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September 2004


Vol. 15 No. 3                    September 2004

Editor: Jennifer Berry, Agricultural Research Coordinator

Georgia Beekeepers Association Fall 2004 Meeting

The University of Georgia Honey Bee Lab will be hosting the 2004 Georgia Beekeeping Association’s fall meeting September 24 & 25. We have an outstanding list of speakers for this year’s meeting, so you don’t want to miss out.

Sue Cobey – Staff Apiarist at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Dr. Jeffery Pettis – Research Scientist, ARS Bee Research Lab, Beltsville, MD
Dr. David Tarpy – Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University
Dr. Keith Delaplane – Professor, University of Georgia
Dr. Jamie Ellis – Post Doctoral Fellow, University of Georgia
Jennifer Berry – Apicultural Research Coordinator, University of Georgia
Nabor Mendizabal – University of Georgia Graduate Student
Barry Smith – Beekeeping Inspector, Georgia Department of Agriculture
John Rudeseal - Inspector, Georgia Department of Agriculture
Cindy Bee – Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association
Dann Purvis – Purvis Brothers Apiaries, Blairsville
Robert Brewer – President, Georgia Beekeepers Association

Pre- registration for members is $20.00 if payments are made on or before September 15. 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 $30.00 for non-members. If you have questions about registration, please contact GBA treasurer, Evelyn Williams at (404)-366-6404 or by e-mail at

Fig 1

Do you still need a reason to attend this year’s fall meeting? How about the Friday night crab boil and awards dinner. For the past two years Mr. & Mrs. JM Sikes have provided the best low country crab boil this side of the Mississippi. This year they plan to do it again. If you haven’t had a chance to attend a GBA meeting in the past, this would be the meeting not to miss.

Fig 2

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 24 to qualify. Even if you have never entered your bee products in a honey show before, there is no time like the present. An award ceremony, which will include best in show, will follow the low country crab boil Friday evening.

fig 3

Several vendors plan to attend the meeting as well. Rossman apiaries and Dadant & Sons plan to bring beekeeping supplies and equipment. You can purchase equipment on the spot or order it from them directly to be shipped to you later.

The Board of Directors will meet Thursday, September 23 at 7:00pm at the UGA bee lab. All GBA officers, directors, and association members are encouraged to attend.

The GBA has blocked off a number of rooms at the Microtel Inn located in Athens. The room rate is $55.00 for a double and will be available until September 13th. Call now to reserve your room at (706) 548-5676 or toll free at (877) 663-8737. There are many other hotels in the Athens area to choose from if the Microtel Inn doesn’t suit your needs.

Directions to 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 RaceTrac 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 RaceTrac 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
Applicants to any level are asked to check their intention on the registration form and pay the appropriate fee. Questions about the program may be addressed to GMBP director Robert Brewer at (706) 896-2024.

Appling County Bees Stolen

Jerry Shumans, commercial beekeeper in Baxley, reported a yard of bees stolen sometime the night of August 26-27. A total of 38 hives were removed from the site, with hive stands thrown aside to make room for a truck which rutted the site with tracks. The Appling County Sheriff's department has collected evidence from the scene. Jerry reports that the 38 hives were all 10-frame equipment, mostly new, and all branded "Shumans." He suspects that the thieves may try to rent or sell the hives to area farmers for cucumber pollination. Any information about these stolen hives can be directed to the Appling County Sheriff's department at (912) 367-8120, Appling County Extension director James Clark at (912) 367-8130, or Mr. Shumans at (912) 367-2243.

University of Georgia Queen Breeding Program

Two years ago the UGA honey bee lab undertook an ambitious, long-term breeding project to combat some of the issues facing beekeepers today. Our goal is to reduce pesticide use in the beekeeping industry while simultaneously selecting for traits of economic interest. The program design consists of a closed population breeding scheme to select simultaneously for (1) reduced colony Varroa populations, (2) hygienic behavior, (3) increased brood production, (4) brood solidness, (5) high honey production, and (6) gentleness. With mite resistance on the rise for coumaphos (CheckMite™) and fluvalinate (Apistan™) it is imperative that a mite resistant stock be developed while still retaining other important qualities like honey production.

In 2002 we set up 50 5-frame nucleus colonies with 2 frames of brood and bees and a queen. The queens came from a variety of different sources (purchased and donated), maximizing genetic variation in our initial stock. In 2003 we re-queened the 50 breeder colonies with inseminated daughters from the original mother queens. Next, every colony was tested for each of the parameters in our selection program. After the data were analyzed, four superior queens were selected and over-wintered. Spring 2004, we re-queened each of the breeder colonies with daughters grafted from the four superior queens. These daughters were open mated and once satisfactory egg laying began, testing resumed. In the table below are the results comparing the 2003 and 2004 generations. Between 2003 and 2004 there were significant improvements in net colony weight gain, brood production and hygienic behavior, but no improvements for brood solidness (an indicator of inbreeding), Varroa mite numbers, or gentleness.




Colony weight gain (kg) during nectar flow



Brood area (cm2)



% brood solidness (higher = less inbreeding)


86.2 %

hygienic behavior (higher = more hygienic)



Varroa mites per 24 hr sticky sheet



Stings on leather patch, 120-sec drag test



Next year we will repeat the same procedure of re-queening, testing and selection. Hopefully, in the near future, we will have genetically-improved queens available to Georgia beekeepers. We will keep you informed.

Management Calendar: September - November in Georgia

The summer season is coming to an end; however, there are still numerous tasks that need to be accomplished before winter arrives. This is a critical time of year for our colonies, especially if the nectar flow in your area was marginal. Populations are large which translates into plenty of hungry bodies to feed. Spring or early summer honey stores may be quickly exhausted, therefore colony inspections are crucial. I receive numerous calls this time of year from beekeepers that their colonies have died. Upon inspection, I find they starved. This usually occurs when beekeepers take their colonies a good distance from home to take advantage of particular nectar flows. They leave their colonies assuming a flow is imminent only to return several weeks later to find no flow transpired; therefore their colonies perished. Starvation is particularly disturbing since it can be avoided. 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 the winter just around the corner. Remember, single hive bodied colonies will need 35 - 40 pounds of honey to last the winter dearth.

Another task is to monitor your colonies’ Varroa mite levels. Not only has your bee population grown over spring and summer, but your pest populations may have grown as well. 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 on how to monitor mite populations in your colonies check out 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 chemical treatments. If you used CheckMite™ last time, treat with Apistan™ this time. You also have a third option available to you this year, Api-Life VAR. This product uses essential oils as its active ingredient and has shown significant success against Varroa. It is available under a section 18 registration and can be purchased through Brushy Mountain Bee Farm (1-800-233-7929).

You may to consider preventive treatments against AFB and EFB, as well as vegetable oil treatments if you are concerned about tracheal mites. You can learn more about these disorders at Finally, resolve any queen problems you may have in your colonies. Weak or old queens result in small colonies which rarely survive winter. If colonies are weak, combine them with other weak colonies or add to an existing strong one.

Once again I am hearing reports of a poor sourwood flow from our northern beekeepers. However, there were some spots that did make a few supers of honey, but it was spotty at best. I say again…maybe next year.



Electronic Delivery of Georgia Bee Letter

If you would like to receive Georgia Bee Letter via email, send me your address at for the next month. I will be changing addresses soon because I have had too many problems with the “bugs” server. I apologize to those of you who sent me a request in the past few months. Those requests were lost due to a virus in the server. Please send me your address again. Also, notify me if there are changes to your club meeting times or contact persons.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