The new beekeeper class scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 21, has been cancelled because of the weather.

The class scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 28, will be an all-day class, and participants are asked to bring a sack lunch.

These classes, conducted by veteran beekeepers Stacey Adair and José Ashbrook, are as hands-on as possible and will tell you a lot about what goes on inside the hive and about what you should be doing as a beekeeper.

The Feb. 28 class is at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church, and the woodenware class on March 28 is at the Masonic Hall in Alcoa.

For more information and to register for class (no cost):

Jose` Ashbrook 379-6434, 724-8826 clean6@comcast.net

Stacey Adair 983-6223, 254-2500 blountbees@charter.net

Directions to Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church

503 Pleasant Hill Road: From Lamar Alexander Parkway, turn south on to Court Street toward Maryville College. Continue on Court past Maryville College (on left) and at fork, bear left on to Wilkinson Pike. Continue 2 miles, and then turn left on to Pleasant Hill Road. Go 2/10 of a mile to church on left. Parking located across the street from church. Enter the church on left/south side of building.

Directions to the Masonic Hall Alcoa: The location is the Masonic Hall in Alcoa. Directions to the Masonic hall– Take Hall Road to Bessemer street and turn East. Follow Bessemer through Alcoa, under the tunnel, and to Springbrook Road, about 1.25 miles. Go straight at the stop sign, and go 0.25 miles and turn left on N. Wright street. Go 0.3 miles to Vose Street. The Masonic Hall is at the intersection of Vose and Wright, on the left


Packages of bees, as usual, may be in short supply this spring, so you will want to get your orders in early.

Several BCBA members offer packages and nucs. Here are the ones we know about:

  • Howard Kerr (865) 982-6750
  • Coley O’Dell (865) 556-1345 (more information here)
  • Stephanie Tarwater (865) 805-1994

There may be other members to add to this list. If so, let me know.


The folks with their hands in the air are some of the people who have never kept bees and who attended Monday's BCBA short course for new beekeepers.

The folks with their hands in the air are some of the people who have never kept bees and who attended Monday’s BCBA short course for new beekeepers.

A room full of beekeepers and potential beekeepers showed up at the Blount County Library on Monday and Tuesday for the 2015 edition of the short course for new beekeepers offered by the Blount County Beekeepers Association.

About 60 people who had never kept bees were among the more than 100 people who attended the Monday night meeting. They hear veteran beekeepers Dennis Barry and Charlie Parton talk about why you should consider keeping bees and what kind of equipment you need for it.

Rita Scruggs, a newbie beekeeper, talked about what it was like to start from scratch in beekeeping.

The room was also full on Tuesday when the audience heard Phil Fulmer, former head football coach at the University of Tennessee, talk about his experience as a new beekeeper. Others who spoke on Tuesday were Dennis Barry, Steve Adair and Jim Stovall.

The short course is the first of several events planned for new beekeepers by the BCBA this spring. Next up is the new beekeeper classes on Feb. 21 and Feb. 28. A woodenware workshop is set for March 28, and a field day will be on May 2 at Charlie Parton’s farm.


This year Blount County Beekeepers Association (BCBA) will award five beekeeping grants. Three grants will be awarded in conjunction with the Tennessee Beekeepers Association (TBA), and two Charlie Stewart Grants will be awarded by BCBA.

Blount County Beekeepers Association established the Charlie Stewart Scholarship program in memory of one of its longstanding and honored members. The scholarship is funded by an annual auction of beekeeping equipment, baked goods and other beekeeping paraphernalia in the spring. Proceeds from the auction also help support the TBA grants.

Grant applications will be available at the short-course, and we will award these grants at the March meeting. The deadline for applications will be March 1, 2015. Grant applications should be mailed to Luke Newman, 1941 Benford Lane, Alcoa, TN 37701. They need to be postmarked by March 1.

You can download the grant application with this link: Combined Grant App 2015


In addition to our annual short course, we will also offer new beekeeper classes on Saturday, Feb. 21, Feb. 28 and March 28.

The first two classes will be at the Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church. The third, a woodenware workshop, will be at the Masonic Hall in Alcoa.

The classes will begin at 9 a.m., and they end around 11:30 or 12.

These classes, conducted by veteran beekeepers Stacey Adair and José Ashbrook, are as hands-on as possible and will tell you a lot about what goes on inside the hive and about what you should be doing as a beekeeper.

