Thursday, October 1, 2015

Slide Show of photos from the GBA Fall Conference

Some of these photos were taken by Ricky Moore, some by Marybeth Kelley, some by Linda Tillman. I've tried to designate the photographer when I could but it takes a lot of time, so I hope Ricky and Marybeth know that I am grateful even if their name didn't get on each of their photos. I'll try to get to them soon!

The first album contains photos by Linda and by Marybeth. The second contains Ricky's photos. The first collection runs as a slide show.  

To see Ricky's photos, click on the blue title below the photo and you will be taken to the whole collection on One Drive.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 2015 Newsletter

Editors: Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman
Below please find the September edition of our newsletter. Our articles are submitted by our members. Please continue to contribute and if you are someone who wants to use one of our articles for your own bee newsletter, please let us know!

Spilling the Honey Sept. 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

GBA Fall Conference and Meeting Program

Below is the program for the GBA Fall Conference on September 18-19 at the Central Georgia Technical College in Milledgeville, GA.  Read about our great speakers and the program we have planned full of learning and fun for everyone. There is a bee yard available for you to go through hives with experts, including Michael Bush and some of Georgia Master Beekeepers. We'll have a dessert social and an auction. There's the annual honey show and we'll announce the beekeeper of the year.

We welcome GBA members and nonmembers alike.  Register here.

2015 Fall Program Georgia Beekeepers Association Conference

Saturday, July 11, 2015

July 2015 Newsletter

Monthly newsletter of the Georgia Beekeepers Association
Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman, Editors

Georgia Beekeepers Association July 2015 Newsletter

June 2015 Newsletter

GBA Monthly Newsletter
Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman, Editors

Drone Congregation Area at Young Harris!

Taken by Janet Poe during Journeyman Prep Class.  Young Harris, May 14, 2015

The President’s Message

According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) honey production in the United States jumped up by 19% last year. These numbers are from honey producers with 5 or more colonies who actually participate in the reporting process.  That equates to a total of 178 million pounds from 2.74 million colonies of bees.  The average yield per colony was 65.1 pounds which is also up by 15% from 2013. Bulk honey prices rose as well in 2014 by 1% to 216.1 cents per pound. 

         These are really some “gee-whizz” numbers to mull about, but I know for a fact that not every beekeeper reports his/her production numbers. After reading the article with those numbers, I decided to call the office collecting the data to try to determine some accuracy. They admitted that this was the best they could do with what they had to work with. I read a report last year that America has a demand for over 500 million pounds of honey for all that we do with it. You can see on the store shelves more and more products containing honey: cereal, breads, peanut butter, etc.  Booze too! It seems that a lot of whiskeys and bourbons are adding honey to their joy juice. 

         To fill the void, China and other countries are saturating our markets with their “Pure Honey.” And we all know that is not good. Their cheap honey drives down our prices and keeps us from even getting on the store shelves in some cases. Fortunately a lot of businesses are seeking local honey, but they need educating on what it really is. One store commodity guy I spoke with thought that getting honey from Maine or Iowa here in Georgia, was local honey.  I tried to educate him, but I don’t think I got through. All of us have to help teach the public. Write articles in your local newspaper, magazines and appear on TV. Craft Fairs and Farmers Markets already attract the folks who are in the know, but we must keep it up.

         For the past year or so, I have been receiving a request from the USDA inquiring about the status of bees, honey production, etc. I have been sending the inquiries down through the club presidents to send on out to the membership to respond. I don’t think many of you are responding. I hope that you do as those numbers finally wind up in the total. Remember, you are not reporting to the IRS, you are simply reporting to an office that gathers data. (I can’t imagine that two govt offices would actually talk to each other!) So please take the time to send in your report. If the USDA had more accurate numbers, maybe they could restrict/reduce the flow of bad honey into America. Let’s join together to protect our market by participating in these surveys.

Bear Kelley,
President, Georgia Beekeepers Assn.

           It is with great sadness that I must report that long-time beekeeper Billy Engle passed away on May 12, 2015. 

           Mr. Billy Engle was the owner of Rose Creek Honey Farm in The Rock, Georgia. He began keeping bees with his father as a small child. His father kept bees in gums and he taught Mr. Engle the basics of handling honeybees. Mr. Engle began his commercial beekeeping venture in the late 1980s as an alternative to traditional farming. Engle managed as many as 650 colonies in his beekeeping career and  was a honey producer, a commercial pollinator, and a supplier of package honeybees, nucs and queens. Mr. Engle retired from commercial beekeeping in 2014, but still maintained a few colonies for his personal enjoyment up through the time of his passing.

          Mr. Engle was a member of the Georgia State Beekeepers Association, Florida State Beekeepers Association, the Henry County Beekeepers, the Tara Beekeepers, the Potato Creek Beekeepers, the Heart of Georgia Bee Club and the American Honey Producers Association. Mr. Engle served in various positions of leadership in many of these organizations over his many years of beekeeping. He was one of the most sought after and highly regarded speakers on honeybees throughout Georgia and the Southeast. 

