Monday, August 4, 2014

August 2014 Newsletter

Photo taken by Josh Strickland, Waverly, GA, of a drone with yellow eyes - consequence of being haploid and only having one set of chromosomes.

President’s Message 

As the year draws to an end and we approach the annual meeting of the membership, a lot is being done to make this meeting a great success.  Most of you know that the Lake County Beekeepers led by Bruce Morgan is hosting the meeting in Milledgeville, Ga.  And since it is in their neighborhood, Keith and RoseAnne Fielder are kicking in a lot of effort as well. Mary Cahill-Roberts has arranged some great speakers from all over the United States and Georgia to wow and educate us. We will also have an actual bee yard set up for our youth to explore and enjoy.  You will be able to view the agenda on our web site, and right now you can sign up using our new registration program.  I’m confident that we will have many positive comments from you about this meeting, and look forward to your input. 

As a matter of business for this meeting, we will be discussing and voting on a couple of by-law changes that should help us function a bit more efficiently in the coming.  In case you did not know, our by-laws are posted on the GBA web site under the section called “Site Map”. The tab is on the top right of the home page.  Please take time to review these as you consider the following: 

First, our Association is growing rapidly with our club numbers approaching 30 affiliated clubs scattered throughout the state. To reach and represent those clubs we have our normal officers consisting of your President, VP, Secretary, Treasurer and three Directors.  At the beginning of my term of office, I appointed one additional Director (Slade Jarrett) to help cover the northeast side of Georgia.  Slade has done a remarkable job being there when we have needed him.  Now I believe that we need to change the by-laws in Article VII, paragraph A from 3 to 4 Directors with two year terms staggered instead of 3 year terms. (That is two directors overlapping for two years).  This last year has proven that this change is essential. 

The next area of interest is the new Junior Beekeeping policy that we just passed and for which we have already written some checks. Some of you may have been wondering how we were going to fund this program. Well, “Old Bear” has been working that issue already.  Article VIII of our by-laws outlines the standing committees.  Paragraph E is for the Research and Education Fund. In that section, two gentlemen, Troy Fore and Reg Wilbanks, have been charged with managing a chunk of money granted to us from American Beekeeping Federation that was earmarked as education funds back in 1982. That money has been in “lock down” for a number of years as we were only allowed to use ½ of the interest gained while the other half was rolled back over into it. In real numbers, we were getting 1.25% annually (or about $10) and only using $5.00. I have obtained the approval of release of the these funds from both of these gentlemen in writing to have it placed in the general fund for use in support of our new Junior Beekeeping policy.  It is currently more than $16K.  That along with reinstating the $1.00 per membership dues to go to the Junior Beekeeping program should keep this program going for quite some time.  

So, it will be recommended that we eliminate that section (Paragraph E, Article VIII) as it is simply not necessary any longer.  The paragraph will be rewritten to reflect the new status of the Research and Education Fund.  The fund will be managed by the President and the Treasurer, and the money in the fund will go to educational projects which benefit Georgia beekeepers, such as Junior Beekeepers.
I am sending this information out more than 30 days in advance of our annual meeting to all of our members for your consideration in accordance with our by-laws.  We want to give you an opportunity to discuss this at our meeting of the members at the fall meeting.  Please bring your questions and concerns to the meeting. 

Bear Kelley,

President, Georgia Beekeepers Association

True Confessions
Lessons Learned that Might Help Others

Honeyhouse Chaos
by Christine Farhnbauer

I love my little honey has progressed into a myriad of wonderful things as I have filled it with both necessary and decorative (also necessary): items that all beekeepers really do not need, but which make our hobby pleasant and more organized.

One of these things for me is a back door. Which provides a nice shortcut to the water spigot when feeding in the fall and in the spring allows the cool breeze to waft its way through as I paint supers, scrape propolis and prepare for nectar flow. And in the summer..... well, I’m not actually sure what good a back door is for, except maybe for a stray bee to find its way in......and tell ALL its co-workers!!! Which is exactly what happened to me not too long ago.

 I had been enjoying the fruits of harvest, in the middle of uncapping and extracting two supers of beautiful wildflower honey when I suddenly realized I was going to be late for a meeting. With no time to waste, I hurriedly left, not bothering to cover the uncapping tank, or bucket filter because I knew I would be coming right back in a couple hours to continue working and clean up. I made sure as always to shut the front door tight, as the nectar flow had ended and I knew the bees were looking for food. 

