News for SC Beekeepers: June 2011

Local news

SUMMER MEETING. South Carolina Beekeepers to Meet at Clemson University - The summer meeting of the South Carolina Beekeepers will be held at Clemson University, Clemson, SC on 14-16 July 2011.  On-site registration will begin on Thursday, 14 July at 12:00 noon in the Poole Agricultural Center Lobby.  See pre-registration form included in this newsletter. Note there will be a $5 additional fee for onsite registration.

The meeting will begin at 1:00 in the Poole Agricultural Center Auditorium with session 1 of a 1-day intermediate level beekeeping short course. The short course will break for dinner at 5:00 and session 2 will begin at 6:30. The short course will end at 8:30 PM. The course is designed for individuals with some beekeeping experience, but everyone is welcome.

Running concurrently with this short course from 1:30-4:30 will be a queen rearing workshop offered at the Cherry Farm Bee Lab and Honey House. There will be limited enrollment of 25 for this workshop which will be offered again on Friday afternoon. Pre-registration and payment in advance are required for the queen rearing workshops. See the workshop pre-registration form included in this newsletter for further directions on how to enroll on a first come, first serve basis. Do not mail a pre-registration form until you have confirmation that you are enrolled. 

On Friday morning, we will begin with a general session at 8:00 and workshops will be held in the afternoon. We have several out-of-state speakers on the program including Keith Delaplane from the Univ. of Georgia, Jeff Harris from the Baton Rouge USDA Bee Lab, Debbie Delaney from the Univ. of Delaware, Juliana Rangel from N.C. State Univ., Ann Harman from Virginia, Edd Buchanan from North Carolina, Virginia Webb from Georgia, David Miller from Tennessee, and Bob Bennie from Georgia. In addition, we have several speakers from South Carolina who will speak at the meeting. For more details, you will find a meeting program in this newsletter.

A barbecue pork and baked chicken dinner is planned for Friday evening at Jimmy Howard’s home in Pendleton.  Scheduled activities are the annual horseshoe pitching tourney and a smoker lighting contest.  Dinner will be served for $7.00/plate. On Saturday morning, we will have another general session beginning at 8:00 that will include many interesting topics and the meeting will end at noon.

We will have a honey show and competition at our summer meeting this year. Bring along a container of your best honey. Please do not place a label on your honey containers. Honey classes will be pint and quart extracted. There will be light and dark classes, so do not be concerned if your honey is dark. A “black jar class” will be included again. This class will be judged on taste only. Small black jars will be provided at the show, so bring a sample of your best tasting honey and take this ribbon home. We are also adding an additional class in the competition, 1 lb. block of beeswax.  Honey and beeswax entries should be turned in for the competition from 7:30 - 10:30 on Friday morning. And a big THANKS to Steve Genta and Clyde McCall for judging the contest entries.  Ribbons will be awarded for each category and a best of show ribbon will be included.

On-campus housing will be available in the Lightsey Bridge II student apartments for a cost of $19/individual/night. You may reserve a room and pay in advance by including this on your meeting pre-registration form. The dorm will be an apartment arrangement with four persons sharing an apartment. Each beekeeper will have a separate bedroom with one twin bed and all will share a bathroom. Bring your own bed linens, towels and pillow or you may pay $15 for a linen packet. Bed pillows are not provided so don’t forget to bring a pillow. Meals (breakfast 7-9:30, lunch 11:00-1:30, dinner 4:30-7:00) are available on campus at the Harcombe Food Court (15 minute walk from the dorm). The Hendrix Student Center food court is closed for renovations this summer, however there is a Wendy’s Restaurant nearby open from 10:30-5:30.

