Friday, April 4, 2014

April 2014 Newsletter

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman




















The President's Message

This month I would like to address the challenge posed by Bob Grant in the last Spilling the Honey newsletter. First, thank you, Bob, for your positive comments about our speakers.  Our keynote guy for the February meeting, Dr Ellis, is in much demand and not as easy to schedule as one might seem. But we are lucky because he has roots here in Georgia. We will continue to seek the best speakers we can. 

I do have a “roadmap” for GBA, which I have been sharing with all of you through this President’s Message.   The first avenue on the roadmap is increasing our membership.   If you go back a few issues, you will see that I came out of the September meeting as your new President, announcing that only about 15% of the Georgia beekeepers are members of GBA.  I spoke with David Williams, the GA Bee Hive inspector, and he said that we have over 2000 beekeepers in GA.  I asked everyone to talk up our GBA organization.
   
Increasing membership is a goal on which I have been working with the Board of Directors.  I have also developed a Power Point briefing on “why join GBA” that I will be happy to present to any club.  Just ask!

The discussion about the 501c (3) entity is significant if we want to have major sponsors for some of the following programs…
  • Georgia Honey Queen
  • Fund additional small scale bee yards
  • Fund and support 4H and junior beekeeping programs
  • Other Programs?
We do in fact have a reserve fund, but we don’t want to deplete it too soon as we move down the road. 

We do have to pay for these great speakers, as well as their travel and lodging along with the general operation of the association. 

I have mentioned the Honey Queen program in previous newsletters and we have just completed a feasibility study for that. If we can obtain a major sponsor and find the right person to manage that program, we can implement it. A Honey Queen program will take about $8-10,000 annually. What better ambassador for our youth could we ask for? Other states have successful programs, why can’t Georgia?

To help feed the Honey Queen program, we need to get the 4H support program and junior beekeeping program back on track. Again the Board of Directors has been talking a great deal about how to do that within the parameters of our by-laws. I hope to have a new policy written to you before long. 

A few years ago, I challenged all beekeepers in the state to marry up with their local state parks and start a beekeeping program at that park. The idea is to help educate the public and emphasize the “Plight of the Honeybee” out so that others can help. As I speak with many groups around the state, I always tell them that they don’t have to be beekeepers to join GBA. Their membership goes towards research and education. We keep a tally in the newsletter on what state parks are on board with us. Is yours?  Make it a club project. 

As far as identifying beekeepers successful efforts and such, our Newsletter editors have been putting a survey in every month for a while now asking questions like that. We’re not getting a lot of feedback. Help us out here and send in your responses. With that info, we can compile a manual that we can use to educate our members. 

As you all know GBA works well with the UGA and the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute. Our relationship with Jennifer Berry (UGA Bee Lab) is such that we often share problems and ideas. She and Dr. Delaplane are regular speakers at our meetings. They have provided a wonderful education program for Georgia beekeepers for over 22 years now. 

I have recently started a “President’s Council.” It is an unofficial way of contacting and communicating with our club presidents. At our spring meeting, Mary Cahill-Roberts conducted a breakout session with the Club Presidents who were in attendance and shared problems, successes and general info about conducting the matters of a club. We will continue that at every meeting for the foreseeable future. I also plan to email the club presidents periodically to get them to share problems and successes as well.  Andy Bailey worked hard to develop the list.  So here we need the club officers to review your web sites and ensure that all the contact info is there for any computer illiterate (like me) to locate easily. 

So Bob, we accept your challenges as an Association. To bounce the challenge back, we sincerely need the assistance of all beekeepers out there (Commercial, Sideliners and Hobbyist) to make any of these programs successful. I believe we have a team in place that will help us grow in the right direction. 

By increasing our membership, getting Georgia’s youth involved, we can educate the public, increase honey production, and make a better environment for our bees.                                   

Bear Kelley,                                                                                                                                                    President

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Slade and Kristie Jarrett would like to offer a big thank you to our State Senator, John Wilkinson.  Wilkinson presented a resolution to Jarrett Apiaries on March 10, 2014, on the Senate floor at the Georgia State Capital.  The resolution recognized Jarrett Apiaries for their agricultural efforts in Banks County and their award winning honey.  

All 56 Senators received a 1 lb. jar of our own North Georgia Chunk Honey.  Slade was given the opportunity to address the Senators, so he promoted and asked for support on behalf of all local bee clubs and The Georgia Beekeepers Association.  

Slade and Kristie Jarrett are pictured with Senator John Wilkinson and Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle.

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In an effort to support the pollinator, Bayer is offering a prize to people who are working in this arena.  Nominate and support someone from Georgia for this prize.  The information can be found here.
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Dear Aunt Bee,

I got a call about a swarm from my neighbor who knows I'm a beekeeper.  I went over there with a hive box and the swarm was about 10 feet up.  My neighbor lent me a ladder and I climbed up with the hive box.  I tried to balance the hive box in one hand and held the branch with the other.  I tried to shake the bees into the hive box but they went everywhere - some fell into the box but thousands fell on the ground in the grass.  I don't know if I got the queen.  I took the box home and the car was filled with bees.  I need help! I want to do it better if I get another call.

Buzzed and Confused

Dear Buzzed and Confused,

I learned how to get a swarm from Cindy Bee, a well-known Georgia beekeeper who now lives in Maine.  She advised me to make a swarm kit and this is what goes in it:
1.  A spray bottle with sugar syrup
2.  A white bed sheet
3.  A bee brush
4.  A pair of clippers for plants/shrubs
5.  Something to carry the bees in - I use a banker's box made of cardboard and cover the top with a ventilated hive cover.  Sometimes I use a plastic banker's box, but also a ventilated hive cover so the bees don't die in the box from heat and lack of ventilation.  And a way to close the box - like a bungee
6.  Some old comb (put this in the container for bees)
7.  A 1/2 gallon plastic milk jug with the bottom cut off.
8.  A cell phone and a camera (if your phone isn't one)
9.  A ladder, if you are comfortable climbing one

When you arrive at the swarm site, you spread the sheet under the swarm so the bees that miss the box can be easily seen and gathered up.  You spray the swarm with the sugar syrup.  You shake the swarm into your carrier.  The bee brush helps here as well.  You can use the cut off milk carton to scoop up any large piles of bees.  

If you've gotten the queen, you'll see the bees at the box entry, sending a nasonov signal (the queen is here!) by putting their butts up in the air and fanning.  Leave the bees alone until most of them are in the container.  I usually partially cover the container while they move in with the queen.  Then strap on the ventilated hive cover and head for the car.  

You'll have some loose bees in the car, but while the car is moving, they will stay on the rear window.  

