HOME PAGE OF THE OGLETHORPE COUNTY BEE CLUB


Monday, 20 April 2015, 6:00 pm. Club Meeting
The Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau
6:15 pm, Dinner; 7:00 pm, Guest Speaker and Business Meeting
Slade Jerret, co-owner of Jarrett Apiaries
Queen Rearing

Monday, 18 May 2015, 6:00 pm. Club Meeting
The Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau
6:15 pm, Dinner; 7:00 pm, Guest Speaker and Business Meeting
Virginia Webb, co-owner of MtnHoney.com
Preparing Honey for Competition


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 often a potluck meal at 6:15 pm preceeding the 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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20 April 2015 Meeting - Slade Jerrett

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club will have its regular monthly meeting on Monday, 20 April 2015 at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau at 925 Athens Road (Highway 78) in Crawford. Directions are Here. Doors will open at 6:00 and there was a covered-dish dinner at 6:15. Contributions are welcome but not necessary.

Slade Jerret 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 will speak about their queen-rearing business. It will be Slade's first visit to our Club and it should be a very interesting event!
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18 May 2015 Meeting - Virginia Webb

The Oglethorpe County Bee Club will have its regular monthly meeting on Monday, 18 May 2015 at the Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau at 925 Athens Road (Highway 78) in Crawford. Directions are Here. Doors will open at 6:00 and there was a covered-dish dinner at 6:15. Contributions are welcome but not necessary.

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 will return 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 will talk about preparing honey show entries and the 2009 meeting of the Apimondia International Apicultural Congress.
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14 - 16 May 2015 Young Harris College - University of Georgia Beekeeping Institute

The famous Young Harris Beekeeping Institute will have its 24th Annual Event this year during 14 - 16 May 2015. This has always been a great opportunity to learn about beekeeping, test for various levels of certification and just to meet the top beekeepers in the state and beyond. Registration opens in early March. Please see YHC - UGA Beekeeping Institute for more details.
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The Club plans to attend the following Events

28 March 2015 Heritage Day in Lexington

04 April 2015 Seed Swap in Crawford

16 May 2015 Marigold Festival in Winterville

12 September 2015 Honeybee Festival in Buford. Date tentative

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The Club plans the following Events

24 October 2015 OC Bee Club Bee Class Workshop in Winterville.
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Workshops

The OC Bee Club has now three demonstration colonies 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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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 2015 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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16 December 2013 Meeting - Joe Conti

Our meeting started with a covered-dish dinner. Food was plentiful and good. We also tasted, most of for the first time, Mead wine made from honey. One was locally made and one was a commercial Mead. They were different, but both were robust, somewhat sweet, and if available would likely become a favorite beverage.

Officers for 2014 were elected during the Business Meeting that followed. They are: Chairperson, Betty Ward; Vice-Chairperson, Carol Williamson; Treasurer, Ted Adams; Secretary, Glenn Galau; Communications Chairperson, Ed Anderson; and Program Co-Chairpersons, Carol Willamson, Betty Ward and Ed Anderson.

Our speaker was Oglethorpe beekeeper and educator Joe Conti who reviewed the book Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation by Tammy Horn.

More images are at 2013 Meetings.
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OCBC Meeting, 18 November 2013   OCBC Meeting, 18 November 2013   OCBC Meeting, 18 November 2013
OCBC Meeting, 18 November 2013   OCBC Meeting, 18 November 2013   OCBC Meeting, 18 November 2013

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2013
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18 November 2013 Meeting - John Newham

The Officers of the Bee Club met at 6:15 to discuss future plans for the club.

Our speaker was the veteran beekeeper John Newham of Johnston Family Farms and past president of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeeping Associaton. John talked about a host of beekeeping topics.

Highlights included measuring the bee space of your equipment, especially of used supers. Frames should be 1/8 inch from the bottom and 1/4 inch from the top. Use Walter T. Kellley Frame Pullers, they are far superior to less-expensive sheet metal versions. He carries three Queen Catchers with him at all times.
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John Newham at OCBC, 18 November 2013   John Newham at OCBC, 18 November 2013   John Newham at OCBC, 18 November 2013
John Newham at OCBC, 18 November 2013; Frame Puller and Bee Feeder   John Newham at OCBC, 18 November 2013; Queen Bank Frame   John Newham at OCBC, 18 November 2013; Queen Bank Frame disassembled

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2013
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27 October 2013 Workshop

Three persons participated in an inspection of the two demonstration hives on Black Snake Road. One hive is a 10-frame and the other is an 8-frame, each started earlier in the year from nucs. They both have one deep brood box and an additional medium super intended for overwintering. They have been fed occasionally and are now being fed with rap;id feeders.

