it was so cool. After I was completely done we had half of a 5 gallon bucket and Mike decided to give it all to me. He could have made quite a bit of money selling that honey. Mike Whisman is probably one of the best, nicest mentors there is out there. I’m glad he’s mine.
If it hadn’t been for Mike Whisman, my family, and the people with the Brent Bridwell Project I would have never known or tried the interesting hobby of beekeeping. So yes I am very thankful that you guys setup the Brent Bridwell project and glad my mentor got me to sign up for it.
Thank you so very much,