News for SC Beekeepers: February 2009

Spring Meeting

The South Carolina Beekeepers will host a joint meeting with the North Carolina State Beekeepers on 6-7 March 2009 at the Baxter Hood Convention Center, York Technical College, Rock Hill, South Carolina. You will find included in this newsletter a tentative meeting program. The Baxter Hood Convention Center is conveniently located near I-77. Take exit 79 off I-77 onto Dave Lyle Blvd.-West toward the city of Rock Hill. Go approximately 1 mile and take a left on South Anderson Road. The Convention Center will be on your left just after turning on S. Anderson Road.

This will be a very informative meeting and we hope to have a good turnout of South Carolina beekeepers to welcome our beekeeping friends from the Tarheel State. You will note on the tentative program that we have some outstanding speakers scheduled for the meeting including Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine; David Tarpy and Debbie Delaney, N.C. State University; Bart Smith, USDA/ARS Beltsville, Maryland Bee Lab; Stanley Schneider, UNC-Charlotte, Jerry Hayes, Florida Department of Agriculture; and Jennifer Berry, University of Georgia. Other speakers or panelists will participate in this meeting.

You will need to preregister for this meeting. Go to our South Carolina Beekeepers website for a registration form which you will need to complete and mail with check by 17 February 2009. Or, if you prefer to receive a meeting registration packet by mail, contact Mike Hood at phone 864-656-0346 or email

The meeting program on Friday evening will include a delicious meal which will be catered by Jackson’s Restaurant, Clover. A band will perform during the meal and the dinner will be followed by our keynote speaker, Kim Flottum.  We must have an accurate headcount for the meal so you will need to pay in advance with your registration fee.  There will be a $15 extra registration fee for beekeepers who show up at the meeting and have not preregistered. 

You must make your own hotel reservations by contacting the hotel of your choice. Three local hotels (Economy Inn ($44 + tax) – Ph. 803-329-5252, Days inn ($55 + tax) – Ph. 803-329-2171, and the Wingate Inn ($92 + tax) Ph. 803-324-9000 which are all located about 2 miles from the convention center are offering beekeepers a special discount rate upon request. You must make your reservations by February 6 to insure getting the special rate.

Don’t delay; make plans today to attend this exciting meeting.

Beekeeping Short Courses In South Carolina

2008 proved to be a great year for our South Carolina Master Beekeeper Program with 248 beekeepers enrolled in certified level short courses and 32 beekeepers enrolled in a journeyman level course. Thanks to everyone who organized and provided instruction for these short courses which were taught in seven locations in the state.                               

2009 is shaping up to be another good year with certified or introductory short courses being offered in Aiken, Columbia, Greenwood, Greenville, Lancaster, Pickens, Walhalla, and York. Some of the courses have already begun and some will be starting soon. To learn more about who will be heading up the short courses in your area, contact your local Clemson University Cooperative Extension Office. 

The Bee Book – Kendal The Baker Bee

(New on the market, a meaningful gift from beekeepers to family, friends and colleagues)

Kendal the Baker Bee is a 156 page fantasy story about heroes and good deeds featuring an ordinary drone who sets out to prove he too can be a productive member of a working hive. The story follows Kendal's exploits as he dedicates his life to do good deeds wherever he goes, obstacles confronting him at every turn: the threat of killer bees, a forest fire, a honey shortage, his brother drones' despair and solving near bankruptcy problems for a little boy's beekeeper family. His adventures are capped off when he must choose life or death to sustain a mysterious power inherited by 303 queen bees in his ancestry that are blessed with the power of royal longevity.