It was great weather for a workshop. They inspected both hives, frame by frame. The eight-frame colony still has little honey while the ten-frame hive has substantial stores. The feeders of both hives were refilled.
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Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 27 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 27 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 27 October 2013
Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 27 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 27 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 27 October 2013

Photos by Carol Williamson © 2013
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21 October 2013 Meeting

We had a discussion amongst ourselves about a wide variety of beekeeping topics, including our experiences the past season, our plans for next year, and beekeeping practices we had tried.
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Discussion at OCBC, 21 October 2013   Discussion at OCBC, 21 October 2013   Discussion at OCBC, 21 October 2013

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2013
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05 October 2013 Workshop

Eight persons participated in an inspection of the two demonstration hives on Black Snake Road. One hive is a 10-frame and the other is an 8-frame, each started earlier in the year from nucs. They both have one deep brood box and an additional medium super intended for overwintering.

It was great weather for a workshop. We inspected both hives, frame by frame. Bees were bring in pollen and nectar. Both hives were strong and had brood and some capped honey. We added a hive beetle trap to one hive and a rapid feeder to each hive. It was rewarding to see several members work hives for their very first time. A big thank you to all who attended!
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Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 05 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 05 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 05 October 2013
Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 05 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 05 October 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 05 October 2013

Photos by Carol Williamson © 2013
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16 September 2013 Meeting - Keath Delaplane

Our guest speaker was University of Georgia Professor and Director of the UGA Bee Lab, Dr. Keath Delaplane. He had just arrived back in Georgia after his second summer in York, England and we were honored to be the first to see the preliminary data from the work he and colleages were finishing up at the end of their second season.

'Honeybee Sex' was the topic of his research in York. He started by describing how drones from many colonies came together and fly together as a 'comet' along a prescribed circuit. Although no drones survive for more than one season, these circuits remain the same from year to year. How new drones each year recognize the circuit remains a complete mystery.

Virgin queens are attracted to these flying comets of drones and then mate, on the average, with about 15 drones in quick succession. Their sperm is deposited in a storage organ, her spermatheca, and the stored sperm in it is used over many years to fertilize her eggs to produce worker bees, and new queens if some of her eggs are raised as queens.

Most studies conclude that the sperm from multiple drones mix in the spermatheca so that each egg has an equal probability of being fertilized by the sperm of any of the multiple drones. Thus the workers and derived queens in the colony will have one of the same 15 or so different fathers throughout the many years of the life of the queen. This is called 'Polyandry' for multiple fathers; that is, there are over time the same 15 or so paternal (male parent) genotypes in the colony's workers. It has been presumed that this large genetic diversity under one roof increases productivity, fitness and disease and pest resistance.

The hypothesis being tested at York was that there is some advantage of having many paternal genotypes (Polyandry) in the colony and that at least one of these putative advantages would increase with the number of inseminations. That is, the more paternal genotypes in the colony workers at any particular time, the better. For instance, a particular paternal genotype might condition superior comb building; another might condition superior capping; another might condition superior exploitation of new nector or pollen resources.

Sperm from 15, 30 or 60 drones were collected, mixed, and artifically inseminated into virgin queens. The sole control was naturally-mated queens. Replicates of each treatment were used to establish colonies during the first season and then several behaviors of the resulting hives was recorded during the second season. These behaviors were considered to be 'group function' behaviors in that they were likely the product of collaborative behavior of workers. Brood production, new comb production, mite concentration and new resource discovery were measured.

The incomplete data indicated that there were statistically significant better results in brood production and mite concentrations with inseminations of sperm from increasing number of drones, and that there were possible trends toward improvement in the other two measures with inseminations of increasing number of drones. These results are remarkable, and strongly support the hypothesis that polyandrous colonies are more productive. They also suggest that improvements in performance would result by any methods that result in increased numbers of matings of queens, or at least to artifically inseminate queens with many more drones than commonly practiced.

A remarkable talk!

More details are at 2013 Meetings.
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Keith Delaplane at OCBC, 16 September 2013

Photo by Glenn Galau © 2013
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25 August 2013 Workshop

Ten persons participated in an inspection of the two demonstration hives on Black Snake Road. One hive is a 10-frame and the other is an 8-frame. They were started earlier in the year from nucs. They both have one deep brood box and an additional medium super intended for overwintering.