Accommodations are available off campus in the Clemson area as follows:

  • Clemson Sleep Inn, $67, Telephone: 864-653-6000, Fax: 864-653-3790,, includes hot bkfst
  • Clemson Days Inn, $62, Telephone: 864-653-4411,, includes contl. bkfst
  • Holiday Inn Express, $89, PH. 864-654-9410. Fax: 864-654-9411,, includes hot bkfst.
Mention that you are attending the South Carolina Beekeepers Convention to get the University rate. You will need to make your own hotel reservation by 1 July to get this rate. After that date, rooms may not be available. 
Our designated parking lot for this meeting is the Brooks Center parking lot. This assigned parking lot is a change from our summer meeting last year. You will notice a new Life Sciences Center building is being constructed in the parking lot behind the Poole Agricultural Center which has been our designated parking lot in the past. There will be signs directing you to our new parking lot which will require an additional 5 minutes walk to our meeting site. We plan to have a golf cart available to assist those beekeepers who need assistance. Parking passes for your vehicle will be available at a tent setup near the parking lot. Please show up a little early for this meeting and bring extra patience with you because the new building construction may cause a few unexpected inconveniences this year. Do not park in other campus parking lots that have green marked parking spaces or you will get a ticket.  
Let’s continue to make the South Carolina Beekeepers summer meeting a great success; invite some beekeeping friends to come along for an educational vacation.  If you have questions about this meeting, please contact Mike Hood, ph. (864) 656-0346 or email

Honey Bee Winter Loss Survey

Dennis vanEngelsdorp1, Jerry Hayes2, Dewey Caron3, James Wilkes4, Robyn Rose5, and Jeff Pettis6

Preliminary Results: Honey Bee Colony Losses in the U.S., Winter 2010-2011.

Note: This is a preliminary analysis, and a more detailed final report is being prepared for publication at a later date.

The Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducted an online survey to estimate honey bee colony losses for the 2010/2011 winter season. A total of 5,572 U.S. beekeepers, or 20%a of the estimated number of beekeepers in the country, responded. Collectively these beekeepers managed over 15%b of the country’s estimated 2.68 million colonies.

Preliminary survey results indicate that 30% of managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost during the 2010/2011 winter. The percentage of losses have remained relatively steady (near or above 30%) over the last 5 years. Specifically, previous survey results indicated that 34% of the total colony loss in the winters of 2009/2010; 29% in 2008/2009; 36% in 2007/2008; and 32% in 2006/2007.

If we consider colony losses within individual beekeeper’s operations, then responding U.S. beekeepers lost an average of 38.4% of their operation. This is a 3.8 point or 9.0% decrease in the average operational loss experienced by U.S. beekeepers during the winter of 2009/2010. Beekeepers reported that, on average, they felt losses of 13% would be acceptable. Sixty-one percent of responding beekeepers reported having losses greater than this.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which an entire colony of bees abruptly disappears from its hive. Of beekeepers surveyed who reported losing some colonies, 31% lost at least some of their colonies without the presence of dead bees. We cannot confirm that these colonies had CCD, but respondents to this question reported higher average colony losses (61%) than those respondents who lost colonies but did not report the absence of dead bees (34%).

It is important to note that this survey only reports on losses that occur during the winter and does not capture the colony losses that occur throughout the summer as queens or entire colonies fail and need to be replaced. Preliminary data from other survey efforts suggest that these “summer losses” can also be significant. Beekeepers can replace colonies lost in the summer and winter by splitting the populations of surviving colonies to establish a new hive. This process is expensive, so replacing 30% of the nation’s colonies annually is not considered sustainable over the long-term.

a Based on 2007 Ag census
b Based on NASS 2010 figures

1.Dennis vanEngelsdorp, The Pennsylvania State University/Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA), Past-President 717-884-2147
2.Jerry Hayes, Florida Department of Agriculture, AIA Past President, 352 372-3505
3.Dewey Caron, Oregon State University, 302 353-9914
4.James T. Wilkes, Appalachian State University,, 828-262-2370
5.Robyn Rose, USDA APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine, Riverdale, MD,, 301-734-7121.
Jeff Pettis USDA-ARS Bee Research Laboratory, Beltsville, MD,, 301 504-8205

SOURCE: Bee Health ( 58013/honey-bee-winter-loss-survey)

ABF ALERT: Groups Recommend That the Environmental Protection Agency Take Significant Actions to Protect Bees From Pesticides

Conservation and Beekeeping Groups Cautiously Optimistic About Pesticide Conference