A number of beekeepers around the country have read the book. Some like Peg Brady, wife of Mark the President of the American Honey Producers Association, and Joan Gunter, President of the Women's Auxiliary of the American Beekeeping Federation, recommend the book as a good read, inspirational and informative in its depiction of life in a hive. Librarians in major cities have loved the book, authorizing it for their branches

The book was two years in the writing after a delay of 35 years with the four page short story filed away. The author's adult children encouraged their dad, John Hartigan the author, to dust it off and expand a story that made them laugh and cry as children. Thus, the retiree of University administration at the age of 75 produced the first of several fantasies intended to create a renewed appreciation of the majesty of nature through stories of God's creatures like the honey bees.

Both children and beekeepers have inquired if John Hartigan is a hobbyist or professional beekeeper since he writes fantasy laced with factual depiction of hive life. John admits he loves the bees for their generous work on our behalf only through his extensive research and reading.

Learning of CCD sharpened John's concern for the colonies and the frustrations of the 150,000 beekeepers in the United States and millions around the world. Therefore, he thought it was only right and proper to celebrate the lives of beekeepers who dedicate their lives to make honey bees healthy, happy and productive.

Kendal the Baker Bee is a fanciful read for everyone. See (site no longer available, 5/13/2010)

Jean Hartigan, l5 Windsor Place, Albany, NY 12209, jehartiga,

Honey, I Think I’ve Blogged The Kids!

By Tim Tucker, Master Beekeeper

One of the locations on the web that offers a great deal of information on apitherapy is I hope that I am correct in stating that they are giving out new information on a regular basis and that qualifies them with official status as a "blog." Yep, that's right a blog, and in hopes of clarifying that I will defer to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia of everything that is, was or will be concerning anything in the known online universe:

"A blog (a portmanteau of web log) is a website where entries are written in chronological order and displayed in reverse chronological order. 'Blog' can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog."

In May 2007, blog search engine Technorati was tracking more than 71 million blogs.

That's right, 71 million and growing. I don't think you could keep up with the new ones being added each day and I wonder how Technorati does it. Who is responsible for counting that far and knowing that they haven't repeated a blog. Aaaaah, drats... I think that was also 63,472,954.

"Apitherapy News"  has a lot of helpful articles or "blogspots" on the web about Bee Products which include Propolis, Pollen, Royal Jelly, Beeswax, Honey and Bee Venom Therapy.

There's updated information on how honey sales are surging in the United Kingdom due to its image as a remedy as well as a sweetener and how propolis is gaining favor among doctors due to recent German studies. It also offers a vlog or video log of a process for making Homemade Honey Facial Cleanser. If you sign up for the newsletter you will receive updates almost daily on new topics that may affect our honey market and keep you up to speed on what's news and what's "blogging". While searching last year's blogspots or entries into the blog there was an interesting article on Beeswax Candles and how they are produced by the nuns at the "Convent of the Meeting of the Lord" where Quite Light Candles are produced. "We only make beeswax candles," said Mother Evdokia, "and the reason being is that beeswax is a natural product. In olden times, it was reserved for royalty, and you could pay your church dues in beeswax."... (How great would that be for us cash poor, beeswax rich beekeepers?) It seems that the sisters had become sick producing candles made from paraffin wax and their doctor told them that breathing the fumes from producing the candles with their lavender scent was like breathing diesel fumes, lavender scented diesel fumes, oh my!

Take a minute or two to head to the center of the "blogosphere" and tromp around this site and you'll find lots of informative articles on honey and all of the products of the hive and many aspects of apitherapy which is gaining in its status as a viable treatment for MS and a host of other ailments. You might even want to contribute an article to the site or "blog to the blog".

There's a library of apitherapy topics and links to other great sites that we may get into a little more detail on next time. Check into and I think you'll agree that this location on the web is a winner!

(Tim Tucker represents the Hobbyists/Sideliners SIG on the ABF Board of Directors.)

SOURCE: July-August 2007 ABF Newsletter

Averting An Invasion Of Asian Honey Bees: Are Australian Imports Worth The Risk?

