HOME PAGE OF THE OGLETHORPE COUNTY BEE CLUB


Saturday, 15 August 2015, Honey Bee Jamboree and Picnic
11 am - 2 pm Rain or Shine, Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau

Monday 17 August 2015 - No August Monthly Meeting

Monday, 21 September 2015, Monthly Meeting - Bill Owens

Monday 19 October 2015 - No October Monthly Meeting

Saturday 24 October 2015 - Beekeepers Short Course
8 am - 5 pm, Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau

Welcome to the Oglethorpe County Bee Club. Trying to manage honey bees necessarily makes one humble if you are not already there, and we think our name accurately describes us as an informal group of neighbors. Many of us are members of the Georgia Beekeepers Association and the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association now hosted by the Campbell Research and Educational Center at the University of Georgia Horticultural Farm outside somewhat distant Watkinsville, but our focus is more local. It is first to make us beekeepers and then beekeepers of our county neighbors.

We are here to especially help beginning beekeepers. Beekeeping is a unique mixture of tradition, experiment, and outright guesswork in managing social insects with minds of their own. One must first rely on others for bees, for advice and help in handling them, and for processing of the honey. The vagaries of weather and of insect behavior can be daunting. There are substantial costs in equipment and time before personally enjoying the pleasures and rewards of beekeeping. We are here to help get you to that space. And the rewards are many, whether measured in number of hours simply enjoying watching the bees or in the number of gallons of honey or pounds of wax or pollen.

Our Monthly Program and Business Meeting are at 7:00 pm on the third Monday of the month at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau at 925 Athens Road (Highway 78) in Crawford. Directions are Here. There is a potluck meal at 6:15 pm preceeding the Meeting. The Educational Program is then held, usually with an outside speaker, followed by the Business meeting.

These pages detail our history and what we are doing and what we are learning. We hope you will find them of interest and will consider joining our Club. We will be pleased to meet you!
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15 August 2015 Honey Bee Jamboree

On Saturday, 15 August 2015, the Oglethorpe County Bee Club and the Eastern Piedmont Bee Club will hold their Second Annual Honey Bee Jamboree and Picnic from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau.

Last year's Jamboree was a huge success, even though it rained, and this year's should be even better.

The event will be held rain or shine. Bring family and friends and potential club members are also welcome. It will be a great opportunity to meet local beekeepers and learn about beekeeping.

There will be a picnic with the basics provided. Please bring a simple side dish to share. There will be games for children and some exhibits by local artists and craft persons. And bring your honey from this year for the Black Jar Honey Contest! There will be cash awards for the best-tasting honey as determined by blind taste tests by all of those in attendance.
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21 September 2015 - Monthly Meeting

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club will hold its regular monthly meeting on Monday 21 September 2015 at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau. Doors open at 6 pm followed by a pot luck dinner. A program and business meeting follow at 7 pm. Bill Owens will return for his seventh visit to the club. Please see his short bio listed under the speakers for the 24 October 2015 Beekeepers Short Course.
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27 September 2015 6th Annual Honeybee Festival in Buford

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24 October 2015 - Beekeepers Short Course

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club is sponsoring a Beekeepers Short Course from 8:00 am to 5 pm on Saturday 24 October. It will be held at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau.

Doors open at 8:00 am for coffee and snacks and for sign in and payments. Classes start at 9:00 am and will end at 5:00 pm. Lunch and breaks will be provided.

Speakers will be: Bruce Morgan 'Equipment and Getting Started'
Cyndi Ball 'Treasures from the Hive'
Will Dix 'Year Around Bee Keeping
Bob Binnie 'Hive Management'
Joe Conti 'Bee Biology'
Bill Owens 'Harvesting and Extracting Honey'
Dan Harris 'Diseases and Pest Management'
Bios of the speakers can be found Here.

Fees are payable by check or cash at the door. The first member of a family pays $25 and other members of the family pay $10. Everyone gets Lunch and Breaks and a Packet of Course Notes. Copies of First Lessons in Beekeeping by Keith Delaplane will be available for purchase at $10 a copy at the door.

