by Jimmie L. Oakley
The Holiday Inn Select Hotel in Tyler, Texas, was the site of the Texas Beekeepers Association Convention this year. The meeting took place over the third weekend in November, starting on Thursday morning the 12th and running through Sunday morning the 15th, giving the beekeepers and visitors to the event three full days of learning and activities.
Thursday morning the Convention kicked off with another successful run of Kids-LAB (learning about bees). Coordinated and directed by Texas Honey Queen Chair, Shirley Acevedo, the East Texas Beekeepers manned their education stations as Honey Queens and Princesses escorted the various home-schooled groups through the large staging area to learn more about bees. There were over 440 youngsters in attendance, not counting teachers and parents.
Concurrently, Dr. Larry Connor of Wicwas Press from Kalamazoo, MI, conducted a well attended workshop on Honey Bee Management (Level II).
The TBA Executive Committee also met on Thursday morning to take care of preliminary business of the Association. Chaired by TBA President, Todd Youngblood, the Committee took up important issues and considered the budget for the coming fiscal year (2009-2010).
In the afternoon, the vendors began to set up the Trade Show in the Conference Center. This year seven vendors were present: Dadant & Sons, Mann Lake, Ltd., Texas Insurance & Financial Services, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers, Jan Aerts - Bee Services and Jerry Freeman - Beetle Traps. Five other vendors participated by sending door prizes and/or catalogs: Bee Culture, National Honey Board, Bucko Gloves, Plastic Packaging Concepts and Walter T. Kelly.
The Annual “Bee Buzz Social and Honey Queen Reception” was hosted on Thursday evening by American Honey Queen, Diane Jurchen; Texas Honey Queen, Nicole Pettibon; Collin County Honey Queen, Allison Adams; East Texas Honey Queen, Kellie Lenamond; Williamson County Honey Queen, Rebekah Jones and Collin County Honey Princess, Kaylynn Mansker. There was a great turnout with good food and drink, the renewing of old friendships and several long-time beekeepers from the area getting to attend. Again, Burleson Honey Company of Waxahachie, TX, generously sponsored the food and drink with the additional help of Dadant & Sons, Inc. of Paris, Texas, and Mann Lake Ltd. of Hackensack, MN; and the Honey Queens offered (honey) sweet treats to all who visited their lovely display tables.
Friday morning was the official start of the Convention with the Representative Leo Burman of the Texas 6th District giving the Welcome, followed by the TBA President’s Address from Todd Youngblood. The Honey Queens were officially introduced by Shirley Acevedo, Texas Honey Queen Chair. Attending this year was Diane Jurchen, ABF Honey Queen from Cumberland, IA; Nicole Pettibon, Texas Honey Queen from McKinney, TX; Allison Adams, CCHBA Honey Queen from Plano, TX; ETBA Honey Queen, Kellie Lenamond, from Wills Point, TX; WCABA Honey Queen, Rebekah Jones, from Spicewood, TX, and CCHBA Honey Princess, Kaylynn Mansker from Nevada, TX. Texas Honey Queen, Nicole Pettibon gave her event filled PowerPoint slide presentation to the appreciation of the beekeepers assembled.
After the morning break, Dr. Bastina Drees from Texas A&M moderated a panel to present the latest on ‘our newest problem’, the Rasberry Crazy Ant. We were privileged to have Tom Rasberry of Pearland, TX who has been fighting the ant for the last 5-6 years. Steve Coplin of Algoa, a victim of the pest was on the panel with his experience. Dr. Shashank Nilalhe, Entomologist from the Texas Department of Agriculture lent his expertise.
The Honey Queen Program hosted the Queen’s Luncheon during the noon hour to a record crowd, giving the Queens and Princess opportunity to share some personal and charming experiences
The afternoon general session featured speakers from the USDA Honey Bee Lab in Weslaco as John Adamczyk opened the session with his remarks and was followed by Dr. William Meikle speaking on the research on the Small Hive Beetle. Dr. Frank Eischen brought us a report on his Overwintering and Feeding Trials. Before the afternoon break, Raul Rivera and Juan Campos addressed the subject of Fatty Acids and Proteins in Overwintered Honey Bees.
After the break John Talbert, TBA Executive Secretary and ABF Director provided a preview of the ABF and AHPA Conventions in January of 2010, and extended invitations to TBA members to both meetings.
