MONTHLY HABA MEETINGS
Due to changes in class schedules at GVSU's Holland campus, our meeting time has been changed to the third Tuesday of the month. This will begin with our September meeting:
BEEKEEPING IN CUBA - November 20, 2018
Cathy and Dale Dykema will review their trip to Cuba in 2017 which included visits to several apiaries, the National Center for Bee Research, and packing facilities. The discussion will include how Cuban beekeepers are able to get almost half of their harvest certified as Organic by the European market, how they are coping with varroa without in-hive pesticides, and insights into how operating in a communist system affects the lives of beekeepers.
"Long known for its cigars and rum, Cuba has added organic honey to its list of key agricultural exports, creating a buzz among farmers as pesticide use has been linked to declining bee populations elsewhere. Organic honey has become Cuba’s fourth most valuable agricultural export behind fish products, tobacco and drinks, but ahead of the Caribbean island’s more famous sugar and coffee. All of Cuba’s honey can be certified as organic. After the collapse in 1991 of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s main trading partner, the island was unable to afford pesticides. By necessity, the government embraced organic agriculture, and the policies have largely stuck. Cuba has been immune to the bee die-offs hitting other regions." - from American Bee Journal, October 2018 issue.
(American Bee Journal repeated the tour this year, scheduled for November 10-18, due to its popularity)
December 18, 2018 - Holiday party.
January 19, 2019 - Banquet at the Trestle Stop in Hamilton, Michigan.
February 16, 2019 - Bee school at GVSU Holland Campus.
Charlotte Hubbard named MBA Beekeeper of the Year at the fall meeting on October 27.
Our congratulations to Charlotte, who has shared her beekeeping wisdom to HABA members on numerous occasions. Charlotte reluctantly took over her late husband's apiary many years ago and has since become an avid beekeeper, teacher, and advocate for our favorite insect. She is active with the Kalamazoo Beekeeping Club.
RECAP: October 16 meeting
Tony McCaul, instructor at the Careerline Tech Center, along with three students spoke on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 at the monthly HABA meeting. Tony and his students provided an overview of the Agricultural & Animal Science program, which includes bee keeping. Tony’s teaching style is 70% experiential, 20% shared discussion, and 10% reading and lecturing. He begins the school year in the fall by putting the students right into bee suits to harvest and extract honey, conduct mite checks, and prepare the hives for winter. The students shared their personal experience with bee keeping by telling their story of putting on a bee suit and overcoming their fear of bees just by holding a frame and watching the bees.
These high school students have the opportunity for leadership, competition, and community service through membership in the national FFA organization. Since adding bee keeping four years ago, several students have presented at district, regional, and state competitions using bee keeping as an underlying theme and placed as high as second and third at district and regional competitions. These competitions are an excellent way to expose individuals across the state on the importance of bees to our agriculture system. Tony has been approached by other schools in Ottawa County, which are interested in starting beehives and integrating the program into their existing curriculum.
HABA has been a supporter of the program by providing funds and equipment including a hive scale and an extractor for the program. It was enlightening to hear the student’s stories and HABA will continue to collaborate with Careeline Tech Center so there may be opportunities for members to assist in developing future bee keepers. (contributed by Erin Von Tom, HABA Secretary)