Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 2013 Newsletter

GBA Monthly Newsletter

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

Spring in N Carolina - in many of the last few years, March has been our coldest month in the South
Photo by Deborah Palmer on 3/26/2013 at her apiary near Asheville, NC

Message from our President, Jerry Edwards

Ah, spring has arrived!  Nature has responded by introducing new lives, and with this thought in mind, I visited my hives.  Instead of thriving colonies, I found several with no bees.  The situation must be similar for many, as I have received numerous calls from other beekeepers, many of them strangers, voicing the same woes.  Is this the plight of the modern day beekeeper?  As most Georgia beekeepers are aware, researchers at UGA, among others, are working to resolve this problem.  Hopefully a solution will be forthcoming soon.  

On another note, it's time to "super up" and prepare for the fall meeting, which is scheduled for Gainesville, September 21.  It's a great opportunity to meet fellow beekeepers.

Jerry Edwards, President GA Beekeepers
Saving the world, one bee at a time


2013 American Beekeeping Federation Annual Convention
by Virginia Webb, ABF Director for Georgia

The American Beekeeping Federation met this year at the historic Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA for their annual convention.  Over 700 individuals attended this four day event that included one of the largest industry vendor show in the US.  The convention began with the keynote speaker, May Berenbaum, professor and entomologist at the University of Illinois, and with an update on the legislative issues from Washington, DC.  Along with a new Congress, this year we also have to work with the Farm Bill.

The first day offered afternoon breakout sessions that highlighted queen rearing by Sue Cobey; fungicide effects on honey bees and breeding better queens by David Tarpy; importance of drones, report on bee losses, and pesticides and bees by Maryann Frazier; and a wonderful cooking demonstration by the head chef at the Hershey Lodge.

Each of the beekeeping labs gave reports and updates on specific research being conducted at their labe, which included updates on CCD outbreak by the USA-ARS labe in Beltsville, MD.

Many of the talks given highlighted the shortage of bees in California for the upcoming almond  pollination season.  Some of the largest attended sessions were held in conjunction with the Serious Sideliner Symposium, sponsored by Dr. Larry Conner.  The focus was on queen management and improving the small scale beekeeper.

At the American Beekeeping Federation, members are invited to enter the American Honey Show.  This is a prime opportunity to showcase your bees' ability to produce the purest honey, the best beeswax.

The annual Honey show includes 12 classes for honey, four for beeswax and a gift basket class.  Over 80 entries were entered at this year's event, held in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  Each first place winner receives a ribbon and a crystal bowl for their entry.

From Georgia, Virginia Webb won three first place awards:  First place for "White Honey," "Artistic Beeswax Candles," and "Artistic Beeswax."  Entries in the honey show are auctioned to benefit the American Honey Queen Program.

Each year the ABF holds its American Honey Queen contest, and this year saw four beautiful young ladies competing for the title.  Our new American Honey Queen is Caroline Adams, from Plano, Texas, and our American Honey Princess is Emily Campbell from Aitkin, Minnesota.

If you have not had the opportunity to attend an ABF National Conference, the next meeting will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at the Baton Rouge River Center from January 7 - 11, 2014.  For more information on the ABF or to become a member or to learn more about the annual honey contest, go to

The ABF voted to increase membership dues in 2013, but you still have the opportunity to become a member before the dues increase takes effect.  Small Scale Membership is $50.  After July 1, it will increase to $60.


Photo by Clay "Bear" Kelley, VP GBA

"The only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee...The only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey....and the only reason for making honey is so I can eat it. "
~ Winnie the Pooh in A.A. Milne's 'The House at Pooh Corner'

Dear Aunt Bee,
     I was inspecting my beehive and talking on the cell phone at the same time when a bee flew into my mouth.  Needless to say, I got stung.  Now my lips are so swollen, they look like I've just had cosmetic injections.  What is the best remedy for this?

Painfully yours,
Colla Jen

Dear Colla Jen:
     Pat wet tobacco on the sting area in your mouth as soon as you can.  If you get a sting anywhere else on your body, put ammonia or a new penny on the bee sting.

     And seriously, don't you know that cell phones cause CCD?

Your concerned Aunt Bee   

(contributed by Chris Pahl with Linda Tillman)


"Rex non utitur aculeo!  This Latin phrase translates a “The king has no sting”.  It was used by Louis XII of France in 1506, appearing on his breastplate, which was edged with golden bees and beehives. " (Taken from THE SHAMANIC WAY OF THE OF THE BEES. )


A Challenge to All Georgia Beekeepers
by Clay "Bear" Kelley, GBA Vice President

I want to pose a challenge to all Georgia Beekeepers.  And that challenge start beekeeping programs in every state park in Georgia.

Not so long ago (about a century), a lot of folks kept bees in their yards, farms, ranches and wherever they could produce honey. Honey wasn't available in stores as it is today.  Then honey became available in supermarkets on a year round basis, many communities set rules barring beekeeping, family farms started to shut down and beekeeping came to a slow down.  The folks who knew the importance of honey bees dwindled to a some hobby keepers and commercial pollinators.  Now with being "green" becoming the in thing, more and more people have become interested and concerned.  You members of GBA are part of that new generation of people who care.

Our state parks are great examples of green areas with outdoor education programs that are open to the public.  What better platform to use for beekeeping education?  I have worked with Georgia Veterans State Park for two years, developing their beekeeping program and training their Rangers and management.  We have solved the legal problems and the funding problems.  We also have started a program at Chehaw Park in Albany, thanks to the members of the Southwest Georgia Bee Club.  We have just received permission to place bees at President Jimmy Carter's boyhood farm in Plains, which is now a National Park.  Special thanks go to De Wayne Pitts for his generosity and time.  We are also preparing to start a program at Reed Bingham State Park, south of Tifton.  Their management is excited and stands to get started.

