Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 2014 - Last issue of 2014

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

Ricky Moore’s bees enjoying the simple syrup in his hummingbird feeder

President’s Message

Merry Christmas, Ho-Ho-Ho, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  As 2014 draws to an end and we prepare for the holidays, let’s reflect on this past year for a minute. The Georgia Beekeepers have been a busy bunch.  We’ve had two wonderful state meetings in Columbus and Milledgeville. I again would like to thank Paul Berry’s Chattahoochee Beekeepers and Bruce Morgan’s Lake Country Beekeepers for being such great hosts.  As a result our membership numbers are growing again and I hope to see them continue to climb next year.  Marybeth and I were able to visit numerous clubs and meet so many wonderful Beeks in our travels.  Thank you all for being so cordial and we look forward to seeing more of you at future club meetings.  Honors go to Jay Parsons for best in Show at the State meeting in September and to David Tolar who won best in Show at the Perry Fair in October. I am still humbled by your selection of me as the Beekeeper of the Year, but very proud to have received such a tribute.

        We already have a full slate scheduled for 2015 as we start the year with the American Bee Federation Conference in California on January 6.  Slade Jarrett and I plan to attend and report back to you on the latest bee stuff happening nationwide.  Our Spring Meeting will be at Lake Blackshear on February 13 and 14, chaired by Julia Mahood and Linda Tillman.  Please plan to attend as they have been working very hard to make this one a goody! 

Many of you plan public beekeeping programs throughout the spring and will stay busy through Young Harris in May.  I want to encourage you all to take advantage of the new Junior Beekeeping program we established.  The winners will be Georgia’s youth.  We need them to feed the pipeline of beekeepers if we want to see our craft survive.  We plan to be at Young Harris representing GBA, so stop by and say hello.  Mary Cahill-Roberts will represent us at EAS in Ontario in August. 

Our fall meeting will once again be at the College in Milledgeville. That was a great facility that RoseAnne and Keith Fielder discovered for us and we want to make the event even better this year. We have a little housekeeping still to do as we discovered at the fall meeting with a minor change to the By-laws that I will discuss in the January newsletter. It simply means changing some wording on the voting procedures, but requires a member vote.

        Thank you all for your continued support, hard work and dedication to the marvelous Honey Bee. Marybeth and I wish you a wonderful Christmas and holiday season and a prosperous, happy, healthy new year.

Bear Kelley,
President, Georgia Beekeepers Association     

As the newly appointed Southeast Region Director, I want to take a moment and introduce myself. I'm going on my 4th year keeping bees and own a side-line operation we call Kelley Honeybee Farm, near Metter. In addition, I'm now in my 2nd term as vice president of Ogeechee Area Beekeepers (OABeeA) in Statesboro.

If you go to the GBA club locator map and scan the southeast part of the state, you'll see clubs are rather scarce. I remember 4 years ago looking at that map and being very disappointed. I was really eager to meet other beekeepers and learn, but there just weren't any clubs local to us until OABeeA was formed last year in Statesboro. 

My main goal is to help put some other dots on that map. I would like to see an active club within a 30 minute drive for every beekeeper living in southeast Georgia. 

What I'm finding is that in areas without local clubs, beekeepers are very much interested in doing something, but they're not sure how to get going. Right now, we have some exciting prospects in Vidalia and Glennville. I hope by Spring Meeting time, these prospects will be active clubs, ready for GBA affiliation.

So if you're GBA member-at-large in the east or southeastern part of the state and interested in starting a local GBA affiliated club, give me a call. I want to help!

Rhett Kelley

Club News and Notes:  Upcoming Short Courses

Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers
WHAT: Spring Beekeeping Course
WHERE:  Oxbow Environmental Learning Center
WHEN:  six, two hour sessions over six consecutive Saturday afternoons, 3PM to 5PM, beginning February 14, 2015
HOW:  Call Paul Berry, 706-527-0739

Coastal Empire Beekeepers Association
WHAT:  FUNdamentals of Beekeeping
WHERE:  Oatland Island Wildlife Center,  711 Sandtown Road, Savannah, Ga  31410
WHEN:  February 28th, 8 AM Registration Begins; Classes Scheduled 9 AM to 4 PM
HOW:    CEBA has a fully operational apiary for hands on training during the weekend event.
More Information:

Coweta Beekeepers Association
WHAT: Introduction to Beekeeping class
WHERE: 255 Pine Road, Newnan, GA 30263
WHEN: One day class, January 24, 2015  8:00 am to 4:00 pm
HOW:  More Information:

Forsyth Beekeepers Club
WHAT: Beginning Beekeeping Short Course  Day 1
WHERE: Sawnee Mt. Preserve Visitor Center, Cumming GA
WHEN: March 7th,  registration starts @ 8, classes start @ 9:00

Lake Country Beekeepers Association
WHAT:  Beekeepers Short Course for beginners
WHERE:  Central GA Technical College Conference Center, 54 Hwy 22 West, Milledgeville, GA 3
WHEN: January 24, 2015  Registration 8 am  Class starts at 8:30am to 5:00pm
HOW:  More information contact Bruce Morgan at 478-357-4029  or

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association
WHAT:  Complete Beekeeping Course 2015
WHERE:  Atlanta Botanical Garden
WHEN:  January 17, 2015

Potato Creek Beekeepers Association
WHAT: Beginning Beekeeping Short Course
WHEN: 9:00AM, JANUARY 17, 2014
HOW: Contact Brutz English   (770) 843-2110

Troup County Association of Beekeepers
WHAT:  Beginning beekeepers course, 
WHERE: AG building Lagrange GA, 
WHEN:  Feb 14, 28 Mar 14, 28. 9am to 1pm. 
HOW:  Cost $75. Contact Terry Williamson 706-882-2493

This section of the newsletter is an opportunity for your club to gain visibility, to share events or speakers who are coming to your club and to get ideas from other clubs for activities or speakers.  To send information, please have a club member or an officer email details about your meetings to  We’ll make sure your information is shared with the whole of GBA!

And just below, you’ll find out all about the next state meeting at Lake Blackshear Resort on February 13, 14, 2015.  All you have to do is scroll down to see the next pages…………………….>

No reason to tie a bow around your finger:  
GBA February Meeting registration will open soon.   We will send a reminder and hope that you will forward it to other friends of the bees who may not be in our membership now. 


Peachtree City Student Passes Certified Beekeeper Test

Allison Spinney passed the Georgia Master Beekeeping Program, Certified Beekeeper test in September.  Allison is one of the youngest beekeepers to pass the test in Georgia.  She attended the Coweta 4H beekeeping program for a year learning and preparing for the test. She and her mother Denise Spinney are members of the Coweta Beekeepers Association. 

Allison is eleven years old and in the sixth grade at Georgia Cyber Academy and lives in Peachtree City with her parents.  She has been beekeeping for two years and enjoys nurturing her colony of honey bees and the sweet honey they produce.  The colony increases production of vegetables from the garden. 
Allison and her mother enjoy the time spent together inspecting the colony and learning beekeeping.

The Coweta Beekeepers Association will offer an Introduction to Beekeeping class on January 24, 2015.  More information is available at the association’s web site.

For more information on the Coweta 4H beekeeping 
program contact Megan Bailey at 
the Coweta Extension 


Contributed by Steve Page:

Modified idioms
Don’t put all your bees in one hive
Don’t count your queens until they lay.
A swarm in the hive is worth two in the bush
A fool and his honey are easily parted
Let aggressive hives be

Unmodified idioms
Sweet as honey
You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
The land of milk and honey
Busy as a bee
Bee in one's bonnet
The bee's knees
The birds and the bees
Make a beeline
Beehive of activity
Mind your own beeswax
Buzz off
Like bees to honey
Hive of activity
What’s the buzz
Queen Bee


In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church; the Jews called it "Hanukka" and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukka!" or (to the atheists) "Look out for the wall!" ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: A Survivor's Guide”

Beekeeping in Ukraine
by Tom Rearick

Few Americans realize the long history Ukrainians have with honey and the honey bee. Out of every 107 Ukrainians, one is a beekeeper. In the US, that ratio is 1 in 1500!  Ukraine is the largest producer of honey among European countries and Russia. On average, a Ukrainian consumes 2.6 lbs of honey annually – double what is consumed in the United States.

Some excerpts from my conversation with a Ukrainian beekeeper:

Tom: How many hives do you keep?
Oleg: I have a couple of hives, but as a hobby, because I have little free time. I do not have time to take them to the apiary in the field. There are acacia trees, a meadow and even gardens not far from my house. There are 90 houses in my street of which four have small apiaries (from 10 to 25 hives). I do not think that is so everywhere. My main occupation is the cooperation with beekeepers and honey export.

Tom: Do you use other products of the hive like wax, propolis, or pollen?
Oleg: Yes, propolis helps perfectly in case of toothache and I also make tinctures with propolis for applications. In winter time I take 1 tablespoon of pollen on an empty stomach in the morning.