          Mr. Engle regularly made time at bee meetings to speak with and answer questions from fellow beekeepers. Mr. Engle’s keen insight and easy-going nature made him a favorite mentoring resource for generations of new beekeepers. To have spoken with him even once was all it took to understand why he had such an excellent reputation for generosity with his time and wisdom. The list of clubs, schools, community groups, and organizations he has visited and spoken to over the years advocating for the plight of the honeybee is exhaustive. He will be sorely missed by both us beekeepers and his honeybees.

From Brutz English

For club speaker ideas, GBA maintains a speaker list. If you would like to speak to clubs, click here to be added to the list. As a speaker, plan to know what your honorarium request will be if you are asked to speak. If you have invited speakers for your club, click here to read an article first published in Bee Culture about how to treat your speakers well. 


Club News and Notes

Chattooga Beekeepers:
Certified Beekeeper Level Test - (Pre Registration required by June 9th, 2015, Call Randy Rolen 423-304-2714 to register).  No registration day of testing. Requirements: Must have beekeeping experience.  Individuals should be familiar with the basic skills and knowledge necessary for the beginning hobby beekeeper.
  • Must pass a written and practical test.
  • The practical test includes being able to:
    • describe the parts of a beehive;
    • light and properly use a smoker;
    • recognize the various stages of brood, different castes of bees, and find or at least describe the queen;
    • differentiate between brood, pollen, capped honey;
    • recognize propolis and describe its functions; and
    • describe the layout of a brood nest, i.e., placement of honey, pollen and brood.
  • The written test includes materials covered during Institute lectures and labs at Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, as well as outside readings.

Official text for the program is the 2007 edition of First Lessons in Beekeeping, Dadant & Sons.
Test Schedule:
Location - Chattooga County Agricultural Building, 32 Middle School Road, Summerville, GA 30747 (Just off Highway 100)
Saturday, June 13th
Hours - Check-in   8:30am to 9:00am
Practical Test* 9:00am to 12:00am
Written Test 12:00pm to 1:00pm

* - The Practical portion of the Certified Beekeeper Exam has two parts - each takes approximately 15 minutes: [1] an outdoor exam where you will demonstrate your skills lighting (and keeping lit) a smoker and working a beehive, and [2] an indoor exam where you will identify certain beekeeping tools & equipment

Coweta Beekeepers held a workshop on Sunday, May 17 with 48 members attending.  The workshop was taught by Steve Page with sustainable beekeeping the subject of the day.  Topics included hive inspections, making a split with a queen, notching to raise queens and making splits with queen cells.  The method taught is simple and first year beekeepers can master queen rearing quite easily.

The attached photo is a frame with three queen cells three days after notching. 

Forsyth Beekeepers Club is offering our annual queen rearing class on May 30th and any interested parties should contact Bill Dunn at 770-630-2743. We are also in the middle of our annual 2 day bee school. We have had our day in the classroom and on June 6th will have our day in the field with practical exercise in the hives. If you have missed this year then plan to join us next year.

Beekeepers of Gilmer County Club  will be sponsoring a short course on “AZ Hive Management” in Ellijay, Ga.,  from 1pm until 6pm on June 21st, 2015. 

 Janko Bozic, Professor of Entomology at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and 30 year beekeeper will be our keynote speaker.  The professor has been managing Langstroth and AZ hives for over 30 years and is also an expert on the Carniolan Bee.

There will be a $25.00 fee for the course, which will include:  lunch, visits to 2 AZ hive locations in the area,  AZ hive management manual and lectures.  Fee will be waived for those that have purchased an AZ 

Brian Drebbor has  made a short  “you tube” video explaining the basics of the hive. For further inquiries please contact:  Mary Lou Blohm at: or   Phone:  706 636-1514.

Henry County Beekeepers Association 

      Virginia Webb spoke at the March meeting of the Henry County Beekeepers Association in support Minneapolis Minnesota's bid to bring Apimondia to the USA in 2019.  Apimondia has not visited the USA since 1967!   Minneapolis' 2019 bid is the USA's best shot to get the world-wide beekeepers meeting back on American soil for the first time in more than 50 years!  This literally is a once in a life time opportunity!  However, as with any undertaking of such magnitude, the issue of funding has become crucial.  The committee organizing the Apimondia 2019 bid is in desperate need of financial support from the local beekeeping communities around the country. After hearing Virginia's presentation, the Henry County Beekeepers voted and chose to step up in support of Minneapolis' 2019 bid to the tune of $400.00!  We at the Henry County Beekeepers Association would like to challenge our fellow clubs in Georgia to step forward with us and support the 2019 Apimondia bid!  Let's bring Apimondia back to the USA!

MABA Jr. Beekeepers     
June 7, 2015  Alpharetta
The children (ages 6-13*) are welcome to participate in a live beehive inspection, which includes "suiting up" with veil, bee suit, gloves, etc., a creative activity, watching a slideshow presentation about honey bees, helping with honey extraction, honey tasting, show and tell, etc.

TriCounty is having a field day in the hives.  They have two Saturdays with which to work. The first date is Saturday June 6th. If it rains on the 6th, we will try to go INSTEAD on June 13.  Our time to gather for this field trip will be 10:00 am. Everyone is welcome to stay as long as you want to; until everyone has asked all of their questions, gotten their hands sticky, smoked a whole pile of pine straw and groomed every bee.

