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.
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
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.
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:  an outdoor exam where you will demonstrate your skills lighting (and keeping lit) a smoker and working a beehive, and  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: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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. www.metroatlantabeekeepers.org/
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
Commendable – JM Sikes
1st - Sean Massey
1st – Rodney Garner
Original Bee Related Photography
1st - Dan Long
2nd – Kim Bailey
3rd – Jim Moudry
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.
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.
- Swarms - Got One and Didn't Get One
- by Rick Moore
- It's swarm season here in Middle Georgia.
- 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 )
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!
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.
To read the entire article: http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/05/19/science/ap-us-sci-bee-plan.html?_r=0
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
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!
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
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
- 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.
THE FINAL BUZZ
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