By Kim Flottom

The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) hasn't, as far as I know as of Sunday, made a decision on whether to allow Australian honey bees to continue to be sent to the U.S. or not. We reported on this issue a few days ago when it finally came to light that it was the worst kept secret in two hemispheres that a new species of honey bee had been discovered in Australia as long ago as May, 2007. That bee, Apis cerana, is otherwise known as the Asian honey bee. We have what is known as the European honey bees.

Now there's not really a problem with this bee in and of itself. They are smaller than our European honey bees, and they are pretty easy to tell apart. Except there's this trade contract we have with Australia that says that if they have it, they can't send bees to the U.S. It's that simple.

What the U.S. is really worried about is not these new bees so much as the pests and predators that come along with these new citizens of that country. What viruses, diseases and other nasties lurk within is what everybody is worried about ... well, there are some other issues. Like, what is Australia doing at all its other ports to make sure this won't happen somewhere else; what is the beekeeping industry in that area; how are the captured bees being analyzed and for what problems; and how confident, really, are the Australians that they have contained the spread of this new bee?

Since this first broke however, lots of information has come to light. First off, we've known they've been there for a year or so but for some reason this just now came up as a problem. During that year they've identified many different colonies in many different locations, all in the far north of the country, about 1,800 miles or so from where the bees are raised that are sent to the U.S. DNA tests show that all these colonies originated from a single stowaway swarm aboard one lone yacht. So the original incursion seems to be fairly minor.

They've also tested these bees for a variety of viruses. It seems they already have some that exist in both Australia and the U.S. but what remains to be seen is what other, if any, viruses they have. But how do you find a virus if you don't know what to look for? The conventional way is decidedly limited in finding new viruses, but the new techniques developed by the U.S. Army and the BeeAlert Lab in Montana have that skill down pat. Maybe they can send some of those bees along to see if they can find anything. Wouldn't that make sense?

U.S. Beekeepers have been heard from, that's for certain. I haven't counted heads but it seems the majority of U.S. beekeepers are inclined to want Australian bees to stay in Australia for the time being, at least until there are no more unknowns about them. Of course there are bee businesses that have been built on the availability of these bees early in the season and would be in trouble if the Aussie bee faucet were shut. They use these bees themselves for pollination early in the season and maybe for additional pollination jobs later. They may also sell them to other beekeepers after the almond season to use for honey production or additional pollination jobs. Or they may just sell them to other beekeepers to replace winter (or CCD) losses, or to increase their holdings.

Farmers who need honey bees ... regardless of origin... are mixed in their responses. If their beekeeper promised (and perhaps has already signed a contract) pollinating bees for their crops this spring, knowing they were to be Aussie bees just like last year that did just fine, but now may not be able to get them... then that farmer has a problem when the flow stops. You know where he or she stands on this trade issue.

The APHIS folks are inclined to consider bigger picture here and, unless something deadly is found, they tend to look at quarantines to limit the movement of unwanted organisms. One official laid out a plan that was felt to be reasonable which said that they would establish a quarantine line 100 miles away from and around any apiary found to contain these new bees that would last two years. If enforced, this, they felt, would be sufficient to contain any of these bees, and give the Australians additional time to find and eradicate the remaining nests of these foreign bees.

But since APHIS hasn't said anything yet we don't know what the decision is to be. This doesn't mean that lobbying one way or the other has stopped for goodness sake. Pressure is on APHIS, on the National Beekeeping Groups, on the almond board, on local and national level politicians, on almost anybody who has any skin in this game to go this way or that way. And maybe APHIS has already decided and implemented a plan without notice ... after all, that's what they were going to do originally.