Seating is limited, so Advance Registration is required. You may register with Glenn Galau at 706 207 8668 or you may fill in the Registration Form online.
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Workshops

The OC Bee Club now has three Demonstration Hives at 536 Black Snake Rd, near Arnoldsville in the Wolfskin District of Oglethorpe County. Directions are
Here. These workshops are intended for the education of new and more experienced beekeepers. Please contact Glenn Galau at 706 207 8668 or at glenn@ocbeeclub.org to be placed on a Workshop email list to be notified of upcoming visits to the colonies.
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15 June 2015 Meeting - Joe Conti

Club Vice-Chairperson Joe Conti talked about making hive splits. He is a long-term beekeeper and has been with the Club for many years. Most recently, he has led Workshops with the Club's Demonstration Hives. These events included inspecting colonies, spliting colonies, and harvesting honey.

Member David King passed around what he thought was a Japanese Hornet which in numbers can destroy hives very quickly. Jennifer Berry later identified it as a European Hornet.
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15 June 2015 Meeting with Joe Conti; Joe Conti   15 June 2015 Meeting with Joe Conti: Slide   15 June 2015 Meeting with Joe Conti; Joe Conti
15 June 2015 Meeting with Joe Conti; Audience   15 June 2015 Meeting with Joe Conti; David King   15 June 2015 Meeting with Joe Conti; European Hornet

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2015
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13 JUNE WORKSHOP - HARVESTING HONEY

Seven Club members harvested about 15 medium frames of honey from the Club's Denomstration Hives on 13 June 2015. The harvest was led by Joe Conti with the help of Ted Adams.

In the first row of photos, Joe and Ted attempt to untangle an extension cord to run from a bee (leaf) blower to the nearest exterior electrical outlet at the resident's house. Upon removal of virtually empty supers on the first colony to be examined, we hit paydirt, an almost perfect comb of capped honey with few attendent bees. Into a collection box it went.

In the second row, while collecting frames of honey, we redistributed partial frames of honey and brood within and between colonies and attended to other duties such as removing burr comb. Frames of brood had large numbers of nurse bees and if we were moving it to another colony we did not want them introduced to a new environment so Joe just thumped the frame on the ground, knocking most of the bees onto the ground. They immediately aggregated and started to walk toward their parent hive. One of us put a stick in front of them as a bridge into the entrance, which most of them used. An amazing demonstration of bee behavior.

In the third row of photos, ten medium frames of honey in a box is very heavy and required two persons to move it to the bee blowing station. Ted Adams uses the leaf blower to remove most of those bees that were not removed earlier with a brush or by hand. Finally, three 10-frame medium supers of honey destined for Joe's extractor. The yield was over five gallons of excellent honey which we will sell for the first time as our own genuine Club honey. Thanks especially to Joe Conti for leading the harvest and extracting the honey!
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13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey   13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey   13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey
13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey   13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey   13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey
13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey   13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey   13 June 2015, Harvesting Honey

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2015
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18 May 2015 Meeting - Virginia Webb

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club had its regular monthly meeting on Monday, 18 May 2015 at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau at 925 Athens Road (Highway 78) in Crawford. Doors opened at 6:00 pm and there was a covered-dish dinner at 6:15 pm.

Virginia and Carl Webb own MtnHoney in Clarksville GA. They have won many awards in local, state, national and international honey shows. Over the past 19 years, they have received more than 100 1st Place Awards including 20 Best of Show Awards for honey and beeswax entries. In 2005 at the first ever World Honey Show held in Dublin, Ireland the Webb's Sourwood Honey won "BEST HONEY IN THE WORLD". Again in 2009, at the World Honey Show, held in Montpellier, France, the Webb's Sourwood Honey won the Gold Medal for "BEST HONEY IN THE WORLD". They are the only beekeepers to win this award twice. Their Web site is MtnHoney.com.

Viginia Webb returned for her second visit to our Club. On 16 August 2010, Virginia Webb put on her judging lab coat and cap and kept our club members enthralled as she described the various categories of honey, chunk honey, boxed comb, wax and wax candles and how they were to be prepared and packaged for judging. For each she had examples and stories of good and not-so-good entries. She is an informative and dynamic speaker.

