Sunday, January 27, 2013

February 2013 Newsletter

GBA Monthly Newsletter

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

Photo of hives on pallets by Christine Fahrnbauer of Canton, GA

Message from our President:  Jerry Edwards

I hope all of you are as excited as I am about our "Winter/Spring" meeting the second weekend of February at Lake Blackshear.  The Friday night reception at 8:00 should provide a great opportunity for us to socialize and network about our bees.  At 8:45 the next morning the session begins, with a day filled with events and speakers who will be certain to inform and entertain us.  Vender slots are still open so if you know anyone who would be available, please give them the information.  I would like to thank Bear Kelley, Mary Cahill-Roberts, and Rose Anne Dorn for their hard work planning the event.  See you Friday, the 8th,  at Lake Blackshear.

Jerry Edwards, President GA Beekeepers
Saving the World, One Bee at a Time


Georgia Beekeepers Association Spring Meeting is 

The Spring Meeting of GBA will take place at the Georgia Veterans State Park at the Lake Blackshear Resort on February 8 and 9, 2013.  The resort has two bedroom cabins available as well as a wonderful RV campground and the park manager is offering a 30% discount to GBA attendees that weekend.  The resort is located about 8 iles west of Cordele (exit 101, I-75) on Hwy 280.  There are also numerous motels and restaurants in the Cordele area for those interested.  

Here is our meeting schedule:

Friday, Feb 8
7 pm:  Board meeting
8 pm:  Reception/cash bar - an opportunity for networking, gathering with old friends and meeting new ones
(Special door prize at the reception on Friday night!)
Saturday, Feb 9
8 am:  Registration
8:45 am:  President's call to order and address
9:00 am:  Carl Webb: Update on Russian bees in Georgia
9:45 am:  Break
10:00 am:  Break-out Session one
Virginia Webb:  Beeswax in all its Glory
Buster Lane:  Nuc installation
10:30 am:  Break-out Session one (repeat of above two presenters)
11:00 Break
11:30 David Kelton:  Nosema in Hives "Don't Forget about Me"
12:15 Auction of website
12:30 Lunch/vendors
1:30  State Inspector:  What's Happening with Bees in Georgia
1:30  Keith Fielder:  How are the Commercial Beekeeper and the Small Scale Beekeeper Intertwined in Georgia?
2:00 Break-out Session Two
David Kelton:  Queens
Lori Bean:  Georgia Jams Local Products
2:30 Break-out Session Two
Repeat of the above two presenters
3:00 Break
3:15 Linda Tillman:  What I Did for Love or Why Go for Certification at Bee School?
4:00 Jerry Edwards: President's Address: Where is GBA Headed?

Our vendors will be glad to take orders ahead of the meeting and you can pick your items up at the meeting, thus saving delivery charges.

Vendors for the GBA Spring meeting:

Georgia Jams
Walter Kelly
Rossman Apiaries
Busters Bees
Mann Lake Bee Supplies

"The privilege of being a beekeeper is not to generate as much honey as possible.  We keep bees so that we can contribute to pollination.  And actually the future of beekeeping is not in one beekeeper with sixty thousand hives, rather it's in sixty thousand people with one hive; all of them approaching the art and the craft of being a keeper of bees as a holistic practice."

Simon Buxton:  The Shamanic Way of the Bee

I am a CCD Baby Boomer Beekeeper!

by Mary Cahill-Roberts

As I was reading the news in 2007, I learned that the beekeeping industry was experiencing this mysterious event:  Colony collapse disorder.  I was disturbed by the implications of a species being decimated by a "virus" that beekeepers were unable to identify.

I am in healthcare and it reminded me of when HIV first started in the 80s.  Now 30 years later, there are treatments for HIV but no cure.  And five years later we may have identified factors of colony collapse, and may have an inkling of the cause, but there is still concern and still, I think, worry.

You can keep bees in your backyard?  What!  I had never heard of such a thing.

I would become one of the CCD baby boomer beekeepers. I started my journey by going to an Atlanta community garden and spending two hours with a man who discussed bees and keeping them.  I learned about hives and how to put the boxes together.  There were three students in the class.  One of them made the comment that it might be too late to get bees for the coming April, since this was already February.

I didn't realize one had to buy bees and order them.  How did that happen anyway?  I wasn't sure of how the whole process started.  My own process started by going to the two-hour class and reading a couple of books.  I then ordered some supplies, including the bees, picked them up on April 21, 2008, and brought them home.

I listened to Mike, the guy who sold me the bees, describe how to put them into the new hive.  How hard could that be?  I drove home the 60 miles to my house with 2 nucs of bees in the front seat of my Prius, listening to them hum.  It was 8:30 pm and I was really excited.  I brought them around back to my yard, put them on top of their respective hives that were all ready for the new girls, opened the nuc boxes and RAN.

