Tuesday, July 2, 2013

GBA Monthly Newsletter July 2013

The hive to which we all aspire!  Look at all those honey supers!

 Hive owned and managed by Jerry Wallace, member of Metro Atlanta Beekeepers  
Photo contributed by Jerry, who manages Metro Atlanta Beeks Facebook Page

Message from our President,  Jerry Edwards
          Looking forward to a fun-filled Fourth of July with family, friends, and my girls.  Another event I am anticipating is our state meeting in September in Gwinnett County.  In order to make our organization more vibrant, let's all try to bring two friends in hopes that they will join our club.  

Beekeeper of the year will be announced at the state meeting, so nominate your favorite beekeeper. Send your nomination before August 1 to Cindy Hodges (details in this newsletter). Her email is  DunwoodyHoney@Bellsouth.net  

The statewide honey show is scheduled for the Georgia National Fair in Perry in October so start cleaning those honey jars.
Jerry Edwards, President GA Beekeepers
Nominate a GBA Beekeeper for 2013 Beekeeper of the Year

Every year GBA awards Beekeeper of the Year to an outstanding beekeeper in our state.  It’s now time to send in your nominations for this award.  The nomination deadline is August 1, 2013.

Do you know of someone who exhibits qualities that inspire others in beekeeping?  Have they been supportive of our Georgia Beekeepers Association as well as the beekeeping industry?  Honor them by nominating them for this award.

We are looking for a GBA member who:
  • Exemplifies good beekeeping practices
  • Demonstrates leadership
  • Promotes Georgia’s beekeeping industry
  • Creatively solves problems of industry wide concern
  • Actively participates in local, regional, or national beekeeping organizations

Beekeeper of the Year for 2013 will be awarded at our fall GBA meeting to be held on September 20, 2013, at the Gwinnett Environmental & Heritage Center in Buford, Georgia.  

Please send your nominee’s name, address, and reasons they should earn this honor to
Cindy Hodges at dunwoodyhoney@bellsouth.net.
Remember the deadline for nominations is August 1, 2013.

Thank you,
Cindy Hodges
2012 GBA Beekeeper of the Year     

Honey Play Clay 

from Honey: from flower to table by Stephanie Rosenbaum

   1 cup peanut butter
   1/2 cup honey
   2 cups dry powdered milk

    Mix peanut butter and honey together until  smooth.  Add the powdered milk gradually until the clay is thick and no longer sticky.

    Have fun with kids or grandkids!


Interview with Curtis Gentry

by Gina Gallucci - interview done by telephone

How long have you been keeping bees?
"Since 1975.   My Grandfather had a farm in upstate North Carolina and he had bees.  He was in the process of switching over to fixed hive boxes.  He passed away before I was born but I found a few of the colonies had survived.  I was always fascinated by bees. I went off to Clemson to be an engineer but decided I didn’t want engineering after all and went into biology instead.  I took some entomology classes. Then I joined the Peace Corp and went to Liberia to teach.  There was fellow teacher and we went out on a number of honey hunts where we took cut down a bee tree, took the comb and honey and brood and brought it all back to eat. The kids loved the brood too- it was good protein.  That was a real treat. They didn’t really keep bees but they did hunt honey bees.  One time I tried to get a swarm and fell out of a mango tree.
Later, I went back to grad school at Clemson and they had a little apiary which I worked with a fellow grad student. I always loved bees." 

What's the best part of practicing beekeeping?
"It's the connecting with nature, being outside, honing your observation skills."

How many people have you mentored over the years?
"Probably about 200.  After grad school I  taught various beekeeping and agriculture programs and workshops for the Peace Corp. I was sent Nicaragua but then the war brought me out so I went to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Ghana, Mali and Zaire."

What's the hardest thing for a new beekeeper to understand?
"I think that it has the cycle and you have to go with the cycle of beekeeping.   You can’t take honey anytime you want.  It's seasonal and you have to go with the cycle.  Its not up to you- you are a slave to the season and their cycle."

What's the hardest thing for experienced beekeepers to understand?
"Change, it's hard in anything to change. I am thinking of industrial beekeeping -it  hit a wall with Varroa and small hive beetle around here.  There is just a lot more you have to do now to keep bees. " 

Curtis, you have a certain way with your smoker.  What do you do?
"I have lots patience.  I light a little bit (of material) at a time at the bottom and then get it going, slowly packing in more until it's really lit from the bottom up.  When I am finished I plug up the smoker and lay it on its side to let it go out."

What changes have you made in your beekeeping?
"I am kind of passing the smoker.  Due to a number of circumstances I have slowed down a bit and  work some beginner classes at the Metro Atlanta Beekeeping Short Course,  Atlanta Botanical Garden Beekeeping , and I ran the Oakhurst Community Garden bees for three
years. That is enough for me.  I am doing more mentoring than beekeeping. I really
get a kick out of other people getting a kick out of keeping bees."

