Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! GBA Newsletter January 2015

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

Will we see this in January or February like this hive in December of 2013?         (photo by Linda Tillman)

President’s Message

Yes, it’s 2015 already!  Lordy, where does time go?  I hope that everyone survived the holidays in good health and that your Christmas was happy and that your new year is starting out merry.  Our newsletter editors have once again worked through the holidays putting together another fantastic “Spilling the Honey” for us to enjoy. 

Speaking of honey, Marybeth and I journeyed down to the Caribbean, and sailed throughout the Leeward Islands last month. As we stopped to visit the various islands, I made it a point to acquire (either pay for or get a free sample of) local honey.  I was lucky enough to score some from Nevis, Guadeloupe, Antigua, St Bart’s, Puerto Rico, France, and even found some from Russia at an international store on one of the islands. Now, since I graduated from the Young Harris School as a Welsh honey judge, I know that most honeys have different tastes depending on the flowers, etc, but these are as different as the local cultures of these islands. In one sample I could actually taste the hibiscus nectar. Fantastic! I really wish that I was able to get enough to share with everyone.

On a local note back here in Georgia, the Heart of Georgia Beekeepers held a People’s Choice Honey Contest (black jar) in September and had 28 entries. Now you would think that most of the flavors would be close to the same since the honey was gathered in and around the heart of Georgia, but they really were not.  Twenty-eight entries produced twenty-eight different flavors.  I know that many of our clubs also have honey shows and you have probably experienced the same thing with yours.

Since Georgia Beekeepers Association members have bee hives spread throughout the state, let’s start a Honey Exchange Program.  Our next state meeting is in February at the Lake Blackshear Resort.  Please bring a 1 pound jar with your label affixed and swap it for another member’s honey. Bring several if you wish, but the exchange will be one for one. It will be informal, so just ask someone there if they have a jar to swap. I think that will be a great way of experiencing the many varieties we have to offer in Georgia. And, of course, if you come from another state we want to try yours as well. Actually I think that we should have been doing this all along. What a wonderful way to interact with each other and meet new friends!  I hope to see you all at the Spring Conference. Happy New Year!

Bear Kelley,
President, Georgia Beekeepers Assn. 

“It is a commonly held belief that when bees are dead head-first in the cells, they are starved.  All dead hives over winter will have many bees with their heads in cells.  That’s how they cluster tightly for warmth.  I would read more into whether or not they are in contact with stores.”   THE PRACTICAL BEEKEEPER by Michael Bush

Virginia Webb, well-known Georgia beekeeper and a representative to Apimondia, submitted the article below so we in Georgia might choose to help the effort to host Apimondia in the United States.

USA Beekeepers to Bid for Hosting 2019 Apimondia     

We, here in the USA, have the unparalleled opportunity to bring the worldwide beekeeping community to our country. Winning the bid for the Apimondia Worldwide Beekeeping Congress in 2019 is the perfect way to showcase the USA’s beekeeping industry as never before.  Representatives from our chosen host city, Minneapolis, MN will be joining us next September in Daejeon, South Korea to support us in our efforts to acquaint the world with the many advantages of the United States hosting Apimondia 2019.

The Apimondia is the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Association and related organizations working together for the benefit of apiculture.  Beginning in 1949, the Apimondia works to promote scientific, technical, ecological, social and economic apicultural development in all countries.  Every two years they organize an International Apimondia Congress where beekeepers, scientist, educators, industry representatives and government representatives come together to learn and share ideas from one another.

The bid process, which includes site inspection by Apimondia representatives, meetings with the local organizing committee and scientific and beekeeping representatives, and review of technical tours that may be available, is outlined in the official guidelines for hosting an Apimondia Congress.  Canada and South Africa have already announced their intentions to vie for the 2019 Apimondia bid.

Along with the international program of science and technology, there will be the ApiExpo, the largest Beekeeping Tradeshow in North America, the World Honey Show competition and a World Honey Queen contest.

Every club and organization is important and every donation is needed for us to meet our goal.  We ask that you go to our Support Us page and help us achieve our goal of bringing the worldwide beekeeping community to the USA for Apimondia XLVI in 2019.  Donating is as easy as visiting our website  

If you prefer you can send a check to:
Apimondia USA Bid For 2019, LLC
40 South 7th Street Suite 212 #211
Minneapolis MN 55402
Attn: Michael North
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Debbie Seib, Chairman

Apimondia USA Bid for 2019
A 501(c)(3) Corporation


Lots of  Street Cred:

The National Honey Show has taken some very professional videos of their speakers.  You can view them from the National Honey Show web page.  Some of the speakers include Jamie Ellie, Ann Harman, Michael Palmer, and many other venerable beekeepers.  To see their video collection click here.


Citrus Smoothies from Laurey Masterton’s The fresh Honey Cookbook

1 banana
½ cup strawberries
1 ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest from 1 orange 
1 ½ cup ice
4-6 whole strawberries for garnish

Blend all together until smooth.  Pour into glasses and garnish each with whole strawberry.


Announcement for Committee to Choose Beekeeper of the Year 2015   

 According to the by-laws, the current beekeeper of the year serves as the chair of the committee to choose the beekeeper of the following year.  In addition, our by-laws also declare that the President of GBA cannot serve on the committee for beekeeper of the year.  As a result, Bear Kelley, who is both our Beekeeper of the Year 2014 and the current president of GBA, has recused himself from the committee to choose the beekeeper of the year 2015.  

In his stead, Bear has appointed Julia Mahood to be the chair of the committee to choose the 2015 Beekeeper of the Year.  Bear will appoint a couple of additional beekeepers to help her with this job.  Julia is a Master Beekeeper and has kept bees in Atlanta for over ten years.  She has mentored many beekeepers and has given talks all over the state to bee clubs, garden clubs and children's groups.  She is the co-chair of the upcoming February GBA meeting at Lake Blackshear.  

Julia and her committee will be accepting nominations for the 2015 Beekeeper of the year any time between now and June 30, 2015.  Send nominations to her:   You will be reminded of this in our newsletters between now and the end of June.  


We are hoping to see everyone at the Spring Meeting in Lake Blackshear in Cordele, Ga on February 13 and 14.  On Friday night the GBA board meets, followed by a reception for anyone coming to the conference as well as the board members.  The space at Lake Blackshear is perfect for mingling and talking, and everyone who came had a great time there at the last meeting.  Saturday will be filled with opportunities to hear informed speakers and attend breakouts.

In addition to the keynote speakers listed on the following pages, our breakout speakers include:  Bob Binnie, Jennifer Berry, Julia Mahood, Randy Rolen, Linda Tillman, and James Wilkes

Registration opens on January 1 at this link:  CLICK HERE
To reserve a room at the Lake Blackshear resort at Georgia Beekeeper rates, call 1-800-459-1230 and use the code: 200981

Bring your mead and your beer for the competition and your enthusiasm for our GBA gathering to the meeting in February.  We will love to see you there.


Brochure for GBA Spring Meeting  (If the print is too small, click on Full Screen at top right)

Local Club Beekeepers of the Year for 2014      
Some clubs  in Georgia choose a beekeeper of the year and some do not.  We wanted to celebrate the Beekeepers of the Year 2014 for the clubs who have let us know that they do make this award.

2014 Beekeeper of the Year for the Ogeechee Area Beekeepers is Mr. Bobby Colson.  Here is a photo of Bobby (R) receiving his award from our club president, Dr. Brent Tharp (L) at our Holiday gathering at George L. Smith State Park in Twin City. 

Bobby Colson (R), OAB Beek of the year

Bobby's father kept bees, but he started keeping bees himself in 1989. He owns and operates B&G Honey Farm in Register, GA. Bobby was selected for this award because of his tireless service to the club and promotion of the craft. He's a good friend and mentor to many beekeepers in our area. 

2014 Beekeeper of the Year for the Coweta Beekeepers is Marilynn Parker.  Marilynn Parker began beekeeping as a youth competing in 4-H to the State level.  After marriage, children and college she returned to beekeeping 10 years ago.  She is a Master Gardener and an Alabama Master Beekeeper.  She is secretary of Coweta Beekeepers Association and the president of the newly formed West Georgia Beekeepers Association.  She is Coweta Beekeepers Association Beekeeper of the Year for 2014.

2014 Beekeeper of the Year for Heart of Georgia Beekeepers is Jesse McCurdy.   Jesse has always given so much of his time, experience and materials to so many new and experienced beekeepers alike. He was responsible for getting the Heart of Georgia beekeeping club established and, along with his wife Hazel, has worked hard keeping it going. Jesse has also operated the only honey booth at the Perry Fair for the past 25 years that so many of us have enjoyed.  This is a new award for the club and all future recipients will receive the "Jesse McCurdy Beekeeper of the Year Award.”
Jesse McCurdy (R), of Perry GA, receives an award from President Tim Smith (L), Heart of Georgia Beekeepers, for being the club's 2014 Beekeeper of the Year. 

To read more about Jesse's award and beekeeping history, click here.

A few clubs award Lifetime Member status to respected long-time members.  

This year Lifetime Member status was awarded to Henry County Beekeepers members Howard and Judy Emory.  The Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers awarded Lifetime Member status to Jim Harris (a former GBA Beekeeper of the Year) and Betty Beegle (a founding member of the CVBA).  


Dear Aunt Bee,

When mixing sugar water solution for over-wintering, do you recommend adding essential oils like peppermint and lemongrass?

Gourmet Bee Feeder

Dear Gourmet,

If you are going to feed your bees, the ideal way is to leave them enough honey to live through the winter.  If you need to supplement because the bees didn’t make enough honey to get through the winter, then consider the issues around sugar syrup.

First:  Sugar syrup is not the same pH as honey and doesn’t have the same nutritional value.  Feeding bees sugar syrup alters the microbiology of the hive (reference:  The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping by Stiglitz)  

Second:  If you do make sugar syrup to feed your bees, be sure only to use white sugar to avoid feeding the bees the indigestible waste in brown sugar.  

Third:  Often beekeepers say that the sugar syrup does not migrate into the honey because the bees simply use it for food.  The beekeeper should mark the boxes that are on a hive when feeding is taking place and not harvest “honey” from those boxes.  Ross Conrad in Natural Beekeeping takes a strong stand about this:
“Whenever the feeding of hives is taking place, no honey supers that will be harvested should be on the hive.  This is simply a matter of integrity.  Pure, natural honey is defined as plant nectar that has been collected and transformed by honey bees.  The beekeeper who offers “honey” produced from sugar syrup, or any other source, has compromised the integrity of the final product, as well as his or her moral character.”

All of that said, essential oils like those you mentioned are used to attract bees - lemongrass oil rubbed on an empty hive can attract a swarm.  I’m not sure that peppermint has any attraction to bees.  Neither of those oils have any function of which I am aware in maintaining bee health. 

Master Beekeeper Jay Parsons says, “Unless there is some evidence citing the benefits to developing polyphenols and "bee fat", then I would forgo the efforts and expense of these additives.”

 Thymol, the oil found in the leaves of the herb thyme, has shown some ability to deter the varroa mite and is found in some of the miticides widely used by beekeepers.  

Hope your bees make it through the winter!

Your Aunt Bee

Thank you to Ricky Moore for providing the question and to Jay Parsons for his quick response


Club News and Notes

Club News and Notes Jan 15.pdf

* The clubs listed here represent less than half of the clubs in Georgia.  If you don’t see information about your club here, encourage your president to send us your meeting information.  You may also find your club information on the GBA Calendar


Submission Guidelines
Your humble editors are looking for at least 12 NEW contributors in 2015.  
Please help us by keeping your articles to 500 words or less and send them as a Word
document attached to your email. Be sure to include your own name, your bee club and
where you are located.  Send PHOTOS (we really need these) as attachments to emails. Include who took the photo, where and when.  Send any of this to
This is your newsletter! We thank you for all your contributions!         YOUR EDITORS


We thank all those who helped us prepare this newsletter with their very timely responses to our questions.  We, Gina and Linda, otherwise known as Glinda, make arrangements around our own businesses to meet for several hours each month and put together all the submissions and features, and we often then realize we need info ASAP.  We really thank RoseAnne Dorn and Jay Parsons who came to our rescue for this edition.  

Calling all Presidents:  Please make sure to send your club meeting dates,  times and meeting places for publication here in the newsletter.  We’d like your information by the 15th of each month and we’ll remind you.  It can only help your club to be listed with your speakers and activities, and it may be of help to other clubs to get ideas about future speakers.

Your Editors,

Gina and Linda