Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2014 Newsletter

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman
Photo by Brutz English.

Beekeeper in photo is Wayne Hughes of Upson County, GA

This is the cover photo of the GBA Facebook page.  Have you visited?  The page run by Brutz English is full of helpful posts and information.  Bear, our president, often posts - you can, too!  Please use the Facebook page as a way to share information about bees and beekeeping.  Here's a link to the page.

Message from the President  
Happy New Year to all.  I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and you’re ready to move on to 2014. (Oops! it’s too late, we’re already in it!)

I would like to dedicate this year to the new member: those who may not be members yet or those who have just joined our association.  A potential new member may very well be an experienced Georgia beekeeper. As I have moved about the state since September, I’m finding that we have so many beekeepers in Georgia that they can’t all be counted. 

I recently had a meeting with Mr. David Williams, The Supervisor of Beehive Inspectors for the Georgia Department of Agriculture.   He assured me that there are well over 2,000 beekeepers in our state.  Hobbyist, part timers and commercial apiaries are in almost every county throughout the state.  But when you look on our “Club” map on the website, there are many areas that don’t reflect any activity. As far as current membership, we have a little more than 300 members in the Georgia Beekeepers Association.  That is less than 15% of the beekeepers in our state.  What have we been doing wrong? Our Spring Meeting is next month and sadly we only expect about 100 members to attend. 

We now have four regional Directors, and I have asked them to canvas their areas and beat the bushes to round up these wayward folk and bring them in to the colony.  Club Presidents, we really need you to make it a priority to encourage your club members to join GBA as well. Dues are only $15 for the year. 

Do things that encourage membership in GBA. Have a raffle to earn money to send a member or two to Young Harris to become certified.  The tuition is only about $150.  And then encourage those beekeepers to join GBA.   Beekeeping classes for the public certainly work to gain local club membership, so continue the encouragement and encourage the participants to join GBA.  Be creative.  
We are looking at our administrative practices at the State Level searching for improvements and bouncing around new ideas that may make a difference. We are looking hard at the speaker program and intending to bring in quality speakers at our state meetings.  We are searching for the best meeting sites to encourage state beekeepers to attend our two annual meetings.

Why join GBA,  you may ask?  There is power in numbers.  I am attending the American Bee Federation annual meeting this month in Baton Rouge, LA.  And Mary Cahill-Roberts is attending the EAS Meeting this summer. When we go to national meetings, we are representing our state and our GBA membership. It makes a big difference when someone is representing 2000 beekeepers rather than 200. 

It makes the same difference when we visit our own state Agriculture Dept or talk with a State Representative about GMO products, Honey and such. We can make a difference. On the local level, we recently took on one particular city in central Georgia when they tried to ban beekeeping within the city limits. About 30 of us showed up for the City Council meeting. After we said our piece, the Mayor excused us. As we were all leaving, he was quite surprised that there were that many beekeepers present when he asked someone, “Are all those people beekeepers?”  The power of many changed the law.   Let’s all work together to make the Georgia Beekeepers Association a true representation of all Beekeepers in our wonderful state.   
So “Each one, get One!” 

Bear Kelley
President, Georgia beekeepers Association
On Tuesday, November 19th Dr. Jamie Ellis, University of Florida Associate Professor of Entomology, gave an interesting talk about the status of the bees to the Heart of Georgia Beekeepers Association. Dr. Ellis is a UGA graduate and studied under Dr. Keith Delaplane.  

Dr. Ellis stated that about 10% of our hives have two working queens.  He went on to say that when we do a queen search, that we stop looking after finding the first queen. If we continued our search to all the frames and hive body, we will sometime find the second queen. The possibility that a hive might have a “spare” queen is something to think about when you need a queen in a hurry.    

Dr. Ellis also described the Cape Bee (a subspecies of the Apis Mellifera known as Apis Meilifera Capensisi) found only in the southern tip of Africa.  We should hope that they stay in South Africa.    We may sometimes have a hive with a few laying workers, but the Cape bee worker's  biology and egg laying ability is quite surprising.  Cape worker bees can lay both workers and drones without the need of a Queen or the worker being mated. The Cape Bee also will take over a conventional  European or Asian bees colony if available.  