Good luck with the next swarm,

Your Aunt Bee 
(contributed by Linda Tillman with information from Cindy Bee)  

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Recipe of the month:  

Bee Tea


Equal parts sugar and water (1:1)
4 cups chamomile tea steeped 5 min.
1/2 tsp sea salt
several sprigs of thyme
one good squirt of lemon juice (prevents crystals)

Mix all together and serve the bees


This recipe was published by Ross Conrad in Bee Culture from a recipe used by Rudolf Steiner in 1923 and modified to prevent crystallization by Linda Tillman
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Tardy?  Missed the registration for Young Harris?  Wanted to take the Certified Test and now you think you can't?  

Don't worry, bee happy!

The Certified test is the first level of the Georgia Master Beekeeper program.  To take it, you need to have opened a hive, have some familiarity with the world of bees, and be able to light a smoker.  The text for the test is Delaplane's First Lessons in Beekeeping.

You can take the test without going to Young Harris.  Two Georgia bee clubs have been designated by Keith Delaplane to offer the test through their club.

Both clubs are offering the test on May 3, Saturday.

Forsyth County Beekeepers Association is offering the Georgia Master Beekeeper Certified testing on May 3, 2014.  For more information call anyone interested may call Sue Conlyn, at 770-888-9652, or 770-316-8300, or 770-713-1807,  or Hoyte Rogers  @ 770-479-1731


Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association is offering the Georgia Master
Beekeeper "Certified" Testing May 3rd, 2014
For more information and to register go to:
http://www.metroatlantabeekeepers.org/certification.php

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Safety in the Apiary!


by Mary Cahill-Roberts, VP GBA

This is my 7th season as a beekeeper.  I have learned a lot.  I have gone through the Master Beekeeper course at Young Harris.  I have worked at the local and state level to try to make things better and educate beekeepers.  

About 4 months ago I was talking to a man in our club who had not used a veil, and had an eye injury.  I was amazed, but those little girls do move fast and if you turn your head just right, wham.  I have heard about the guy on the ladder who fell off trying to catch the swarm.  He will not be lifting boxes.  I have heard about the wax burn, where he needed to get a skin graft , but I have not ever heard about the fire.

On a Sunday I had a new high school student coming over to learn about the bees.  I was really excited, because he wants to get some for his house and he is a potentially new recruit. I am talking all about the fun time that we have and all the cool things bees do.  When the temperature was perfect, it was time to start working the bees.

I brought him over to start the smoker.  I had a smaller one that I rarely use, but was going to light at this time.  The first round was not successful,  nor the second, but on the third…Alas.  I set the yard on fire.  A pine needle fell out when I was puffing and lit the grass, which I could not get out and then the pine straw and then bam.  

The fire started at about 1:28 pm.  We called 911 at 1:31pm.  They arrived at 1:42pm.   The whole back yard was gone and several of my hives.  My hives are on the western side of the yard where the propane tank is…so I got to choose.  I did.  



We are all ok.  My house is still standing.  I have 6 hives in the yard.  

Since then, I have heard 3 other stories about beekeepers and fire and fire trucks.  More importantly I have a new safety talk. 

Good luck, happy inspections and keep your fire extinguisher close!


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GMO and our Ladies
        by Bob Grant
I recently re-read the December 2012 edition of the American Beekeeper.  An article by Randy Oliver on "Sick Bees Part 181, Colony Collapse Revisited- Genetically Modified Plants" caught my eye, so I read it.  Generally, I do not read research articles on a regular basis, but Randy's articles on sick bees are particularly noteworthy.  This was a seminal moment for me, even though I prefer articles on practical application which immediately impact my beekeeping. 

Yes, I can be accused of spreading the biodegradable stuff when it comes to Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) given my close involvement with organic farmers in our local organic farmer's market.  And perhaps I have a somewhat over-exaggerated view of the issues surrounding GMO. 

Randy discusses GMOs and the potential impact and benefits to our ladies while going out of his way to present a balanced assessment of Monsanto's efforts in this area of research.  While I am not going to rehash this article in detail, I would like to hear others beekeepers' opinions on GMO plants. There is a lot of discussion about GMO -- both true and false -- and we, as beekeepers, may need to replace some "old wives' tales" with accurate information.   I also wonder if we are vilifying companies such as Monsanto when we should be encouraging their research.

From my experience with apiaries in the North Georgia Mountains, GMO seeds are less important here since farming is quite different from what you will find in Georgia's Piedmont and coastal plain regions.  In other words, we do not have extensive farming that would bring our bees into more frequent contact with GMO plants.   In fact, almost three quarters of the land in Rabun County is designated National or State Forest.  My focus here is on the possibility that GMO could target and eliminate a number of the stress vectors affecting the bees.

Specifically, I like to hear your opinion on the following GMO related topics:
  • The potential impact of GMO plantings on bee mortality and honey production per hive.
  • A greater understanding of other beekeepers' concerns with GMO plantings. 
  • The direct application of GMO to our ladies to combat or eliminate Nosema ceranae, Varroa Mites and other stress vectors.
  • We might even ask, "Where should bee GMO research be focused?"
Why is this topic so important? From my humble perspective, we as beekeepers should not be wasting our limited resources shouting at the wind and potentially focusing legislation and research on the wrong areas.  We may be more effective by focusing our support on researchers, politicians and yes big businesses, such as Monsanto, especially on those areas that can help us reduce bee mortality rates and improving life in the apiaries.

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Editor's notes:  The complete article to which Bob refers can be found here:  
Please share your thoughts with a letter to the editors:  gbanewsletters@gmail.com   
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Bee Club of the Month
Mountain Beekeepers’ Association
by Glen Henderson

       As mountain folk are wont to do, we are loosely organized.  Our guiding principal is  getting together and having a fun time doing it.  Formed in the spring of 2002 to provide a forum for information exchange relative to beekeeping, the Mountain Beekeepers are dedicated to keeping our members up to date on the ever changing “best practices” for keeping their bees alive.  We are not always successful but we are informed.  

       Our meetings are informal seminars on what is working for each beekeeper.  We nurture each other along, discussing the rhythm of nature and how it is guiding the activities of the beehive.  The bees are always responding to the situations in nature and we need to be knowledgeable and ahead of the honeybees in order to call ourselves “good beekeepers.”

       Located in Young Harris, we are one of the most remote clubs associated with the Georgia Beekeepers Association.  It is difficult for the membership to stay closely involved in the exchange of information and comradery of the state honey business.  So we have developed a process of ambassadorship where-by we have delegates to almost any bee activity statewide.  They bring back the information and disseminate it to the members.  

