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December 2004


Vol. 15 No. 4                    December 2004

Editor: Jennifer Berry, Agricultural Research Coordinator

Georgia Beekeepers Association Fall 2004 Meeting

The Georgia Beekeepers Association fall meeting, which was hosted by the UGA bee lab September 24-25, was a huge success. Close to 100 people were in attendance. Speakers included Jeff Pettis, Sue Cobey, David Tarpy, John Rudeaseal, Dann Purvis, Jamie Ellis and Dr. Delaplane. Vendors included Rossman Apiaries and Dadant. Friday evening, JM and Frieda Sikes dazzled the crowd with a delicious low country boil tossed with the finest shrimp one could find. During dinner we were entertained by the delightful bluegrass tunes provided by the Hog Mountain Boys. An evening to remember.

fig 1Dr. Delaplane serves himself a second helping, thanks to JM and Frieda Sikes.
fig2The crowd enjoys fine food and good music at the bee lab.

fig3Jimmy Carmack and Fred Rossman enjoy the evening.

During the business meeting, new officers were elected; Bill Owens replaced Robert Brewer as president, Cheryl Idol replaced Virginia Webb as our newsletter editor and Harold Watkins replaced Sonny Swords as a board member. The high attendance award, three years in the running, went to the Tara beekeepers association. Rebecca Watkins took “best in show”, and Cindy Bee was awarded an achievement award for her outstanding dedication to beekeeping in the state. This year’s Beekeeper of the Year award went to Durant Warwick which was presented by last year’s recipient Bob Binnie. The Georgia Beekeepers Association spring meeting will be held in Perry, Saturday, February 19th, with the board of directors meeting Friday night. Check our website or the Georgia Beekeepers Association website at for detailed information.

fig4Durant Warwick proudly displays his Beekeeper of the Year award.
fig5PN Williams presents a plaque to Cindy Bee for her outstanding commitment to beekeeping in Georgia.

Finally, during a break in the meeting, all willing volunteers were photographed on the front porch of the Horticulture farm house. This photo will be one of many for a 2006 calendar depicting beekeeping in the state of Georgia. The calendar will be given to all participants of the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) meeting next year in Ohio. There will also be copies available at our next GBA fall meeting. Don’t forget, the EAS meeting will be coming to Athens, Georgia in 2006. Will be looking for volunteers in the near future.

We titled this one, “Welcoming Committee.”We titled this one, “Welcoming Committee.”

Dr. Selim Dedej Graduates from UGA and Dr. Jamie Ellis Returns Home from South Africa

Selim Dedej completed his doctorate in Entomology this past summer and will be saying goodbye to Georgia next month. Selim and his family will be moving to College Station, Texas where Selim has accepted a post-doc position at the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. Gig em Ag! We are very proud of Selim and his accomplishments while attending UGA. Since his arrival as a visiting Fulbright Scholar in December of 1999, Selim has published five articles in refereed journals and completed six experimental projects. We are sorry to see him leave, however happy for his many achievements during his stay here in Georgia.

Congratulations Selim!




Last year, Jamie Ellis received his doctorate from Rhodes University in South Africa and has since returned home to Georgia and the UGA bee lab. In March, Jamie accepted a post-doc position at the UGA bee lab with his primary research focusing on the ecology and control of small hive beetles. We are happy to have Jamie back, bringing with him his wife Amanda, who will begin her doctorate program this spring under the direction of Dr. Delaplane.

New Information from APHIS Concerning U.S. Bee Imports and Exports

Ban on bee exports:

As of last month there is now a ban on bee exports to the European Union (EU).

At present, the United States is not authorized to export queen bees and queen bumble bees (Apis mellifera and Bombus spp.) to the EU. The restriction is in place because APHIS can not certify that the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) is a notifiable disease/pest in the entire United States. This certification statement is found in the most current export health certificate (Annex I, Commission Decision 2003/881/EC), “Specimen health certificate for queen bees and queen bumble bees, and their attendants, intended for consignment to the European Community.” Therefore, APHIS must not endorse this or any other export health certificate for bees to the EU. It is important that the U.S. does not inadvertently ship any bees to the EU while negotiations regarding this issue are ongoing.

Bee imports into the United States:

Under the Honeybee Act (7 U.S.C. 281-286), the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to prohibit or restrict the importation of honeybees and honeybee semen to prevent the introduction into the United States of diseases and parasites harmful to honeybees and of undesirable species such as the African honeybee. The Secretary has delegated responsibility for administering the Honeybee Act to the Administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Regulations established under the Honeybee Act are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 7, part 322 (referred to below as the ``honeybee regulations'').

 On November 22, 2004, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) issued a final rule which amends the following pest permit. In summary we (APHIS) are amending the regulations for the importation of honeybees and honeybee semen and the regulations governing the importation of bees other than honeybees, certain beekeeping byproducts, and used beekeeping equipment. Among other things, we are allowing honeybees from Australia and honeybees and honeybee germplasm from New Zealand to be imported into the continental United States under certain conditions, imposing certain conditions on the importation into the United States of bees and related articles from Canada, and prohibiting both the interstate movement and importation of honeybees into Hawaii. This action also consolidates all of our regulations concerning all bees in the superfamily Apoidea. These changes are intended to make these regulations more consistent with international standards, update them to reflect current research and terminology, and simplify them and make them more useful. For more information click on the following link.

A Synopsis of the Research Conducted This Year at the UGA Honey Bee Lab

 This has been an exciting year for us at the bee lab. With the arrival of Dr. Jamie Ellis there has been a flurry of new research projects on small hive beetles (SHB). Recently, we completed a study exploring hygienic expression of European honey bees towards capped brood that has been oviposited in by SHB. In a second study, Jamie tested the effects of ApiLife, bottom screens, and hive placement on SHB entry into colonies. Finally, he is completing a toxicity study where he is testing the sub-lethal effects of coumaphos, Apistan, and ApiLife on all SHB life stages.