Upon my return, I immediately knew something was wrong the minute I looked towards the honey house, which sits approximately 10 feet from 20 hives, and saw the entire house enveloped in a cloud of bees!! There were bees an inch thick on all the windows and the glass panes in the front door, trying to get in and out. I stepped into total chaos as thousands of bees flew out, honey stomachs full and taking their hard earned spoils back home as hundreds more came in with me. I could barely see through the fog of bees, the back door standing WIDE open and mounds of bees on the previously dripping wax cappings, wet supers and in the over-flowing filter on top of the honey bucket. I was too overwhelmed to stop and take a picture or video, of which I regret to this day, as it was a sight to bee~hold!! There was really no contest at this point, the bees had won, and I ended up taking it all out in the yard and allowing them to finish gathering their sweet reward. I have yet to try to reclaim that lost honey.....but I do have a lock on that back door now.....only to be opened for feeding as the temperatures drop and wintery days loom ahead.

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Making A Propolis Tincture

recipe by Julia Mahood, Master Beekeeper

           Ingredients you will need:
  • frozen propolis
  • mortar & pestle
  • glass container, dark or covered
  • small dark bottles with dropper
 1. break up frozen propolis & remove any debris
 2. return cleaned propolis to freezer
 3. grind frozen propolis with mortar & pestle until its fine crumbles are about the size of sea salt
 4. put in glass container & fill with alcohol, grain or vodka
 5. shake often over at least 2 weeks; the liquid will become darker and thicker as it dissolves the propolis
 6. pour off clear liquid into dart bottles with dropper
 7. save remaining propolis, add more alcohol and repeat 2 or 3 times- stop when it no longer get darker

General Info:  Bee propolis is rich in bioflavonoids and has several proven antibiotic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, and was used medicinally as early as 350 B.C. by the Greeks and Egyptians. It's been shown to slow the growth of bacteria which causes staph infections, common colds, ulcers and urinary tract infections.

People ingest a propolis tincture because it can ward off a number of illnesses.  The tincture can also be applied topically as a means to treat cuts acne, and even scars. A few drops of the tincture, usually a only a fraction of a teaspoon can be dissolved into water or juice for drinking.

After returning from collecting nectar, a forager transfers her honey-stomach (crop) contents to a house bee.  This process is called Trophylaxis.  Photo by Clint Ready, Heart of Georgia.

Try this Bee Fun crossword puzzle, created by Linda Tillman.  You can either print out this page and work it with a pencil or you can click this link and work it online.  When you are all done and want to check your answers, email us at and we’ll send you a filled-out puzzle so you can compare it with yours.

As a beekeeper, have you ever been stung?

by Ricky Moore, Heart of Georgia

I am surprised how many times I hear people ask, “Have you ever been stung?" To me that's like asking if the Pope is Catholic, or do bears live in the woods? Of course beekeepers get stung!

When I got my first hive almost two years ago, all I had for protective gear was a veil and gloves. I thought I was invincible. It didn't take too long before the bees showed me otherwise. They are resourceful, tricky little devils who can find the smallest chink in your armor and get into the soft areas. You know what I mean, right? I think my first sting was through my jeans. That hurt! But I'm a beekeeper, I'm tough, that was my badge of courage, right? Happen to you also?

Early this Spring I was wearing the same gear (before I acquired a complete bee suit), was opening the hives and managed to royally piss off a bunch of guard bees. When they came to have an up close and personal meeting with me, I was not concerned, I had a veil on. Well, this veil was the hood and veil kind that has draw strings that cross over your chest, come around your back and tie in the front. You probably have one just like it. Now I'm not saying I was negligent.  I prefer to think of the bees as educated, resourceful, determined, very intelligent, and persistent... One of the girls found a way inside and wanted to share the interior of the veil with me, but she wasn't happy.

Again, a bee sting hurts, and if it's on your arm or leg, that's one thing, but I really have no desire to get stung on the face, and I told the pretty young bee I meant her no harm and I thought we could peacefully work out our differences. Apparently this Italian girl did not understand English and swearing.

The more she buzzed around inside the veil, the more mental images I had of not being happy at the outcome. Now I ask you, what would you do in a situation like this? Go on, think for a moment and answer to yourself before you read what I did. I'll wait, go on.

OK, if you've been in this situation, what did you do? Or if you have not been wearing this veil yet ( you will...), what would you do?

I decided immediately there was not enough room in the veil for the both of us, so I proceeded to come out of it as fast as humanly possible! Of course the strings were tied tight and did not want to release me. I struggled, which upset my little friend even more, and finally I got the veil off. Problem solved, right? Not even close.

While I was concentrating on my new closest friend, another dozen of her sisters were coming to see what the fuss was all about. Now I didn't have one bee buzzing my veil covered face, but now had a dozen buzzing my naked face. Oh crap.