We can visit, learn, laugh, inspect hives, and maybe have another really good time; whatever you guys and gals want to do. Maybe even learn what NOT to do.
There is plenty of room for you to bring your own pic-a-nic basket, or there is a Subway and a Shane’s Rib Shack just down the road in Jefferson.

PLEASE bring your veil, hive tool, smoker, gloves, and anything else you would use to work in your bee yard. Lawn chairs, or a picnic blanket might be wise, too.

The farm address is 2355 Ethridge Rd, Jefferson.
Remember if it rains, we will meet on Saturday, June  13th. 

Helmut Albrecht up in a tree to catch a swarm!  What IS he standing on???
2015 Young Harris – 
UGA Beekeeping Institute Honey Show

Extracted Light Amber Honey
1st - Melissa Bondurant
Very Highly Commendable - Cory Momany
Highly Commendable – JM Sikes
Extracted Amber Honey
1st – Rodney Garner
2nd Roger Kicklighter
Cut Comb
Commendable – JM Sikes
Black Jar
1st - Sean Massey
1st – Rodney Garner
Original Bee Related Photography
1st -  Dan Long
2nd – Kim Bailey
3rd – Jim Moudry
Beekeeping Gadgets
1st – Michael Steinkampf
Best of Show
Rodney Garner – Mead
Michael Young Award – Most total Points
Rodney Garner – 1st Mead, 1st Ext. Amber Honey, BOS
Awarded Welsh Honey Judge Certification: 
Rodney Garner and Randy Rolen.


“Give a beekeeper a queen and you sustain him for a year; teach a beekeeper to raise queens and you sustain him for a lifetime. “ 

Steven Page 2015

By now all you beekeepers that bought nucs this Spring should have ventured into your hives (I HOPE you have moved your bees from the nuc into a hive) and hopefully found your new marked queen. Gail Albrecht from Heart of GA found hers!  

Photo: Rick Moore


If you attended the Spring Meeting, you may recall hearing that Smith State Prison in Glennville has a program teaching inmates to keep bees. For those who were not aware, here's a quick recap: Back in August my local club (Ogeechee Area Beekeepers) was asked to assist in developing a diploma or certification for the men who completed the program. Shortly thereafter Bear Kelley and Jennifer Berry got involved. The decision was made to allow these men to take the UGA certified beekeeper exam at Smith SP when they were ready.

On May 1st, Jennifer Berry and the Bee Lab team went to Glennville and administered the written and the practical exam to 11 inmate beekeepers, myself, and two members of the prison staff. Jennifer's team brought everything needed to proctor the exam; we used the prison hives in the hands-on portion of the exam. I'm pleased to say all 11 inmates, myself, and a prison staff member passed with flying colors and are now Certified Beekeepers. 

Though the inmates did most of the work and training themselves, I am glad to have had a small part in it. When we think of working with inmates, our minds normally think of how unsafe it could be. My experience at Smith SP was very good. I never felt unsafe at any time. All the men seemed genuinely glad to see us and were very respectful and mannerly. The prison officials had a graduation celebration for the men after the test results were announced. You really could see a sense of pride and accomplishment on the faces of the graduates.

It is our hope that these newly certified beekeepers, upon release, will be able to enter back into society successfully and lead productive lives. A few of the men, whose sentences were almost up, told me that they planned to get out and start their own apiary. 

So on behalf of the inmates, I want to say a big "Thank You" to Bear, Jennifer, and the Bee Lab team. Also, I want to thank Brushy Mountain for the equipment donation. The men are putting it to good use.   

Rhett Kelley
Whipmaker (and Certified Beekeeper)

A Big Swarm at a Big Site
by Gina Gallucci

Early on a hot clear Monday in May, I took a swarm call from Philip Agnetti, Sr. Safety Manager at the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium construction project.  The temperature was rising fast and I live fairly close by, but honestly, I was excited to see this jobsite.  My real job is construction recruiting, so although I talk with construction people all day long, I don't get to see projects in person.  

Philip Agnetti met me outside this colossal project site, a joint venture with Holder Hunt Russell Moody.  Philip was there to make sure all went well.  He drove a extra-large golf cart type vehicle to get around the site.  He helped me load my equipment in the truck bed of the cart and drove me into the site.

I had to sign in after which he issued me a VISITOR safety vest and hard hat in neon green!  I put on my gear and we drove all the way around the site to the bees’ location. The project is not yet paved and full of all kinds of trucks, equipment, and staff coming and going. Many people are working on this enormous project.  

Lots of people watched us pass. I imagine Philip doesn't usually open his week with someone wearing shorts and sneakers.  I should have thought about my boots and long pants but I was worried about the swarm taking off as the day warmed up. 

The project itself is a beehive of activity, all toward a unified goal.  Philip showed me where different parts of the stadium would be and answered my questions as he drove.  Finally he stopped. I was a bit surprised when he led me up a several flights of scaffolding stairs, where I could see through each step and could imagine falling through.  

I said, "I forgot to mention I am afraid of heights," and Philip said, "Oh, are you?" Being a safety guy, he just kept on walking up the steps.  We reached the top of what was be the main entry concourse,  and he walked ahead, kicking bits of debris out of my path.  The site was very clean and organized looking, with small piles of trash swept into piles.  A few more steps and he said, “There they are.”   I looked where he pointed and there they were alright, a large swarm, four feet off the ground, hanging from pieces of rebar which were piled into a wooden box.  

