To: OSU queen project supporters and those who have ordered queens
From: Dana Stahlman
Date May 8, 2011
Subject: Queen Project
I am sure you are anticipating the arrival of your JT Project queens. I am going to have to delay the shipments of any queens this spring due to many problems outside the human efforts made to produce queens.
Everything was progressing very well thru early April. Our first graft was done April 7th with very good results. The bees from Georgia drawing the wax foundation for the nuc’s did a very good job. The drone mother hives have produced a good number of drones. I participated in the OSU-Piketon Queen Grant with Jim Tew on April 16th. Although we had rain and cool temperatures, I was hoping for things to get a lot better that weekend.
Of course, we had young virgin queens emerging from cells and a number of nuc’s set up to raise these queens. Several groups visited the queen yard of which I am very proud.
What has not helped our progress: THE WEATHER
None of us have any control of the weather – a factor I am aware of but hoped (I am an optimist). In all my previous experience, I have never seen an April like this or the May we have been experiencing. The old saying “Everybody complains about the weather – But what can a thinking being (me) do about it.) At present, I am looking at a very depressing weather pattern for the rest of May. The Columbus Dispatch for Sunday May 8th shows a weather map and predicted a weather pattern forecasting rain each day except one for this next week. I have watched and read articles concerning the weather. I graft queen cells each week on either Wednesday or Thursday anticipating that these queens will go into nuc’s in 10 days. I have fed over 200 pounds of sugar to keep the nuc’s going. I am learning new challenges each new day – issues which I have never dealt with in the past.
But I am not alone. As the Columbus Dispatch reported today, “Nature doesn’t always wear a smiley face. We sometimes are forced to relearn what an astonishingly vulnerable place we occupy on an indifferent planet, a place that points up the human need to develop a stoic’s patience yet expose the futility of human wishes.”
I guess queen producers in Ohio are experiencing a once in a lifetime April and May. But as I read the paper, the OSU project is not the only one experiencing weather factors:
The following headlines: Rain Washes Out 1893 April Record, Grounds staff sent Home (refers to golf course maintenance people), Rain Throws Wet Blanket on Anglers, cartoon in local newspaper showing the drenched Cardinal (the Ohio state bird) saying “I can’t take this rain anymore, I’m out of here”, with the Caption “News Item – State Bird of Ohio abruptly resigns. Duck will act as interim bird.”, Only 1% of corn crop planted, and the list goes on and on. Anyone involved in farming, baseball, fishing, golfing, camping, or off road activities is being affected. Some (with office like jobs) are complaining because their week-ends are messed up.
So where does this leave us? My schedule is shot all to H—! You need to make a decision to wait until I can get good mated queens or let me know that you want dropped from the order list. We still have outstanding queen stock and drone stock. I can produce any number of good queen cells. For any of you that may want queen cells, I can produce them for you with the money going to the JT fund. Cost of cells are $5.00 each. I will not ship any queen cells.
I am sure to have queens later in the season (June, July, and August). If the weather changes, I should have queens – to be shipped or picked up – in the order that orders were placed. Again, I will send 10 day notices to alert those individuals that queens are ready for shipment in 10 days. I have a number of requests for queens from people who want them right now. I am turning them away unless they want to wait until after your queens are ready to go.
I guess things could be a lot worse. Fortunately, Ohio escaped the huge loss of life and the damage done in the South this past week, or the floods people are now experiencing along the Mississippi River. According to the weather reports, Ohio has been lucky because our temperatures have been too low to generate the bad storms others have experienced.
I wish I could report better news for you.
JT Queen Project Coordinator