I waited two days before I went out and moved them.  After my introduction to the business end of the girls (four times), they were settled into their new homes.  I had bought some equipment from PN Williams and he gave me the low down on what to do with the hives.  Talking with him was really my first short course on how to take care of the bees.  I spent two hours, one one one, asking him all sorts of questions.  He was very patient and helpful.  He told me that if you open the hive up a lot, you'll kill the bees.  I took his advice and did not open those hives up very much.

Some time in May, a bee stung me on my arm and it became swollen to twice its size.  My family told me that I was allergic and I needed to stop with the bees already.  "That is what happens when you get stung and have a reaction," I told them; "No big deal."  Five years later, you can't tell where I have been stung half hour after the event.

Now I am involved with a local club and at the state level.  I attend all sorts of bee conferences, Young Harris Institute, Georgia Beekeepers Association, and Eastern Apiculture Society.  Now there are more new people involved with bees than ever:  the people are younger, and this group includes more women.  I have made a ton of friends and met a lot of nice people.

Overall I think as a CCD baby boomer, CCD may have been one of the best things to happen to beekeeping since the Varroa mite!

February Street Cred:  
This video came from ApiNews, January 2013

For an interesting look at neonicotinoids, here is a video that appeared in ApiNews in a recent issue.  ApiNews writes:  "In this 27 minute video, you will find the report about the Environmental Protection Agency, who allowed neonicotinoids on the market without adequate tests to determine their toxicity to bees and the environmentalists who want neonicotinoids banned until needed safety tests are done."  

When you go to the link, click on "LinkTV" to see this video.  It is educational and well-worth your viewing....share it with your friends.


"All the bee books are fine, but the first bee hasn't read a single book."  

P.N. Williams, Forest Park, Georgia

Who's Got the Best Honey?
by Jay Parsons

Who's got the best honey?

If this is your question and you are marketing your honey for sale or show, the correct answer and state of mind is "My honey is the best."  Anything less will provide you with much less in return for your expectations.  Whether you are selling honey or entering a honey show proving that your honey is the best may take a little extra work and some special preparation of your end product, but the effort will be worth it.

You need to help your honey speak.

If you are marketing honey, the first thing to consider is what jars and labels you will use.  There are many jar styles and sizes available as well as a plethora of label designs.  What you put on the label is important and should showcase your endeavors and beekeeping practices.  You will have to choose from large labels versus small.  You may want a hangtag with recipes.

Is it raw?  Put that on the label.  If it's really local, whether from Folkston, Flowery Branch, or Fulton County, then it should be highlighted on your label.

Pricing and venues are important too and may take some searching and evaluating.  There is a handy six-page pamphlet available that puts all these aspects and more into perspective put out by Certified Naturally Grown called "Help the Honey speak."

On the other hand, if you aren't looking to sell your honey, but are just seeking some recognition and glory, then a honey show ay be in your future.  Although you won't have to worry about the labels and marketing, you will have to pay attention to some very fine details.  Cleanliness of the honey container is paramount, especially if you are in a contest officiated by a Welsh Honey Judge  The outside of your bottle will be first.  No fingerprints allowed!  Is there a smudge?  Well, you're out of luck if there is.

The rules will vary slightly based on the category of honey being evaluated, but fill lines, neatness of packaging, and "cleanliness" of the honey all count.  Make sure there aren't any dust specks in the honey, under the lid, or in the jar threads.  These will surely make for a downgrade or disqualification.  You want the blue ribbon!

What about the rules?  Well, there aren't too many published.  The Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association has a list of rules as well as suggestions for showing honey.

A unique honey show is coming up in March.  The Welsh Society of Georgia is sponsoring a honey contest in Rockmart, Georgia and will be awarding slate medallions instead of ribbons.  The honey contest website can be found here.  It's the first Welsh sponsored Welsh Honey Show I know of in Georgia and probably in the United States.  The winners will be able to covet and hod precious those unique Welsh slate medallion prizes!

Maybe you can brag about having one this spring since you have the best honey right?


GBA Club of the Month
The Coweta Beekeepers Association

The Coweta Beekeepers Association is a growing group of beekeepers in the Newnan Georgia area.  Currently we have over 100 members.

Our motto for 2013 is "a year of learning" which includes educating the public and beekeepers.  We will offer numerous classes this year including an Introduction to Beekeeping class on January 26 and a Top Bar Beekeeping Weekend Intensive class on March 9 and 10.  More classes covering other subjects will be announced soon.

We also speak at various community meetings, educating the public about the fascinating ways of honey bees, the importance of honey bees, and how to be an educated honey purchaser.