Her husband Carl spoke to our Club on 18 August 2014 about their Russian honeybee breeding as a member of the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association, including its history, the goals and methods used in its breeding program and the responsibilities of its breeders. He also described the characteristics of the breed, especially its resistance to tracheal and varroa mites. Carl encouraged us to try the breed.

Virgina talked about preparing honey show entries, the 2009 meeting of the Apimondia International Apicultural Congress and the bid by the United States to host the 2019 Apimondia. The Club later voted to donate $100 to that effort.
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18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb
18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb
18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb
18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb   18 March 2015 Meeting with Virginia Webb

Photos by Carol Williamson © 2015
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20 April 2015 Meeting - Slade Jerret

Our speaker for the evening was Slade Jerret. Slade and his wife Kristie own Jarrett Apiaries near Baldwin in northeast Georgia. It is a full-service bee business with their own equipment, hive products, nucs and package bees for sale. Slade spoke about Maintaining Hives and about their Queen-Rearing business. It was Slade's first visit to our Club and a very informative event!
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16 March 2015 Meeting - Jennifer Berry

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club had a meeting on Monday, 16 March 2015. Doors opened at 6:00 and there was a covered-dish dinner at 6:15.

Jennifer Berry, Research Coordinator and Lab Manager at the University of Georgia Bee Lab outside Watkinsville, gave an excellent commentary on this year's behavior of colonies and predictions for the near future. She also answered a wide variety of questions from Club members and guests.

Jennifer gave presentations to the Club on 18 October 2010 and 19 September 2011 and helped inspect and distribute nucs to several Club members on 12 May 2010. To quote from the above on-line cv, "She is actively involved in all aspects of honey bee research and education for the state of Georgia. Her primary areas of research have been a queen breeding program and Integrated Pest Management work for varroa mite control. The breeding project is a long term program in which resistant stock is continually selected for as well as traits for honey production, brood production and gentleness." She manages about 300 colonies at the Bee Lab and about 200 colonies of her own.

Jennifer travels extensively and speaks to local, state, national and international beekeeping associations. She was 2006 President of the Eastern Apicultural Society and successfully held that year's meeting in Young Harris, Georgia. She writes a monthly article for Bee Culture magazine.

Commentary at 2015 Meetings.
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16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry   16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry   16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry
16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry   16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry   16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry
16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry   16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry   16 March 2015 Meeting with Jennifer Berry

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2015
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15 March 2015 Demonstration Hive Workshop

In order to try to prevent it from swarming, Club members split one of our Demonstration Hives at 536 Black Snake Rd, near Arnoldsville in the Wolfskin District of Oglethorpe County. The ten-frame colony No. 1 was split. The new deep box of the derivative colony, designated colony No. 3, received several frames of brood and eggs from the No. 1 deep brood box and frames of undrawn foundation. Frames of brood and honey from the two medium boxes of colony No. 1 were added to a new medium box placed on colony No. 3. The entrance was reduced with a segment of a pine tree branch.

One new medium boxes with new foundation was also placed on top of both colonies No. 1 and 2 and each received metal queen excluders above the first medium box. None of the colonies were fed. The new equipment was a perfect fit for what we needed. Thanks to Lisa Longo for purchasing it and painting it the morning of the split.

Photos and commentary to follow.
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07 March 2015 Demonstration Hive Workshop

Club members and guests did a complete inspection of our two Demonstration Hives at 536 Black Snake Rd, near Arnoldsville in the Wolfskin District of Oglethorpe County. Both were strong. Colony No. 2 is eight frame with one deep brood box and one medium box. It had a moderate infestation of small hive beetles. Colony No. 1 is ten frame with one deep brood box and two medium boxes. It had a moderate infestation of Varroa mites. Drone brood on the bottoms and tops of frames were removed to reduce the future increase in mites. Both queens were seen and brood patterns were fine. Colony No. 1 was considered to be a good candidate for swarming and thus for splitting in the near future.

Photos and commentary to follow.
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16 February 2015 Meeting - Ed Bez

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club had a meeting on Monday, 16 February 2015. Doors opened at 6:00 and there was a Mexican dinner at 6:15 prepared by Lisa Longo and Carol Williams with contributions of side dishes by other Club members.

