Ramblings of a Bee Bumbler (July/August)

As I write this I am preparing for a trip to Cuba. I will be traveling with other agricultural leaders from our state visiting farming operations in Cuba. We will also learn about the countries culture and history. At my request, the tour will also include a visit to a beekeeping operation. Honey is one of the important agricultural products that the Cubans export. The day after I return from Cuba I will be off to El Salvador on a mission trip building houses for a family in need. Again I will try and visit a beekeeping operation like I did last year. It is really interesting to me to see how much bee keepers are alike around the world, the issues we all face and how those issues are addressed in other countries.
Hopefully everyone has their spring crop harvested and as they say “in the barrel”. From the reports I have seen this spring was a mixed harvest around the state.  The cool nights this spring and then all the rain affected a lot of our floral sources this year with little or no nectar flow. I know my harvest was about half of what I was hoping for due to the weather and also personal health issues. This brings me to my topic for the first part of this letter. In May of this year I was diagnosed with CLL, Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. This type of leukemia is caused by contact with chemicals. I am a Viet Nam veteran and had possible exposure to Agent Orange. What I want to talk about though is your exposure to chemicals and possible side effects. As beekeepers we use pesticides in our hives, herbicides around our hives and a lot of chemicals around the house. Some of you may work around chemicals at your job. Are you following proper use of and wearing personal protective equipment while handling these chemicals? Are you disposing of the empty containers and varroa strips properly? My Agent Orange exposure was in 1968 and 1969 – 49 years ago. You never know how things that happened years ago might come back and bite. Bee aware, Bee prepared and Bee Careful.
The fall field day is planned for the 21st of October. There will be something for all levels of beekeepers and gives the public a chance to see just what types of research is going on there. As in the past, lunch will be included in the registration costs. The registration information has been posted on the new LBA website along with a lot of other helpful information. Our Facebook page has also had some revamping and we are doing all we can to keep you, the beekeepers of the state, informed.
The Executive Committee of the Louisiana Beekeepers Association is planning a fall meeting with the club presidents from around the state. The LBA board feels this will give the clubs an opportunity to express concerns and share ideas on how to make our state association work for you. We are still working on the date but the meeting will probably be in the Lafayette area. We will also be sharing with the club presidents a short write-up about what is covered in our quarterly board meetings. Again we hope this will open lines of communications between the state association and the local clubs. Your state association is only as good as the members make it and we want your input.

The LBA is your organization and the Board is here to serve you. If you have suggestions for us to make the organization better or ways to better serve our members, please feel free to contact us. Also, there are several bee clubs scattered throughout the state. Tables listing the LBA board members and the various bee clubs in the state are posted at the LBA website (www.labeekeepers.org).   Join your local club and get involved. Help us help our fellow beekeepers be the best stewards of this valuable resource and produce the best honey in the world.I know 2018 is still months away but it is never too late to start planning. Will you expand your operation? What about equipment upgrades? What about Queens? Running a successful beekeeping operation takes planning so start planning now. May your fall crop be plentiful and your colonies strong.

Randy Fair, LBA President

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