PENSACOLA, Fla. (January 24, 2011) – Last week representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the pesticide industry met with university researchers, conservationists and beekeeping groups in Florida to discuss the way that pesticide risks to bees are evaluated. The conference, which was organized by the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), is considered by U.S. government agencies and industry-watchers to be the first step in evaluating whether current guidelines on measuring pesticide toxicity are effective.
Currently, the EPA only evaluates pesticide toxicity to honey bees, while bumble bees and other crop-pollinating bee species are given no consideration. Beekeeping groups have also questioned the validity of the existing honey bee hazard evaluation process in the U.S., and have pushed the agency to develop stricter standards in the wake of highly publicized bee deaths. Previous SETAC conferences have reviewed the pesticide risk standards to wildlife such as fish and birds, resulting in more stringent requirements on the part of manufacturers. This was the first SETAC conference focused specifically on bees.

"We are generally pleased with the increased intensity of pesticide screening that was discussed, as well as the inclusion of non-honey bee species in the testing process," said Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, who attended the conference. "We hope that this will lead the EPA to adopt more thorough risk management strategies for pollinators."

Pollinators have been the focus of several conservation initiatives spearheaded by the Xerces Society and beekeeping groups in recent years, who point out that the ecological service bees, butterflies and other pollinators provide is necessary for the reproduction of more than 70 percent of the world's plants. This includes two-thirds of the world's crop species, whose fruits and seeds together provide over thirty percent of the foods that we consume. Dramatic declines of both wild and domesticated bees have resulted in a growing awareness of threats such as habitat loss, diseases and pesticide use.

"It is vitally important that the EPA better address the impact that these toxic substances have on honey bees and native bees," said Zac Browning of the American Beekeeping Federation, who also attended the conference. "Adoption of the final recommendations from this workshop, which are expected in the next several months, is a good first step. But much more will need to be done to truly protect these important pollinators."

In the U.S. alone, more than 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides are applied annually. Penn State researchers have identified traces of more than eighty different pesticide products in nearly all honey bee hives they examine, with several of these compounds being implicated in bee deaths.

The Xerces Society and the American Beekeeping Federation recommend that the EPA:

* Adopt a strong risk assessment strategy for both honey bees and native bees based on the information developed at the conference.
* Conduct a robust review of neonicitinoid pesticides, which have been implicated in bee deaths.
* Develop better labeling so that consumers can easily determine which pesticides are most toxic to bees and understand how to use the  pesticides while limiting risk to pollinators.


The Xerces Society is a nonprofit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Established in 1971, the Society is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists and the enthusiasm of citizens to implement conservation programs. To learn more about our work or to donate to the Society, please visit

Mace Vaughan, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation: 503.232.6639,

Zac Browning, American Beekeeping Federation: 208.523.3692,



Chappie McChesney, Alachua, FL

We who live in the South have seen the headlines screaming in the papers and on our local newscasts: “Beware the Killer Bees, Beware the Killer Bees!!!”

Newscasters and newsprint publishers like sensationalism and get as much coverage as they can to boost their ratings and sell their product. They will search out anyone who has been stung by a bee and try to tie it into the Africanized Bees, referred to as “AHB” by most folks in the bee world and “Killer Bees” by the public. Sometimes they report AHB stings in areas where there are no AHB. You can go on any search engine and type in, “AHB locations in US,” and you will find maps, charts and lots of information on the AHB.

Are they dangerous? Of course, they are just as dangerous as any stinging insect is dangerous if you have a bad encounter with them. The problem with AHB is that they are more aggressive than the European honey bees or Apis mellifera. They don’t just chase you away from their nest or hive, but continue to aggressively chase you for a half mile or more.

The AHB have caused some long-time beekeepers to leave the business due to the extra cost of insurance, extra gear needed to work AHB, and of course the cost of hiring people dedicated enough to put up with the extra work needed to make a living with AHB. Since AHB swarm more than the European bees that beekeepers have been keeping for years, it takes much more time and effort to work them, but it can be done and is being done in parts of the world where the AHB have taken over the area.

They are a problem that can be dealt with, but we have a bigger problem facing beekeepers around the world and it may happen in your local area as well, even if you are not in an area where the AHB are located.

