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Aug. 2005 Newsletter


Vol. 16 No. 2                    August 2005

Editor: Jennifer Berry, Agricultural Research Coordinator

Africanized Bees Officially Reported in Florida

Since their arrival in Brazil in the 1950s, Africanized honey bees have slowly made their way north, finally crossing the border into Texas in 1990. Once in the United States, AHBs headed west towards California, sparing states east of Louisiana. Their movement was closely monitored and we in Georgia felt somewhat safe from an eastward invasion. Not any longer. Established populations of AHBs have been found in Florida, with the majority concentrated in and around the Tampa Bay area. It is believed that they didn't arrive by land, but rather from ships or perhaps introduced on purpose. So far, AHBs have been found only in traps managed by the Apiary inspection division. There have been no reports of AHBs in managed beekeeping operations.

To the untrained eye, AHBs are similar in size to European bees, however there are subtle physical differences. Behaviorally, they act completely different. AHBs are extremely defensive with a tendency to sting in large numbers. They have a low tolerance to any kind of activity in and around their colony and will greet any unwelcome guest with a sharp hello. They are also more difficult to manage because of the frequency in which they swarm and their flighty, nervous behavior. Bottom line, they are not enjoyable to work.

There have been 14 fatalities since their arrival in the US, along with hundreds of non-fatal attacks. The young, the elderly and tethered animals are at most risk. Another issue for concern, especially for the beekeeper, is the possible media sensationalism that may erupt after the first stinging episode. Public hysteria could lead to a ban on beekeeping in certain counties and urban areas throughout the Southeast. However, the public should not be left in the dark about AHBs. They need to be educated about AHBs and at the same time informed about the importance of non-Africanized, managed colonies. If you don't belong to a local or state beekeeping organization, now is the time to do so. The larger the organization, the more influence it may have with state or local governments. Beekeepers will also need to be informed about certain behavioral changes to look for. For instance, if AHBs enter into Georgia, the behavior of feral swarms may change. At first they may seem calm as usual, but turn quite aggressive several days later.

For more information and current updates, go to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service's webpage or the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Pest Alert webpage at the University of Florida


2005 UGA Beekeeping Institute at Young Harris College

Once again, the Beekeeping Institute was a big success with over 100 participants. Annually, the Institute features a 2-track system -one for beginners and the other for experienced beekeepers. Along with the educational programs, the Institute also offers the Georgia Master Beekeeping Program, the Welsh Honey Judge qualification exam and a honey show. The Institute is held each year at Young Harris College located in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. This year's guest speakers, Dr. Mike Stanghellini from Rutgers University in New Jersey and Dr. Eric Mussen from the University of California, concentrated their lectures and workshops on pollination and management for pollination on a commercial scale. There were also eleven other excellent instructors that rounded out the two-day program.

2205 group2005 Institute instructors (L to R): Evelyn Williams, Robert Brewer, Keith Delaplane, Keith Fielder, Rose Ann Fielder, PN Williams, Jennifer Berry, Bill Owens, Paul Arnold, Amanda Ellis, Jamie Ellis.

This year's honey show was a success with numerous entries. The first place winners for the 2005 honey show were the following:


First place winner


First place winner

Best in Show

Paul Smith

Mead Dry

Randy Tudor

Extracted Light

Keith Fielder

Candles, ornamental

Rose Anne Fielder


Paul Smith


Basil Campbell


Wil Montgomery


Valerie Harris

Beeswax Cake

Keith Fielder



 Cash prizes and ribbons were awarded for first place winners. If you plan on attending next yearss institute you really should enter the honey show. There was also a new Welsh Honey Judge inductee, Nicholas Weaver, pictured below (L) with Dr. Delaplane. Nicholas is our youngest Welsh honey judge to date. Congratulations, Nicholas!


The Friday night dinner and social was held at the state fair grounds. Once again JM and Frieda Sikes provided us fresh shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes for the best low country boil yet. The evening closed with a tall tales contest with Keith Fielder stealing the show with "What to do with a skunk in your living room." Information on the 2006 Institute will be posted early next spring on our website,


Georgia Beekeepers Association Fall 2005 Meeting

The University of Georgia Honey Bee Lab will be hosting the Georgia Beekeepers Association fall meeting September 30th and October 1st, with the board of directors meeting Thursday night, September 29th at 7:00 pm. Speakers include Steve and Clarice Allgood, Virginia & Carl Webb, Joe Swaney, the UGA Bee Lab faculty and staff, and Dr. Lambert Kanga from Florida A&M University who will be speaking about the use of fungal pathogens for the control of varroa mites in honey bee colonies.