Tom: How does the cost of white sugar and corn syrup compare to honey?
Oleg: Corn syrup is not popular in our country and is not used. Retail price for beet sugar is US$2.05/lb and for honey is US$8.53/lb.

Tom: Is it true that Ukrainians are much more knowledgeable and familiar with bees and beekeeping?
Oleg: Beekeeping is much developed in Ukraine, despite the fact that there are no large companies in Ukraine that breed bees and harvest honey. There are many small apiaries. There are about 400,000 beekeepers in Ukraine, with a total population of about 43 million.  These people get about 76,000 tons of honey per year. A variety of honey is produced by bees. Each honey has its own properties, taste and benefits.

Tom: In the USA we struggle with introduced bee diseases: Varroa mite, various viruses and micro-organisms, wax moth and hive beetle. Winter losses have been averaged 30% for the last several years. What pests or predators are of greatest concern in Ukraine? What are your winter losses?
Oleg: Yes, unfortunately, Ukraine has this problem. Our winter losses are up to 10%. Frequent pests are wax moths, ants, death’s head hawkmoths (they got this name because of a "skull" pattern on the top of their thorax), rodents (mice).

Tom: Italian bees are the most popular race of bee in the US. I have been importing Russians because they are said to be more tolerant to Varroa. What race of bees are in Ukraine?
Oleg: Carpathian bees and Ukrainian steppe bees are the most popular races in Ukraine. I have Carpathian bees (called “peaceful” bees).

Tom: In the US, nearly all our honey is in liquid form. The honey in the picture looks like partially crystallized honey. Is most eastern European honey crystallized?
Oleg: Yes, our honey is crystallized or paste like, but acacia honey and linden honey are liquid.

Tom: Ukraine is where the Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred. How do beekeepers or exporters ensure that honey is not radioactive?
Oleg: Radiological control is obligatory during the quality assessment of the Ukrainian honey. The indices of this analysis meet requirements of EU countries and the United States. Beekeepers do not move their bees to the “dangerous” zone.

Tom: Is there anything you would like to say to beekeepers in the United States?
Oleg:  I wish you success in work, favorable weather for good honey collection, success in the fight with bee pests and close communication with beekeepers from other countries for sharing the experience.



2 10oz bags of Mint Chocolate Chips 
1 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup honey 
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Line a 8x8 or 9x9 pan with foil. Lightly butter foil. Melt chips, 
can of milk and honey is a sauce pan over medium heat, stirring
constantly. When melted & smooth, remove from heat and stir 
in vanilla.
Spread into foil lined pan. Cool & cut into squares. Store in cool 
Carol Shaw - Best in Show for Cooking with Honey 
ABF Convention 2010

  • 750 ml zinfandel (or other full-bodied robust red wine that you enjoy drinking)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 15 black peppercorns
  • 3 inches cinnamon sticks (for the wine, more sticks, optional for serving)
  • lemon zest (Thin peels of, for serving) 

Street Cred for December

 Using microscopic bugs to save the bees
(from Steve Page)

Cancer removed by honey bees
(from Dave Tolar)

Sustainable solution for corn belt
(from Gina Gallucci)


Dear Auntie Bee,

We've had a freeze and the flowers have all died, and the pollen and nectar sources have dried up for the winter. I see many, many bees flying , what are they doing? I understand cleansing flights, and orientation flights, but are they still looking for pollen, or what is their winter flight mission?

Warmly in Winter,
Openly Optimistic

Dear Openly,

Most winter flights are for cleansing.  However, the authors of Keeping Bees and Making Honey address the question this way:  “On a cold, sunny day some bees may take a short trip out of the hive to stretch their wings and will take the chance to relieve themselves, since they keep the inside of their home very clean.  They won’t go far and they may even collect some fresh pollen if there is any nearby.  It is not unusual to see bees coming into the hive with pollen on their legs on a warm winter’s day.  This is a good sign, since fresh pollen is an indication that the queen is laying eggs and the larvae are being fed.”

Dean Stiglitz, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping, writes:  “On warm days (in winter) you should see some bees taking cleansing flights.  This is one of those times when having multiple hives is helpful;  if three hives are flying and one isn’t, you know to look for a problem.  You can gently lift the back of the hive to feel for weight.  If it feels light, you can consider a quick inspection and emergency winter feeding.  Sometimes colonies that don’t have sufficient stores will fly in desperation.”

Good luck and I hope your bees make it through the winter.
Happy Holidays,

Your Aunt Bee

Final Buzz:

May your Holiday Season be Merry and Bright!  May your bees come through the winter healthy and you become even a better beekeeper next year.  We look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new bee friends in February at Lake Blackshear.

Happy Holidays,
Gina and Linda