Here's my two cents worth on this. My history on nuclear disarmament is fuzzy, but when the U.S. and the Soviet Union were in the heat of it Ronald Reagan came up with the phrase ... Trust, but Verify. That makes a whole lot of sense to me on the biological issues of trade. We should trust the Australians to test and examine and inspect their bees to make sure they are as clean as we want them to be before they are sent. But why on earth is it restraint of trade (a punishable offense) to run tests ourselves when they get off the plane? We can now do virus checks in less than a day, mite checks the same, so that's no longer a hold up. And the cost... the importer (and thus the ultimate customer, the beekeeper) takes care of all of this, with some provision that says that if anything is found that shouldn't be there the exporter pays for everything, and the bees are destroyed or returned. APHIS says they have neither the resources or capacity to do this however, so it would have to be a third party inspection, which isn't all bad.

The honey bees coming into California from Texas go through tests 100 times more rigorous checking for fire ants because California doesn't (rightly) want them. In fact, they let Arizona do the tests for them. But this is just California's rules. Bees with unknown or dangerous diseases that come into the U.S. can destroy entire industries, not just California's ... the whole U.S. beekeeping industry, the whole of U.S. insect pollinated agriculture is at stake, and the way it is now, there's nothing we can do to stop it. Beekeepers and other important voices have yelled from the roof tops when the bees were first allowed in to do this, but the law makers didn't listen. Maybe they will now.

Am I missing something? Probably. But too often the best ways to carry things off are the simplest. And this seems pretty simple to me.

SOURCE: The Daily Green: The Beekeeper. December 22, 2008.

Direct Introduction Of Queens Using Only Smoke

A Research Review by M. Hood

Many methods of queen introduction are found in beekeeping texts or on the internet. The most commonly recommended method involves the use of a queen cage whereas the queen is safely released from the cage a few days after she has been accepted by the worker bees, likely from having acquired the odor of the colony. However, a thorough search of beekeeping literature reveals only two books that mention direct queen introduction using smoke. A recently published research manuscript reported excellent queen acceptance using only smoke. I report here their results.

Scientists conducted the research in a queen mating apiary at Losehill Hall, Derbyshire, UK during September, 2006, using a mixture of European honey bee subspecies, predominantly Apis mellifera mellifera. They conducted three experiments comparing the acceptance of queens introduced either in artificial queen cells or directly. I will report only their results of direct introduction using smoke.

The hives used in the experiment were single 10-frame Langstroth hive bodies and the colonies were of medium strength having 6-7 frames covered with bees. Fifteen colonies were dequeened and left queenless for two days. Experimental queens were taken from other colonies in the same apiary and were held for three days in new three-hole mailing cages with candy and 4-5 worker attendants.

Much more smoke was used during the queen introduction procedure than would be used for normal colony inspections. This method began with three or four puffs of smoke blown in the hive entrance followed by opening the colony and giving 6-7 more puffs of smoke blown over the tops of the frames. This resulted in many bees leaving the frames and congregating on the hive bottom and some bees exiting and gathering at the hive entrance. The mated queen was then held gently between two fingers and released between two adjacent frame top bars in the hive. After a few seconds, 4-6 more puffs of smoke were blown into the open hive body. After the queen had disappeared and gone down into the frames, the hive was closed and 4-5 more puffs of smoke were blown into the hive entrance.

The hive was opened and inspected for queen acceptance one day following introduction. All 15 introduced queens were found to be accepted in this research project having been found alive and uninjured. If the queens had been rejected, they would have been found injured, being “balled” by the worker bees, or would have been found dead outside the hive following the 24 hour period. (IMPORTANT - The beekeeper should carefully inspect the hive frames for any queen cells and destroy them following the 2 day queenless period prior to releasing the new queen.)

This project indicated that direct introduction of mated queens into medium strength colonies that had been queenless for two days was successful. Although these were not full strength highly populated colonies in spring or summer, the authors suggest that this method should be good for regular stronger colonies as well and not for just queen rearing operations.