 There have been several on-going projects continued this year. Our queen breeding project entered its second year of selection with promising results. December completes the first year of a study designed to determine the economic threshold for SHB alone and in the presence of Varroa mites. Upcoming projects include a biological control project where we will test the effects of available biological control agents against SHB pupae in the soil. This project was funded by The Georgia Beekeepers Association. There are several other projects in the works for early next spring examining sub-lethal effects of synthetic miticides on honey bee behavior and overall colony productivity. We’ve also received a grant from the EPA to test the effects of IPM (bottom screens and Russian queens) on delaying the onset of Varroa economic thresholds and increasing beekeeper profitability. Carl Webb, Bob Binnie, Lloyd Allison, Jim Driggers, Bill Owens, and Jesse McCurdy are cooperators on this grant. We are fortunate to have such a generous group of beekeepers in the state. Numerous times in the past Carl Webb and Bob Binnie have been cooperators in research projects not only donating their time but also their colonies and bees. We would have been hard pressed getting these projects off the ground if it wasn’t for their help. Contrary to popular belief, the UGA bee lab receives no research money from the university. We are responsible for funding our research projects, maintenance costs and repairs on our lab facility and vehicles, paying our part- and full-time employees, purchasing office equipment and supplies and maintaining our colonies and equipment. Every dime we receive for research comes from either competitive grants (like USDA or EPA), the Buzz fund or other beekeeping organizational grants like the Honey Board or EAS. Therefore, without the cooperation of beekeepers like the ones listed above, we would be unable to afford attempts in research projects requiring large numbers of colonies. We thank them and the state of Georgia should thank them since they are dedicated to helping all Georgia beekeepers overcome the two biggest pests we face today - small hive beetles and Varroa mites.

Management Calendar: December – February in Georgia

 We’re just a few weeks away from winter “officially” being here, however, the cold weather has already made its presence known. All floral resources are absent, and temperatures have dipped below the freezing mark in most areas of the state. Honey bee colonies have formed their winter cluster and are now set to endure a period where they must survive on the honey and pollen supplies stored in the hive. There are three basic causes of winterkill: starvation, disease, and queenlessness. If proper fall management strategies were followed (strong viable queen, adequate supply of honey and pollen, colonies maintained in a disease and pest-free condition and well constructed hives protecting bees from extreme climatic conditions) then colonies should have no problem surviving the winter period.

 Despite a beekeeper’s most careful winter preparations, it may be necessary to make a midwinter inspection of colonies to determine if they are alive or in need of food. With fall flows reported across the state to be below average and with fall temperatures above average, our bees have been more active, thereby consuming more stored honey supplies. If colonies are too weak, combine them with stronger ones. Small clusters rarely survive the winter, even in Georgia where the winters are mild.

 Fortunately in the south we frequently have warm days with temperatures reaching into the 50s-70s depending on the region. This allows the beekeeper to open and inspect any colony in question. Lifting colonies from the rear is a quick method for determining quantities of honey stores. If the colony is light, mix a heavy 2:1 (sugar:water) syrup solution and feed them with internal division board feeders, inverted plastic pails, buckets or gallon zip-loc baggies atop the cluster, and top feeders. Do not rely on Boardman entrance feeders in cold weather since the bees are unable to leave the cluster in order to feed. Avoid feeding your colonies poor quality feed like brown sugar, “mystery” feed, re-melted candy, pancake syrup, molasses, fermented honey and corn syrup with industrial food additives. These contain indigestible components that can have unknown and negative dietary consequences on bees. It can also cause dysentery. Stick to pure table sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

 Hive protection is another consideration. During times of colder weather, mice love the warm accommodations provided by honey bee colonies. To keep out these unwanted intruders, it is suggested to use an entrance reducer or mouse guard. Usually guards made of metal provide the best protection since mice can not chew through them. These entrance reducers also provide protection from cold drafts.

 Once February arrives, don’t forget to re-check colonies for honey stores and a viable queen. Colonies are gearing up for the upcoming nectar flow with increasing populations, therefore supplies will be dwindling. If pollen supplies are low it’s a good idea to put pollen supplements in the colony.

 This is also a good time of the year to do repairs, build new equipment and order queens and packages for next spring. Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a joyous new year.

From the Descendents of Mutiny on the Bounty

 The following announcement was released by the Pitcairn Island police and customs officials. Friends of Pitcairn and visitors to the island are asked NOT to send or bring honey, other bee products, or used hive equipment or clothing to Pitcairn. As many of you know, the Pitcairners have begun to expand their beekeeping efforts, and the island hives have recently been declared 100% free of disease. In order to keep the hives pristine it is very important that the island not be accidentally exposed to products of bees from other areas that could contaminate the Pitcairn bee population. The Pitcairners and the bees thank you very much!

Electronic Delivery of Georgia Bee Letter

If you would like to receive Georgia Bee Letter via email, send me your address at If you have sent me your address and not received GBL, please send it again. We sometimes experience computer viruses on campus. Also, notify me if there are changes to your club meeting times or contact persons.

How to Get Georgia Bee Letter

Ask your county Extension agent to put you on the mail list. GBL can be received electronically by emailing your request to . If you receive multiple copies, please tell your county Extension agent.

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 County Extension Office

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

Wally Batchelor
P.O. Box 71425
Newnan, Georgia 30271
(770) 328-3472

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 Pokowitz, 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

Bill Lynch, President
60 Yates Road
Hampton, GA 30228
(770) 707-2627

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