Both hives were strong, but had very little honey. The medium supers still contained undrawn foundation. The queen was found in the 10-frame hive. We plan on feeding both hives with 2:1 sugar water.
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Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 25 August 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 25 August 2013   Workshop at the OCBC Hives, 25 August 2013

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2013
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19 August 2013 Meeting - Bill Owens

The guest speaker was Bill Owens of Owens Apiary and Georgia Bee Removal. Having learned about honeybees from his dad, Owens converted his single hive hobby into a successful business. In addition to honey production, Owens' business Georgia Bee Removal removes unwelcome honeybee colonies from homes and businesses around the state. Owens has served as Chairman of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association, President of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, and Vice President of the Eastern Apicultural Society. He is presently Webmaster for the Georgia Beekeepers Association. In 2006 Bill became the first beekeeper in Georgia to earn the highest beekeeping certification: Master Craftsman Beekeeper, a title which he alone still holds.

Bill visited the Club on 20 August 2012 when he talked about his bee removal business, on 21 March 2011 when he told us of the discovery of Africanized bees in Georgia and the Best Practices that beekeepers should follow to ensure that they do not collect, maintain, or distribute Africanized bees, and on 19 April 2010 when he described the laws of Georgia that applied to beekeeping and honey production and sale.

Tonight he told us of the tricks he used in his beekeeping practice, keeping it simple and to the point. Topics included: 1) Do you have a queen?; 2) Finding the queen (if you really have to); 3) Buying a queen (get a local queen, again if you really have to; 4) Requeening; 5) Marking a queen; 6) Marking a hive; 8) Feeding; 9) Honey-bound hives; 10) Preventing a swarm (only one sure way); 11) Making splits; 12) Making increases; 13) When to add supers; 14) Bloom dates; 15) Marking frames (colored thumbtacks).

More details are at 2013 Meetings.
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Bill Owens at OCBC, 19 August 2013   Bill Owens at OCBC, 19 August 2013   Bill Owens at OCBC, 19 August 2013
Bill Owens at OCBC, 19 August 2013   Bill Owens at OCBC, 19 August 2013   Bill Owens at OCBC, 19 August 2013

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2013
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15 July 2013 Meeting - Keith Flaute

We were delighted to have Crawford Beekeeper and Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association officer Keith Flaute. He has been keeping bees since 2010 and has two hives and an unused top bar hive in Athens. Unfortunately, he lost his hives this year (due to a robbing event and going queenless/laying worker) and is "bee-less" until next spring. He is actively involved in the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association as Vice-Chairman (since 2011) and self-titled, "CTO" (Chief Technology Officer). Keith graduated from The Ohio State University with a zoology degree and now works in a lab making animal vaccines, so keeping bees was a way to re-connect with his zoology background.

He spoke about how beekeepers can use technology to better communicate with one another to share information, knowledge and topics of common interest. He also told us about our neighboring club, Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association. It meets the first Monday of every month at the UGA Honey Bee Lab at the UGA Horticulture Farm, 1221 Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville.
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Keith Flaute at OCBC, 15 July 2013   Keith Flaute at OCBC, 15 July 2013   Keith Flaute at OCBC, 15 July 2013

Photos by Glenn Galau © 2013
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17 June 2013 Meeting - Keith Fielder

We were pleased that Keith Fielder returned yet again to talk with the Club. 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.

Keith Fielder is County Coordinator and Agent, Putnam County Cooperative Extension. 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.

Keith gave another interesting presentation this evening: 'The Taste of Honey.' He talked about various honeys, honey plants, how to taste honey, what makes a good tasting honey, and lastly about mixing various honeys to obtain a truly great tasting honey. Following Keith's talk members enjoyed red grapes and crackers with cheese and honey. Some members brought their honey which Keith tasted. He told them what kind of honey they had.
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20 May 2013 Meeting - David Arnal

David Arnal spoke about how he maintains his bee hives naturally. David employs unique methods to manage his hives and to control Varroa mites. David also started a gourmet bottled honey business in the mid-1990s which was copied by the Savannah Bee Company.

The following is from his biography: David Arnal is a naturalist at heart. When he was quite young he became an avid birdwatcher, being able to name all of the songbirds in his yard by the age of 6. As a schoolboy ishing, hunting and hiking occupied his days. His beekeeping endeavors began in 1988 at Clemson University where he had the opportunity to tend five established beehives. Before long his entire kitchen was overrun with 2 liter soft drink bottles full of honey. Since that time David's fascination with the honey bee and her secrets have been not only an agricultural pursuit but also a significant intellectual study; today this pursuit has become the basis of his avocation.