***Note from Gina:  While investigating beekeeping as a hobby back in 2004,  I looked online and the first thing I found was Curtis Gentry's book:  Small Scale Beekeeping (Appropriate technologies for Development). It was published by the Peace Corps in 1982.  Little did I know then that he would become a personal beekeeping mentor!  Although now out of print, you can read the book in its entirety online

Bees in the Parks

State Parks with Active Beehives that are Up and Buzzing:

Georgia Veterans State Park
The Parks at Chehaw
President Carter's Farm
Reed Bingham State Park
Fort Yargo State Park

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower. 
~ Isaac Watts, Against Idleness

Street Cred

Free App for Mobile phones to help with Disease IdentificationThe Disease Identification section with its photographs and descriptions is already proving very useful in alerting beekeepers to potential problems – and with their smartphone they will even be able to take photographs to compare later or send to fellow beekeepers. The main sections of the app cover disease identification and treatment, where to buy treatments, plus sections on a photo gallery.  

Our Survey of the Month

This month's survey is about critters in the hive.  It's only one question - please take our one question survey!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.
Dear Aunt Bee,

A while back I was consolidating my bee equipment and left some frames with plastic foundation sitting in an open environment in my bee yard for several months.  A lot of the wax was scraped off, but they looked pretty cruddy.  

I wanted to clean the frames so I removed the plastic foundation and threw it away.  Then I put the frames in a heated oven at about 300 degrees for 45 minutes over a cooking pan that would collect any drippings.

When I removed the frames, I was able to wipe off the wax and crud that remained.  Is this methos of cooking the frames an acceptable method to clean the frames for re-use?

Pot Luck

Dear Pot Luck,

Sounds like a great plan.  I've tried that myself and found the disadvantage to be the time it takes and that you can only do a few frames at a time.

I have also cleaned frames by filling a stewpot with water and bringing it to a boil.  Then I hold one end of the frame in the water for about 12 seconds and then the other end of the frame for another 12 seconds.  

Wax and other crud can easily be wiped off while the next frame is dropped into the water.  Since it takes less than 1/2 minute per frame, then many more can be done in 45 minutes than half a dozen in the oven.

This method does not warp the frames because they are in the water for such a short time.

Either way will work to clean your frames for reuse.

Aunt Bee

Contributed by Chris Pahl and Linda Tillman
“I shouldn't think even millionaires could eat anything nicer than new bread and real butter and honey for tea.” 
~~Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle

Upcoming Bee Events

July 11 - 13 NC State Beekeepers Summer Meeting, Sandhills Community College, Southern Pines, NC

July 11 - 13  Heartland Apicultural Society HAS 2013, Tennessee Tech University, Cookeville, TN

July 20 Queen Workshop, Foley, AL library, bemisroger@hotmail.com  $75, includes lunch

August 5 - 9  Eastern Apicultural Society, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania

September 20 - 21 GBA Fall Meeting, Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, Buford, GA 
Ask Ten Beekeepers a Question…..

Creamed Honey

by Noah Macey

First of all, if you've never had creamed honey before, go buy some and taste it; the newsletter will still be here when you get back.

Now that that's been taken care of, we can get down to the nitty-but-hopefully-not-gritty  (you'll understand that joke in a minute) business of making creamed honey. 

Wait, what is creamed honey?
Creamed honey is simply honey that has crystallized so finely that the granules are imperceptible and the final product is smooth, without a gritty feeling. This creates a honey that spreads like butter and doesn’t run. As anyone who's tasted an jar of old honey that has crystallized on its own will attest, such a thing doesn’t happen without a little help.

How on earth do I make such a thing?
Harnessing the forces behind honey crystallization isn't difficult. The two main sugars in honey are glucose and fructose, and the ratio of the two sugars determines how eager the honey is to crystallize. The dusty jar of sourwood honey that the house came with is still liquid because sourwood honey has a very low ratio of glucose to fructose, whereas the cotton honey that crystallized in the extractor has a very high ratio of glucose to fructose. Creamed honey turns out better when you use a honey with a high glucose to fructose ratio, so it’s wise to use honey that has already crystallized in its jar.

We can control the size of the crystals as well. When sugars form crystals, they like to follow an example by replicating already-existent crystals. So, by introducing very smooth creamed honey (called “seed honey,” often bought from the grocery store) to your future creamed honey, you can control the size of the crystals. Of course, this means heating the honey to melt any naturally-occurring crystals that could conflict with the seed honey.

Give me step-by-step instructions.
Fine, pushy...
  1. Heat your soon-to-be creamed honey to 120 degrees, stirring gently while avoiding introducing air bubbles. Strain the honey through a fine strainer to remove possible contaminants (the final product will be very light, so any debris will be painfully visible. Not to mention crystals could form matching the size of the debris, which would make the crystals gritty).
  2. Heat the now-strained honey to 150 degrees, still stirring gently. Hold it at that temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. Rapidly cool (think: ice bath) the 150 degree honey to between 60 and 75 degrees (between these temperatures, your seed honey won’t melt, but it’s still easy to stir).
  4. Once the honey has reached the correct temperature range, add your seed honey at roughly 10% of the total weight of the soon-to-be-creamed honey (I suggest your first batch be 10 lbs of honey, which entails 1 lb of seed honey). Stir the seed honey in gently, careful not to add extra air.
  5. The honey is now ready to be placed into its final container. Said container should be wide-mouthed as creamed honey is spread, not poured. Overfill slightly because as it sets, the creamed honey will contract. 
  6. The best temperature for crystallizing honey is 55 degrees, so use your fridge. Leave it alone for one week. 
  7. Clean-up

Where does the 'creamed' come in?
I'm not sure why it's called creamed honey—there's no actual cream in it. Other names include whipped honey, spun honey, churned honey, and honey fondant.