I changed the vest and hard hat for my bee suit, veil and gloves.  I set my pink sheet below the swarm, put the box on top of the sheet, and brushed them in.  Over the next few minutes, I brushed the bees, moving the rebar a little to get most of them.  

From several feet away across a portion of the floor which hadn't yet been poured,  lots of construction workers were watching, taking pictures and waving hello. Mr. Gary Kimble, Superintendent with HHRM Self Perform, LLC., came close to tell me about growing up with bees and how his Granddad used cigar smoke on his bees.  Gary knew exactly what I was doing when I waited for the bees to follow the Queen.  

It didn't take long; I left some bees behind since we all had to get back to work.  I changed back into my safety gear to travel. Philip and Gary helped pack up my gear, tape the box shut and then carried all my equipment back to the cart!  They are true gentlemen, and friends of the bees.  

The Atlanta Stadium Bees are now in Dunwoody and will help with beekeeping education for the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association.  I am grateful for the opportunity to pick up the bees and to see this job site.

  1. Swarms - Got One and Didn't Get One 
  2. by Rick Moore
  3. It's swarm season here in Middle Georgia.

  1. I was fortunate recently to receive the call about a swarm in an underground water-meter box, as you see in the first picture. It was the easiest capture you could imagine. I lifted the lid, and with a knife cut loose the comb, and scooped out the bees. After placing it in a nuc, I allowed the other bees to walk right in! Total time was less than an hour. Thank you!

But not all calls are that easy, as the second picture shows. I spoke with a man who told me he had a three year old hive in a tree that he did not want; hive or tree. I went and found a hole in the tree as he said, about three feet off the ground, but the opening was too small for me to reach into. 

With a flashlight I could see the opening went down several feet and curved. The owner says now he is considering taking the tree down and will call me to come back if he does. I may get those bees yet!

Dear Aunt Bee,

I've learned there are three kinds of queen cells; swarm, supercedure and emergency. 

The swarm queen cell hangs from the bottom of the frame, and the supercedure cell is built in the middle of the frame. Am I correct, the queen lays an egg when needed in each type of cell in anticipation of the need of the hive?

Now that brings me to the second question. Once the emergency queen cell is built in the middle of the frame, do the bees move an egg into that cell and then begin to create their new queen, or do they build the emergency queen cell around a cell that already contains an egg?

Thanks for clarifying this confusing point.

Still learning in Middle Georgia

Dear Still Learning,

Hopefully we all are (still learning, that is).  In each kind of queen cell, the queen is “encouraged” to lay an egg so that her replacement can be raised.  According to Malcolm Sanford in Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees:

Queen supercedure occurs when the queen is failing in some way. The bees construct a specialized queen cup on the face of the comb and the queen is encouraged to lay an egg in it. After the new queen emerges and mates, the old one is eliminated. Queen supercedure creates a break in the brood cycle, thus lowering potential population growth. (p. 143)

In another source, the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping says that the bees know within minutes if their queen is disabled or missing.  In that event, the workers make a queen from a larvae less than three days old. If they can confine the disabled queen to one section of the hive, they will make the emergency queen in another section where her presence is less evident

The process above is also what the bees do when the beekeeper provides a queenless hive with a frame of eggs and young brood to support their making a new queen. While the supercedure queen cell is generally in the center of the frame and swarm queen cells are usually on the bottom of the frame, an emergency queen cell will be located wherever the bees can find a good larvae under three days old.

There’s always more to learn!  
Your Aunt Bee
(Thanks to Rick Moore for submitting this question ) 


Street Cred

Thanks to Melissa Bondurant (and others) for sharing this with us: National Geographic has a video of bee metamorphosis from egg to adult. It's very interesting and even shows a varroa feeding on a pupa.

Thanks to Christine Farhnbauer for sharing this piece about bee decision making.

Thanks to Gina Gallucci for sharing this about a monk who keeps bees.

And our own Bear Kelley was interviewed for this article about the deaths of bees.

And Linda Tillman was interviewed about honey and allergies for this piece on WABE.

When Gail Albrecht (Heart of GA Beekeepers) opened one of her hives, she was surprised to find stuck to the underside of the inner cover, a whole row of drone brood neatly lined up across the tops of a frame. A quick texted picture to Heart of GA President Tim Smith confirmed they were indeed drone brood and not bad guys.


Earth Day at Warner Robins
Heart of Georgia Beekeepers were invited to participate in Earth Day at the Warner Robins Nature Center in Warner Robins, Georgia on Saturday, May 2nd. The Center, having just installed an observation hive, asked our club for volunteers to explain the observation hive and speak to the patrons about beekeeping in general. Ed Deming, Broadus Williams and Rick Moore provided amusing anecdotes, information and instructed and entertained all who came to the greenhouse to see the observation hive. Ed even let the youngsters sample his honey!


Here is a crossword puzzle about swarming by Linda Tillman.  If you want to do it online, here’s the link.  If you want us to email you the answers, then send an email request to


To Fight Bee Decline, Obama Proposes More Land to Feed Bees

A/P  May 19, 2015   WASHINGTON — The Obama administration hopes to save the bees by feeding them better. A new federal plan aims to reverse America's declining honeybee and monarch butterfly populations by making millions of acres of federal land more bee-friendly, spending millions of dollars more on research and considering the use of fewer pesticides.