Instinct took over, not intelligence, just the will to survive. I swatted, and flailed my arms and tried to shoo the bees away. After all I'm a big strong man who could squash them all. But not at the same time. Arms flying and bees zeroing in, I made my next tactical mistake. I ran.

When you quit laughing at me and wipe the tears from your eyes, you know that was not the best thing I could have done. I was being stung. Left leg, right arm, back, right leg, left arm, what was 12 bees felt like a thousand. I could not swat and run fast enough.

Self preservation is a wonderful thing. I remember thinking: I'll run indoors, but soon dismissed that idea knowing they'd only follow me inside and again they'd have the tactical advantage. As I ran around the side of the house, I grabbed the garden hose and drenched myself from head to toe. Water, water, ha ha, the Italian assassins didn't like to swim! After 30 seconds of cool, calming garden hose water shooting all over my body, the bees had made their point and left.

Looking back, the scenario plays out in slow motion and I see my mistakes and what I should have done. And will next time. I was only stung 11 times that day. That's my high score which I hope to never beat.

So the next time someone asks if I've ever been stung, yes, I remember the time...
I keep thinking about all that delicious honey I'm going to get from them.  What goes around comes around.

Ask 10 Beekeepers a Question….

Since preparing honey for a honey contest is best practices training for all honey packaged, what are your top 3 tips for winning ribbons at honey contests.

Jay Parsons:  
Containers should be "Spic and Span" inside and out.
The honey should be clear - devoid of all impurities.
Each jar (x3) should be filled to the fill line equally and consistently for that entry class.

Cindy Hodges:
Never touch the jars with your bare hands.
Always overfill your jars for honey entries.  This way you can skim off the "floaters" and foam and still have a correctly filled jar for entering the contest
Do not extract honey and immediately bottle it.  Let it settle first in the bucket.  Then bottle the center 1/3 for show purposes.

Street Cred

Free Epi Pens, if you have a prescription to purchase Epi Pens at no cost – Click here 

100% natural ways to get rid of ants.  This is slide show and is really interesting.  Click here.

Thanks to Ricky Moore for these links.


The Beekeepers by Pieter the Elder Bruegel circa 1567

It’s hot in Middle Georgia - photo by Ricky Moore

Monthly Survey

Last month’s survey was about how you make your honey labels.  Less than 10% of those who responded purchase labels from catalogs.  About 80% of those who responded design their own labels. 

This month we want to know about water and your bees.  

It’s a one question survey, takes only a moment - please click and answer this question for us.

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

Using the Queen Castle
by Keith Fletcher, Master Beekeeper, certified in both GA and AL
Huntsville, Alabama

If you've been keeping bees for at least a year, you've probably had a situation where you've needed to house a queen temporarily with only a few frames of honey, brood, and pollen until you had more resources to make an additional colony.  Or, while doing an early spring inspection, perhaps you saw many swarm cells in your hive, and realized the lost opportunity of not being able to segregate those swarm cell frames from each other.  Remember, the queen in the colony is like that 1986 Hollywood film, Highlander: "There can be only one."  Normally swarm cells in a hive eventually whittle down to one mated queen. 

Compartmented hive bodies have conventionally been used to place frames with swarm cells, for the purpose of later deriving as many mated queens as you have available compartments.

Brushy Mountain Bee Farm has sold the deep-frame Queen Castle,  a hive body compartmented into four distinct chambers, each able to house a colony of bees with their own queen.  Now they also offer a medium-sized castle.   The medium castle has three compartments to accommodate three medium frames each. Both retail for around $37.  Kelley Beekeeping sells a three compartment deep queen mating box, and Dadant sells a four compartment deep box very similar to BM's queen castle, called the "Queen Rearing Hotel" both retailing around $40-$42.

So why and how can you keep a queen for a season using a "minimum of resources."  As stated before, Brushy Mountain's queen castle holds only 2 deep frames in each compartment, which is very adequate to accommodate a newly mated queen, her stores, her colony and her brood.  One might assume an increased chance for swarming from a two-frame sized compartment, versus a 10 or 20 frame sized space.  Wouldn't the bees get overly congested in a short amount of time in such a small cavity and then swarm?  My experience has shown my bees are far more likely to swarm from full sized colonies than a 2-frame sized one.   

The part I like best about these partitioned boxes, especially if the dividers of each compartment are removable, is the overall versatility.  With a compartmented box like a queen castle, I can make four two-frame nucs or two five-frame nucs.  As the colony outgrows its two-frame compartment, I can move these frames into a separate box with frames of foundation or comb.  Or, if I don't have available woodenware, I can remove a partition between two compartments while de-queening one of the compartments until I'm able to transfer those four frames into a separate box.  Or I can leave those frames and bees in the queen castle.  