I don’t like to heat my honey. Is there a way to keep it raw?
Nope, sorry. Even if you could keep it raw, as honey crystallizes the liquid component (which, while hard to detect in creamed honey, is still there), becomes more watery, leading to fermentation. Such fermentation happens in honey that crystallizes normally as well.
Our author, Noah Macey, won Best In Show for his creamed honey at the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers' honey show in 2010.  At 16, he is also the youngest Master Beekeeper in the state of Georgia.


Meeting tomorrow’s beekeepers

By Holly Bayendor, 
Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association Junior Beekeepers Program Chair

Despite the threatening weather on April 28, twelve participants showed up for the first daylong beekeeping course offered by MABA for children ages 7 – 12.  Everyone gathered for the class at Melissa Bondurant’s veterinary office in Alpharetta.  Melissa has beehives there as well as a good facility for the educational slide show, games and activities that were all part of teaching these kids about the importance of bees and how to keep them.

Twelve children arrived with their parents and first saw a presentation by Cindy Hodges and Melissa Bondurant.  The children learned about ancient beekeeping and honey bee communication dances.  They were able to look at specimens of dried bees, honeycomb, and other pollinator samples.  They also learned about the roles each bee plays in the hive and had a fun dress-up segment. 

During lunch the children got to see a fully assembled bee hive.  All the components were labeled and they could touch all the parts. Then they looked at an observation hive where they saw the bees working, spotted the queen bee, found honey and brood. Keeping dry on the porch, the children enjoyed using hammers, nails and glue to make their own hive frame. Some of the children chose to keep their frames, while others offered theirs back to MABA for use in a real beehive.  

Thanks to a grant from the Georgia Beekeepers Association, we had purchased child sized bee suits to use in this course.  Each child found a suit to put on and we headed for the beehives.  Melissa demonstrated lighting the smoker and we opened the hives.  The children held frames of live bees and each child got to hold a drone in his/her hand.

Honey was the final feature of the course.  The children got to taste different honeys and Melissa showed them how to extract honey.   The children got to use the capping scratcher and also got to spin the extractor.

Each child took home a packet of material including a small jar of honey, a bee-bookmark, a bee cookie, a packet of wildflower seeds, an informative honey bee coloring book, honey recipes, and a certificate of participation.

In addition to the funds from Georgia Beekeeping Association which made possible the purchase of bee suits to use for years to come, we owe thanks to Cindy Hodges, Melissa Bondurant, Lula Banks-Moore, Jeff McConnell, and Realm Advertising for their help in making the course happen.

Club of the Month:  
The Beekeepers Club of Gwinnett
by Diane May, co-secretary

The Beekeepers Club of Gwinnett is a young and growing club.  The club was started by Tommy Bailey, current president of the club, by hosting an exhibit at the Gwinnett County Fair in September of 2010 to educate the public on honey bees and to encourage new hobbyist, backyard beekeepers. Thirty interested beekeepers attended the first ever meeting of the club at Hebron Baptist Church in Dacula, GA in October. Today the club has approximately 225 active members and regular visitors with an average of 80 attending each month.   

Our first purpose is to educate the public on the benefits of the honeybee and to help them realize it is not a dangerous, but a beneficial insect. We attend the Gwinnett County Fair yearly with an observation hive, educational materials, and eager members ready to answer questions.  Club members also volunteer in the communities by presenting demonstrations for school, community or scout groups.  We worked with Whole Foods in John's Creek as part of a Share the Buzz Honeybee Awareness event including foods and drinks made with honey as well as roasted vegetables pollinated by honeybees.

Gwinnett's second purpose is to encourage and educate beekeepers. Members share their triumphs and challenges in their hives. Speakers and hands-on opportunities each month also further this important purpose.  We maintain an extensive library of educational material and equipment that paid members are free to check out month to month.  Members are encouraged to attend educational events like the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute .  Through this continued education, the club can boast of several members that are Certified or Journeyman level beekeepers.

Beekeepers Club of Gwinnett hopes to further the cause of the honeybee and to see more hives in and around the county.  We welcome visitors each month and enjoy having seekers and beginners visit to learn and have their questions answered and to glean new information from the experienced keeper.  Please feel free to stop by on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 at Hebron Baptist Church, Building A, third floor and join the discussion.
The Final Buzz
We appreciate all the contributions to our newsletter - 
Please have fun with our surveys and keep letting us know if there there's something you'd like to see here!  Keep your articles
and photos coming - we love them.

Gina and Linda