Here’s the schedule:

Class 1 February 21

  1. Identification of Queen, Workers and Drones ( Adults and Brood)
  2. Breakdown of Hive Components ( The brood chamber and honey supers)
  3. Picking up Packages and Nucs and Installation ( Moving bees, Package installation demonstration)
  4. Feeding Packages and Nucs (Types of feed and types of feeders)

Class 2 February 28

  1. Smokers, smoker fuel and how to light them ( Demonstration)
  2. Personal protective equipment ( Review of protective clothing)
  3. Getting into the Hive- How to inspect and how frequently (Proper way to enter a hive, manipulate frames, look for brood, food stores, tools useful for the inspection)
  4. Keeping bees in Urban areas (tips for successful beekeeping in urban areas)

 Class 3 March 28 – Masonic Hall, 797 Vose Street Alcoa

Wooden Ware Workshop- how to assemble your hives and frames, put in foundation, types of paints to use, etc.

Directions to Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church

503 Pleasant Hill Road: From Lamar Alexander Parkway, turn south on to Court Street toward Maryville College. Continue on Court past Maryville College (on left) and at fork, bear left on to Wilkinson Pike. Continue 2 miles, and then turn left on to Pleasant Hill Road. Go 2/10 of a mile to church on left. Parking located across the street from church. Enter the church on left/south side of building.

Directions to the Masonic Hall Alcoa: The location is the Masonic Hall in Alcoa. Directions to the Masonic hall– Take Hall Road to Bessemer street and turn East. Follow Bessemer through Alcoa, under the tunnel, and to Springbrook Road, about 1.25 miles. Go straight at the stop sign, and go 0.25 miles and turn left on N. Wright street. Go 0.3 miles to Vose Street. The Masonic Hall is at the intersection of Vose and Wright, on the left

For more information and to register for class (no cost):

Jose` Ashbrook 379-6434, 724-8826 clean6@comcast.net

Stacey Adair 983-6223, 254-2500 blountbees@charter.net


The Blount County Beekeepers Association’s annual short course for new beekeepers will be held in February.

The short course will be Monday, Feb. 9, and Tuesday, Feb. 10, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Blount County Library.

Short course schedule

February 9, 2015

Welcome and Announcements

Welcome to new Beekeepers: Dennis Barry

So you want to be a Beekeeper; Charlie Parton

Break

Door Prize Drawing

Experience of 1st year beekeeper: Rita Scruggs

Beekeeping Equipment: Charlie Parton

February 10, 2015

Welcome and Announcements:

Protective Equipment: Dennis Barry

New Beekeeper experiences

Where to get Bees: Steve Adair

Door Prize Drawing:

Setting up an Apiary: Jim Stovall

Question and Answer

 

If you have questions about what your bees are doing this time of year, the next BCBA meeting would be a great place to get some answers.

As always, our meetings are free and open to the public. Invite a friend to come along with you. Even if the friend isn’t interested in becoming a beekeeper, we always have lively, friendly discussions about what we should be doing with our bees.

 


Supering and swarm control will be the focus of the January 2015 meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association.

The meeting will be Monday, Jan. 12, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Blount County Library.

Carl Burnett, an Anderson County veteran beekeeper, will talk about some of the best practices of modern beekeeping in making sure your bees have a good spring.

The second half of the meeting will be Charlie Parton talking about how to make splits and how to prepare your hives for splits. Making a split is becoming more important because of the high level of losses that many of us are encountering each winter.

But splits are not automatic. They must be done properly to work. Charlie will tell us how.

John Neal will present the monthly seasonal management session.

If you have questions about what your bees are doing this time of year, the next BCBA meeting would be a great place to get some answers.

As always, our meetings are free and open to the public. Invite a friend to come along with you. Even if the friend isn’t interested in becoming a beekeeper, we always have lively, friendly discussions about what we should be doing with our bees.


Jim Stovall:

Our annual tribute to Rev. Lorenzo Langstroth comes on Christmas Day, his birthday. Happy birthday, Rev. L.

Originally posted on Blount County Beekeepers Association:

As Christmas closes in on us, beekeepers have another reason to note December 25. It is the birthday of Rev. Lorenzo L. Langstroth.

The inventor of the Langstroth beehive, the one that most of us use, was born on Dec. 25, 1810, in Philadelphia, Penn. From his earliest days, he took an interest in insects of all kinds, but interest lay dormant as he obtained his college education at Yale. After his graduation, he was a math tutor there for a couple of years and then became an ordained minister in the Congregationalist Church. His first pastorates were in Massachusetts. There he married Anne Tucker, and they had three children.

In 1848 he moved back to Philadelphia to become a principal of a young ladies’ school, and there his interest in insects — and specifically in bees — revived.

Langstroth was meticulous and exacting in his pursuit. He read all…

View original 478 more words


With winter approaching (in some places it’s already here), the beekeeper has two jobs:

  • Make sure the bees in your hives have plenty of food.
  • Think about about what’s going to happen in your apiary in the spring and summer.
Spring is the season the beekeeper should be planning for now.

Spring is the season the beekeeper should be planning for now.