Pre- registration for members is only $20 if payments are made on or before September 19th. Registration includes lunch for both Friday and Saturday along with refreshments during breaks. Registration forms are available on the GBA website If you wait to pay at the door it will be $25.00 for members and $35.00 for non-members. For any questions about registration, please direct your calls to GBA treasurer, Evelyn Williams at (404)-366-6404 or by e-mail at

Another rewarding opportunity at this year's GBA meeting is the annual Georgia state honey show. Honey show classes include extracted light, amber and dark honey, chunk honey, cut or section comb honey, black jar, molded or dipped candles, beeswax block and mead. Participants may enter in one or all of the classes with only one entry per class. All honey and beeswax must have been produced by the submitter within the last 12 months except for mead. All honey entries are to be submitted in 3 matching jars except for the black jar which will be provided. Submit extracted honey in standard one-pound plastic or glass containers. Chunk honey may be in one pound chunk honey jars or pints. All beeswax entries must be 100% pure beeswax. Do not label the entries in any way. Stickers will be provided and numbers assigned by the Registration Steward. All entries must be submitted by noon, Friday, September 30th to qualify. Even if you have never entered your bee products into a honey show before, there is no time like the present. An award ceremony, which will include Best in Show, will follow dinner Friday evening. For accommodations, call Microtel Inn & Suites at (800) 771-7171 or go to their website at They are located at 1050 Ultimate Dr. in Athens. The GBA has a set of rooms blocked off, so mention that you are coming for the meeting.

Directions to the Bee Lab

From the Athens perimeter: Proceed to the south side of the Athens perimeter and take the exit for Watkinsville (441) south. Go to Hog Mountain Rd. (the 4th red light with a Race Trac gas station on the corner) and take a right. Just up the road on your left will be a sign for the UGA Horticulture Farm. Turn onto the dirt road just before the white house and follow the lane back to the white building with blue windows.

From the south: Head north on 441. Continue past the exit for State Road 53 to Watkinsville. Turn left at the second red light past the exit for 53. This will be Hog Mountain Rd. There will be a Race Trac gas station on your left. Just up the road on your left will be a sign for the UGA Horticulture Farm. Turn onto the dirt road just before the white house and follow the lane back to the white building with blue windows.


An Evaluation of Fruit-Boost™ in Enhancing Honey Bee Pollination of Seedless Watermelons by UGA PhD Student, Amanda Ellis

 Hybrid seedless (triploid) watermelons have been grown for over 40 years but improved varieties, aggressive marketing, and increased consumer demand have created a rapidly expanding market. Standard commercial cultivars have separate male (staminate) and female (pistillate) flowers, large sticky pollen grains, and an adhesive stigma which all demonstrate the need for active insect pollination. It has been found that pistillate diploid watermelon flowers require six or more honey bee visits to set fruit. This requirement is probably greater for triploid watermelons, which because of inviable pollen require transfer of viable pollen from staminate diploid flowers onto pistillate flowers of triploid plants. Because increased bee visitation increases fruit set, attempts have been made to increase the attractiveness of crops by spraying feeding stimulants and pheromone-based bee attractants, but with mixed results. As the number of honey bees continues to decline due to parasites such as varroa mites and tracheal mites, methods promoting increased pollination efficiency are becoming more significant. Of the handful of pheromone-based attractants, those based on queen mandibular gland (QMP, Fruit Boost™, Phero Tech, Inc.) have garnered the most promising efficacy record. It remains to test this product with seedless watermelon.

Amanda Ellis, Dr. Delaplane's PhD student, established six 20 m x 18 m experimental plots, each at the University Horticulture Farm. Three plots were treated with Fruit Boost™ at label rate and the other three served as untreated controls. Honey bee colonies were placed at each plot at a rate of 3 hives/acre.


Data collected consisted of bee observations shortly after application of attractant and various harvest parameters. For each plot, at least 180 female flowers were tagged in order to measure fruit-set. Bee activity was observed the day of the spray and on four consecutive days following. In each plot Amanda opportunistically noted bee foragers and recorded number of flower visits by an individual bee per minute. She distinguished between visits to female versus male flowers; visits were scored as contact with a blossom. A minimum of 30 observation minutes per plot were maintained, for a total of 180 observation minutes per day. At harvest she will measure for each plot the percent fruit-set (marketable fruit / tagged female flowers) and for each recovered fruit its weight (kg), seed number, and sucrose content (% Brix) of juice. Stay tuned for the results.