Adding to this versatility is the fact that when queen rearing season is over, I can easily transfer the two deep frames per compartment into a regular hive if necessary, taking all eight frames in one queen castle and populating an entire deep hive body with deep drawn comb frames.  If no queen is present, I can easily combine four compartments worth of bees, brood, pollen and honey on deep frames into one open deep eight-frame box, without the bees fighting.  The only condition is open brood should be present, which means most of the the bees on the frames are young, nurse-age bees.  Young nurse bees rarely tend to fight.  It’s freeing to have so many choices.  

But I believe the most popular use of the queen castle, as Brushy Mountain's advertisement suggests, is to utilize swarm cells in other colonies for the production of multiple, additional viable queens.  This may present an alternative to simply cutting our swarm cells and having the colony's queen rearing energy go to waste.  I highly recommend trying one of these compartmented boxes, and adding them to your toolkit of beekeeping.  You'll enjoy the fun of experimenting with new methods of managing your bees.

Dear Aunt Bee,

I'm in a bit of a pickle--my hive is queenless and I don't have another hive to supply it with eggs for a new queen. Fortunately, I know a friendly beekeeper who's willing to provide me with some eggs, but his apiary is kind of far from where I live--how should I transport the frames?

Commuter Beekeeper

Dear Commuter B,

Of course you want to get the eggs and open brood to the queenless hive as quickly as possible, but do be a safe driver!  One way to preserve warmth for the frame is to wrap the frame in a warm, damp towel and put the whole thing in a cooler (no ice, mind you, we are keeping it WARM this way).  

If you have a nuc hive available to you, another way is a little more involved.  Go to the hive from which you want to take the frame of brood and eggs; shake all the bees off of the frame and remove the frame.  Put that bee-less frame in an empty hive box and place the hive box on the top of a queen excluder on the top of the hive (under the inner cover as if it is a part of the hive).   Leave the hive for about an hour and when you come back, the frame will be covered with nurse bees.  

The nurse bees will keep the eggs and brood warm.  They will rarely be killed by the queenless hive when you transfer the frame.  Put the nurse bee covered frame into a nuc box with four empty frames to keep it from sliding around and drive to the queenless hive.

Good luck,

Your Aunt Bee

Question and answer supplied by Noah Macey; second part of the answer from Mark, aka IndyPartridge on Beemaster forum.  Thanks to both.


Honey Lavender Ice Cream

Makes about 1 qt of ice cream
Great served in homemade profiteroles (also found on

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup mild honey
2 tablespoons dried edible lavender flowers*
2 large eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt

Special equipment: a candy or instant-read thermometer; an ice cream maker

Bring cream, half-and-half, honey, and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.

Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.

Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon and registers 170 to 175°F on thermometer, about 5 minutes (do not let boil).

Pour custard through sieve into cleaned bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

Editor’s note:  I’ve made this for my daughter’s birthday with homemade profiteroles and for a dinner won by someone at a MABA auction where all items on the menu that I made included honey.  It’s AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS!

“We lived for honey. We swallowed a spoonful in the morning to wake us up and one at night to put us to sleep. We took it with every meal to calm the mind, give us stamina, and prevent fatal disease. We swabbed ourselves in it to disinfect cuts or heal chapped lips. It went in our baths, our skin cream, our raspberry tea and biscuits. Nothing was safe from honey...honey was the ambrosia of the gods and the shampoo of the goddesses.” 

David McLeod of Henry County sent us these photos of a trapout in progress.  Here’s what he wrote about the above:

“These are a few photos of a trap out I have in progress in Newnan. If you look close you can see the blue porter bee escape. This is day two and you can see the bulk of the bees locked out of the home. This is a recently established swarm that entered approximately a month ago through a bathroom exhaust fan vent and set up house keeping in the ceiling/floor joist bay.
Since it is a new colony it should not have large enough quantities of honey and comb to require ripping out sheet rock to remove. A trap out will work just fine to vacate the colony then once established in the nuclear I can let them rob out what remains.”

A Thank You
by David McLeod

In June the Henry County Beekeepers held their club picnic.  It was a great success. We had 139 in attendance with several of those being new beekeepers. I was especially pleased many of these new beeks were accompanied by their children, the future of our pursuit.  I would also like to extend a special thank you to our vice president Brutz English of Liberty Hill Honey who gladly allowed us the free use of his property and facilities, including full access to all his hives, to host the picnic.

