Program given on bees

Fleur-de-Lis Club met Thursday afternoon, June 28, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at the Central Park Community Center on the south side of the square in Washington.

Carol Wehr gave an interesting program on their Honey Bees and Honey business. She and her husband, Ron, started in 1984 raising honey bees and producing honey for their use and their honey is now available in local stores, Hy-Vee and Fareway in Washington and The Kalona General Store in Kalona as well as from their home.

They have anywhere from 200 ? 250 hives in a 10-15 mile radius of their home. In the olden days, bees lived in a skep (made of vines, straw or rope).

Now wooden hives are used to house the bees. She brought a model hive that her son had made, which she showed and told of the different steps in the year-round process of honey making. Honey flavors are different depending on what the bees eat. Various flowers produce different nectars. Bees usually go out about 2 miles from the hive to feast on flowers, mostly clover, but one can?t always isolate the bees.

There is one queen bee per hive. Some can live to be 7 years old. The worker bees are the females and there are drone male bees who fertilize the eggs and then are kicked out by the worker bees, as they do not produce wax or collect pollen or nectar.

There are usually 10 frames per hive. During the winter, the bees cluster but do not hibernate and Ron and Carol feed them corn syrup to help nourish them through the winter months. The hives are also wrapped in tar paper in November. The Wehrs harvest their honey in August by using a leaf blower to blow the bees from the hive.

They then use a tool, electric hot knife, to remove the honey from the frames in an Extractor. The honey is stored in 5-gallon buckets and in one year they may store in 55-gallon drums up to 35 ? 50 drums.

They then use a hot water bath to process their honey. A colony of bees may cost $500 to get started and the queen would cost about $30. Carol shared some pictures and had several handouts for the club members. A wealth of information was shared by Carol.

Since the president and vice president were absent, no official meeting was held, but some business was taken care of. A bill was presented by Bev Crandall of the Remembrance Committee.

This was allowed and paid. It was noted that Lawrence Whisler, husband of member, Shirley Whisler, was celebrating his 99th birthday. Due to threating clouds, members departed for home.

The Club will not meet during the months of July and August. The next meeting will be Sept. 27, 2018 with Pat Stout as hostess.