Dr. Ellis travels to South Africa and brings back dead Cape Bees.  These dead Cape Bees are studied to determine methods to readily identifying this bee sub specie.  We do not need this Cape Bee to expand to other parts of the world.
Dr. Ellis encouraged the members of the club to visit his informative video site for more information about other aspects of beekeeping.  Everyone enjoyed his presentation.

Contributed by John Wingfield

Note:  Dr. Jamie Ellis will be a speaker at the GBA Spring Meeting in Columbus, GA on February 8, 2014.

Another featured speaker at the Columbus meeting will be Billy Davis, noted beekeeper and teacher from Virginia.

The program should be very good - plan to come and bring a fellow beekeeper who isn't yet a member of GBA to hear these fine speakers.


Nectar Management
by Steven Page

Nectar management or checkerboarding is a simple two manipulation method to prevent swarming and increase honey production.   It was developed by Walt Wright in Tennessee in the 1990s.  I have used nectar management for a few years and have had some good results with the technique.  It’s easy, effective and not time consuming.  I have had numerous hives produce more than 100 pounds of honey per year when the average yield in my area is 50 pounds per year.

Required Equipment
A hive consisting of a deep with the cluster and a shallow super of capped honey above.  Two shallow supers of empty drawn comb are required also.  Nectar management requires drawn comb as the colony will not make wax until later in the spring. 

The first manipulation is done eight to nine weeks before apple trees blossom.  For my area 35 miles southwest of Atlanta the date would be about February first.  The second manipulation is performed in late April or early May.

The First Manipulation
The weather is not much concern because the cluster is not disturbed.   About February first (for my location) open up the hive and remove five frames of capped honey.  Insert in the super five frames of empty drawn comb alternating empty and full frames.  Using the five frames of honey removed add a second super alternating the frames again.  The frames should alternate both horizontally and vertically.  Simply put, if the bottom super left side frame is empty then the next super left side frame will be full.  A third super of empty drawn comb is placed on top then close up the hive. 

Pretty confusing....  The graphics on the following page will help.

Each rectangle represents a frame in the hive.  The deep super on the bottom is represented by the taller rectangles.  Think of this as if you are looking thru the front of the supers at the end of the frames.  The colors represent the contents of each frame.  This example uses ten frame equipment.
Yellow – capped honey
White – empty drawn comb
Green – pollen
Brown - brood

Below you'll see the hive before the first manipulation.  The cluster is in the deep and the queen has started to lay eggs.  The shallow above is full of capped honey. 

Below you'll see the hive after the first manipulation.  The deep was not touched.  The super of honey is now spread out into two supers with frames of empty drawn comb seperating the frames of honey.  A super of empty drawn comb is placed on top.  The honey frames alternate both horizontially and vertically.  The two supers look like a checkerboard.  Prior to the main nectar flow add supers as required so there is always empty comb for the foragers to store nectar.

Why does this work?
The honey cap has been opened up allowing the queen to lay more eggs as the colony prepares for spring.  The foragers can collect and store all the nectar they can find and not fill up all the empty comb.  The workers are unable to backfill the brood nest to shut down queen laying in preparation to swarm.  As swarm season arrives the colony is unable to achieve all the goals required to swarm and their goal changes to collect nectar and make honey for the coming winter. 

The second manipulation
In late April or early May, move the shallow super just above the deep which is full of capped brood to the bottom of the hive. 

Before the second manipulation.

After the second manipulation.

The shallow super is now on the bottom and will be used to store pollen after the brood emerges.  The pollen will be used to raise the bees in the fall.

The bottom super        
full of pollen 

 The hive on Nov. first.

 The bottom shallow super is empty and will protect the cluster from drafts during the winter. 

Finally on February 1, when it’s time to perform the first manipulation again all the required supers are on the hive.  The deep is placed on the bottom.  The bottom empty shallow super is used with the honey super to “checkerboard” the honey.  The top super stays on top. You could even separate the two frames of honey in the top super.....