Neither of these jobs involves a lot of work at this point, but they shouldn’t be neglected. The main characteristic of good beekeepers is that they think ahead — one or two seasons ahead.

Now is the time think about your bees, the equipment you have and the general environment that will confront the bees when they start flying in the spring.

Will you need to order packages of bees or nucs to rebuild your apiary in the spring? That, of course, depends on how many of your hives make it through the winter. We don’t know what will happen in that regard at the moment, unless you have already experienced losses.

What we do know is that in Tennessee the winter losses for beekeepers have been about 30 percent during the past few winters. The smart thing then is to plan for that kind of loss and hope it doesn’t happen. Now is the time to get in touch with the folks who supply you with bees and see what their availability will be. Most of those people are starting a list now, and your name should be on it.

We’ll have more to say later about equipment and environment.

Right now, you should plan for some losses and think about how you will replenish your apiary.

Related articles

Beekeeping involves year-around planning, BCBA told

Key words: bees, beehives, beekeeping, bee equipment, ordering bees, packages of bees, beehive nucs, winter losses for beehives


Some honey can make you sick.

Some nectars can kill your bees.

Don’t worry. The “poisonous honey” is not likely to be on your grocery self, and it is very unlikely to be in the jars of stuff you took from your apiary this summer.

Rhododendren (University of Illinois)

Rhododendren (University of Illinois)

For us East Tennesseans, however, the poisonous nectar is not that far away. The nectar produced by rhododendron and mountain laurel, plants we’re pretty familiar with, are not good for the bees. Fortunately, these plants are found mostly in the mountains where the honeybee population is not high.

Miss Apis Mellifera, a beekeeping website run by Emma Sarah Tennant in Great Britain, has an excellent summary article all about poisonous nectars and honey. Tennant keeps bees in the London area along with Emily Scott, whose website is Adventures in Beeland.

Tennant says of poisonous honey, particularly having to do with rhododendrons:

An incident of poisoning reported in honeybee colonies on Colonsay Island off west-coast Scotland in 1995, referenced in Yates Beekeeping Study Notes (Modules 1, 2 & 3). “The bees had died out completely in 2–3 days after starting to collect nectar from Rhododendron blossoms (Rhododendron thomsonii) caused by the poisonandromedotoxin or acetylandromedol.” Ted Hooper writes on the case of Colonsay Island’s bees: “The West of Scotland College of Agriculture Study showed that the poisonandromedotoxin was involved”.

It sounds like rhododendrons are not a desirable source of forage for bees! However, to put the risk of honey poisoning from rhododendron, or any other toxic plant, into perspective, I asked John Robertson of The Poison Garden website: “Put simply, something has to go wrong for toxic honey to be produced and then it has to go wrong again for it to cause human poisoning.” OK, so what can go wrong?

“The first thing that has to go wrong is to have a lack of species diversity. Generally, bees visit so many different plants that they don’t get a concentration of any particular toxin. This can go wrong, as in the west of Scotland, where Rhododendrons are almost the only thing in flower early in the spring. But, nectar from Rhododendron is toxic enough to kill the bees so they tend not to return it to the hive. Experienced beekeepers know not to let their bees out at this time of year. I haven’t seen any reports of poisoning from honey made from Rhododendrons.” John writes more on The poison garden blog, entry forTuesday 27 September 2011. (quoted material)

There’s much more of this kind of information in the entire article, and for those interested in what happens to bees when they forage and what they produce, it’s worth a look.

 

Key words: bees, honeybees, poisonous nectar, poisonous honey, Emma Sarah Tenant, Emily Scott, Miss Apis Mellifera, Adventures in Beeland, rododendren, mountain laurel

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If you're interested in joining the Blount County Beekeepers Association, call

Harlen Breeden
865-719-1828

or

John McDade
207-669-5569

Welcome


Welcome to the web site of the Blount County Beekeepers Association in Maryville, Tennessee.

This site will tell you a little about the association and how to become a member. It will also tell you a little about beekeeping.

Bees are an important part of our environment and particularly our agricultural system. They are also fascinating creatures.

We hope you will be interested enough to join us at some point, even if you're not interested in keeping bees. There are lots of ways you can join in with what we do.

Follow us on Twitter at @blountbees.

Schedule of BCBA meetings for 2015

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. in the Blount County Library.

All of the meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The following is the schedule of meetings and activities for 2015:

January 12 – regular meeting

February 9-10 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

Feb. 16 – Board of directors meeting

CANCELLED - Feb. 21 – New beekeepers class, Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church

Feb. 28 – New beekeepers class, Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church

March 1 – Grant application deadline

March 9 – regular meeting

March 28 – Woodenware workshop, Masonic Hall, Alcoa

April 13 – regular meeting

May 2 – Field Day at Charlie Parton’s farm

May 11 – regular meeting

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