We began the meeting at the regular time of 7 pm. The speaker was Dr. Ed Bez, president of the Biblical Botanical Garden Society, Oxford GA. Dr. Bez is an avocational archeologist and Master Gardener with 25 years of excavating in the Middle East. He is a biblical scholar specializing in the Flora of the Bible. He lived in Isreal with his wife, Rachel, becoming certified in biblical flora and their care and propagation.

He is partner with his son, Mark, who is a bee farmer in central Flordia who owns Sweet Oasis Apiary. Dr. Bez lives with his wife in Conyers and serves as Education Pastor at The Church in Covington. He designs and installs biblical gardens around the USA.

He recognizes the critical role of bees for pollination. Flora and bees are inseparable. His lecture, Bee-dassled by History: Bees in the Archeological Record, demonstrated that relationship from ancient times to modern.

He began by showing images of honey bees and relatives of honey bees trapped in amber. Other evidence suggest that honey bees were in existance as long ago as 130 million years before present. Cave paintings in Spain from 13,000 years before present are interpreted to show humans collecting bees to eat, following the habits of local bee-eating birds, Merops apiaster. He noted that at a site from 5,500 years before present in the mideast, honey had been discovered in well-sealed vessels. It was still editable, though had a layer of hydrogen peroxide on top, a break-down product of honey (which is found in low concentration in new honey and contributes to the antimicrobial property of honey).

Dr. Bez then recounted the use of honey and propolis in more recent times. The Egyptians used propolis to glue hair in wigs; honey was often a gift to the god; the Romans established centers for beekeeping across their empire and declared that non-aristocrats could not eat either strawberrys or honey upon pain of death.

Upon the collapse of the Roman Empire in about 450 AD, beekeeping survived in the hands of Monks and Nuns of the Catholic Church. In early 1500, Henry VIII of England, in his separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church, prohibited beekeeping by the Catholic Church.

Dr. Bez highly recommended the book Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation by Tammy Horn. This book was reviewed by Joe Conti during the 16 December 2013 meeting. Dr. Dez kindly donated his honorarium back to the Club for its purchase of that book for its library.

More images are at 2015 Meetings.
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Dr. Ed Bez   Dr. Ed Bez   Dr. Ed Bez
Dr. Ed Bez   Dr. Ed Bez   Dr. Ed Bez

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2015
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19 January 2015 Meeting - Bruce Morgan

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club met on Monday, 19 January 2015. We began the meeting at the regular time 7 pm. The doors opened at 6:00 pm. Our new president, Lisa Longo, thought it would be nice to start the year with a meal together before the meeting. We had the meal ready by 6:15 for the speaker and any club members who care to join us.

The speaker was Bruce Morgan. Bruce and his wife own and operate Morgan Apiaries in Hancock County. Bruce was named Georgia Beekeeper of the Year for 2013 by the Georgia Beekeeping Association. An avid beekeeper and member of several beekeeping associations, Bruce enjoys teaching and sharing his love of bees. Bruce gave a presentation on the value of nuc boxes in the beeyard. He emphasized that nucs were beneficial because they could be used to:
1. Help prevent swarming (place frames from overcrowded hives into nucs)
2. Help producing colonies stay strong (add nuc frames to your producing colonies if they are in need of
    more foragers)
3. Help deal with queen issues (need a queen, raise one in a nuc box; or use the one in the nuc box to
    requeen a producing colony)
4. Help boost a weak colony (nuc bees can be added to a weak colony, for example, one just coming off
    a difficult winter)
5. House a swarm (easier to maneuver a nuc box than a larger box; or, transfer newly captured swarm
    into a nuc box to let them get established in a smaller space = greater success)
6. Make money (if you are interested in selling nucs = $145/nuc)
Bruce recommended that a good setup for a nuc is to have 2 frames of eggs, 1 frame of brood, 1 frame of pollen/honey , and 1 empty frame, preferably with drawn comb (for a laying queen if you have one); if these frames are taken out of 1 producing hive, you will have to feed that producing hive because of the severe drain on that population. It would be better to remove frames of this sort from a combination of several hives rather than just one. Also, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 1 nuc for every 2 producing hives.
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15 December 2014 Meeting

The Club had its Annual End-of-the-Year Holiday Covered Dish Dinner at its monthly meeting on 15 December at 6:30 pm at The Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau. We also elected club officers and other Board members for 2015 and received the yearly reports of the 2014 officers. Of special note was the presention of a very nice award to our outgoing 2014 Chairperson Betty Ward.