While at Clemson University David studied Architecture where he graduated cum laude and was the undergraduate visual arts award winner. After Clemson he worked for the US Forest Service co-designing a master plan for the Snake River Canyon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Graduate studies led David to Harvard University in 1990 where his design background proved invaluable in receiving a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture with an emphasis in Landscape Ecology. His studies included detailed studies of bison herd management in Yellowstone National Park, a cost-benefit analyses for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and designing an ecotourism resort for the Wampanoag Indian Reservation on Martha's Vineyard. Upon graduation from Harvard, David moved to Belize Central America, where he worked as a designer for the Belize Zoo and for the new National Museum of Belize.

In 1994 David began working with environmentally conscious real estate developers, including the renowned developer of Hilton Head Island, Charles Fraser. Projects over this decade long period included architectural planning efforts on the Town of Celebration for the Walt Disney Company, designing the seaside villages of WaterColor and Camp Creek on the Florida Panhandle for the St. Joe Company, and planning the sale of environmentally sensitive Deer Island to the State of Mississippi for preservation from development. Simultaneously David launched his gourmet bottled honey business on Hilton Head Island in the mid-1990's.

Although it began as a part-time business, David's gourmet honey business prospered. It was copied by the Savannah Bee Company, who has successfully nationalized the gourmet honey business. Today David's beehive products business is once again based on Hilton Head sland, SC after being headquartered in Atlanta, GA and formally known as the Bee Factory, LLC. David's background as a designer coupled with his understanding of the beekeeping and honey businesses have helped him launch a new value added business model. This model is structured around the development of value added gourmet food products that have honey or other beehive products as one of their main ingredients. These products are extensively market ested to verify taste, texture, palatability and acceptance by the end user. Farmer's markets, focus groups and in-store tasting demonstrations are used to gain this customer feedback and to efine the product. Next the supply chain, production team and distribution network are identified and organized around a comprehensive business plan that emphasizes quality control. Third, retailers are identified and these products are launched into the marketplace with the appropriate promotional efforts, emphasizing the natural and healthful benefits of honey and the honey bee. Finally, a dedicated sales team is built around each product line to maintain strong elationships with not only our retailers but also with the customer whose loyalty is the foundation for our success. And these set of facts form the basis of our mission to provide our customers "Better living from the Bee Hive...Naturally".
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David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013   David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013   David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013
David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013   David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013   David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013
David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013   David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013   David Arnal at OCBC, 20 May 2013

Photos by Carl Williamson © 2013
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15 April 2013 Meeting - Paul Vonk

On Monday 15 April 2013 our speaker was Paul Vonk. He has designed a computer-based hive montoring system, described at hivetool.org. Paul received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a Masters in Business Administration from Vanderbilt University. Paul has worked designing industrial process control systems, repairing Department of Defense aircraft data acquisition systems, and as a system administrator and programmer for internet service providers. Paul works full time for Bob Binnie at the Blue Ridge Honey Company pursuing his love of nature and his passion for electronics. Paul's topics for the night were "From Waggle to Wi-Fi: An Early 21st Century Observation Hive", "Where'd the Bees Go?", "Two Threats to Beekeeping", plus others.
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18 February 2013 Meeting - Deborah Sasser

Deborah Sasser of Sasserfrass Hill Bee Farms in Augusta Georgia was our speaker at the 18 February 2013 Monthly Meeting. On 21 June 2010 Deborah and her mentor, Mr. Charles, gave a very interesting presentation about general beekeeping practices, bee venom therapy, and hive products. She kindly accepted an invitation to return and brought us up to date about her experience and business.

Deborah talked about how she manages colonies, showed us fantastic images and videos of bees, and entertained questions from the Club. She also had lotion bars, honey and other hive products for sale.

While being a television producer and photographer, Deborah was introduced to beekeeping several years ago by Mr. Charles, a master beekeeper who has kept bees for over thirty-five years. Deborah then took the beekeepers certification class through the Aiken Beekeepers Association in South Carolina and started keeping bees in 2008. They take care of about 70 hives and provide bee removal and bee venom therapy services. The Farms sell honey, lotion bars and lip balm. You may contact Deborah through the website or at (706) 855 5240.
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Please contact Glenn at glenn@ocbeeclub.org for requests directed to local beekeepers.
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Modified 19 March 2015 by Glenn Galau   |   Web Design by Glenn Galau

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