by Frank Marro
Ladies and gentlemen, start your mead! The Delaware State Fair is encouraging us to begin a new competition, namely a mead tasting. None of the specifics have been worked out yet; no matter what form it takes, it behooves you to begin your fermentation now, as most of the recipes I have read, recommend a minimum of six months fermentation, followed by some time in the bottle to improve clarity. Hopefully we will have a number of submissions for this competition next July.
This leads me to make a comment about this year‘s State Fair. The number of DBA members who submitted apiary products for competition was small. This is especially evident when comparing the number of competitors in other agricultural areas. I suspect this is due to many factors, not the least of which is having to obtain an entry number well before the fair.
This year‘s cutoff date was June 20. The logistics of getting items to the fair is probably also problematic, especially for New Castle County beekeepers. I would suggest that everyone who harvested honey this year keep a one pound queenline bottle aside for submission in next year‘s fair competition.
I would also like to see the county vice presidents remind members in May and June to obtain an entry number on the website ( the only way it can be done), and to help those without web access in obtaining it. In addition, it would be helpful if they would coordinate submission of items at their monthly meetings and then transport them to the fair en masse.
On the legislative front, Bill Benton, a newbee (kind of) who lives in Dover city limits, has asked for help in getting the ordinance that prohibits beekeeping within Dover changed to something more permissive. We met with his councilman, Bill McGlumphy who advised us how to pursue this. I will be researching beekeeping ordinances in other municipalities with similar demographics and others with dramatically different demographics (New York, Paris, etc) in an attempt to have the public safety council understand good beekeeping practices and how they minimize any perceived risk to city residents.
We have recently been contacted by Faith Kuehn to ascertain our interest in participating in a Nosema Ceranae study/survey for detection and treatment in the north east states headed by Carol Holko of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. In addition, Denny Friedel will be working with Faith and Bob Mitchell to develop legislation that defines standands for honey. There is a national movement in this regard since the discovery of contaminated honey from overseas. I have not yet heard anything from the University of Maryland about the study we were asked to support, for the study of small hive beetle.
Lastly, I‘d like to give notice that I will not be serving as president of the DBA next year. I hope that this allows others enough time to consider running for the position.