Upcoming Events

Beginner's Beekeeping Course (Morgan County Extension)
August 7, 2014 
Cost: Free  Held at Morgan County Extension Office, 440 Hancock St., Madison GA 30650    Registration:
RSVP by Monday August 1, 2014 
Call 706-342-2214 to register

Tara Beekeepers Association is having its annual short course September 6, 2014.   Cost is $65 per person, and there is a family rate.  The course will be held at the Kiwanis Building in Forest Park.  If you would like to attend or know someone who would like to attend please check our website or give us a shout!

GBA Fall Meeting Sept 19 -20 at the Hampton Inn in Milledgeville, GA.  To register for the fall meeting, click here.  Rooms are reserved with a discount at the Hampton and Comfort Suites.  See the GBA website for more information.

Hahira Honeybee Festival, September 29 - October 4 in downtown Hahira.  For more information, visit the website
Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association is hosting the Florida State Beekeepers Association Conference in  West Palm Beach, Florida at the Embassy Suites.  Dates:  Oct. 2, 3, 4, 2014Updated information here.

ABF Conference and Trade Show  Jan 6 - 10, 2015 Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, CA
The Final Buzz 

We hope everyone has had a good honey harvest.  Thank you for all of your contributions to this newsletter.  In this issue we introduced “True Confessions,” which is a place to write (anonymously, if you’d feel more comfortable) about mistakes you’ve made that others may learn from and not repeat.

It’s so good to hear from people all over the state.  We’ll be looking for you at the fall meeting in Milledgeville and hope to encourage many more of you to send us something - make your reservations NOW!

Thanks for the support and keep your photos, articles, etc, coming - we love them each and every one!

Linda and Gina      

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

July 2014 Newsletter

Patriotic photo and honey by Gina Gallucci in honor of the 4th of July!

Presidents Message

Since I took office, I have been tooting the horn of Georgia Beekeepers Association and trying to make many understand why all Georgia beekeepers should be members. Well, now it’s time to move up a notch or two.  We need to support the American Beekeeping Federation. Why you ask….?
The American Beekeeping Federation continues to work for us in Washington, D.C. and around the country to further the legislative and regulatory related priorities important to the American beekeeper.  ABF President Tim Tucker and Past President George Hansen have already made one legislative trip to Washington in conjunction with the Varroa Summit they recently attended. 
The Legislative priorities of the ABF for 2014 include, but are not limited to:

-Funding for research into the many problems that negatively impact honey bee health.

-Maintaining USDA-ARS Lab Funding

-Protecting our honey market, including establishing a national standard for honey and         stopping illegal imports of Chinese honey through intermediary countries.


-Promoting and protecting the honey bee habitat

-Crop insurance, ELAP, and H2A labor programs

-Transportation issues

These issues have an impact on every beekeeper whether you are a hobbyist, sideliner or full time commercial mover and shaker of honey bees. I have spoken to a number of clubs about the ABF and the work that they are doing on our behalf and want everyone to know that those folks are just like you and me when it comes to caring for the honey bee. Our country and the government who runs it is so complex and with an issue like the “Plight of the Honey Bee” at hand, the bees need all the support they can get. You may not be the type to become an activist or want to join a committee, but by becoming a member of ABF you add to the ever growing number of people who are showing how much they really care and you help make our voices heard.   Please give this your heartfelt consideration. 

To Join ABF, simply go to or better yet, give Regina Robuck, the ABF Executive Director, a call at 404-760-2875 (in Atlanta) and tell her that Bear said to call!

Bear Kelley,
President, GBA

Child’s recipe from cookbook  done by kids in kindergarten and daycare:

Rabbit Cake

8 dinosaurs
   1 lizard
     1 bee

I imagine the bee is used to "sweeten" the cake
New Beekeeper, Jeff Daniel's, first harvest - about to be that time again this year!  photo by Linda Tillman

Promiscuous Queen Bees Have Better Colonies
by Gina Gallucci

Dr. Heather Mattila came to speak at the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association in May.  She is a researcher and Professor at Wellesley College in Boston.  Dr. Matilla has been investigating the benefits of genetic diversity in Honey bees for years.
Honey bee queens have a behavior that is unusual for social insects.  Queens of all bee species are highly promiscuous, meaning each queen mates with many males. The newest research shows that colonies filled with stepfamilies are healthier and more productive than colonies of full siblings.  
"Colonies with high levels of genetic diversity have a greater likelihood of having more active foragers in their colonies, including dancers, recruiters, inspectors, and scouting foragers.  So far, hygienic behavior has not been tested for diverse versus uniform colonies, but we do know that genetically diverse colonies are better at overcoming infection with AFB or chalkbrood than colonies that lack genetic diversity, and also better at keeping nest temperatures stable, which is critical for proper brood development.”  
“For Apis mellifera,  extreme polyandry means that queens mate with an average of between 12-20 drones each, depending on the study.  The record for A. mellifera is 49 mates for a single queen. "  
Jane Lu would like to know if anyone knows of any city or county restricting beekeeping in Georgia?  Beekeepers Club of Gwinnett County is preparing a letter to the Gwinnett Director of Planning and Development so he can send it to the Board of Commissioners.  In February, they restricted beekeeping to only RA-200 properties.  The Director wants to know if other counties restrict beekeeping.  If you have the answer to this, contact Jane 

Ask Ten Beekeepers A Question…….