More images are at 2014 Meetings.
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Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014   Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014   Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014
Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014   Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014   Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014
  Betty Ward, Year-end Meeting, 15 December 2014  

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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15 November 2014 Visit to Blue Ridge Honey Company

There was a field trip on Saturday 15 November 2014 to the new Blue Ridge Honey Company store in Lakemont, Georgia. This was held along with members of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association. Owner Bob Binnie, who most of us know from his many presentations to our Club, gave us a tour of his honey processing operation and showroom. His prices are very good for honey and beekeeping equipment. Afterwards members enjoyed lunch at a local BBQ.
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20 October 2014 Meeting - Dan Harris

Dan Harris returned for his second visit to the club, the first being on 19 September 2011. He is the owner of Booger Hill Bee Company of Danielsville and Marietta. He also offers several introductory beekeeping classes, for instance at Smith Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw and The State Botanical Gardens of Georgia in Athens.

His topic was overwintering. He also answered questions on a wide variety of subjects.
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Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club   Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club   Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club
Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club   Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club   Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club
Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club   Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club   Dan Harris, 20 October 2014, OC Bee Club

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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15 September 2015 Meeting - Bill Owens

Bill Owens returned for his fifth visit to the club. Descriptions of his earlier visits can be found on the meeting pages for 19 April 2010, 21 March 2011, 20 August 2012 and 19 August 2013.

Tonight he primarily answered written questions about his tips and tricks about beekeeping. As usual, an informative and exciting visit.
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Bill Owens, 15 September 2014, OC Bee Club   Bill Owens, 15 September 2014, OC Bee Club   Bill Owens, 15 September 2014, OC Bee Club

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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13 September 2014 Honeybee Festival

The Club had a booth at the 5th Annual Honeybee Festival held at the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center in Buford. This event was part of a much larger number of events throughout Gwinnett County over three days. Our participation was judged a great success.
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18 August Meeting - Carl Webb

Our speaker for the evening was Carl Webb. He and his wife Virginia own MtnHoney in Clarksville GA. They have won many awards in local, state, national and international honey shows. Over the past 19 years, they have received more than 100 1st Place Awards including 20 Best of Show Awards for honey and beeswax entries. In 2005 at the first ever World Honey Show held in Dublin, Ireland the Webb's Sourwood Honey won "BEST HONEY IN THE WORLD". Again in 2009, at the World Honey Show, held in Montpellier, France, the Webb's Sourwood Honey won the Gold Medal for "BEST HONEY IN THE WORLD". They are the only beekeepers to win this award twice. Their Web site is MtnHoney.com

On 16 August 2010, Virginia Webb put on her judging lab coat and cap and kept our club members enthralled as she described the various categories of honey, chunk honey, boxed comb, wax and wax candles and how they were to be prepared and packaged for judging. For each she had examples and stories of good and not-so-good entries.

Tonight, Carl introduced us to the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association, including its history, the goals and methods used in its breeding program and the responsibilities of its breeders. He also described the characteristics of the breed, especially its resistance to tracheal and varroa mites. Carl encouraged us to try the breed.
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Carl Webb, 18 August 2014, OC Bee Club

Photo by Glenn Galau © 2014
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19 July 2014 Honeybee Jamboree and Picnic

The members of our Club and the members of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association held a joint Honeybee Jamboree and Picnic at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau on Saturday 19 July 2014 from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Although rain forced us inside (except for our cook who did the hot dogs and hamburgers), spirits were not dampened and the event went very well indeed. There was a meal with lots of donated food items, exhibits of bee-related items by members, and lots of talking. Perhaps the main event was a Black Jar Honey Contest with honey harvested this year. There were eleven entries which were each assigned a number and those in attendance tasted each (some many times!) and then voted, only once, for the best-tasting honey by its number. After lunch, the votes were counted and the winners were: Third Place ($10 Prize) Joe Conti; Second Place ($20 Prize) Ted Adams; and First Place ($40 Prize) Cory Momany. In the blind taste test, rumor has it that none of the prize winners voted for their own honey.