Testing Efficacy of Nematodes at Controlling Small Hive Beetles

At the 2004 fall GBA meeting, members voted to award a $2,540 grant to the UGA Honey Bee Lab to study biological agents for the control of small hive beetles. Jamie Ellis, the principal researcher for this project, is a recent PhD graduate from Rhodes University in South Africa and has been working with small hive beetles for several years now. Thanks to the support of the GBA, Jamie now has the opportunity to search for agents that may prove valuable in controlling small hive beetles.

Biological control works on the principle that every living organism has something that consumes or parasitizes it. This principle also holds true for small hive beetles. The agent of choice, the nematode, is an almost-microscopic worm that penetrates the bodies of many insects. Jamie chose nematodes because of their documented success against a number of other insect pests. Nematodes kill insects by accessing the insect's body cavity, regurgitating bacteria (which digest the inside of the insect), and then feeding on the resulting soup. In the process, the nematodes reproduce by the thousands, only to emerge from the insect carcass to re-infest other insects.

For this study Jamie is collaborating with Louis Tedders from Southeastern Insectaries, Inc., in Perry. Mr. Tedders is a retired USDA scientist and expert at controlling insect pests. Together, he and Jamie are testing the efficacy of six nematode species at killing beetle larvae. After laboratory studies, they have narrowed their focus to two species of nematodes, Heterohabditis indica and H. oswega. Both species have realized between 85-95% control of beetle larvae in the lab. They are now planning field trials to determine if the nematodes will locate and infest beetle pupae in the soil. They are optimistic that this will be the case, but make no promises. They must first study the data to determine if nematodes can provide good beetle control with safety to the bees. If nematodes perform poorly in the field, they will concentrate their control efforts elsewhere. If field trials prove successful, nematodes could become important management tools in an integrated scheme aimed at controlling beetles.

EPA Extends Period for Recognizing Legal Tolerance of Thymol in Honey

Thymol, the major active ingredient in Apilife VAR, is used in beehives for the control of Varroa mites. It is currently under a temporary section 18 label while EPA decides whether to make the product available nationally. The EPA has extended the tolerance for thymol residues in or on honey and honeycomb until June 30, 2007. The following states are currently approved for the use of Apilife Var under Section 18 for the control of Varroa: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.

Petition for a US Postage Stamp Depicting the Honey Bee

A few months ago, I received a notice from a gentleman who had started a petition to the stamp advisory board. The position is to create a US postage stamp depicting a honey bee. If you are interested in signing the petition or just want more information go to


Management Calendar: August -October in Georgia

Where oh where has the summer gone? I can't believe fall is just around the corner. It finally hit me this past week when I heard advertisements for Monday night football. Oh my! However, before we pack it in for the season and find ourselves resting in front of the fireplace, we have numerous chores to complete or our colonies may suffer. First and foremost is to check food stores in each of your colonies. Spring or early summer honey stores may be quickly exhausted, therefore colony inspections are crucial. Populations have grown while nectar flows diminished, which results in starvation. One day your colony may be the strongest on the block, and the next week wiped out due to starvation. If colonies are on the verge of starvation, feed immediately with a 2:1 sugar syrup solution. However, if they have enough stores but will need supplemental feeding before winter arrives, wait to feed until the end of September with a 2:1 sugar syrup solution. You don't want to stimulate the queen to begin excessive egg-laying with winter just around the corner. Remember, single hive bodied colonies will need 35 - 40 pounds of honey to last the winter dearth.

Another task to undertake at this time is to monitor your colonies'Varroa mite levels. Not only has your bee population grown over the spring and summer months, but your pest population may have grown along with it. It is a good time, if you haven't already done so, to check your colonies' Varroa mite population. If your colony has more than 60 mites on a sticky board inserted for 24 hours, it is time to treat. If you are unfamiliar with how to monitor mite populations in your colonies go to our web-site ( and click on honey bee disorders and then Varroa mites. There's information available on how to examine mite populations along with IPM approaches like using bottom screens to reduce mite infestation levels. Remember.....always rotate your treatments. If you used CheckMite™ last time, treat with Apistan™ this time. You also have a third option available, Api Life Var. This product uses essential oils as its active ingredient and has shown significant success in the removal of Varroa mites in colonies. It is now available under a section 18 and can be purchased through Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (1-800-233-7929).

Other tasks to consider are preventative Terramycin treatment for AFB and EFB (but hygienic queens eliminate the need for antibiotics) and grease patties for tracheal mite control (but genetic resistance to this pest is growing as well). Again, if you are unfamiliar with these procedures, go to our website and click on honey bee disorders. Finally, resolve any queen problems you may have. Weak or old queens result in small non-viable colonies which rarely survive the winter. If colonies are weak, combine with other weak colonies or add to existing strong ones.

Nectar flow reports that I have received sound more positive than last year, but there was variation around the State. Too much rain is one culprit.