Dr. Clint Walker of Walker Honey Co. in Rogers, TX, brought us the latest on the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, and Area 2 Director, Blake Shook enlightened all the attendees on Registration, Regulation, Licensing and Labeling issues in regard to your honey business.
On Friday evening, the awards from the TBA Honey, Wax and Photo Contest were presented. Henry Graham hosted the award presentation this year and was assisted by the Honey Queens and Princess. As each category was announced and ribbons handed out, the Honey Queens posed so pictures could be taken to record the event. The Honey Queen Program took center stage to close out the evening in good-natured competition as the Honey Queens played the game “Jeopardy” (provided in PowerPoint by former Texas & ABF Honey Princess Sarah Paulson) to exhibit their bee knowledge. It was an enjoyable contest. Thank you ladies!
Samuel Heinz of D’Hanis, Tx, Delegates Committee Chair, hosted a Delegate’s Breakfast on Saturday morning that was well attended. Accomplishments were acknowledged and future activities were discussed. The dedication of the new Honey Bee Research Facility was selected for the site for the winter delegates meeting
Dr. Clint Walker opened the final session of the Convention on Saturday morning, speaking on the US Honey Board and the National Honey Packers & Importers Board with some insight as to what is happening.
The Convention received a visit from US Congressman Louie Gohmnrt (East Texas) District 1 as he welcomed us to East Texas and was made aware of the issues beekeepers are facing. He addressed the session.
Before the break, an aggregate of speakers from the Texas Honey Bee Research Facility and Education Center were introduced to bring us the latest on that project. Chad Wootton, V.P. for Development & Strategic Outreach; Monica Delisa, Sr. Director of Development and Paul Jackson, Texas Apiary Inspector were all present. A slide presentation was given to show the progress and completion of the lab and in conclusion, an announcement we made about the creation of the Nevin Weaver Excellence Fund at Texas A&M. It is based on an endowment by Dr. John and Janice Thomas of Bryan, TX to honor the work and life of Nevin Weaver.
After the morning break, Brad Metz, graduate student in honey bee research at Texas A&M, gave a presentation on Variation in and Response to Honey Bee Brood Pheromones and Trent Kuckerka reported on Some Effects of Rasberry Crazy Ants on Honey Bee Colonies. Paul Jackson, Apiary Inspector at Texas A&M gave his update on the Apiary Inspection Service to conclude the morning session.
The Texas Beekeepers Association held its Annual Business Meeting on Saturday afternoon to hear committee reports, pass resolutions and elect officers for the coming year. The meeting was called to order when a quorum was determined by President Todd Youngblood. After the reports were received and the passage of all presented resolutions, the membership elected a slate of officers that had Todd Youngblood from Pearsall retained as President and Ed Priest from San Antonio as V.P. The only new Director’s position was in Area 3 and it went to Clint Weaver from Navasota, TX. The meeting adjourned in order.
On the final evening of the Convention in Tyler, the Annual Awards Banquet took place in the Broadway South Restaurant. It was well attended by beekeepers and many family members - 103 - a new record. After a delicious formal dinner, the presentation of awards took place.
The John G. Thomas Meritorious Service Award for 2009 went to Janice Thomas of Bryan, Texas.
The President’s Award presented by Todd Youngblood went to Chad Wootton of Texas A&M and Beekeeper or the Year went to Joan Coplin of Algoa.
The TBA Honey Queen Coronation is always the “crowning” event of the evening. This year Nicole Pettibon, the 2009 Texas Honey Queen crowned the Collin County Honey Queen, Allison Adams, of Plano, Texas, to reign as 2010 Texas Honey Queen. She was assisted by ABF Honey Queen, Diane Jurchen, and she was presented with flowers by WCABA Honey Queen, Rebekah Jones.
The evening wrapped up with the Honey Queen Auction that always follows the Banquet and Honey Queen Coronation. Larry Lough from Whitehouse, TX, conducted the auction. With the Honey Queens and Princess presenting the items and the TBA members holding up their hands, over $7,600.00 was raised to support the Honey Queen program.
By the numbers, one hundred ninety people were “badged” for the Convention, many of them young people. Seventy two people attended the Queens’ Luncheon and there were 103 at the annual Banquet. There were eighty-six beekeepers that renewed their membership (paid dues) at the Convention and there was twenty-eight new members joining TBA at the Convention. Thanks to all who help to make it so.
The Executive Committee held a final meeting on Sunday morning to approve the 2010 TBA Budget. Jimmie Oakley