Thanks to many members that helped make the event such a success!
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Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   The honey tasting begins, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014
Tasting the eleven honey entries, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   Indoor bean-bag game with honeybee targets, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   Bee products and fresh produce by Wildwood Farms, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014
Jewelry by Sghilliard Glass Studio, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014
Third Prize Winner, Joe Conti, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   Second Prize Winner, Ted Adams, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014   First Prize Winner, Cory Momany, Joint Bee Jamboree, 19 July 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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21 June 2014 Workshop

Several members attended a workshop on 21 June 2014 led by member Joe Conti. Both of the Club's two demonstration hives were thought to be strong enough to create at least one derivative five-frame nuc. This is just one kind of many ways to make splits.

In fact, two nucs were assembled from frames taken from the two hives. The queen of one of them was found and temporarily stored in a queen cage while the frames from her colony were examined and sorted. She was eventually returned to her colony.

Each nuc had frames with one- or two-day-old eggs, some of which the bees will raise as new queens.
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Working Hive 2: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014   Frames from the Brood Chamber: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014   Capped Honey: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014
Catching the Queen in a Queen Cage: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014   The Queen in a Queen Cage: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014   More Sorting of Frames: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014
Assembling the Parent Colony: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014   Both Hives Reassembled: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014   One of Two New Five-Frame Nucs: Making Splits Workshop, 21 June 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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16 June 2014 Meeting - Perry Walden and Keith Fielder

Perry Walden gave the club an introduction to himself and his role as a Plant Protection Field Agent for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. He works in District 05, which covers Barrow, Clarke, Greene, Gwinnet, Jackson, Lincoln, Madison, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Wilkes counties.

His duties include Live Plant Grower and Live Plant Dealer Inspections, Pest Surveys, Export Certification Programs, and Apiary Inspections. He briefly reviewed the objectives and the details of each of these programs. As regards beekeeping, he described Georgia law regarding the sale of bees and how apiary inspections are performed to control bee pests and certify hives and bees for export from Georgia.

Although not a part of his duties, he gave an overview of guidelines for honey producers and the circumstances in which licence from the state is required. In general, a licence is not required for sale of honey by the producer at their own premises or business or other circumstances in which the honey is sold directly to the end user (festivals, fairs and farmers markets).
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Keith Fielder returned yet again to talk with the Club. This time the subject was how to make colony splits. Keith was one of our first guest speakers back on 15 February 2010 when he showed us how to assemble hive equipment, and he also talked with us on 20 June 2011 about the biology of the honeybee and on 17 June 2013 about the taste of honey.

Keith is the County Coordinator and Agent of the Putnam County Cooperative Extension and a Georgia Master Beekeeper. He has held several offices in the Georgia Beekeepeer's Association, most recently completing a term as the Middle District Director of the Association. He spends a lot of his professional and personal life promoting and teaching beekeeping.
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Perry Walden and Ted Adams, 16 June 2014   Keith Fielder, 16 June 2014   Keith Fielder and Betty Ward, 16 June 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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17 May 2014 Marigold Festival

Many of our members attended the annual Marigold Festival in Winterville on 17 May 2014, this being the six consecutive time we have been there upon its revial in 2009. As usual, we had our banner, honey tasting, and sales of the Club's honey. A very enjoyable day in Winterville.

More images at 2014 Workshops.
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Marigold Festival in Winterville, 17 May 2014  Marigold Festival in Winterville, 17 May 2014  Marigold Festival in Winterville, 17 May 2014
Marigold Festival in Winterville, 17 May 2014  Marigold Festival in Winterville, 17 May 2014  Marigold Festival in Winterville, 17 May 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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19 May 2014 Meeting - Will Dix

Our speaker was Will Dix, a Georgia Master Beekeeper. He will talk with us about honeybee diseases and varroa mites. Will is committed to integrating research-proven methods of beekeeping witn the common-sense knowledge of people who have been keeping bees for years.