How Do I know When to Harvest?

Christine Fahrnbauer, 
Cherokee Beekeepers

With the exception of last year, when my bees did not seem to cap much of their honey due to all the rain and humidity, I usually wait until 80-100% of the honey super is completely capped. If there are any uncapped cells I turn it upside down over the hive and tap it to make sure the honey is thick and doesn't run out. 

I ended up learning a valuable lesson last year when I harvested uncapped honey (using the tapping method~ but in most cases only 20 percent of the honey was capped), only to discover it started to ferment, which is another whole article......  :)  So a word of caution...If your honey is more uncapped than not, invest or borrow a refractometer that measures the moisture content of your honey, and make sure it is less than 18% before you harvest.

Bob Binnie, 
NE Ga Mountain Beekeepers, Macon County Beekeepers in Franklin, NC

I harvest when the bees quit making white wax.  I don’t wait until it’s 100% capped; I just wait until the bees quit bringing nectar in.  If we leave the doors open at the honey house and no bees come in that means the nectar flow is still going; if bees come in, the nectar flow is over.

I harvest when the honey is over half capped and the honey flow is over.  I put it in a warm dry room to continue drying the honey out.  I leave it completely uncovered and keep the room below 50% humidity.  I use a gauge to make sure it is below 50%.  Anything over 60% will actually make the honey wetter.  This year the sourwood has just started to bloom so I am not harvesting yet in the mountains.  

Queen Markings     by Bear Kelley, 
Now that summer is upon us and we are making splits, getting nucs, packages and generally expanding our apiaries, marking of this year’s queen should be a concern for you.  This year’s color for the queen marking is Green.  The table below will help you through the years with queen marking. 

White……………………… year ending in 1 or 6
Yellow……………………… year ending in 2 or 7
Red……………………………year ending in 3 or 8
Green…………………………year ending in 4 or 9
Blue……………………………year ending in 5 or 0

Marking her highness is essential in tracking her age.  If you find an unmarked queen in your hive which had a marked queen, then the original queen has swarmed and they have replaced her. Most of the bee suppliers offer marking pens at reasonable rates. 


Sylvia Plath 

  Bare-handed, I hand the combs. 
 The man in white smiles, bare-handed, 
 Our cheesecloth gauntlets neat and sweet,
 The throats of our wrists brave lilies. 
He and I 

 Have a thousand clean cells between us, 
 Eight combs of yellow cups, 
 And the hive itself a teacup, 
 White with pink flowers on it, 
With excessive love I enamelled it 

 Thinking ‘Sweetness, sweetness.’ 
 Brood cells gray as the fossils of shells 
 Terrify me, they seem so old. 
 What am I buying, wormy mahogany? 
Is there any queen at all in it? 

 If there is, she is old, 
 Her wings torn shawls, her long body 
 Rubbed of its plush— 
 Poor and bare and unqueenly and even shameful. 
I stand in a column 

 Of winged, unmiraculous women, 
 I am no drudge 
 Though for years I have eaten dust 
And dried plates with my dense hair.

 And seen my strangeness evaporate, 
 Blue dew from dangerous skin. 
 Will they hate me, 
 These women who only scurry, 
Whose news is the open cherry, the open clover? 

 It is almost over. 
 I am in control. 
 Here is my honey-machine, 
 It will work without thinking, 
Opening, in spring, like an industrious virgin 

To scour the creaming crests
 As the moon, for its ivory powders, scours the sea. 
 A third person is watching. 
 He has nothing to do with the bee-seller or with me. 
Now he is gone 

 In eight great bounds, a great scapegoat Here is his slipper, here is another, 
 And here the square of white linen
He wore instead of a hat. 
He was sweet, 

 The sweat of his efforts a rain 
Tugging the world to fruit. 
 The bees found him out, 
 Molding° onto his lips like lies, 
Complicating his features. 

 They thought death was worth it, but I 
 Have a self to recover, a queen. 
 Is she dead, is she sleeping? 
 Where has she been, 
With her lion-red body, her wings of glass? 

 Now she is flying 
More terrible than she ever was, red 
 Scar in the sky, red comet 
 Over the engine that killed her—
The mausoleum, the wax house. 