       With about 30 members covering 7 counties in Northeast Georgia and Western North Carolina we can impact quite a large community.  We actively support our community through educational outreach, presenting seminars on “why keep honeybees,” “how to keep honeybees,” “the problems with honeybees,” “honeybees as pollinators,” and other related subjects.  The recipients of the seminars range from the Master Gardeners, Jr. Garden Clubs, the high school agriculture classes and the public at large.

       During the Mountain Fair (July) in Hiawassee GA, we have a static display of beekeeper equipment.  This is in the middle of sourwood season so it has to be stand alone and unmanned.  It is an excellent way for people to see up close what equipment is involved in beekeeping.

       Our grandest adventure is a live hive demonstration at the Fall Festival (Oct) in Hiawassee, GA, where over 7,000 people pass through our presentation area viewing the inside of a live bee hive (the hive is inside a screened room). We try to answer all their questions for ten consecutive days.  It is a huge hit.

       To support the state beekeepers in general we are the purveyors of the beehives at the UGA/Young Harris bee institute.  Since we are nearby it is a good service project.  As a service to our club members, to keep the cost of replacement bees to a minimum. we do a joint package purchase with the Appalachian Beekeepers in Murphy,  N.C. in the spring.

The club has purchased equipment that is that is shared by all members when they need it.  This cuts down on personal costs for infrequently used items.

The club is working on a “locally grown” queen program, in a attempt to develop a honeybee more specific to the altitude and climate of NE Georgia.  Several of our beekeepers take a very scientific approach to beekeeping, adapting scientific techniques to our region.

We meet at the United Community Bank in Blairsville GA, the first Tuesday of the month at 7 PM.  Our president, Glen Henderson, 706 745 1840, abletinker@windstream.net, is the main point of contact and information processor.

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It's time to start thinking about the GBA Fall Meeting and Honey Show in Millegeville, GA in September

HOTELS FOR SEPTEMBER 18-20 MEETING
  A block of rooms has been reserved at the Hampton and Comfort Suites.  Rooms are guaranteed   30 days prior to the meeting.  Reservations made after August 18 will be based on availability.  All GBA sponsored activities will be held at Central GA Technical College.  
Hampton Inn 
2461 N. Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
478-451-0050  
$89 + tax /night includes breakfast

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Other area hotels:

Fairfield Inn
2631- A N. Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
855-297-1428

Days Inn
2551 N Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
478-453-8471

Comfort Suites
2621 North Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
478-453-2212
$80.10 + tax /night includes breakfast
Can add additional nights
______________________________________

Super 8
2474 N Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
478-453-9491

Holiday Inn Express
1839 N Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061
877-859-5095

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Nominate a GBA Beekeeper for 2014 Beekeeper of the Year

Every year GBA awards Beekeeper of the Year to an outstanding beekeeper in our state.  It’s now time to send in your nominations for this award.  The nomination deadline is June 30, 2014.

Do you know of someone who exhibits qualities that inspire others in beekeeping?  Have they been supportive of our Georgia Beekeepers Association as well as the beekeeping industry?  Honor them by nominating them for this award.

We are looking for a GBA member who:
  • Exemplifies good beekeeping practices
  • Demonstrates leadership
  • Promotes Georgia’s beekeeping industry
  • Creatively solves problems of industry wide concern
  • Actively participates in local, regional, or national beekeeping organizations

Beekeeper of the Year for 2014 will be awarded at our fall GBA meeting to be held on September 19-20, 2014, at the Central Georgia Technical College in Milledgeville, Georgia.  

Please send your nominee’s name, address, and reasons they should earn this honor to: 
Bruce Morgan at:  rbmorgan@hughes.net 
Remember the deadline for nominations is June 30, 2014.

Thank you,
Bruce Morgan
GBA 2013 Beekeeper of the Year
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Your Swarm Photos Here  
We all love to see swarms in action.  Please send us your swarm photos to use next month.

Send photo as a photo attachment to an email to gbanewsletters@gmail.com.  Please let us know who took the photo, where and when

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Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

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Thoughts about Entering Honey Shows
by Mary Cahill-Roberts
For the past 2 years I have supported the Welsh Fest Honey show in Rockmart, GA.  Rockmart is in northwest Georgia, about 50 minutes past my house in Mableton.  

I first learned about the honey show last year when Jay Parsons, Welsh Honey Judge and Master Beekeeper, put an article in the newsletter about it.  Welsh Fest is the only Welsh-centered festival in Georgia.

Jay started as the Welsh Honey Judge to support the festival and really display the work of beekeepers and their honey.  Jay gives a lot of time to this festival, as Rockmart is probably close to a 2 hours drive for him.  He probably sells some honey there, and I know he is educating people about honey bees and beekeeping. 

Any time there is a honey show, beekeepers are center stage.  Last year I was the only participant in the Welsh Fest honey show. This year there were 3, a 200% increase.  I hope next year there will be 6 or more people who decide to make the effort.  

Slate was what brought the Welsh to Rockmart to quarry the material.  A large group of Welsh settlers made Rockmart a boom town.  As a result, every year the prize is a really cool Welsh slate medal from Rockmart.  



I entered the show for 2 reasons.  One is to learn how to make my honey more presentable.  The second is to support the judge.  As a honey judge myself, I understand that we need to have product to judge.  I want the judge(s) to have the opportunity to evaluate different products.  I wish that you would think of entering the honey show and help support the judges. 
  


















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Ask Ten Beekeepers a Question:

What Signs Should You Look For in your Colonies to Prevent Swarming?

Virginia Webb:  
Overcrowding in the brood nest is one of the main reasons for swarming.  Rapid buildup of brood by the queen will expand faster than the bees may believe they have room for.  Within a few days you can have multiple queen cells produced, as the hive prepares to swarm. 

Jay Parsons: 
I look for a strong buildup - lots of brood with swarm cells along with drones being very prominent before the queen cells are finished. Sometimes it doesn't matter if you cut the cells and give them more space, they just build more swarms cells and get better at hiding them.  ;-)

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Hive 
management software is everywhere:


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There are some great TED Talks on honey bees and bee survival.
John Miller:  No Bees, No Food
Marla Spivak:  Why Bees are Disappearing
Dennis vanEnglesdorp:  A Plea for Bees
(thanks, Steve Page)

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Click here to learn about honey production in 2013 compared to other years.
(Thanks, Bear)
Click here to learn about grocery store honey vs. our own local production.
(Thanks, Evelyn)

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Statcounter:

As of April 3, 2014, 

**5,619**

people have visited our newsletter online at www.spillingthehoney.blogspot.com
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STREET CRED 
Jennifer Berry, the lab manager at the UGA Bee Lab, has called and asked for help from The Georgia Beekeepers Association.  UGA is in need of feral colonies, ones that have overwintered without support from humans-not fed or treated for anything.  The lab will need the entire colony for research and will return them in the fall.  However, if you want bees for honey production, the lab will exchange your colonies with an equal strength colony now.  For more information or to donate feral bees, please contact Jennifer at Jbee@uga.edu.
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My work as the Swarm Call Lady     
by Gina Gallucci

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association promotes and advertises for bee swarms and has years of experience taking calls from the general public regarding honey bee swarms. We also get calls about other bees, and get a chance to help with understanding the different bees.    