Will gave a comprehensive review of the symptoms and treatments of bacterial, fungal, viral, and insect pests that affect honeybee colonies. These included: 01) Bacterial American Foul-Brood, 02) Bacterial European Foul-Brood, 03) Fungal Chaulk Brood, 04) Fungal Microsporidium Nosemas, 05) Viral Deformed Wing Virsus, 06) Viral Chronic Bee Paralysis, 07) Viral Sac Brood, 08) Insect Trachial Mites, 09) Insect Varroa Mites, 10) Insect Greater Wax Moths, and 11) Insect Small Hive Beetles.
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OCBC Meeting, 19 May 2014   OCBC Meeting, 19 May 2014  Will Dix and Perry Walden: OCBC Meeting, 19 May 2014
OCBC Meeting, 19 May 2014   Will Dix: OCBC Meeting, 19 May 2014  OCBC Meeting, 19 May 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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21 April 2014 Meeting - Cyndi Ball

Our speaker was Cyndi Ball. She gave a very interesting talk about Honey to our Club on 15 March 2010. Cyndi lives on a 7 acre farm where she and her family raise their own meat, grow their own vegetables and fruit, use the goat's milk to drink and make cheese with, and have fresh eggs from their chickens. Their experiences with homesteading, organic farming, homeschooling, and more are detailed at www.thelazybfarm.com, the blog lazybfarm.wordpress.com and other venues.

She has been beekeeping for about 14 years and received her certification for beekeeping in May 2009. She also hosts a beekeeping course at her place, The Lazy B Farm in Statham, GA, in which Bill Owens and she instruct a series of 5 three-hour monthly classes for those who are serious about beekeeping as a hobby and want to acquire their own bees. It started this past year in November; the classes begin with the very basics and build up until you attend the Honey Harvest in June. Several members of the Oglethorpe County Bee Club have taken the excellent course.

She gave us a brief history of how they started their farm and got into beekeeping. She related that she can now test applicants for Bee Certification (21 June 2014) and she and Bill Owens are teaching a Junior Beekeeper Course to eleven students aged 7-8 yr.

She outlined several general senarios regarding making splits. For each senario, she asked the audience for what questions should be asked and then what the audience would recommend based on the her answers to the initial questions. These included: 1) Discovery of multiple capped queen cells; 2) No queen found; 3) Using a strong colony to save a weak queenless colony; 4) One week after a swarmed colony; 5) and Lots of bees with 1 day eggs.

An excellent talk with exploration of the advantages of alternative practices.
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Cyndi Ball: OCBC Meeting, 21 April 2014   Cyndi Ball: OCBC Meeting, 21 April 2014 Cyndi Ball: OCBC Meeting, 21 April 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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05 April 2014 Seed Swap

The Club staffed a booth at the 17th Annual Old Timey Seed Swap in Crawford. Originally organized by the UGA Anthropology Department and Professor Bob Rhodades in 1998, this is a celebration of heirloom seeds and traditional agriculture as folks share stories and swap seeds.
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29 March 2014 Heritage Day

Several of our members attended the Heritage Day Festival in Lexington hosted by Oglethorpe Fresh during its five-year anniversary.
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17 March 2014 Meeting

Members Carol Williamson, Jim Knapp and Ted Adams related some of their experience with swarms. According to Thomas Seeley (2010) in his book Honeybee Democracy, primary swarms usually are led by the resident queen and are the strongest. Secondary and subsequent swarms are weaker and led by new, virgin queens. Signs of an upcoming swarm include lots of drones, most of the brood is capped, empty brood cells are being used for honey and pollen storage, and swarm queen cells are on the edges of frames (superceedure queen cells are usually in the middle of frames).
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17 February 2014 Meeting - Walter McCannon

Our speaker was local beekeeper Walter McCannon. He had earlier talked with us on 19 November 2012. Tonight he gave us a history of his beekeeping and many proceedures that he believed helps him in managing his bees. He has had as many as 25 hives, which he called a full time job. Get rid of the 'hobby beekeeper' mindset. When dealing with bees, as with many other animals, it takes time, professionalism and intuition; to treat it as a hobby will not work.

He was growing vegetable and fruit crops (truck farming) in the mid 1980's when a co-worker suggested that honey bees might increase his yield. It did. At the time, A.I. Root had a local distributor and Walter got his first supplies there. He attended the late April beekeeping weekends at the University of Georgia and still has fond memories of Dr. Dietz and the lessons learned there (Glenn's Note: So do I!).