While putting different type of landscapes along highways, federal housing projects and elsewhere may not sound like much in terms of action, several bee scientists told The Associated Press that this a huge move. They say it may help pollinators that are starving because so much of the American landscape has been converted to lawns and corn that don't provide foraging areas for bees.

"Here, we can do a lot for bees, and other pollinators," University of Maryland entomology professor Dennis van Englesdorp, who led the federal bee study that found last year's large loss. "This I think is something to get excited and hopeful about. There is really only one hope for bees and it's to make sure they spend a good part of the year in safe healthy environments. The apparent scarcity of these areas is what's worrying. This could change that."

The report talks of a fine line between the need for pesticides to help agriculture and the harm they can do to bees and other pollinators.  Lessening "the effects of pesticides on bees is a priority for the federal government, as both bee pollination and insect control are essential to the success of agriculture," the report said. The administration proposes spending $82.5 million on honeybee research in the upcoming budget year, up $34 million from now.


  I got a call this last weekend about bee activity on the front of someone’s house.  After seeing where they were going into the house, I went inside to determine if they were in the floor joist or in the wall.  Used my Flir Infra-red camera and saw they were in the joist between the first and second floor.  I used a Bushkill Bee-Vac to remove them.  I was not able to spot the queen.

I sealed up the entrance and took the bees outside, placing them near where they were entering the house.  Foragers were returning and massing on the outside of the house.  Left the hive there until dark, by then all the foragers had made their way to their new hive.  Closed everything up and took them to their new home.  I will put a frame of eggs and larva from one of my other hives in this weekend, just in case I injured or killed the queen during the process, so they can raise a new one.

photos and article by Roy Blackwell
Note:  Gretchen was one of our speakers at the GBA Spring meeting.  My sunflowers aren’t blooming yet, but if yours are, sign up and be counted!

Presidential Task Force report and the Sunflower Project
Dear All,
The White House wants to save the bees. The Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators produced by the Pollinator Health Task Force is an important guide to what the country needs to discover to support our pollinators and you can help it succeed. The Great Sunflower Project data that you are gathering will play an important role in answering these questions. The task force identified “investigating large-scale (transnational and nationwide) and small-scale (landscape-level) relations between plant and pollinator distributions will help determine where specific plant species are appropriate, and elucidate which species are “broad-spectrum” (appropriate in many locations and contexts and for many pollinators) and “specialist” (appropriate to support one or a few obligate pollinators)” as a critical research need. This is exactly what we are doing with our Pollinator Friendly Plants Program. This year, we are focusing our converting our Great Pollinator Count Day to coincide with Pollinator Week and calling it the Great Pollinator Count week. This year, we need you to do a pollinator count on as many different kinds of plants as possible. Five minutes per plant is all that you need to do. Identify the plant to the best of your ability, the more specific the better. This information will help us determine where different plant species are appropriate and which pollinators they support.

So, mark your calendars to count June 15 - 21, 2015 for Great Pollinator Count Week! We will be sending our top ten contributors a pack of bumble bee cards as a thank you!

Next week, I am going to send another newsletter with updates on Colony Collapse Disorder, neonicotinoid pesticides and honey bees from a conference I just attended. It is important stuff!

Bee Well,
The Queen Bee


Some wisdom from Dr. Tom Webster, expert on nosema and professor 
           at KY State U, who has recently spoken in several meetings in Georgia

     “Bees who die from nosema die because they can’t take nutrition into their bodies.”
     “If my bees had nosema, I would do nothing.”
     “Heat kills nosema and other microbes.  Cold holds microbes in         suspension until the temperature rises.”
“Bees prefer water which reflects light.  They also prefer
salt water over chlorinated water.”

As wax comb ages, it becomes darker and more brittle. It also can harbor contaminates such as pesticides, fungal and bacterial diseases along with heavy metals which is why we need to replace brood combs every 3-5 years
….Jennifer Berry

Buttermilk-and-Honey Chicken Kabobs
A buttermilk marinade ensures tender meat and juicy flavor. The kabobs are delicious on their own, but even better with Toasted Pecan Pesto or Romesco Sauce.
  • Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
  • Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 small sweet onion, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 3 pounds skinned and boned chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 10 (6-inch) wooden or metal skewers
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • Grilled lemon halves
  • Toasted Pecan Pesto or
  • Romesco Sauce
1. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until smooth; whisk in buttermilk, next 3 ingredients, and 2 tsp. salt until blended.
2. Place buttermilk mixture and chicken in a large zip-top plastic freezer bag; seal and chill 3 hours.
3. Meanwhile, soak wooden skewers in water 30 minutes. (Omit if using metal skewers.)
4. Coat cold cooking grate of grill with cooking spray, and place on grill. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Thread chicken onto skewers, leaving a 1/8-inch space between pieces; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt.
5. Grill kabobs, covered with grill lid, 6 to 8 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Serve with lemon halves and Toasted Pecan Pesto or Romesco Sauce.


We hope you are all enjoying seeing what all the beekeepers and clubs are doing around great state of Georgia.  We are loving seeing this sharing evolve.  Please keep your info coming and remember that we need your articles and photos before we put the next issue to bed.  Deadline for the July issue is Wed. the 24th at midnight.

If you know someone who is a beekeeper and isn’t a GBA member, share this newsletter with them and encourage them to join ($15 individual, $25 family). 

Gina and Linda

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May 2015 Newsletter

GBA Monthly Newsletter
Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman, Editors

Julia Mahood took this photo and wrote: I caught a swarm on Sunday--my favorite way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon. The bees were so kind and calm. They were patient as we drove to their new home and patient as they were poured into their new digs. I slid the cover over most of the top, but left an inch or two open so that the still-flying girls could find their way in. I was so relieved to see this line of workers on the edge, tipping their abdomens up high and fanning their wings to distribute the scent from their nasanov glands, telling their sisters “Head this way, our Queen is in here!”

The President's MessageLet’s all join the Bee Team!  

Illustrated above is a hexagon just as our wonderful Honey Bees would construct. They figured out that the six sides are necessary to create a strong voluminous cell to protect their young and store their very valuable food supplies. My illustration shows that we beekeepers need to be concerned about all six sides as well. Many beekeepers start with local club involvement, finding a mentor, and gaining personal education about bees. Just those three facets of learning can help one become somewhat successful as a beekeeper who endeavors to keep and manage honey bees.

              But to create a stronger “knowledge” cell, you need both to continue on to education toward certification levels as well as involvement in state and national organizations. The UGA Young Harris program provides classes to allow you to move through levels of certification. In the past, when our grandfathers kept bees, life was so much simpler. Farming chemicals did not exist as they do now; hive beetles and varroa mites weren’t any problem at all; and we were not worried about Africanized bees and all the other stuff that is on our plates today. So going to Young Harris and listening to Jennifer Berry, et al. discuss the current treatment methods and biology of the bees we love so much is what may save you from losing everything you have invested. Whether you keep bees naturally or use treatment chemicals occasionally, at Young Harris you can learn both sides of success. The Young Harris program has also had many naturalists, like Master Beekeepers Linda Tillman and Keith Fielder, speaking on the environment necessary for bees and honey production.

              Being involved with the Georgia Beekeepers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation is important as well. At the state level, we have almost 3,000 beekeepers and through the state organization, you have a chance to meet others who know what problems you are experiencing and who may have already found a solution. Our state gatherings in the spring and fall bring in nationally known speakers, make available various equipment vendors, and give you a chance to compete in the state honey competition.  The American Beekeeping Federation provides much of the same, but multiplies it by 50! They bring speakers from all over the world of beekeeping and their equipment shows are the best in the business. Each of the state and national organizations keeps us apprised of the progress of the Africanized bee movement, the spreading of diseases and status of chemical use that harms bees in our environment. You certainly leave those meetings feeling a bit overwhelmed with new information about the bee world.

              In summary, the six sided cell is necessary to give you strength and provide you with a voluminous education.  So, I want to encourage you to expand your education and knowledge by getting involved in all aspects of the Bee Team!

Bear Kelley,
President, Georgia Beekeepers Association


Jennifer Leavey’s students captured a swarm.  She writes: Here is a swarm we captured from the trunk of a cherry laurel (?) right outside the Starbucks in the Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons at Georgia Tech.  The process drew a lot of attention!
For club speaker ideas, GBA maintains a speaker list. If you would like to speak to clubs, click here to be added to the list. As a speaker, plan to know what your honorarium request will be if you are asked to speak. If you have invited speakers for your club, click here to read an article first published in Bee Culture about how to treat your speakers well. 
UpcomingClubActivitiesMay2015 _1_.pdf by Linda Tillman

We request club meeting information from all Georgia clubs each month.  If you don’t see your club here, we did not get a response to our request.  Consider volunteering to be the person who sends in program information for your club.


Club News and Notes

Lake Country Beekeepers

At the March and April meetings, the Lake Country Beekeepers Association in Sparta, Georgia hosted two popular Georgia beekeepers: Mr. Slade Jarrett of Jarrett Bees, and Mrs. Virginia Webb of Mtn Honey. Mr Jarrett presented a program on Spring Buildup and Management. In early spring, the bees consume a lot of honey as they build up the number of worker bees. This is the time of year when bees will starve and it is very common to find dead bees. It is important to feed sugar water (1:1 ratio) and to keep feeders filled until the nectar flow starts. He discussed checking the hives for brood, pollen and potential swarming. It’s a good practice to split hives but make sure the hive is good and strong. Bees are stronger and more effective in number. To be a successful beekeeper “think and plan ahead on bee time.”

Members who attended the April meeting were treated to a two for one talk as Mrs. Webb shared her enthusiasm for both Apimondia, the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Association and Talking to Kids about Honey Bees. The Apimondia Congress is a world wide beekeeping group that gathers once every other year.  Last time Apimondia met in the USA was 1967. The USA is making an Olympics type bid against Canada and possibly Brazil for the location for August 2019 with a proposed meeting site in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference is five full days, like our state meeting on steroids, with 600 programs, hands-on opportunities with 5000 hives, scientific presentations, lectures, the World Honey Show, the Honey Queen and 300-400 trade companies in attendance. Check out Apimondia on Facebook.

Virginia Webb is a third generation beekeeper and an ambassador for the beekeeping world.  She and her husband, Carl, operate Mtn Honey in Habersham GA. She has visited countless schools and similar organizations to share her knowledge of the bee world.  Her teaching philosophy is all about hands-on and involving the audience. She advises not giving honey samples or honey straws in classroom settings due to potential mess honey can create on floors and on the bus. Virginia enjoys sharing the life and important of bees in our world, and encourages every beekeeper to speak to local groups, especially young audiences.
 Lake Country Beekeepers Association Members - The Courson Family: Raymond & Maryleen and their sons, Raymond III and Brent

The Lake Country Beekeepers Association is a 60 member club.  Beekeepers and folks interested in learning how to keep bees gather monthly to learn and share ideas.  The club meets the 3rd Monday of each month at the Hancock County Extension. Visit us on Facebook or contact Bruce Morgan of Morgan Apiaries at 478.357.4029 for further information. Come join us on May 18th at 7:00 p.m. when our guest speaker will be Steve Page of Coweta Honey.

The Chattooga Beekeepers 

participated in the Ag Day sponsored by the Chattooga Young Farmers.  The event hosted approximately 300 students attending from each of the schools in the county.   The beekeepers for this day were Randy and Carolyn Rolen and Sophia Price.

Lake Hartwell Beekeepers

Sweet Afternoon:

Got a call from a local farmer, he began to explain he heard what he thought was a plane coming over. As it turns out, it was their first experience with a swarm. The bees landed near their house in a small peach tree.
They told us that the swarm was about 6 ft. off the ground but by the time we got there the small branch was hanging so low from the weight of the bees they were touching the ground.
We proceeded to lift the limb enough to get a sheet under them, sat our brood box up close and with a little encouragement they slowly checked out their potential new home. A beautiful swarm, we saw the queen when she went in and man, the march of the bees really kicked into high gear to get in there with her.

Sweet Afternoon!
Randall & Shairon Kerlin
Lavonia, GA

Lake Hartwell Junior Beekeeping Class is offered on Thursday, May 7 at 7 PM at First Baptist Church of Lavonia with Chad and Michele Whitworth

Heart of Georgia Beekeepers

receiving a trailer load of nucs on an early April night.

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers 

hive inspection at Blue Heron Nature Preserve. We added a super and checked brood patterns and Queens cells.


Swarm Photos

Nice 4 hour old swarm, very docile. They were thrilled to cover drawn honeycomb. Weird they were on the ground.  by Sam Alston

These three photos (above) were taken by Rick Moore.  This swarm was captured near Hawkinsville, GA in early April, 2015. It was large enough to fill a ten frame hive. By using a bee vac, the entire swarm was gently moved from the tree into a brood box in six minutes.

A Few Good Uses for the Queen Excluder

by Linda Tillman

In a tree there is no queen excluder. In the wild, the queen is free to wander in the comb and lay where she’d like. The queen excluder was developed for the convenience of the beekeeper. During honey harvest, the queen excluder ensures the beekeeper that he/she could remove the honey supers without taking the queen. For the commercial beekeeper, this creates an efficient honey harvest.

With less hives than a commercial outfit, you can employ an unlimited broodnest for the better functioning of the hives.  When you remove frames for harvest, shake or brush the bees off. 

The beginner kits I bought when I started beekeeping each came with a queen excluder so I own two queen excluders. Although I don’t use the queen excluder in my hive, I have found several good uses for it in beekeeping.

1. Swarm includer  
When hiving a swarm, putting a queen “includer” under the bottom box of the hive, just above the hive entrance, will keep a swarm from leaving because the queen can’t go with them.  Remove the “includer” after a night or two (in case the queen in your swarm is a virgin queen and needs to get out to mate).  This suggestion came from Julia Mahood while I was panicking about possibly losing a swarm.

2. Prove that a hive contains two laying queens 
Once I thought I had two queens laying in my hive at the same time. Eggs and brood were in the bottom box, the second box was solid capped honey, and the third box held another box of eggs and brood.

I posted about it on Beemaster Forum. The forum members suggested that I put a queen excluder between the two boxes and leave them for a week. At the end of that time, if there were new eggs in both the top box and the lower box, then I had two laying queens. I did, and there were indeed two laying queens in the hive.  

3.  Ensure that you don't take the queen by accident when making a split. 
Take the frames you want for the split out of the hive and shake or brush every single bee off of them.  Including a couple of frames of brood and eggs provides resources for a new queen. 

Put the queen excluder on top of the brood box.

Above the queen excluder, put an empty hive box. Fill it with the five bee-free frames you have pulled. Don't put any other frames in that box. On top of that box put the inner cover, the top cover, and  leave the hive for the night.

The next day, the brood frames should be covered with nurse bees who have come up to keep the brood and eggs warm. You can move these five frames into their own box with no fear that you have accidentally taken the queen. Simple nuc, simply made.

4.  The perfect drain rack for cut comb honey
The spaces between the queen excluder wires are small and close together to keep the queen from pushing her enlarged abdomen through. If you put cut comb honey sections on a cake cooling rack with wires far apart, indentations are made in the honeycomb. If you want your cut comb honey to be show quality, it should not have wire marks in it. Your queen excluder will solve this potential problem!

The applicable physical principle is Pressure = Force/Area.  The force is the weight of the honeycomb.  More wires in the queen excluder increases the area.  Thus the pressure is less with the queen excluder and does not mark the comb.

So these are four ways to use the queen excluder.  

How do you repurpose this device?

Street Cred: 

Science Daily article about bees being hooked on pesticide nectar


  • Near Unadilla, GA are hundreds of beeyards filled with many overwintered hives and nucs. Here the hives are being inspected, nucs are being created and getting ready to ship. Photos by Ricky Moore.
Dianna Tribble’s Honey Lavender No-Bake Cheesecake

This award winning cheesecake requires no baking!

1/4 cup boiling water
5 tablespoons dried lavender flowers, divided
8 Shortbread Cookies (see recipe), finely crumbled
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
Mint, for garnish

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over 3 tablespoons lavender flowers. Cover and steep 15 minutes. Strain water and discard lavender. Set water aside.

Crush and finely chop remaining 2 tablespoons lavender flowers. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon chopped lavender, cookie crumbs and butter. Press mixture into bottom of a greased
9-inch springform pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Combine remaining tablespoon chopped lavender with granulated sugar. If you like, use food coloring to tint the sugar purple. Cover and set aside.

When ready to fill the pie, in the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and honey until smooth.

Whip cream until it forms stiff peaks. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese filling. Spoon over prepared crust, cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, run a knife around the edge of the springform pan to loosen. Remove sides from pan and put pie on a serving plate. Sprinkle with reserved lavender sugar and garnish with mint, if desired. Serves: 12

— Adapted from a recipe in “Tribble Farms Cookbook” by Dianna Tribble
Gardening for you and your Bees
by Gina Gallucci

You will enjoy watching your bees work by having their favorites plants nearby. Bees love native wildflowers, flowering herbs, berries and many flowering fruits and vegetables.  Here in Georgia, a few you should consider include varieties of  mint, basil, sage, thyme, borage, oregano, lavender, chives,  buckwheat,  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cucumbers, tomato, squash, pumpkins, melons, crocus, snowdrops, jonquils, tulips, sunflowers, asters, dandelions, clovers, lilacs, wisteria, cosmos, black-eyed susans, gaillardia, goldenrod, bachelor’s buttons, anise hyssop, bee balm, sedum, peony and honeysuckle.  If you have the space, planting any type of fruit tree is perfect and trees such as maple, willow, black locust and sumac are also good food sources for bees. 

For a guide to SouthEast plantings for pollinators, click here.
Dear Aunt Bee,

Is it okay to add food coloring to the sugar water on my top feeder so I can more easily see when it needs to be refilled? And how long should I feed a nuc that I just made from an established hive?

Inquisitive but learning

Dear Inquisitive, 

Adding food coloring to sugar water being fed to bees is a great idea. First, as you noted, you can more easily see when it needs to be refilled.  More importantly, if you color the sugar water and that syrup ends up in your honey, the food color will show up as well so use colors like blue or green or purple so that if your honey is tinted blue, green or purple, you will know there is sugar syrup in it.

Feeding your bees during nectar collection pretty much guarantees that your honey will contain sugar syrup.  You should mark the boxes that are on the hive when/if you are feeding so that you will not take honey from those boxes. That still does not guarantee that sugar syrup will not be in your honey because the bees move stuff around in the hive all the time.

If you made a proper nuc from an established hive, you should have given the nuc a couple of frames of brood and eggs, a frame of pollen and a frame of honey. That honey should be enough to give them a start and that nuc should not need feeding here in the early spring.  So I would encourage you to stop feeding now, if you haven’t already. My bees have been bringing in some nectar since the middle of March - maybe even earlier where you are, if you are in a warmer part of the state.

Bees that do need feeding in early spring are package installations. Those bees didn’t know to engorge on honey because they didn’t know they were being shaken into a package. Even those bees only need to be fed a week or two because with the nectar flow, they won’t need the syrup. I got two packages this year and only fed them 1 pint of syrup each because they started bringing in nectar and quit taking the syrup. 

Your Aunt Bee
Yes, it’s been a while since we had a survey.  We would love to get more responses on our one question survey.  Our most recent survey in January asked:  Do you remove wax and propolis from your frames and hive boxes for winter storage?

Of the twenty of you who responded, here’s what we found:

Yes, I scrape them:  13 of you
Yes, I clean them with hot water:  3 of you
No, I take my chances:  3 of you
No, I like to feed my wax moths:  1 of you

Now, wasn’t that a fun question?  We’d love to hear from all over 300 of you to whom this newsletter gets sent….

This month’s question is………….

 Click here to read the question and answer the one question survey.
The Final Buzz

Our newsletter this month is especially colorful because of all your photos!  Don’t be shy about sending whatever you can.  We want to have representation from all around Georgia. 

Please also know we are accepting your info for honeybee related ads for the our  Spilling’ the Honey  newsletter eagerly read throughout the southeast.  If you or your company would like to purchase ad space in the GBA Newsletter, click here.  

Gina and Linda
Your editors