Our monthly meetings cover topics of interest including:  apitherapy, marketing honey, swarm traps, nectar sources and winter preparations.  Speakers include local and regional experts.  Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black spoke at our August 2011 meeting.  

We have started a network of Internet based hive scales in the area.  Data containing weight, inside temperature and outside temperature is collected every five minutes and uploaded to servers.  The data allows non-invasive observation of a hive and can be accessed by any Internet connected device.

The Coweta Beekeepers Association (submitted by Steve Page, Webmaster for Coweta Beekeepers)
Hive scale information:

Upcoming Bee Events
  • GBA Spring Meeting
    • *******February 8 - 9, 2013*******
    • Lake Blackshear Resort
    • Cordele, Georgia
  • Queen Rearing and Breeding Workshop
    • March 1 - 2 Foley, AL
    • Roger Bemis, fee $50  Starts at 9 AM.  Bring your hat, gloves and coveralls.  You will be working in the bee yard most of the time.  No meal provided
    • For more information, call 215-213-0168 or email or write to PO Box 353, Bon Secour, AL 36511
    • Nice door prize
  • North Carolina and South Carolina State Beekeepers Associations
    • Joint spring meeting
    • March 1 - 2, 2013
    • Rock Hill, SC

Help Us Help You
Your editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

We are grateful for the opportunity to be the GBA newsletter editors!  Please know how important it is for us to receive your contributions, whether it is a bee photo, a silly story, or a beekeeping trick or technique  This sharing with one another is what makes us the Georgia Beekeepers Association and connects us!

Membership in GBA is a real bargain.  For just $15 a year you get the opportunity to meet beekeepers from around the state at the two annual meetings; you can list yourself and your honey business on the GBA website; and you get to read and add to our newsletter each month. 

If you know a beekeeper who is not a member of GBA, please encourage them to join us.  If you are a member, please let us know what you would like to see GBA do to better our club.  As a beekeeper in Georgia, we need your ideas and help in building our organization.

Gina and Linda

Photo of bee in cucumber to make us all wish for bee season by Julie Civitts of Toccoa, GA

Monday, January 7, 2013

January 2013 Newsletter

Spilling the Honey
GBA Monthly Newsletter
Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

Photo of bee on sunflower by Christine Fahrnbauer of Canton, GA

Message from our President, Jerry Edwards

Happy New Year, fellow beekeepers, as 2013 will be an exciting year for us in the bee world.  The first scheduled state event is February 8 - 9 at Lake Blackshear Resort.  I must extend a big thank you to Bear Kelley and Mary Cahill-Robers who have worked diligently to secure the first class facility and several interesting guest speakers.

Plan to attend the meeting and bring at least one friend as we all work together to build our beekeeping community.  

I hope to see everyone February 8 - 9.

Jerry Edwards, President GA Beekeepers
Saving the World, One Bee at a Time


Upcoming Georgia Beekeepers Association Spring Meeting!

Mark your calendars.  The Spring Meeting of GBA will take place at the Georgia Veterans State Park at Lake Blackshear Resort on 8 and 9 Feb 2013.  The resort has two bedroom cabins available as well as a wonderful RV campground and the Park Manager is offering a 30% discount to GBA attendees that weekend.  The resort is located about 8 miles west of Cordele (exit 101, I-75) on Hwy 280.  There are also numerous motels and restaurants in the Cordele area for those interested.   Reminder:  There is no honey contest at the Spring meeting. 

The meeting will start with a GBA board meeting at 7 PM on Friday, followed by a reception open to all attendees.  The official meeting begins at 8:30 AM on Saturday with the president’s message, followed by a day of helpful bee talks.  Do plan to come and spend a great weekend with your fellow Georgia beekeepers.

“The lark is up to meet the sun,
The bee is on the wing;
The ant its labor has begun,
The woods with music ring.
Shall birds, and bees, and ants, be wise,
While I my moments waste?
O let me with the morning rise,
And to my duty haste.”

Wm. Holmes McGuffey, McGuffey's Eclectic Primer; (1848).

What do Bee Clubs Do in the Winter?

We all know that beekeepers in the winter spend time getting ready for the next bee season, building and painting equipment, ordering from catalogues, reading bee books.  Sometimes beekeepers in the winter make candles and lip balm as a way of being creative with products of the hive.

What can bee clubs do in the winter?  A couple of years ago, the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers club used the winter months to rewrite the rules for our annual honey contest.  Using what some of us had learned from Robert Brewer’s talk at GBA at the 2009 fall meeting in Rabun County, and relying on what some of us were learning in training to be Welsh honey judges at Young Harris, we completely rewrote the club’s honey contest rules.  At least five members of our club contributed thoughts and ideas and researched rules used by clubs across the country.