Cindy Bee: 

“The bees themselves are all that really matter. ”

YellaWood® in your bee yard?

By Bruce Morgan

In December Bee Culture magazine was an article about a person who used treated wood hive stands and wondered if the treated wood might be causing queen problems, losing colonies and so on.  I have had similar problems in the last few years.  

I started in 2006 with a few colonies and I placed them on treated 2 X 4 hive stands treated with the green preservative.  Several years ago my building supply started selling the YellaWood® treated wood and I have added more hive stands with it.  

Was this when I started having problems? Or was it my management skills?

After reading the article in Bee Culture,  I did a quick search on the Internet for YellaWood® and within minutes I found this statement: "Do not use preserved wood under circumstances when the preservative may become a component of food, animal feed, or beehives."  

There does not seem to be a problem with the green treatment of wood for hives, since the bee supply companies have been selling it, and beekeepers have been using it for years to preserve all hive components.  All of my hives are made from long lasting cypress wood with screened bottom boards sitting on the hive stands.  

I do know I will be eliminating the hive stands that were made out of the YellaWood® treatment. 

"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. )

Marybeth Kelley’s Beehive Cookies 
4 T honey
1 egg beaten
1 teaspn vanilla

16 oz. shredded coconut
8 oz. walnuts coarsely chopped
8 oz. dates chopped 
2 Tplain flour. 

Mix together the egg, honey & vanilla.  Beat until well blended and stir in the coconut and nuts.  Coat the dates with the flour and add to the mixture.  Drop tablespoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet (or parchment paper covered baking sheet).  Bake at 325 for 13 minutes or until slightly brown.  Makes approx. 30 cookies.

Steve Esau, MABA member, shot this photo of his system for weighing his hives
Club of the Month

Tara Beekeepers Association

Our club meets in Forest Park near the Atlanta Farmers market.  The club has a lot of active members who reach out and help other people in other clubs.  We offer a year round education program to our members, a bee school in October and last year we started a kid’s beekeeping class.  

Our membership is a mixed group of people who have had over 30 years of experience and people with less than 1 year of experience.  The “older” folks are always willing to listen and lend a hand to anyone who needs help.  I really enjoy our club and the camaraderie of all of our members.  We stay after our meetings to drink coffee or a soda and chat about our bees.  We have members who give talks to other clubs because of their vast knowledge of beekeeping.  This gives other clubs in the area a chance to meet our members and also learn.  

I am especially proud of our officers and directors as they are very active in our club and other clubs around the area.  It is very easy to be president of a club when everyone pitches in to do the work.  It is very nice when the officers are always willing to do something.   

Tara Beekeepers is a club that has been around a long time, spun off from the Metro Atlanta club way back when.  The club has had members that served in various positions of the Georgia Beekeepers Association.  A few clubs have spun off of the Tara club.  Beekeeping is contagious and when you get stung the numbers kind of swell up!

I think for our club,  technology is the biggest hurdle to pass.  Since some of members are older they are unfamiliar with the computer and the Internet.  I am more comfortable, but feel less familiar with smart phones, iPads and tablets.  My son plugged our blu ray into the TV the other day just like a computer and we were, to say the least, flabbergasted.  The Tara Club has a website, but our webmaster is 20 years old.  He says it is so easy to take care of but, it seems like cracking safes to me. I tell our club members to get their grandchildren or teenage neighbors to help them out.

Fran Lane is the Vice-President of the club and she has moved our newsletter into email delivery which works for everyone except 3 people, since they do not have computers. Email allows us to be able to communicate more rapidly when there is a problem or a change in location.

Our annual May picnic this year was rained out so we moved it to October.  We communicated with a lot of members by email.  That was really new and exciting for us!

Tara is a great club to belong to and the people are really dedicated to education of the beekeeper and the public.  