 6 October 1962 
Plath, Sylvia. Collected Poems. New York: HarperPerennial, 1992, pp. 214-5. 

Editor’s note:  Sylvia Plath, noted poet and author, became a beekeeper in 1962.  She wrote a number of bee poems as a result of her experiences.  You can read about Sylvia Plath and her relationship with bees here.
Bright Cheery Summer Salad  
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 ripe avocado
2 ears fresh sweet corn
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped

Honey Lime Dressing:
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. local honey
Juice of one lime
1 clove fresh garlic minced
Sea Salt & fresh cracked black pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Remove husks from corn and grill over medium heat for 10 minutes.  The corn should have some brown spots and be tender but not mushy.  Cut the corn of the cob and then scrape the cob with the back of your knife to get all the juices.  Set aside & let cool.  Slice tomatoes in half.  Dice the avocado and chop the cilantro. 
Add all dressing ingredients in small bowl, whisk and set aside.  Combine all other ingredients and gently toss with dressing until evenly coasted.  Be careful not to mash avocados.  Let stand 10- 15 minutes to let flavors mingle.

Dear Aunt Bee,

I live in an intown neighborhood of Atlanta with at least five beekeepers living within one block of my house in every direction.  The house next door to me is for sale and has been empty and unoccupied for most of the last year.  

Today as I looked out of my window toward that house, I could see bees flying in and out of an entry just barely above the dryer vent on the second floor.  Since the house has a basement and a first floor, this is pretty high up.  It's clear that they have occupied the area inside the wall by the dryer.

When the house is finally sold, I feel scared that the new owners will look in my backyard, see my beehives and expect me to do something about the unwanted occupants.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for any ideas you have short of running for the border,

Shaking in My Boots

Dear Shaking,

Assume the dual role of "good neighbor" and "honeybee expert."  

Save the day by reaching out to the realtor now, pointing out that it was probably an oversight but might be a liability the current owner will want to remedy as soon as possible, prior to sale.  

If the second floor site is too high for you to offer your removal services, canvas your vast beekeeper network and offer a few names to the realtor.  

With the colony removed and repairs already performed, there are no surprises for the new owners and the Welcome Basket you give them can include a treat made with honey  or a jar of honey from your beehives.

Your Aunt Bee  
Contribution by Linda Tillman with help from Curt Barrett, Gina Gallucci and Julia Mahood

Bee Stings and EpiPens
By Ricky Moore

I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV (smile). I am not offering legal advice or medical advice, I am simply offering my opinion in hopes that it stirs your creative juices and stimulates thought about another little discussed beekeeping fact.

How many times have you been talking with someone about bees or honey and they blurted out "I'm allergic to bees!" Really? Are you, how do you know, have you been tested? Isn't it more probable that the person just doesn't like the pain of being stung? (There was a pun there on bee but I let it slide.) But seriously, a percentage of the populace IS allergic to bee stings to the point where it closes off their airway causing breathing difficulty and could result in death. Hopefully you and your family are not among the ranks of the bee sting allergic, but what about the neighbor who has no idea he is, gets stung and starts to swell up and experiences difficulty breathing? What do you do? Call 9-1-1 of course, but how long does it take emergency help to arrive to your location be it at home or worse, off in the woods at the bee field? If that neighbor is allergic and knows it, he will probably have an EpiPen.

Now this is where my opinion really kicks in and I offer these questions for you to answer to your satisfaction. What are your legal and medical responsibilities to someone who gets stung by your bees? 

As a beekeeper you already know several bee sting remedies, right? After removing the stinger, apply ice, or toothpaste, or vinegar, or baking soda, or meat tenderizer, or calamine lotion or a host of other home remedies. Right? A quick search of Google will give you many, many more.

But do you know the signs of an allergic reaction?
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives that appear as a red, itchy rash and spread to areas beyond the sting
  • Swelling of the face, throat or mouth tissue
  • Wheezing or difficulty swallowing
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Rapid pulse
  • Dizziness or a sharp drop in blood pressure
  • If the symptoms are present, seek emergency medical attention. Take an antihistamine as soon as possible and be ready to use the epinephrine part of an emergency allergy kit
Epinephrine in the form of an EpiPen requires a doctor's prescription and without insurance they can be expensive. Here in Middle Georgia I sought the cash price for a two pack of EpiPens from a local drugstore and a national chain. Both sold the two pack for around $350 cash. Your insurance may cover it and hopefully at a substantial discount. There are patient advocacy organizations which can assist you getting them for much, much less if you meet the income requirements. If you qualify, you probably already know the organizations to which I refer.