There are several ways to go about starting a program.  This is a club project, so appoint a committee.  First, of course, identify your local State Park, approach the management and Friends Group President for that park.  Every state park has a separate group called "Friends."  These are a cadre of volunteers who conduct fundraisers, volunteer labor, and assist the park in any way they can.  It is a very large statewide organization.  The Friends can do things for the park that the management does not have the funds or manpower to do.

Marybeth and I are members of Friends and we just had our annual meeting at the Jekyll Island Club.  While there, I met with many of the Presidents of various Friends groups and discussed the idea of putting bee hives in state parks with them.  All with whom I spoke were in agreement that this was a great idea and were willing to support it.

Once your park management is on board, select a location and you can discuss the logistics.
We suggest these possible ways to do it:

  1. Provide at least two hives.  You manage the hives in the park and keep the honey harvested.
  2. Donate the hives, assist the Friends group with managing them and they can sell the honey as a fundraiser for the Friends Group.
  3. (we think this one is the best) Convince the Friends group to purchase at least two complete hives, bees, smoker, hive tool and suit with veil.  As you all know, that can be done at Rossman's for less than $500.  Train the park personnel on beekeeping and invite them to join your club.  Let them keep all the honey, create their own label and sell it through the Friends group as a fundraiser.  

We have allowed our park manager to join the Heart of Georgia Club at no cost to him.  We feel that one membership will not break the bank and it is sort of his duty.  He attends our meetings, is very enthusiastic, and has learned a lot.  He actually keeps three hives of his own these days.  I worked with him a lot in the beginning, but not as much now.  They have created their own label and have recouped the funds of their initial investment.  And I might add, they are very proud of every bottle of the golden stuff.

Georgia Veterans State Park has had a number of education programs since their beginning, instructing the public on the importance of honeybees.  Scouts, 4-H Clubs, school groups and the general public have benefitted from their efforts.

That's the whole idea!

I declare the program there a wonderful success.  The Parks at CheHaw have also had public programs. Ladies and Gentlemen, there's no reason why we can't make this work across the state.  We all know that Georgia has a wonderful beekeeping program.  Let's tell everyone.

If anyone needs more information, I am available to discuss this with you.  Call me, email me.  If your park manager seems skeptical, ask them to call Randell Meeks, Manager at GA Vets.  If you need the point of contact to the Friends group in your area, call me; I have that information.

Let's volunteer to share what we know.  It costs nothing but a small space in your heart and a little time!

I also want to ask Gina and Linda ("Glinda" since they are one!) our illustrious editors, to add a block in the newsletter to show the state parks that are up and buzzing and the parks that are coming soon.  So far we have Georgia Veteran's State Park and the The Parks at CheHaw who are up and buzzing, and President Carter's farm and Reed Bingham State Park coming soon.  As these parks get complete, we'll move them up to the "up and buzzing" column. Finally, if anyone knows that a state park or historic site is already keeping bees, let us know and we will add them to the list.


As editors, we are definitely compliant with good ideas, so here goes:

State Parks with Beekeeping Programs

"Up and Buzzing"
Georgia Veterans State Park
The Parks at Chehaw

"Coming soon"
President Carter's Farm
Reed Bingham State Park

April Street Cred:

If you keep bees, please participate in the survey being conducted by the Bee Informed Partnership.  The survey is being collected between March 29 and April 15.  You can participate here.

GBA Club of the Month
Cartersville Beekeepers Guild

The Cartersville Beekeepers Guild is a new group in Bartow County.  We are growing at such a fast pace.  We have already had our first bee school and are looking forward to another one on May 11th at Tractor Supply in Cartersville.  Our meetings are held at Tabernacle Baptist Church, downtown Cartersville, Georgia.  We have a website with all of our meeting times.

We have a teaching hive as well as several observation hives.  We teach our members the pros and cons to all the different hives that are available in the US.  We are also planning on teaching about our native bees: how to save them and how to create bee gardens.

Since we are in the growing stafes of our guild, we don't have any guest speakers planned yet, but are looking forward to having them in the future.  We are also working out the final stages of having a location for our field day which will be for members only.

We have built the guild differently than most bee clubs.  We don't charge dues and instead of having a president and vice-president, we have directors.  I'm one of the founding directors and the other one is Tony Segura.

Stephanie Brown

Upcoming Bee Events
Note:  Send us your upcoming events so we can list them here!

  • SOWEGA Bee School
    • April 6, 2013, Chehaw Park
    • Details:
  • Young Harris Beekeeping Institute
    • May 9 - 11, 2013
    • Young Harris College, Young Harris, Georgia
    • Registration opens March 4, 2013 - this fills up quickly so register early

** Your Newsletter, Your State Association **

We are thankful for this beautiful spring day and thankful for all of your contributions to our newsletter, no matter how great or small.  This sharing is how we are together in between our meetings.  Tell a story or send us a picture - we can use it all.

Thank you also for including others in our newsletter and helping to increase the membership in GBA. For just $15 a year you get the opportunity to meet and learn from 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 join us in our newsletter each month. 

As beekeepers in Georgia, we need and value your ideas and help in building our organization.

Gina and Linda and

Note:  You can read this newsletter and all of our newsletters online at: