Friday, March 6, 2015

March 2015 Edition

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

Spring Meeting 2015 - It was great and if you didn’t come, you were missed and we hope you come to the fall meeting in Milledgeville.  Photos by Bill Owens, Gina Gallucci, and Linda Tillman.  To see a slide show of these and more photos from the meeting, click here.

The President’s Message

I can’t begin to tell you all how pleased I was at the Lake Blackshear Resort with our Spring Meeting in February. We had a record turnout of members and new members. I believe it was in the neighborhood of 260 people. P.N. Williams said that was the most in 30 years. We were originally planning for around 140, but the writing was on the wall a week before with 153 pre-registered. 

 The high number means we had a heck of a lot of walk ups.   In the future, we plan to keep registration open longer to increase the possibility of preregistration.  Everyone who preregisters helps us ensure that we have enough programs, handouts, and lunches for the attendees.  While we love welcoming those of you who register at the door, planning for the meeting works out better if you take a moment to preregister.  The staff at the Resort handled it well and somehow produced the extra meals at a moment’s notice. I apologize if we had standing room only in some of the breakouts. If you were there, you know we shifted folks around a bit to accommodate the more popular speakers.  

 I reported at the Board meeting that as of two years ago, GBA had less than 180 members with 22 affiliated clubs; and as of the board meeting this year (13 Feb 2015) we had more than 425 memberships and 35 affiliated clubs.  If my count is correct, we actually have 563 members (counting family members) now. That’s tremendous! This is your organization and I am so glad you are coming out to give support. Your participation is the reason we can have good speakers, great facilities and a wonderful event. Thank you from all of your officers and the event committee. We are glad that the work going into these meetings is appreciated.

 At the Board meeting, we presented two new charters to recently established clubs. Those were the Altamaha Beekeepers with Holly Neilsen as president and the Beekeepers of Gilmer County, led by John Tackett.  Andy Bailey, our GBA secretary, actually prepared “Charters” printed on parchment paper. They were quite popular and many of the club presidents there expressed their desire to have one for their club. So, if you know your “Charter date,” send an email to Andy: with the appropriate info and we will prepare them for you and mail them back as we get them.

 We also approved multiple year memberships at the Board meeting. Now when you pay your membership dues, you may pay for one, three or five years at once. There will be no monetary savings (since our dues are so cheap already), but it means that our staff will not have to work as hard in getting everyone to re-up every year, and you will not have to worry about it as well.

 I want to thank the club presidents who attended the Presidential Breakfast. We had a great turnout and I felt that we were able to get to know each other better. Dr. Wimbish discussed the Junior Beekeeping program and Regina Robuck talked up the American Beekeeping Federation. We also discussed how to get bulk sugar, getting bees through the winter stronger and other topics.  The local club presidents went away with a list of potential speakers to help them with their program planning.

 We have already started working on the fall meeting to be held in Milledgeville in September. We were so happy to see so many of you at the spring meeting.  Now all of you come back in the fall, enter the big honey show and bring a beekeeping friend with you.  We want our numbers to keep going up.

Finally I want to say thank you to Linda Tillman and Julia Mahood. Their hard work and professionalism gave us this wonderful event.

Bear Kelley,
President, Georgia Beekeepers Assn.  


Lake Blackshear Meeting Highlights

Follow our 

To learn more about Gretchen Lebuhn and the Great Sunflower Project, click here.  On that web page, you can register for the project and find out lots about bees of many kinds.  

To learn more about Jennifer Leavey’s work with bees at Georgia Tech, click here.

To find out about Erin Forbes’ SARE grant, click here.  

Web Site Auction

     Every year at the February meeting, we 
    hold an auction for advertising space on the GBA website.  To see how advertising looks on 
the website, click here and look to the right side 
of the page.

This year the winners were:

Bill Owens (Georgia Bee Removal):       $1500
Ray Civitts (Mountain Sweet Honey):  $800
Slade Jarrett (Jarrett Apiaries)               $400
Higgins Apiaries                                         $400

Every year four ads are sold and every year, the winners grow business from contacts made through the GBA website ads.  This year GBA took in $3100 and this benefits all of us as members.

Next year at the February meeting, plan to bid 
     for your business to have one of the four 
      spots.  It pays off - just ask Bill Owens 
          (who wins the top spot every year)!


A few quotes from our speakers:

"Super Sisters are two Queens in one hive which are both offspring of the same Queen and the same drone."   
Cindy Bee

 "Cutting queen cells as a way to prevent swarming is a little like using the rhythm method for human birth control."   Erin Forbes

"The next month is a critical time for your bees in terms of food. Populations are increasing hence food stores are decreasing. Check in on them now to make sure they have enough food until the nectar flow begins which is still over a month away. "   Jennifer Berry

"A good Queen cell is pocked and looks like a morel mushroom on the outside; typically a smooth Queen cell doesn't make a good Queen."   Cindy Bee


GBA President, Bear Kelley, presents a new club charter to Holly Nielson for the Altamaha Beekeepers.  Your club, even well-established, can get a charter (suitable for framing) by sending in your charter date to Andy Bailey, GBA Secretary.

Youth Programming

The Spring GBA meeting was “buzzing” with news of upcoming youth events across the state!  Tara Beekeepers are planning a half day spring youth event at Reynolds Preserve in Marchth (Contact Buster and Fran Lane).  Coweta beekeepers continue their commitment to youth education through a relationship with local 4-H club members (contact Steve Page). The Oatland Island Wildlife Center and the Coastal Empire Beekeepers (contact Gregory Stewart) are also investing in youth education through workshops and an ongoing commitment to honey bee preservation outreach.

For our older youth, great things are happening in honey bee education statewide at Georgia Tech (Dr. Jennifer Leavey), University of Georgia (Jennifer Berry), Georgia Southern (Statesboro Beekeeping Association), and at Middle Georgia State College (Dr. Gloria Huddleston).

A few tips for planning youth focused educational events:

·       Limit activities to thirty minutes or less (like many of us, children’s attention spans are limited).
·       Alternate lecture and seated activities with activities including movement and play.
·       Provide fun low-cost prizes (
·       Have an alternate-filler activity planned (You never know what can happen and it is best to over plan for youth events).

·       Safety comes first.  Make sure your site and all activities are safe for designated age groups. (Have a basic first aid kit on hand – Band-Aids, even when not needed, make everything feel better!)
·       Have fun!  Remember youth are the future of beekeeping and you are planting the seed for honey bee research and preservation!

GBA offers funds to support youth education programs!  If your club is interested in hosting youth activities and are in need of program ideas, games, activities, or planning support please call or e-mail.  I look forward to presentations at the Tara, Henry County, and Griffin Clubs!

Dr. Margo Wimbish
Cell 678-378-1290

by Ricky Moore

As an experiment I placed granulated sugar on a tissue paper atop the frames in a hive, just to see if the bees would take the granulated sugar. I'd seen it on YouTube as a means of emergency feeding.

Winter was just starting and the bees were slow to acknowledge and accept the sugar, partly because I continued to front feed also. Early in January the bees discovered the sugar and from the photo you can see, are really going to town on it.

In about six weeks, they have consumed over three pounds of granulated sugar. This will not be my first choice for feeding, but I'll always keep it in the back of my mind as another possible way to feed the bees in winter.

Note to club program planners:  we are in the ongoing process of creating a list of speakers all around the state who might be good for programs for your clubs.  You can access the list here.  

UpcomingClubActivities2015March _2_.pdf

Club News and Notes

Chattooga Beekeepers Association       
                Summerville,  GA
 2015 BEEKEEPING SEMINAR participants

Coweta Beekeepers Introduction to Beekeeping class
January 24, 2015

The Coweta Beekeepers had 47 students in attendance at  the annual Introduction to Beekeeping class on January 24, 2015.  Since the class, the students have participated in two workshops.  The first workshop taught equipment assembly and the second workshop taught nectar management. Workshops will continue each month thru June.

Lake Hartwell Beekeepers Go on a Field Trip
by Shairon Kerlin

Lake Hartwell Beekeepers for our February meeting took a field trip to Bob Binnie's new store, Blue Ridge Honey Co. in Lakemont, GA.  Bob, his wife Suzette, and his entire staff were great! The retail portion is beautiful with a great variety of products and bee supplies on display with smiling faces greeting you as you arrive.

Bob took the opportunity to begin our tour in that area with a bit of history including past, present, and even future plans. They are in their nearing final stages of the total operation but we couldn't tell it. It was really impressive.

We continued through his bottling, packaging and labeling area, as well as extracting, and storage. They really dazzled us with their foot work.  For the finale they served us lunch where Bob joined us while sharing even more and a really good Q & A session with the group.

The club members really enjoyed themselves. Give your club a treat and if you are within a reasonable radius of their store, give them a call and set up a tour.  Makes for a great field trip and really a nice day for all.


The Flow Hive: An Interview with Michael Bush
by Linda Tillman

The newly invented Flow Hive has been all over the Internet in recent weeks.  You’ve seen the photos on Facebook pages.  Two Australian developers created a hive box that allows honey to be harvested without opening the hive.  The photos often show a hive with an open tube pouring honey into an open jar.  While it seems convenient for honey harvesting, using this hive box might prevent people from being good keepers of their bees (not taking the time/effort to inspect these hives).

Michael Bush, a nationally known Nebraska beekeeper and author who will be one of our keynote speakers at the Fall GBA Meeting, was one of the beekeepers asked to try this configuration.  He said the inventors sent him some of these frames to try.  I asked Michael some of the honey harvest questions that were bothering me:

The open honey container in Atlanta would draw bees in a second and seems a poor plan.

Michael said:
There is no reason to have an open honey container under the tap.  I have a tube running from mine through a hole just big enough for the tube in a five gallon bucket lid.  I can't imagine why I would do it any other way.  It's no more inconvenient and it assures no bees drowning in the honey. 

In Hotlanta during summer, the hot temperatures would always encourage the honey to flow easily out of the hive.  What would happen in colder places?

Michael’s answer:
 The honey tends to be at least 93 F anytime the weather is not outright cold and it flows very nicely at 93 F.  I don't have heather or other kinds of thixotropic honey, so I don't know how they would work, but these frames might even work better than trying to extract, as often just moving them makes them thinner and the way the device works it shifts half the cell walls a half of a cell down which would stir (move) the honey causing it to flow better.  But with my honey this Flow Hive system drained in just a few minutes (like 3 to 5 minutes).  It's really amazing to watch.

Would honey leak into the hive, making problems for the bees?

Michael said:
The caps are not even broken.  There is no honey flowing into the hive. This is accomplished by having half of the cells’ mouths protruding more. The bees draw out the other half with wax to match the protruding ones and when you break the cells open, virtually all the caps stay intact.

And how could you be sure without a queen excluder that you would not be crushing brood?  My queen sometimes lays up in the honey boxes. 

Michael’s answer:
The cells are too deep for the queen to lay in and they are an odd diameter so she wouldn't like laying in them even if they were shallow enough.  They are too small for drone brood and too large for worker brood and too deep for either.  There is actually no reason at all for anyone to use an excluder with these Flow Hive frames.

I am curious about what made you confident enough to endorse this, if you did.

Michael said: 
The makers sent me a box of them to test.  I've seen the Flow Hive work.  It is mind blowing... really.  They have worked out all of the honey harvest details.  I can only imagine two POSSIBLE issues which I have not encountered.  One is IF the honey crystallized it might be a bit of effort.  With this (flow hive) I would harvest early and often, so it's doubtful it would be crystallized.  The second POSSIBLE issue would be that I can't know how it will hold up over time.  I haven't heard a final price, but I assume it will be pricey.  It will take a few years to know the answer to how well it will age, but it seems well built.


Speaking of the GBA Fall Meeting, mark your calendars 
NOW to be in 
Milledgeville, GA on September 18 - 19, 2015 
for another fabulous GBA meeting, filled with good speakers, good breakouts, good cheer.


The Heart of Georgia Beekeepers will present a FREE “Introduction to Beekeeping Class” on March 21, 2015 at the Camp John Hope FFA-FCCLA Center 281 Hope Entrance Rd.  Fort Valley, GA 31030.  This class is designed for people who are interested in starting beekeeping, those who are just interested in beekeeping, or in gardening.  The morning session will be in Classroom from 9:00 AM until 12:00 Noon. Lunch will be at 12:00.The afternoon session will be from 1:00 PM until midafternoon (4:00 PM) at a nearby bee yard where students will open bee hives, identify bees, learn the parts of a hive, and see the bees at work.  We will have protective gloves, veils, and suits for the
students.  The class is open to all ages.

If you are interested in participating in the class, please take a moment to register through this link.

Please make sure you register EVERY person that will be attending the class so we will have a record of EACH person.  We will be having a lunch during the break at the cost of $8.00 per person.  If you are interested in the luncheon, please make sure you select lunch when you register for the class.


At the GBA February meeting in Lake Blackshear, Erin Forbes encouraged us to apply for grants in both her keynote speech and in her breakout.  Here are two opportunities to apply for money to study your bees:

1.  The 2015 USDA/AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant Program has been announced; please see attached.  Application requirements are available on the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s website at
 Project Proposals are due to my office via email by Friday, April 17, at 4:30 p.m.  No late proposals will be accepted.  Please contact me if you have any questions.  Thank you!

Jeanne Maxwell, Esq.
Director of Grants Development & Compliance

2.  3rd Annual Bayer Leadership Award Honors Innovations in the Beekeeping Community
 Bayer CropScience is seeking nominations for its third annual Bayer Bee Care Community Leadership Award. The award provides a $5,000 grant to the winner to be used in support of a community beekeeping project.
To obtain an application, go to The deadline for submission is April 3, 2015.    

The 2014 winner, Herbert Everhart of Kearneysville, WVA, created a beekeeping programs for veterans and youth in his community to introduce and educate on all aspects of beekeeping.


North East Georgia Mountain Beekeepers Association 
is offering a beekeeping short course at the Elachee Nature Center, 2125 Elachee Drive Gainesville, Georgia, on Saturday, March 7th – Full Day Class Room Program.  This class has been rescheduled from Saturday, February 21st.

Some of the speakers include:  Paul Arnold, Bobby Chaisson, Slade Jarrett, Ray Civitts, Carl Webb, Keith Fielder, Bill Owens. 

Registration Includes: Full Day Class Room Program-February 21st, Half Day in the Beeyard-March 14th, Family Membership in NE GA Mtn. Beekeepers Club, First Lessons in Beekeeping Book - One Book Per Family, Door Prizes, & Lunch - Provided.

$45 – Individual
$60 – Couple
$5 Each Additional Person in Same Family (covers cost of lunch)

Class Limited to 100

To Pre-Register:
Call Slade Jarrett – 706-677-2854 email:
**Include: Name(s) of all attending, phone, address, and email Subject Line: Short Course**


Street Cred:

  • "More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn’t exactly what the bees produce,” according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.  There is a very thorough article HERE​ from Food Safety News, November 2011,  about testing honey for pollen, and as the first sentence of the article states.
  • Steve Page’s Coweta Beekeeping Method
  • Can mushrooms save the honeybee?

Dear Aunt Bee,

If bees do not go to the bathroom in the hive and wait to go on a cleansing flight, what does the queen do? Does she go to the bathroom in the hive or does she slip outside?

Thanks for the help, Aunt Bee.


Potty Breaks

Dear Potty,

The bees who attend the queen take care of her from head to toe.  They comb her hair, brush her mandibles and take out her bodily waste.  None of the bees can fly during the coldest days and they “hold it” until there is a day when they can fly.  Then as quickly as they can, they move the waste out of the hive.

Sometimes in a winter hive, the bees can develop nosema.  You will know this when you see streaks of brown on the exterior of the hive as the bees release in desperation as they exit.  

But in general, the queen’s needs are taken care of by the attendant bees.

Your Aunt Bee


Rustic Canyon's Honeycomb Ice Cream
Honeycomb candy:

5 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a small to medium pan, combine the sugar and honey, and cook until the sugar is melted and the mixture has turned a caramel color.  Remove from heat and add the baking soda all at once, quickly stirring to evenly distribute the soda. Be careful, as the soda will cause the sugar mixture to bubble rapidly.

Pour the honeycomb into a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment and set aside until cooled and hardened, about 30 minutes.
Break the honeycomb into big and small pieces, and store in an airtight container until needed.

Honeycomb ice cream:
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
1 tablespoon vodka
Pinch of salt
Prepared honeycomb

In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks. Stir in the condensed milk and whip again to soft peaks, then whisk in the vodka and salt.

Gently fold in the honeycomb, careful not to overmix; you want a swirl look to the ice cream. Transfer to a smaller container and
put in the freezer until firmed, 1 to 3 hours. This makes about one-half gallon of ice cream.

Serves 16


As I write this in mid February, winter is raging full blown. It is down into the 30s, 20s and occasionally into the teens here in Middle Georgia. I am a second year wanna-beekeeper and have learned a lot. Much without a choice.

Last year I had a 100% hive loss when what seemed like overnight I went from healthy hives with stores and bees to empty hives. No dead bees, no predators, no reason that I could come up with for 100% healthy-turn dead hives.

I'm faring better this year with three of my five hives surviving, thriving and doing well. I did experience a repeat of last year and lost two hives. It is frustrating, aggravating, and I took it personally, for a long time.

During the cold last winter I would wrap the hives in blankets, seal the entrance and worry nightly about the bees getting too cold.  The smartest beekeeper I've met, my mentor, Jesse McCurdy, kept telling me (and still does) "you do not have a problem with your bees, your bees have a problem with you!"

Having listened to my elders about beekeeping, and having put into practice what they taught, I have learned the most important lesson in my two year wanna-beekeeper experience; are you ready, this is important, so read and reread this slowly, let it soak in. 

"Let nature take its course."

There, I've said it. Remember fellow newbies and wanna-beekeepers, we do not control the bees and the hives. Remember, they are insects. Bugs. They are programmed to do things that we cannot understand. We give them encouragement and nurture them to our abilities, but when the sun sets, they are still bugs doing what bugs do.

Having let go of the fears and over-protectiveness, I am enjoying beekeeping much more. I don't stress when it gets bitterly cold, I just go to the window, look at the hives and say "Girls, it's gonna be cold tonight, bundle up, I'll see you in the morning. Goodnight."

Rick Moore
Heart of Georgia 


Final Buzz

We really had a great time working on this month’s edition.  This was because of all the help we had from all of you sending in contributions.   

We have identified a real need for us to have a designated GBA Photographer.  We need this person to concentrate on getting photos at GBA meetings and club meetings of both people and bees for use in Spillin’ the Honey and on our GBA website.

If you’d like to be our photographer, please get in touch with us at: 

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