Our goal was to make our honey contest rules specific and clear.  It had been some of our experience that honey contest rules often are not detailed enough to make for a clean and well-judged contest.  To enter a honey contest, the entrant needs to know what guidelines will be employed in the judging - it’s much easier to prepare your entry for the contest when you know exactly what is expected.

Once our rules were complete, we sent them to Robert Brewer and to Keith Fielder for review and we added their suggestions.  Our rules are now more specific and clear than the rules used at GBA for the annual fall honey contest.

If your club wants to revise your honey contest rules this winter, we are glad to share what we developed.  You can find the Metro Atlanta honey contest rules here.  If you have any questions about our rules or our process used in rewriting them, feel free to contact me and I’ll be glad to try to help.


“Place a beehive on my grave
and let the honey soak through.

When I'm dead and gone,
that's what I want from you.

The streets of heaven are gold and sunny,
but I'll stick with my plot and a pot of honey.

Place a beehive on my grave
and let the honey soak through.”

    -May's Honey Song, from The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd (p83)
January Street Cred:
This video came from ApiNews, November 2012

For a fun explanation of bee genetics, watch this You Tube video of Dean Stiglitz, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping, as he explains genetics and the bee


“Tart words make no friends; a spoonful or honey will catch more flies than a gallon of vinegar. “

~ Benjamin Franklin


A Thank you to GBA

The Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association (MABA) is developing a junior beekeeping program to be held at MABA hive locations in the greater Atlanta area.  In 2013 we will begin to offer one day programs for children ages 9 and up (7 & 8 year-olds may attend with a parent).  With the financial assistance from the Georgia Beekeepers Association, MABA will purchase beekeeping supplies including bee suits, gloves, hive tools, and smokers for ongoing use in the program. 

Bill Owens and Cindy Bee have both offered suggestions for the actual programming based on past GBA Junior Beekeeping programs. 
Melissa Bondurant, currently working on her Master Beekeeper certification, developed the outline for our new program.  Holly Bayendor will be the Chairperson of our new program. 

The Junior Beekeeping day will begin with an educational PowerPoint followed by equipment building and hands on beekeeping experience.  If time allows, we will have a honey extraction demonstration with each “new” beekeeper taking home a bear of freshly extracted honey.

Thank you to the Georgia Beekeepers Association for helping us with this program.

Cindy Hodges
President-Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association

GBA Club of the Month
Southeast Georgia Beekeeping Association

The SE Georgia Beekeeping Association is comprised mostly of commercial beekeepers.  So unlike other beekeeping clubs, with monthly meetings of novices and experienced beekeeper members, the Southeast club meets only twice a year.  Their meetings are more like the two annual meetings of GBA and include a number of speakers, usually well-known beekeepers like Keith Fielder or university folks like Keith Delaplane. 

Barry Hart is the president of the Southeast Ga Beekeepers in Clinch, County, one of Georgia’s southernmost counties, on the Florida border.  Barry says that as commercial beekeepers, his members only have time to gather twice a year to get caught up about current thinking about keeping bees.  Then they are on to work, managing their beekeeping businesses.

 Our GBA Spring Meeting is February 8th and 9th (Friday and Saturday) at Lake Blackshear Resort
Upcoming Bee Events

·         Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Short Course (currently filled with over 100 registered)
January 19, 2013
Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, GA

·         Tara Beekeeping Short Course
January 19, 2013
Georgia Power Building
Forest Park, GA

·         North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow
January 8-12, 2013
Hershey, PA

·         GBA Spring Meeting
February 8 – 9, 2013
Lake Blackshear Resort
Cordele, GA
·         North Carolina & South Carolina State Beekeepers Associations
Joint Spring Meeting
March 1-2, 2013
Rock Hill, SC


This is your newsletter
Your editors, Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

We are really enjoying putting this newsletter together for you every month.  Please keep sending in photos, funny stories, and beekeeping articles for us to publish! 

Membership in GBA is a real bargain.  For just $15 a year you get the opportunity to meet beekeepers from around the state at the two annual meetings, you can list yourself and your honey business on the GBA website, and you get to read our newsletter each month. 

If you are not a member of GBA, consider sending in your $15 and joining the organization.  We are a great group and as our membership expands, more is possible for our organization to accomplish.   If you are not a member, please let us know what GBA could do to meet your needs.  As a beekeeper in Georgia, this is your organization and your needs should be met.

Gina and Linda

Photo by Julie Civitts of Toccoa, GA

GBA Officers 2012
President – Jerry Edwards
Vice-President – Bear Kelley
Treasurer – Roseanne Dorn
Secretary – Mary Cahill-Roberts
North GA Director – Buster Lane
Middle GA director – Steve Prince
South GA director – Fred Rossman
Past president – Steve Nofs
Newsletter Editors – Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman
Webmaster – Bill Owens