So, my question to you is, should you have an EpiPen available for the remote possibility that someone may need it? And if so, do you know when to and how to, and could you/would you use it properly?

I believe having an EpiPen is an important addition to your beekeeping first aid kit. I urge you to consider it, then speak to your doctor and lawyer to satisfy yourself about the medical and legal ramifications.


Our Survey for July

Our June survey asked if you participated in beekeeping as a child or teenager.  
  • Seventy percent of you who answered had no beekeeping experience in childhood
  • Thirty percent of those who answered came from beekeeping families
  • Six percent of those who answered either were occasionally around someone who kept bees or were exposed through 4-H

This month we are interested in how you label your honey jars!  (Surprising since harvest is just now starting in the state.)

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


Photo of bee hives in Ricky Moore's zinnias


You may notice that once again we are not featuring a club of the month.  We have chased after several clubs over the last few months without getting a response.  If you would like to feature your own bee club, please let us know.  Send us an article about your club and we'd love to publish it.

Street Cred

  • To hear a wonderful podcast about colonial beekeeping from Williamsburg, click here.

  • We love all of these submissions - keep it coming to help all of us explore the Internet resources about bees.
Susannah Austin, the 2014 American Honey Queen

She will be a guest speaker at the Georgia Beekeepers Association fall membership meeting in Milledgeville, GA.  

Susannah is the 20-year-old daughter of Kris and Catherine Austin of Orlando, FL.  She is a junior at the University of Central Florida, pursing a degree in biology, with hopes of becoming a veterinarian.  Susannah’s family began beekeeping through a 4-H project over 10 years ago.    

As the 2014 American Honey Queen, Susannah serves as a national spokesperson on behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation, a trade organization representing beekeepers and honey producers throughout the United States.  The Honey Queen and Princess speak and promote in venues nationwide, and, as such, Queen Susannah will travel throughout the United States during her year-long reign.  Prior to being selected as the American Honey Queen, Susannah served as the 2013 Florida Honey Queen.  In this role, she promoted the honey industry at fairs, festivals, and farmers’ markets, via television and radio interviews, and in schools.

The beekeeping industry touches the lives of every individual in our country.  In fact, honeybees are responsible for nearly one-third of our entire diet, in regards to the pollination services that they provide for a large majority of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. This amounts to nearly $19 billion per year of direct value from honeybee pollination to United States agriculture.  

For more information on Queen Susannah’s Georgia visit and to schedule an interview, contact Clay “Bear” Kelley at 229.322.5025.
Passage from Tammy Horn's  BEES IN AMERICA

Named in honor King George III, a new English colony was established in 1733 by Perceval, Oglethorpe, and Associates.  Georgia has a twofold purpose, according to historian William Sachs: "The colony was to serve as an armed buffer zone against the Spanish in Florida and as a place where debtors could be given a fresh start."  By the time the Moravians moved to Savannah, they found that bee trees were already there.  By 1770, honey bees had spread to Natchez, Mississippi.  According to historian Everett Oertel, wild honey bees were already established in Alabama by 1773." 


Where's the Bear????
Photo sent in by Ricky Moore - any idea how he got this image?


Upcoming Events

Tara Beekeepers Association is having its annual short course September 6, 2014.   Cost is $65 per person, and there is a family rate.  The course will be held at the Kiwanis Building in Forest Park.  If you would like to attend or know someone who would like to attend please check our website or give us a shout!

GBA Fall Meeting Sept 19 -20 at the Hampton Inn in Milledgeville, GA.  To register for the fall meeting, click here.  Rooms are reserved with a discount at the Hampton and Comfort Suites.  See the GBA website for more information.

Hahira Honeybee Festival, September 29 - October 4 in downtown Hahira.  For more information, visit the website

Palm Beach County Beekeepers Association is hosting the Florida State Beekeepers Association Conference in  West Palm Beach, Florida at the Embassy Suites.  Dates:  Oct. 2, 3, 4, 2014Updated information here.


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
$89 + tax /night includes breakfast
Other area hotels:

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

Days Inn
2551 N Columbia Street
Milledgeville, GA 31061

Comfort Suites
2621 N Columbia St
Milledgeville, GA 31061

The Final Buzz
We wish ya'll a very Happy Fourth of July and Happy Birthday to the beautiful USA! 
Thank you to all of you who sent us a link, a recipe or their responses to our  "Ask 10 Beekeepers a Question... ."   We would love to continue to develop sharing beekeeping knowledge across the state of Georgia.
We are looking for whatever your contribution is and we are especially happy to get your photos.  Please send us what you thoughts and suggestions and all your clubs' upcoming events.  

     Linda & Gina