This was way before the introduction of the major pests now facing beekeepers. But Walter still follows several practices he learned back then from Dr. Dietz. Foremost, keep the veil but throw away the gloves. They get in the way of gently moving frames without killing bees. Gloves only provide an opportunity to transmit disease and pests between colonies. Have a bucket of water to wash hands and tools before opening another colony to reduce transmission. Also use the bucket to wash the area around any stings to reduce the chemical signals from a sting that induces other bees to join in on the fun.

Spend the winter constructing and refurbishing hive bodies and supers. Prepare new frames. Assemble at least two five-frame nucs to catch swarms and rescue weak colonies. Be prepared for the major honey flow from the Tulip Poplar in April. It is often starts abruptly and lasts only a few weeks. Your colonies must be ready to exploit this major resourse, so check your bees between mid February and early March.

If you start new colonies with package bees, do so as early as possible and expect to feed them for at least a full year. To reduce wax moth problems, reduce the entrance during mid summer. During the Tulip Poplar honey flow, get a rough idea of how much nector the bees are bringing in by merely lifting the back of the hive. Use this as a guide to when to add honey suppers.

Preventing Swarms: Walter said he had little luck in doing splits to prevent swarms. Rather, during at least one thorough inspection per year, check the brood pattern to detect a failing queen. Seeing this, you should combine weak colonies.

Catching Swarms: Contact local Pest Control Companies and County Extension Agents to alert them that you are interested in collecting swarms. Use 'drumming' to settle swarms (ring a bell, honk a horn, beat on a car). Be inventive. At least at first, keep them away from your other colonies, they can be mean. Swams must know they have to get their new colony ready to overwinter. They are almost always the most productive he has seen. Walter ended up noting that we are not feeding ourselves. Bees are very important for fruit and vegetable crops.
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Walter McCannon, 17 February 2014   Walter McCannon, 17 February 2014   Walter McCannon, 17 February 2014

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2014
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20 January 2014 Meeting - Nolan Kennedy

Nolan Kennedy of Covenant Valley Farm & Gifts in Colbert spoke on the topic of Certified Naturally Grown Honey.

[From the website] Covenant Valley Farm is a family-owned and operated venture that began in 2009. We use organic principles, and raise our animals without the use of chemicals, hormones or antibiotics. The pastures for our cattle are free of pesticides/herbicides, and free of synthetic fertilizers. We currently offer Certified Naturally Grown honey, which our Honeybees produce without the aid of chemicals or antibiotics, handcrafted lip balms and beeswax candles, and grass-fed Angus beef. We believe that by reducing the environmental and nutritional stresses on our animals we can improve the quality and nutritional value of our food system. We integrate our farming practices and manage our lands in a manner that creates a healthy environment which benefits all our bees, poultry, cattle, and soil together as a whole. In recognizing our responsibility to care for God's blessings, each of our animals is treated humanely for the entire length of time that they are on the farm. Our ultimate goal is to provide our family and our customers with healthier food options and high-quality, natural products.

Nolan's presentation included his professional background in the context of why his family bought land east of Athens and soon started farming according to guidelines of the Certified Naturally Grown organization. He then led us through a tour of the regulations for beekeepers who want to have their production certified by that organization. He ended his talk by emphasizing the advantages of farming under that organization's regulations. He then entertained questions from the audience.

This was the first successful attempt to access the web for these presentations. The Farm Bureau has Wi-Fi, but it is not available to the organizations that use its facility. On the spur of the moment, we tried using a Galaxy S-3 phone as a Wi-Fi Hotspot during Keith Flaute's talk in July, but the old laptop used at that time had issues with Wi-Fi. This time we used the Galaxy S-3 USB Tether function which had been tested several times with a modern laptop; it worked great!

Club members approved the changes to the 2011 Bylaws which have been proposed by the Club's Board of Directors. A link to it is in the left side-bar menu on all of the Club's webpages or one can access the page directly by clicking Here.
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Please contact Glenn at glenn@ocbeeclub.org for requests directed to local beekeepers.
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