What I am referring to are the folks who are not into beekeeping for the right reasons.  They seem so eager to get into beekeeping, coming to the meetings of your local bee club, asking a million questions and appearing to be willing to become a great asset to the club.

The problem arises usually after a year or two when they get to the point that they now “know everything” and want to be the person in charge.  I call these folks “Bee Killers”. They are dangerous and need to be watched for.

Did they put in their time learning under a mentor and working with the bees for years out in the rain, heat, cold, and taking the thousands of stings that happen when a forklift flips over or a truck gets into an accident and the millions of bees are aggravated and in a stinging mood? Have they ever gotten their veil caught on something and had it pulled off just as the bees attacked? Ouch! Have they lost entire outyards to vandals, fire or diseases like foulbrood? Or worse, did they lose hives and equipment to the thieves thar are becoming more prevalent now that the price of honey is going up and the demand for pollination goes higher?

Many old-time beekeepers will not join a bee club because of all the problems they have faced over the years with these Bee Killers. I stopped attending meetings myself back in the 1980’s because of this very thing.  Now after retiring, I am trying to do my part to help our bees and other pollinators by starting new bee clubs and mentoring new beekeepers.

Beekeepers are a kind lot and welcome with open arms anyone who likes honey, wants to learn the correct ways of keeping bees, or just wants to help save the bees from all the harmful chemicals and bee pests in the world today. But who wants to attend a meeting where one side is antagonistic to the others?

State and even national bee organizations need to stress the importance that all organizations should strive to be efficiently run and have some type of support system in place to help the local bee clubs. Many folks ask why they should join a state or national organization: “Why spend money on an organization that is just building up their mailing list so they can ask you for more money constantly?”

A good club should strive for 100% participation.

If you want to be a beekeeper, you should stop and ask yourself the following questions:
* Am I trying to learn all I can about bees and the proper way to keep them?
* Am I supporting the club leaders and offering my time and talents to make the club better?
* Am I willing to make changes in the way I keep my bees if someone shows me a better way?
* Am I willing to support someone even if I disagree with what they are doing until a better solution comes along?
* Am I willing to step up and do what is best for the club?
* Am I willing to ask questions if I don’t understand what is being said, instead of just complaining about how the “clique” only cares about itself?

We have folks who hate commercial beekeepers.  One told me she hates them because they adulterate their honey, use chemicals that are not good for humans to eat, and keep the small beekeepers down so that they can’t make any money. When asked for proof, you get the same answer: “Well, that’s what I heard.” That is a Bee Killer attitude.

Think about what you are saying.  Have you ever been a commercial beekeeper with the unbelievable costs and problems that go with it? If you haven’t been there, give it a rest and be thankful for the ones who spend so much time away from family and friends to make sure we have honey in the stores, not to mention all the other products they provide.

What about the commercial beekeepers who won’t help the small beekeeper? I have heard commercial beekeepers complain that “hobbyists” (I hate that word) are ruining beekeeping because they don’t know what they are doing and they are helping to spread bee diseases, etc.

Wait a minute. Did you start with the 1000 hives you have, or did you work your way up by increasing each year? Did an old timer help you learn what you know now, or did someone loan you the money to buy the equipment you have? Did someone help you along? Don’t be a Bee Killer by discouraging the new beekeeper who may replace you some day.

SOURCE: American Bee Journal, November 2010.

2011 SCBA Summer meeting schedule

    July 14, 2011  (Tentative Program as of June 7, 2011)
    View the event page to learn more >


    2011 SCBA Summer meeting registration form


    2011 SCBA Summer meeting workshop forms



    Makes 18 servings
    1/2 cup chopped dried mixed fruit
    1/3 cup  chopped PLANTERS Pecans
    2 Tbsp. honey
    Pastry for 1-layer 9-inch pie
    2 oz. (1/4 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
    1 egg, lightly beaten

    HEAT oven to 350°F.

    COMBINE fruit, pecans and honey in small saucepan. Cook on medium-low heat 3 min. Remove from heat; set aside.

    ROLL out pastry on a lightly floured surface area to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut pastry into 18 circles using 3-inch cookie cutter, rerolling pastry scraps as necessary. Spoon 1-1/2 tsp. of the fruit mixture and 1/2 tsp. of the cream cheese onto center of each pastry circle. Brush circle edges with egg; fold in half and press edges together with fork to seal. Cut small slit in top of each with sharp knife. Place on foil-covered baking sheet; brush with any remaining egg.