Summary. This method of queen introduction with smoke is contrary to other methods (use of cages) that are highly recommended in most beekeeping texts, the internet, and current beekeeper training programs. However, there are some valid reasons for beekeepers to try this method, at least on a small scale. The method requires no equipment other than a smoker, requires fewer trips to the apiary, is simple to carry out and requires little work.  Most importantly, the method has been proven to be highly successful and, “by allowing a queen to be accepted almost immediately, it probably brings forward the start of egg laying by the new queen by several days.”

Reference: Perez-Sato, J.A., M.H. Karcher, W.O.H. Hughes, F.L.W. Ratnieks. 2008. Direct introduction of mated and virgin queens using smoke: a method that gives almost 100% acceptance when hives have been queenless for 2 days or more. Journal of Apicultural Research and Bee World 47(4): pp. 243-250.

An Old Farmer’s Advice

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight, and bull-strong.
Keep skunks and bankers and lawyers at a distance.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
Forgive your enemies.  It messes up their heads.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
Every path has a few puddles.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen, anyway.
Don't judge folks by their relatives.
Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.
Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
The biggest troublemaker you'll ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.'
Always drink upstream from the herd.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
Live simply.  Love generously.  Care deeply.  Speak kindly.

Winter Warmer Recipes

Honey Chai Latte


16 whole allspice berries
16 whole or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom pods
6 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks, 2 inches long
1 slice (1/4-inch) fresh or 1 tsp ground ginger
2-1/2 cups water
2 tsp darjeeling or other black tea leaves
2 T honey
2 cups hot low-fat milk


Coarsely grind whole spices separately in mortar and pestle or together in electric grinder. In medium saucepan combine ground spices, ginger and water. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add loose tea leaves and continue to simmer for 3 minutes (longer simmering will make the concentrate bitter). Remove from heat; strain through find mesh strainer or cheesecloth into medium bowl. Add honey and stir to dissolve. Set aside until ready to serve. To server, stir chai concentrate into hot milk. For single serving of latte, stir 1/2 cup chai concentrate into 1/2 cup hot milk. Makes 4 servings.

Sweet and Hot Red Pepper and Tomato Soup


3 T vegetable oil
2 leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 medium red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
cayenne pepper
1 T grated fresh ginger root
1 can (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, chopped, reserve juice
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
6 T honey
2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 T fresh mint, chopped
3 T fresh parsley, chopped


In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add leeks, celery and peppers; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in cayenne and ginger; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes with juice, broth, honey and vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool soup slightly; puree in blender or food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Reheat if necessary and serve sprinkled with mint and parsley. Serve warm or cold.

Honey of a Chili


1 package (15 oz.) firm tofu
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15-1/2 oz.) red kidney beans, undrained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 T red wine vinegar


Using a cheese grater, shred tofu and freeze in zippered bag or airtight container. Thaw tofu; place in a strainer and press out excess liquid. In large saucepan or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot; cook and stir onion, green pepper and garlic 3 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and begin to brown. Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt, oregano and crushed red pepper. Stir in tofu: cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in diced tomatoes, kidney beans, tomato sauce, honey and vinegar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mexican Coffee


4 cups hot espresso-style coffee
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup honey
2 T unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Sweetened whipped cream
Chocolate shavings


Combine coffee, half-and-half, honey, cocoa and cinnamon in blender and blend 1 minute on high. Pour into mugs; garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.


Upcoming Beekeeper Meetings

Georgia Beekeepers Spring Meeting
McDonough, Georgia (Henry County)
January 31- February 1, 2009
For registration: <> or call Tom Bonnell 770-473-5434

South Carolina Beekeepers Summer Meeting
Clemson University, SC
July 16-18, 2009
For more information: <>

Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS)
Ellicottville, New York
August 3-7, 2009
For more information: <>

Comments or Questions, Contact:

Mike Hood,  Extension Apiculturist, 864-656-0346,

Clemson University, Dept. of Entomology, Soils, & Plant Sciences
Attn: "News for SC Beekeepers", Editor
Box 340110, 116 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634-0110
Phone: 864-656-3111, Fax: 864-656-0274

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