Mary Cahill-Roberts
President, Tara Beekeepers

As we work in GBA to increase our membership, one of our goals is to make our list of clubs and club presidents current and up to date.  We don't have a complete list of the Georgia bee clubs on our website and we would like to fix this.  Many officers change at the beginning of a calendar year.  To help us get every bee club listed on the GBA website, please send 
  • the name of your bee club, 
  • its location (city or county),
  • your club's website address if you have one
  • and the name and contact information of your bee club president 


Survey:  Last month we asked (to help the Board) about the location of our spring and fall meetings.  Only 27 people out of the over 300 who get our newsletter responded.  Those powerful voices fell out this way:  

  • 75% wanted the Spring meeting to be in the same location every year and the Fall meeting to be in a different location from the spring meeting, but also to be in the same place each year.  
  • 25% of you wanted the meetings to occur all over the state in different locations.  
  • Two people suggested that the spring meeting be in the same place each year and the fall meeting be in different locations.  

Of course, 27 is only 9% of our GBA membership, so please participate in our surveys if you want your voice to count! 

This month we are curious about smoker fuel.  Please give us your input:
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks to Rodney Garner for this idea...

Come to the GBA Spring Meeting February 7 - 8 in Columbus, GA

The Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association is excited to welcome the Georgia Beekeepers Association to Columbus for the Spring Meeting on February 7 - 8.  We hope you will plan to spend a little time in our town while you’re here.  The meeting is going to take place at our home meeting location, Oxbow Meadows Environmental Center, a division of Columbus State University.  Along with the indoor observation hive, we keep several outdoor hives right outside the door, behind a screen wall, allowing the general public to get safely “up close and personal” with our girls.

Oxbow also keeps snakes, alligators, turtles and other reptiles, native to the area, on display.  It is an active wetland area, open to the public.  An interesting thing to note, Oxbow was built about 10 years ago, directly on top of the old Columbus Landfill (Garbage Dump).  Because of that, you will see methane gas vents in the ground in several  locations. 

Across the street from Oxbow is the National Infantry Museum.  It an experience you do not want to miss.  If you are a golfer, there is a beautiful public golf course next door to Oxbow, also built on top of the old Columbus Landfill.

Columbus is also home to the National Civil War Naval Museum.  In addition to housing Confederate Ironclad Warships that were removed from the bottom of the Chattahoochee River in downtown Columbus, many other Confederate and Union artifacts are on display.  The museum houses the largest collection of American, Union and Confederate flags in this country.

Columbus also boasts the longest urban whitewater rafting course in the country.  The course runs from North Columbus for two and a half miles, ending in the middle of downtown.  An old bridge joining Columbus and Phenix City, Alabama has been converted to a pedestrian bridge, allowing spectators to stand almost directly over the end of the whitewater course.  If the weather is warm, you might be able to purchase a rafting trip down our whitewater course.

We have an extraordinary Softball complex in Columbus which was built for the Atlanta Olympics a few years back.  The Softball Olympic competition was held here at this complex.

Downtown Columbus has some really great LOCAL restaurants, one of which is the Cannon Brew Pub, where you can purchase local beer, brewed right on the premises.  Further north in Columbus are the huge shopping centers which make Columbus a popular regional shopping hub.  Every national restaurant chain in the country can be found there among all the huge national retailers. 

In short, there is a lot to see and do in Columbus while you’re here.  We’ve even arranged a special rate at the Hampton Inn, next door to the National Infantry Museum, so you can stay as long as you like. Our club is excited to have you here!  If we can help you in any way, please call us or visit out website.

Paul Berry, President
Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association
A Word from Mary Cahill-Roberts

Vice-President of the GBA

What does that mean?  For me, it means working for the organization to make it better.  I have had the pleasure to serve on the GBA board for 3 years.  I have served twice as secretary and now this year I am Vice-President.  I do a lot of work behind the scenes to support the President and other board members.  My main job, over the past two years has been to help organize the GBA educational meetings.  Most people don’t understand the amount of work it takes to be able to get people together to educate a group over a one or two day event.  I didn’t until I started doing the job. 

How do you get speakers to meet the many needs of our group?  We have very new beekeepers and we have very old beekeepers.  We have beekeepers with one or two hives and we have beekeepers with hundreds of hives. As a beekeeper with a few hives, I can use my hive tool to kill a few hive beetles.  However, someone with more than 20 hives, not so much.  You would be out in the beeyard for hours just killing the beetles, not really doing anything else. 