    BAKE 20 to 25 min. or until golden brown. Serve warm or cooled.

    Make Ahead
    Assemble empanadas as directed. Place in an airtight container or resealable plastic freezer-weight bag and freeze up to 3 months. When ready to serve, bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 min. or until golden brown. (No need to thaw before baking.)

    Substitute raisins for the mixed dried fruit. Substitute PLANTERS Slivered Almonds for the pecans.


    Yield 1 1/2 cups

    1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    3 tablespoons honey
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

    Place the vinegar, onion, soy sauce, honey, sugar, garlic, and red pepper flakes into a blender. Puree on high, gradually adding the olive oil. Continue pureeing 2 minutes, or until thick.



    Yield 4 to 6 servings

    1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces
    3 tablespoons soy sauce
    2 tablespoons honey
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 cloves crushed garlic
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon paprika


    To Make Marinade: Combine the soy sauce, honey, orange juice, garlic, oregano, pepper and paprika. Mix all together and pour over chicken pieces. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

    Remove chicken from refrigerator. Place chicken and marinade in a 9x13 inch baking dish and bake, uncovered, in preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours. Baste once.



    Yield 4 dozen

    16 graham crackers
    1 cup crunchy peanut butter
    2/3 cup honey
    1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
    1 cup coconut

    Crush the graham crackers between two pieces of wax paper with a rolling pin or in a food processor.

    Combine the peanut butter, honey and powdered milk in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

    Make small balls with mixture and place on wax paper. Roll balls in shredded coconut.



    Yield 4 servings

    1 pound red potatoes, quartered
    2 tablespoons diced onion
    2 tablespoons butter, melted
    1 tablespoon honey
    1 teaspoon dry mustard
    1 pinch salt
    1 pinch ground black pepper

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly coat an 11x7 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

    Place potatoes in a single layer in prepared dish, and top with onion. In a small bowl, combine melted butter, honey, mustard, salt and pepper; drizzle over potatoes and onion.

    Bake in the preheated 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven for 35 minutes or until tender, stirring halfway through the cooking time.



    1 pkg. Little Smokies
    1 ½ cup brown sugar
    1 pkg. bacon
    3 tablespoons honey
    Toothpicks (soak in water for at least an hour so they don’t burn in the oven)

    Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick baking spray.  Preheat oven to 325°.

    Cut bacon into 3 inch strips and wrap each strip around a little smokie.  Hold bacon in place with a toothpick.  Place onto the cookie sheet close together. 

    Warm the honey so you can drizzle it over the wrapped smokies.  Drizzle the honey over the whole pand and then sprinkle with the brown sugar.  Completely cover the smokies.

    Bake at 325° for about 20 minutes or until the bacon is done.  Remove from oven and serve warm. 

    SOURCE:  Kelley Bees News: Modern Beekeeping Newsletter, Issue 6, December 2010.

    Yield 6 servings

    2 tablespoons butter
    1 onion, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    3 carrots, diced
    2 celery stalk, diced
    1 potato, peeled and diced
    1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
    3 cans (14.5 oz. each) chicken broth
    ½ cup honey
    ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in onions and garlic. Cook and stir until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery, potatoes, squash, chicken broth, honey and thyme.  Bring mixture to boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor; process until smooth.  Return pureed soup to pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat until hot and serve.

    SOURCE:  Kelley Bees News: Modern Beekeeping Newsletter, Issue 6, December 2010.

    Calendar for 2011/2012

     July 7-9 – North Carolina State Beekeepers summer meeting, Elon Univ., Elon, NC

     July 14-16 - South Carolina Beekeepers summer meeting in Clemson,

     July 25-29 - Eastern Apicultural Society Summer Conference in Warwick, Rhode Island, see for more details.

     January 10-14, 2012 – American Beekeeping Federation annual conference, Las Vegas, Nevada   

    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, 114 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634-0110
    Phone: 864-656-3111, Fax: 864-656-0274

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