As the Swarm Lady I have taken calls from all over Metro Atlanta and outside the area.  I get the basic information: i.e., the swarm's exact location, in a structure or outside, height off the ground, when it was first recognized, how big it is, etc.   I thank the caller on behalf of all beekeepers for their contribution to honey bee health. 

Then I call one of our dedicated swarm recovery beekeepers to confirm a pickup  I believe person to person contact is always better that just filling out a form.  It can be much faster too.  The last few days have been especially busy, with lots of calls and questions; it's all very exciting and fast paced.   I have been taking and making calls very early and very late.  

Being the Swarm Call Lady also has been especially rewarding because I have been able to do a great deal of outreach and talk bees with people who don't understand the urgency involved or may know almost nothing about what they are seeing.  There is more and more goodwill building for the bees each year.  I can feel it! 


Let's all do all we can to make sure our swarm retrieval programs are well known and easily accessible in our communities.  The real story here is while free bees are great, swarm calls are really a massive, annual opportunity for education and outreach.
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Upcoming Events:  (Send your club events in for this section!)
April 19:  Forsyth County Beekeeper’s second day of beekeeping school.  For non members, it’s 20.00, free for club members.  It’s a hands on, open hive class, and participants should bring at least a veil.  They can call me, at 770-888-9652770-316-8300770-713-1807… or Hoyte Rogers  @ 770-479-1731

May 17:  Forsyth County Beekeeper’s queen rearing class at the Sawnee Mt. Preserve.  Interested?  Call Sue Conlyn at 770-888-9652770-316-8300, or 770-713-1807, or Hoyte Rogers  @ 770-479-1731

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The Final Buzz:  
We are all busy busy like the bees at this time of year.  Let’s not forget to share with everyone your thoughts about keeping care of the bees, photos from your apiary or swarms, comments or Aunt Bee questions for us to publish.    Also, if you a leader in your club we welcome all your announcements info about special functions happening at your organization, i.e. Short Courses, honey contests etc.  These look great with with photos.  

Gina and Linda  

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Newsletter

Editors:  Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman




















So many generous beekeepers sent us photos of their hives in the snow.  Many thanks to Steve Altom, Julie Civitts, Greg Cowling, Christine Fahrnbauer, Rodney Garner, and John Wingfield.

The President's Message

Here we are really about to move into spring, and hopefully all this ice and snow will go back up north.  Our spring meeting in Columbus was a tremendous success. I have received so many great comments and appreciate hearing from all of you. There were some areas for improvement, and you can bet we are going to give it our best effort. Remember that all of the GBA staff are volunteers and want to do a good job. 

I sincerely want to thank the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association led by Paul Berry for setting the bar very high on how to be a host club. They were organized, motivated and very helpful. Thanks Paul; ya’ll can take a deep breath now and get back to your daily activities. To everyone else who worked behind the scenes and the podium, the speakers, cooks, and facility personnel: thanks to you as well.  And finally, a big thank you to Mary Cahill-Roberts for stepping up when I couldn’t be there. I’m glad we can count on you.  

Our fall meeting will be held in Milledgeville on 19 and 20 September 2014. Please plan to attend as we are planning more great speakers, vendors and activities for you. For those of you who attended the President’s Council breakout session at the spring meeting, we are planning to continue that and hopefully have more club Presidents participate. It is our way to share issues with each other and support you and the work you are doing at the ground floor of this organization. 

If you will look at the new calendar we have posted on the web site under the Events section, you will see all the classes and activities being conducted throughout the state. I can’t believe how many public courses on beekeeping are being presented. If all those folks become beekeepers, there won’t be many flowers untouched by our sweet little girls. It is also heart-warming that there are that many local volunteers willing to step up and share their knowledge and experience.   If your club’s events and meetings are not listed and you want them to be, contact the webmaster or the newsletter editors and they will be happy to post your club’s activities there.

Young Harris Beekeeping Institute is just around the corner.  Registration opens on the 5th of March. Go on line and get your seat while you can.  They do limit the number of attendees. The program this year begins on 15 May, 2014.  Clubs, if you are wondering how to thank your hardest workers, consider paying the tuition for someone at Young Harris Beekeeping Institute. 

Now, let’s get on with the business of getting our bees ready for the busy season ahead of us. 

Bear Kelley
President Georgia Beekeepers Assn. 

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Club of the Month
Chattahoochee Beekeepers Association

Paul Berry, president of the Chattahoochee Beekeepers Association, said he felt honored when he was asked about hosting the 2014 Spring membership meeting of the Georgia Beekeepers Association.

“When Mary (Cahill-Roberts, vice-president of the GBA) asked about our club hosting the meeting I was proud that we were being considered.  Then it hit me, I was going to be the meeting chairman,” he said. “One of our biggest challenges was finding the proper venue,” he said. 

Working closely with GBA president Clay “Bear” Kelley, the Oxbow Environmental Learning Center, just outside Fort Benning and next to the National Infantry Museum, was chosen as the ideal location. A Marriott Hotel was just across the street and the Oxbow learning center had space for large meetings, break out rooms, vendors, a lunch area, as well as the necessary audio-visual support.

“Once we picked the site we had to resolve the nitty-gritty issues.  These included the budget, the number of people to expect, the number of lunches to order.  Fortunately I had a crew of dedicated volunteers who helped make sure we were able to pull it off without a hitch.

Paul praised his wife, Delores for getting all the snacks and drinks, and for her logistical genius.  “I couldn’t have done it without her.” He also singled out Katie Roberts for her website work and Kerry Britt for hand making custom bookmarkers for everyone who came.  Dan Barbaree donated the ice and some drinks for the reception.  Jim Ellis was there for anything Paul needed while also serving as a “tour guide” to the Observation Hive.  Lots of our local members volunteered to stand by to jump in and help wherever needed. 