So it is a real challenge to organize the meetings.  Some people say that the meetings are only for the commercial beekeepers and others say that the meetings are only for the hobbyist!! Imagine how to fix that? 

We have listened to the comments from our attendees and have brought in several people who speak throughout the country and have an academic background.  We have included people to give some basic beekeeping instruction and intermediate instructors.  

We will have a smaller but more focused vendor group.  We are hoping to feature a young artist who will have various artistic beekeeping items for view and sale. Rossman Apiaries will be a vendor so call in your order ahead and pick it up at the February meeting to save delivery charges.  We also are offering some great raffle prizes.  

I hope you enjoy the February meeting and learn something new there.  At our GBA meetings, I love getting to know new people, seeing old friends, learning something from our speakers, seeing new beekeeping gadgets, looking hopefully at my raffle tickets and overall immersing myself in Bee Talk!!

Dear Aunt Bee,

I always want my bees to be full and happy through the winter, so I feed them like Jennifer Berry told me to.  This year, because I was a little worried about them, I left an extra super of honey on each hive.  Are there risks to leaving too much honey on the hive?

Please reassure me,

Worried About Weight Watchers

Dear Worried,

The best food for the bees to have available to them in winter is their own honey.  Bravo!  You have fed them well.  The natural food produced by the bees is the right pH for them while sugar syrup has a pH that is just right for the growth of some bee pathogens, so leaving the bees their own honey is the greatest holiday gift you can give to them.

The bees treat their honey like you might food stored in your own pantry.  It's food storage so you don't run in and eat everything in sight, right?  The bees look at their honey as back-up for meeting their needs, so just because it is there, they won't necessarily gobble it up unless they need it.

I have often opened hives in the spring to find honey still in the frames that they did not need to survive the winter.

Good job!                                        

Aunt Bee  

Contributed by Eddi Minche 
Honey Butter

1 1/4 stick softened butter to 1 cup honey.  Blend together until thoroughly combined.  Store in closed container in fridge. 

This makes a nice gift accompanied with small loaves of specialty breads.  Contributed by Marybeth Kelley    
  "I love working with big flavors like chiles and smoke.  Honey is perfect for softening the edges, mellowing them out a bit.  I put it in everything – vinaigrettes, soups, stocks, salsas, so I’m always on the hunt for great honey."   – Bobby Flay
Upcoming Bee Events:
January 18, 2014
Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Short Course, Atlanta Botanical Garden.  8:30 - 4:30  $95  If you know someone who'd like a good start in beekeeping, suggest our short course.  Information, click here.  

January 25, 2014
8:00 - 4:00  Lake Country Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Short Course.  Hancock Extension Service, 12534 Augusta Hwy, Sparta, GA  $40 for pre-registration, $10 each additional person.  Children under 18 with paying adult are free.  Includes lunch and a textbook.  Registration contact Bruce Morgan 478-357-4029

January 25, 2014 
8:00 - 4:00.  Coweta Beekeepers Association: Introduction to Beekeeping Course.  Coweta Extension Office, 255 Pine Rd, Newnan, GA 30263  $50 pre-registration, $10 each additional person.  An introduction to beekeeping, topics include honey bee biology, functions of a colony, assembling a bee hive and much more.  Registration:

February 7-8, 2014
GBA Spring Meeting at Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, 3535 South Lumpkin Road, Columbus, GA 31903  The hotel is the Hampton Inn on Lumpkin Road in Columbus.  The room rate for the meeting is $83 a night.  Make your reservations now.

The Final Buzz

This issue shows another great sharing from our beekeeping clan, the Georgia Beekeepers
Association. Our deadline each month is the 25th of the month. Please help get to the new year off to a high energy start by sending an article, photo (winter shots are needed), letters to the editor regarding what you read here, favorite technique or quote - we love it all.  Send your items to and we will be so glad to get them.

Your editors,

Linda & Gina   

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