Electronic Delivery of Georgia Bee Letter

If you would like to receive Georgia Bee Letter via email, send me your address at . Please put a reference to the GBL in the subject heading so I know you are requesting the newsletter. Every day I receive numerous advertisements or 'spam,' and I delete them immediately. If you have sent me your address and not received the GBL, please send it again. We sometimes experience computer viruses on campus which in turn have wiped out my e-mails. Also, notify me if there are changes to your club meeting times or contact persons.





                                                                            Regular Meetings

Chattahoochee Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm bimonthly, second Monday

Oxbow Meadows Nature Center, Columbus

Cherokee Beekeepers Club

7:00 pm third Thursday

Cherokee County Justice Building, Canton

Coastal Area Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm second Monday

Southbridge Tennis Complex, Savannah

Coweta Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm second Monday

Coweta Fairgrounds Conference Center

East Central Georgia Bee Club

7:00 pm fourth Monday, (bi-monthly)

Burke Co. Office Park Complex

Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association

7:30 pm first Monday

Bishop Community Center
4951 Macon Hwy, Bishop

Foothills Beekeepers Association 7:00 third Monday, February through September Banks Co. Ext Office
413 Evans St., Homer
Forsyth Beekeepers Club 6:30 pm third Monday Forsyth County Library, 585 Dahlonega Hwy, Cumming

Heart of Georgia Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm second Monday

Georgia Farm Bureau, 1620 Bass Rd., Macon

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm second Tuesday

Dunwoody Nature Center, Dunwoody

Mountain Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm first Monday

Conference room in Appalachian  Bank, Blairsville

Northeast Mountain Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm second Thursday

Northeast Georgia Regional Library, Clarksville

Northwest Georgia Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm second Monday
January through June, and also in September

Walker County Agricultural Center - Rock Spring
For more information, contact the Walker County Extension Office at 706-638-2548

Southeast Georgia Beekeepers Association

7:00 pm fourth Tuesday

Wacona School Building, Waycross

Southwest Georgia Beekeepers Association

7:30 pm last Tuesday, even months

Swords Apiaries, Moultrie

Tara Beekeepers Association (Clayton County area)

7:30 pm third Monday

Reynolds Nature Preservation


Beekeeping Subscriptions

American Bee Journal, Hamilton, Illinois 62341 (217) 847-3324
Bee Culture, 623 W. Liberty Street, Medina, Ohio 44256 (330) 725-6677
The Speedy Bee, P.O. Box 998, Jesup, Georgia 31598-0998 (912) 427-4018


Resource People for Georgia Beekeeping


Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association

Jim Harris, President
34333 Pontiac Drive
Columbus, GA 31907
(706) 563-4186

Cherokee Beekeepers Association

BJ Weeks, President
(770) 735-3263

Coastal Empire Beekeepers Association

Greg Stewart, President
124 St. Ives Way
Savannah, GA 31419
(912) 232-6734

Coweta Beekeepers Association

Charles Olsen, President
(770) 304-2737

East Central Georgia Bee Club

Edwin S. Stephens, President
522 Pine Needle Rd.
Waynesboro, GA 30830

Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association

Bill Owens, Chairman
(770) 266-6619

Foothills Beekeepers Association

Michael Gailey, President
(706) 776-1843

Forsyth County Beekeepers

Jan Payne
2926 Pruitt Road
Cumming, GA 30041
(770) 781-2959

Georgia Dept. of Agriculture

Barry Smith, Manager
Apiary Program
P.O. Box 114
Tifton, GA 31793
(912) 386-3464

Metro Atlanta Beekeepers

Robert Haywood, President

Mountain Beekeepers Association

Larry Sams, President
158 Needlemore Drive
Hayesville, NC

Northeast Mountain Beekeepers Association

John Haaseth, President
(706) 865-1085

Northwest Georgia Beekeepers Association

Rick Cline, President
P. O. Box 5
Rock Spring, GA 30739

Southeastern Georgia Beekeepers Association

Bobby Colson
945 Sinkhole Rd.
Register, GA 30452
(912) 852-5124

S.W. Georgia Beekeepers

Sonny Swords
5 - 28th Avenue N.W.
Moultrie, GA 31768
(912) 941-5752

Tara Beekeepers Association

Gary Cooke, President
(770) 507-4661

Towns County Coordinator

Robert Brewer
Georgia Master Beekeeper Coordinator
PO Box 369
Hiawassee Ga 30546
(706) 896-2024

University of Georgia

Jennifer Berry
Apicultural Research Coordinator
1221 Hog Mountain Rd.
Watkinsville, GA 30677
(706) 769-1736

University of Georgia

Keith S. Delaplane
Professor of Entomology
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-2816