Paul said he’s proud of the CVBA which has shown a significant increase in membership over the past couple of years.  “We’re right around a 115 members and still growing.” He attributes the increase to an uptick in the number of people interested in raising bees and the chapter’s ability to cater to them.  “We now have two short courses a year, one in the fall and one in the spring.  We arrange for the new beekeepers to get bees, either in nucs or packages, and we’ve gone from meeting bi-monthly to monthly.”
“We’ll alternate between formal presentations from expert beekeepers to informal discussions aimed at the new beekeepers.  These meetings give them an opportunity to ask the veterans questions.  Of course I always remind them that if you ask 10 beekeepers a question, you’ll get 11 answers,” he laughs.

Two members remain from the association’s beginnings in 1971.  Duane Johnson, club secretary, remembers meeting in the basement offices of the Muscogee County Courthouse with the assistance of Dick Collier, Extension Agent of the UGA Cooperative Extension Service who he credits with being the driving force behind the club’s formation.  There were about a dozen members then.

Another of the original members was Betty Beegle.  She said she became interested when her father tried to get a neighbor to put some hives on his property to pollinate his crops.  The neighbor turned them down, so they got their own bees and began looking around for others who were interested in bees so they could learn more about them.

“That’s what our club is all about,” Paul adds, “bringing information about bees to the public.  That’s why we value our association with Columbus State University and its Oxbow Meadows Learning Center.  We work hard to provide those programs typical of bee clubs like school and garden club presentations, but Oxbow is our best exposure.”

CVBA president, Paul Berry, narrates as club members demonstrate honey extraction during the Fall Festival.

“In the fall, we do extracting demonstrations and the honey goes to the Center to sell. Last fall at a Fall Festival which included a honey extraction demonstration, we had 1,200 people come through the Center. We do hand dipped candle making demonstrations and the candles we make go to the center to sell.  All of our efforts at Oxbow give us a feeling of ownership which we prize.”
He said the club is now planning for its spring short course, Mar. 22.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sustainability

by Steven Page

We must become sustainable beekeepers.  Many experts tell us we need to be sustainable and they have told us how to be sustainable.

Why do we all rely on the nuc, package and queen producers each spring to replace our dead, weak or queenless hives?  We know last minute orders of queens, packages and nucs are not available. 
Dr. Jamie Ellis in Florida and Mike Palmer in Vermont both encourage us to make splits and keep nucs in our bee yards.  We can become sustainable by simply overwintering nucs.  For every two hives keep at least one nuc.

Nucs enable sustainability.  If an inspection reveals a queenless hive, a nuc can be combined and the problem is solved.  A weak hive can be helped by moving a frame or two of capped brood from a nuc to the hive.  A dead hive can be fixed by moving a nuc into the hive.  Nucs enable us to fix many problems we encounter early in the year.  

Splits can be made anytime from spring to fall.  I prefer summer splits just after the nectar flow when there are many workers in the colony.  First year beekeepers should split their brand new hive and overwinter a nuc the first winter. 

If a beekeeper overwinters four hives and four nucs and fifty per cent of the colonies die leaving two hives and two nucs the beekeeper simply moves the two nucs into the two dead hives increasing the hive count to four again. Later the four hives can be split creating four nucs.  

Extra nucs can be sold or you can add supers to the nucs and make honey with a nuc in spring.



















Steve Page with his homemade swarm trap at GBA meeting (photo by Linda Tillman)

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Two excellent videos on 
sustainable apiaries by Michael Palmer (thanks, Steve Page) :
The Sustainable Apiary by Mike Palmer

Queen Rearing in the Sustainable Apiary

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
A Cautionary Note from Bear

I was recently contacted by a beekeeper in Tonga (South Pacific) requesting an expert beekeeper to come to assist him with his bees. He stated that he would pay for airfare and help with lodging on the island if someone would come down and help him with his bees for 8 weeks. It sounded too good to be true, so I checked it out and found that he was implicated in a money laundering complaint with the Tongan police and we were warned by the Wellington (NZ) Beekeepers Association to be extremely wary of any dealings with this guy. If anyone gets an email from him, please beware. I have a lot more details if anyone is interested.  This fish really stinks!  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  Street Cred:

Zombie Bees! thanks, Diane Holland
Monsanto Fights Bee Disappearance
Thanks, 
Jay Parsons

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Spring….Ha!                                      by Mary Cahill-Roberts, VP GBA

I am from right outside of Atlanta, in little town called Mableton, and I tell you it is not spring here.  We went to Columbus for the Spring (Winter) GBA 1 day event and found a ton of welcoming people, and a club that really set the bar for any other club that might want to “Host the GBA” events. 
It all started with the Friday night reception.  The members requested that we have a time when we could stand around to talk bees, politics and the upcoming year’s beehive preparations.  Paul Berry, President of the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers club and his team set the mood with cheese and fruit, as well as a “donation” cash bar for wine and beer.  It was a fun icebreaker and everyone really enjoyed each other’s company.

We held our meeting at the Oxbow Learning Center, and our host had a welcome tent outside the entrance with various pamphlets and information about their club and the Columbus area.  Inside Delores Berry lead the refreshment area assuring that we didn't run out of food or drinks.  The building manager made sure the rooms, AV equipment, and chairs were ready.  Our volunteers were coordinating with the speakers and doing liaison duties to make sure all ran smoothly. 

The speakers were great and I learned something even if I wasn't able to stay for the entire presentation.  Dr. Jamie Ellis spoke about the latest and greatest bee knowledge, and talked about “why are we beekeepers?”  Dr. Delaplane spoke about polyandry in beehives and the need for diversity.  A great many good questions came out of that talk. Ray Civitts gave us good ideas about seasonal beekeeping.  Buster Lane gave a great talk on the need for nutrition throughout the season, and Keith Fielder hopefully encouraged a good many people to enter honey shows.  Chuck Hester gave a talk about queens and how to, while Keith Fletcher, one of the first class of Master Alabama beekeepers to graduate last year, discussed using nucs in his apiary.

The lunch was catered by Burt’s Butcher shop, and provided not only delicious barbeque but also a time to chat with other beekeepers sitting at the long tables.

There were quite a few vendors available on site. Rossman apiaries showed up with some new faces and Walter T. Kelley was set up as well.  Sean McBride from Florida came and had natural, untreated, nucs built for us, while Steve Page sold swarm traps.  Chuck Hester had his Queen school sign up and Busters Bees were present to sell honey and share information about nucs for this spring, expanding the waiting list all day.     

We are growing and added a couple of new items to help us:  an improved  evaluation/survey and  forums.  The response from this evaluation worked very well.  Our incentive for those who filled out the evaluation was that they were entered into a drawing for a Queen. 

We held two forums:  a Presidents Council, where presidents of the local clubs got together, talked for about 45 minutes, to find ways we could help each other in our local clubs and the GBA.   And we held a Newsletter Editor forum.  I think this is one of the most challenging jobs for a club that there is.  This job is relentless.  You have to find new pictures, new articles, get people to write and submit things.  It is a thankless job also.  I would like to thank Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman for being dedicated and writing the GBA newsletter.  The Newsletter is really important to our club members.     
We are working diligently at improving GBA with each board and general meeting.  Hopefully, we will be able to offer kids and non-beekeeping partner tracks at the next meeting. 

Overall there were many compliments and some complaints, but we wouldn’t be human or beekeepers if we did not have those.  The GBA officers and directors are excited and hope to be able to offer more information in the fall.  We are holding the next meeting in Milledgeville.  The host club is the new Lake Country Beekeepers.  This is their first year as a club, and they wanted to tackle putting on the GBA meeting.  Kudos.

I would like to thank Rose Anne Fielder, Treasurer for keeping the budget; Andy Bailey who is Secretary and helping to record the meetings;  Arthur "Brutz" English, Director, who always comes up good ideas and to Steve Cobb and Steve Prince, Directors who were ready to lend a hand.  I would like to thank Bear Kelley, GBA President for providing us with direction and strong leadership to move the GBA forward, so that we are a meaningful association and so that we can help meet the needs of all of our Georgia beekeepers.

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Honey Baked Chicken
 contributed by Julie Civitts
  • Arrange in a shallow baking dish, one 3 pound fryer cut up or use deboned cubed chicken breast. 
  • Combine and pour over the chicken: 1/3 cup butter or margarine, 1/3 cup honey, 2 Tblsp. prepared mustard, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. curry powder.
  • Bake for 1 to 1 ½ hours at 350°. Serve over Jasmine rice.
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Click here to see the slideshow of the photos at the GBA Spring Meeting in Columbus.


All photos by Gina Gallucci and Linda Tillman

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European Bee Tours

Mary Blohm is going on this bee tour in Slovenia this year and had an exhibit at the GBA meeting.

Julia Mahood, Noah Macey, and Linda Tillman went on this beekeeping tour of Lithuania in 2013.

If you know or a beekeeping tour in the United States or elsewhere, let us know.  It's fun to travel with your interest in bees as the focal point.

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All I need to Know About Life   
I Learned from a Honeybee

                                
                               Grooming is important.
                           Home is where your family is.
                         A good buzz is, at times, helpful.
                       There's no such thing as a weed.
                     Don't flap your wings unnecessarily.
                   Drones are important, so is NOT droning.
                 God gave you lots of eyes; use all of them.
               Cleansing flights: good for the body and the soul.
             Take care of the one in charge, but have a back-up cell.
           Stop and smell the roses.  And the daisies, and the marigolds, and… 
            When you figure out your role, do it to the best of your ability.
             Working together yields awesome results.
               Horizontal stripes can make you look fat.
                 Only sting if absolutely necessary.
                   Make a beeline to your work.
                     A plant-based diet is smart.
                       Bee all that you can bee.
                          Dance.

copyright, Walter T. Kelley Com.

                              kelleybees.com


Jamie Ellis shared his great sense of humor in his third talk at GBA.  He showed us this list that he got from Walter T. Kelley's newsletter in July 2012 and may have been in the Kelley newsletter even earlier than this reprint.  For those of you who weren't there, here's the list (and it's available as a car magnet from Kelley):
                            
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~                       

Beekeeper Bytes

Rozalyn Todd, first female African American Certified Welsh Honey Judge in Georgia, has been chosen as a judge for the Mead Mixer of the Mazer Cup International Festival on Honey Wines of the World in Boulder, Colorado, in March, 2015.

Dr. Keith Delaplane received royal recognition.  Bill Owens sent us this link which will be available for access for some time.  Congratulations to Dr. Delaplane and thanks to all who wanted to make sure this was noted in the newsletter.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ask Ten Beekeepers a Question……
(and you'll get at least 11 different answers)

Out on the Technology Edge - A Cost Effective Treatment For Varroa Mites
by Bob Grant
This fall I decided to make some changes to the Varroa Destructor management in my ladies' abodes since I don't want them exposed to any other unnecessary health hazards.  As a responsible and forward thinking keeper of bees, I have always treated my bees with Apiguard twice a year.  I do not like subjecting my ladies to harsh man-made chemicals -- so one treatment in March and then a second treatment in the September-October time frame. Remember each treatment requires a second application two weeks after the first treatment.  My bees are located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, not that far from the Appalachian Trail. 
My reason for changing the ladies health regiment is based on following four factors:
  • First, in nature, most creatures, including mites, learn to adapt to stimulus in their environment;
  • Second, recent reports from another respected beekeeper reported that after applying Apiguard this fall, a number of his hives exhibited a higher than normal brood death;
  • Third, with average annual winter losses in the mid-twenties, its becoming more difficult to sustain a viable financial model; and
  • Fourth,  Apiguard individual treatments per hive can range from $ 3.15 to $6.59.  Moreover, it gets worse...I haven't even included shipping or my time yet!   I love my ladies, but really!

  • I read a number of articles in the American Bee Journal (ABJ)[1] leading me to do some additional research online. So based on these, I decided to try the Oxalic Acid treatment.   As I mentioned earlier, I don't want to expose my ladies to harsh man-made chemicals, especially since we maintain a Certified Naturally Grown rating.  Oxalic Acid is a naturally occurring acid in plants and will not harm the bees, queen or brood if properly applied.
  • There are two types of applications currently in use.  First, is the dribble method using a three percent solution in a normally 1:1 sugar solution.  The main advantages are that it's quick to prepare and apply by simply mixing the solution and dribbling 
    • it between the frames in the hive. The disadvantage, if the solution is too concentrated, is that the ladies can be harmed.  For that reason alone, I chose not to use that method.   
    • The second method is to vaporize a small quantity, typically 1 gram, of Oxalic Acid inside the hive. Exhibit 1 shows the Oxalic Acid used in this application. The main advantage is that the vapor quickly distributes itself throughout the hive getting into all exposed areas.  The disadvantage: it takes longer to apply and I have to be careful not to inhale the vapor or get it into the eyes.   I buy my Oxalic Acid, "Wood Beach[2]", from Ace Hardware at a cost of $ 9.31, tax included. Which choice works out to be less than three cents per hive treatment?  That's a 105 to 219 times reduction in cost over Apiguard.









    Exhibit 1-Off the Shelf Oxalic Acid
    Working with the Oxalic Acid Vaporizer JB200 Electric[3] tool, Exhibit 2, in fact two JB200s tied together.  Exhibit 3 shows that the JB200s are wired with a number 16 lamp cord and then joined together with number 14 outdoor wire that terminates in a trailer hitch connector.  Each lamp cord has its own switch.

Exhibit 2

Exhibit 3-JB200s Wiring
Prior to applying the treatment, I waited until there was no more capped brood to ensure the maximum effectiveness of a single treatment, hence the late November period. The procedure is a follows:
  1. 1. Load one scoop of Oxalic Acid into JB200's delivery tray;
  2. 2. Insert a mite count board, "sticky board" or Styrofoam sheet if you have an IPM hive with screen bottom board
  3. 3. Insert the JB200 into the hive through the normal entrance at the bottom board and close off the opening with towels;
  4. 4. Turn on the power for just over one minute.   I found that 70 seconds works best for the 40 degree temperature I was working in.;
  5. 5. Then let the JB200 set for three more minutes to ensure all the vapor is released into the hive and the  - elapsed time 4 minutes 10 seconds;
  6. 6. Remove the JB200 and reclose the entrance for another 7 minutes - elapsed time 11 minutes 10 seconds;
  7. 7. Allow the JB200 to cool down. 
  8. 8. Reload as necessary and repeat the process until all the bordellos have been treated.
In my case, the F150 pick-up requires the engine to be running for the power to flow to the trailer hitch.  This actually adds a safety element into the process for the operator.  I set a stopwatch in the cab, climbed in to turn on the two JB200s and ran them for 70 seconds.  I then turned off the engine and waited three minutes to allow the vaporization to complete -- good time to make notes.  This process kept me away from the vapors, since I do not have a personal problem with mites and do not need to be treated. 

I was able to complete the next set of treatments before removing the towels from the entrances to the previously treated hives.  This allowed me to leap frog through the apiaries and reduce my overall time.  In total, I was able to complete 12 hives in about 40 minutes.

One note of caution:   in about 30 percent of the hives, the JB200 killed one to four bees due to contact with the hot metal.  I believe in those cases there are two possible reasons for that occurrence:
  • The JB200 got positioned right under the cluster; or
  • The bees were more aggressive, and attacked the foreign object, which I saw in two of my hives.
As I said in the beginning, I do not like to hurt my ladies, but if the mite boards show good results I will continue with this practice. 





On December first, I checked the mite count boards, Wow - while most exhibited 20 to 60 female mites killed, one had over 592 female mites.  The males were harder to see, but on close examination, the numbers appear high.  As a bonus, the treatment killed the majority of hive beetles as well! An interesting side note is that you can see where the bees are clustering by the concentration of mites, which apparently follow the cluster between frames.
At this last hive inspection and feeding which occurred the weekend of Thanksgiving, just before I got my new store bought knee, showed that the bees were healthy and very active post this treatment.  My current plan is to alternate the Oxalic Acid Vapor and Apiguard treatments, with Apiguard in the early spring before the Queen starts laying (March timeframe - but before the Red Maple blooms, remember we are in the mountains) to keep the mites off balance.

[1] The latest article appears in the December 2013 ABJ issue.
[2] There are two types of Wood Bleach, make sure you get the Oxalic Acid one.
[3] JB200 is a product of Heilyser technology LTD., in British Columbia, Canada, Phone number 1-250-656-8727- in the USA contact: Bedillion Honey Farm 724-747-4645
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  • The 2014 USDA/AMS Specialty Crop Block Grant has been announced, and information is available on our department’s website at http://agr.georgia.gov/grants.aspx.
  •  Project Proposals are due in my office via email by Friday, April 18, 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
  • 404-657-1584
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"Because they don’t have a 
            critical mass, nucs can go 
           from “doing fine” to 
    “overcrowded and swarming” or "robbed out and starving” in a 
very short period of time.  Keep a close eye on them."   
                         from
     The Complete Idiots’s Guide to      Beekeeping by Dean 
              Stiglitz and Laurie       Herboldsheimer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Slovenia “The Land of Good Beekeepers”
by Mary Blohm

My husband and I recently visited Slovenia, a small European country which borders Italy. (For you history buffs, it was part of old Yugoslavia.)   

On the first day, we rented a car, picked up our tourist map and set out on our adventure.  Upon opening the road map we noticed it had little honey bees printed all over the country’s highways.    Much to our delight,  we had landed in “The Land of Good Beekeepers,”  as the Slovenians fondly refer to themselves.  In Slovenia, one in every 250 citizens  is a beekeeper.  

Their beekeeping history runs as deep and rich as their dark forest honey. Slovenian Beekeepers have accomplished a lot in beekeeping.  They have 45 monitoring stations throughout the country, a program which has recorded pertinent data daily since 1901.   They have developed an exceptional Carniolan Gray  queen rearing program, priding themselves in their genetic monitoring program.  Beekeepers, universities and government appear to be collaborating, working together to promote a healthy environment for their precious honey bees. 

At the Georgia Beekeepers Meeting in Feb. we demonstrated the Slovenian “AZ “hive which was developed by one of the most famous Slovenian beekeepers:  Anton Žnideršič (1874-1947). We are hard at work translating it into a functional hive for the USA.  Stay tuned for future notification on our progress.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
















Bee-themed stained glass by Dwight West (also the photographer)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Dear Aunt Bee,

My first bee hive has made it through the winter! Last weekend when it was warm I opened them up and saw lots of brood, and saw the queen. I also saw lots of bees with pollen in their baskets. There are several frames of capped honey left, and it looks like there’s uncapped honey too - I guess it’s being brought in now? 

My question is: The folks at my bee club say I should be feeding the bees sugar syrup. But if there’s still honey left from winter, and it looks like honey is coming in, do I still feed? I don’t want to harvest sugar water.

Thanks,
Sweeter Than Honey

Dear Sweeter Than Honey,

Fantastic that your first hive survived the winter!  And you saw stored capped honey – which means they had more than enough to make it through the winter.  The uncapped honey means they are finding nectar somewhere.  Our main nectar flow hasn’t started yet but there are sources of nectar here and there.

The nectar flow is nature’s way of telling the bees that it is safe to build up brood numbers and grow the hive.  If they are artificially large in number due to early feeding, or due to constant feeding through the winter, the natural cycle of rearing brood is manipulated - often to the bees’ detriment.

Generally as spring approaches, the only bees that should need to be fed are package bees.  If you start a new package, those bees didn’t know that they were going to be poured into a box and didn’t prepare themselves by gorging honey.  So they need a little boost to get their hive started.  But really, no other bees should need feeding – a nuc arrives with frames of honey already started and nectar will be available for them at their new home since it is spring.  You want to encourage them to forage for the blossoms and not just drink from the front door.   A surviving overwintered hive should have some honey left and will also be finding spring nectar to sustain the bees.

You said you didn’t want to harvest sugar water. If you are feeding the bees as the nectar flow starts, it’s highly likely that the sugar syrup will be a part of your honey (just like the stuff that is coming from China!).  Some beekeepers have suggested that you put blue food coloring into the sugar syrup to see where exactly it appears in the honeycomb. This is a great way to see if any of the syrup you fed ends up in the frames you harvest.

This is one way to think about feeding, but you know if you ask a few more beekeepers, you'll get a few more different answers!
Congratulations on a successful winter and good luck with your bees this year.

Yours truly,
Aunt Bee         

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you do decide to feed your bees, feeding can take many forms.  Two choices are to feed sugar syrup or you can feed bee tea. 

In August, 2010, Bee Culture had an article by Vermont beekeeper Ross Conrad (he writes an article every month) on beekeeping in the northeast.  In the article, he talked about the sugar syrup he feeds his bees called bee tea.  He was getting his bees ready for fall, but you can change the proportions for spring by using 1:1 sugar syrup.

Here's the recipe:
16 cups white cane sugar
6 cups hot tap water
2 cups Chamomile or Thyme tea (already brewed)
1/2 tsp natural sea salt with minerals
To keep the sugar syrup from crystallizing, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a teaspoon of vinegar.

You add the hot tap water to the sugar and salt and stir thoroughly (?).  You do boil the water for the tea and steep it for 10-15 minutes.  Then you mix it all together and store unused amounts in the refrigerator.

This is not Ross' original recipe.  He found it in an 1840 something article by a well-known beekeeper of the time.

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Survey - this month on winter losses
Last month we asked if you had taken a short course.  FIFTY of you answered the survey.  Of the 50,

44% took a short course from their local bee club, 
22% took a short course in a different town or city, and 
42% did not take a short course

About 80% of the people who took the survey got their bees the same year as they took a short course.

This month our one-question survey is about hive loss.  Please let us know how your hives fared over the winter.

There’s a place for your thoughts – if you have an idea about why/how your hive(s) died, tell us in the blank provided.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks for participating - we learn more about each other as we see how other people respond, so take the chance and fill out our single question survey!
Click here to take survey

Thanks to Christine Farhnbauer for suggesting the question
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Last night I lay sleeping.
I dreamt that there was a beehive here inside my heart
and the golden bees were making white comb and sweet 

honey from all my failures "-  Antonio Macado
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The East Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Club in Conyers has a new President.  His name is David Shipp.  Congratulations!  If your club has an officer you'd like to recognize, feel free to send it to us to put in the newsletter.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Letters to the Editors:
(This is our FIRST letter to the editors - please join Bob and put in your two cents about something that matters to you!)

A Call to Hive Tools to All Georgia Beekeepers  
from Bob Grant

If you attended the February GBA meeting in beautiful, sunny Columbus, GA, you already know that the quality of presentations was outstanding.  I want to spotlight one speaker, Dr. Jamie Ellis, who gave us three interesting and entertaining presentations.  His final presentation of the day came after an all-day discussion of bee mortality.  Dr. Ellis was concerned about closing with on such a discouraging note, so he created a humorous presentation.  The subtle message:  we've talked enough about bee deaths so let's move the topic to how bees and Lady Gaga are related.  This hilarious presentation got me to thinking about the GBA business meeting I attended the night before. 
On Friday night the GBA officers, club presidents and others met to conduct the business of the Association. One topic discussed was the idea of becoming a 501C entity in order to access research funding.  Folks expressed their support or concerns for change in business status.  What became apparent to me was that we seemed to be chasing new sources of funding without a clear roadmap forward. 

As a micro-honey producer, producing between 1000 and 1500 lbs of honey annually, I have been living with the bee yard issue of 25% to 50% die-off every winter for as long as I can remember.    I find myself lying awake at night, wondering how we might change the outcome and improve the lot of our ladies?  Therefore, with Dr. Ellis, I say enough about bee die-off talk! Let us start talking about what we can do today and tomorrow to improve our apiaries survival rates.  
I'm old enough to remember President Kennedy's inaugural speech 54 years ago, when he challenged our country to put a man on the moon in the 1960s and we did it! I think it's time for Georgia beekeepers, both commercial and backyard, and the GBA to accept the following challenge:    Within five years  let's find a way to reduce apiary losses to less than 18% annually within five years and within 10 years to less that 10%.

Specifically I'm asking the GBA to:
  1. 1. Identify the number of GA beekeepers, large and small and their current losses;
  2. 2. Identify beekeepers' successful efforts to minimize these losses by region;
  3. 3. Assemble a manual of successful practices that can be used now;
  4. 4. Educate our beekeepers on those specific practices;
  5. 5. Fund additional small-scale, practical bee yard research projects to further enhance bee survival in Georgia;
  6. 6. Work more closely with academia to bring this research to the bee yard as quickly as possible to meet the stated challenge; and
  7. 7. Track success in the bee yards by conducting an annual survey of apiaries.
This is no small undertaking, but it will focus the GBA and its members and auxiliary clubs on the most critical issue facing both big and small beekeepers.  This GBA work will bring near-term solutions to the bee yard. Remember, to commercial beekeepers bee loss is financial and to small hobbyist beekeepers it's more emotional.  Both are devastating.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Upcoming BEE Events

March 15, 2014
Welshfest Honey Show, Rockmart, GA

March 22, 2014
Day two of the Northeast Georgia Mountain Beekeepers Association's short course.  Takes place at Carl Webb's bee yard in Clarkesville, GA

XXXXXXXXX, 2014
Your bee event here.  We can't make these up - if you have a bee event and you want state members to know about it to participate, please send it to us at gbanewsletters@gmail.com


GBA now has an online calendar.  You can access it from the Events page or the home page. If you have events that you'd like to see in the Newsletter or on the calendar, send them to gabeecalendar@gmail.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Final Buzz
This month we request that you send beekeeping questions.  There are no questions too remedial or too advanced for us to post. We will research to get answers, (sometimes conflicting) from our experts and Aunt Bee. Keep in mind, if you are asking a question, someone else is likely to be wondering about the same thing but just hasn't written us.  If you are an experienced beekeeper and you have been asked what to do, or what could have happened in a hive,  please share that also.  We are entering into our busiest season of beekeeping and we hope to help as many apiaries as possible. Best wishes to you and the bees!

Gina and Linda   

PS.  We also want the other stuff: photos, questions for Aunt Bee, survey ideas, recipes, beekeeping stories and articles!