The 2016 grant application for new beekeepers is available. Remember you must attend the February 20th short course to be eligible. The completed application is due March 4.
The January meeting of the BCBA feature talks on queen rearing and pest management from experts at the University of Tennessee.
Michael Wilson will talk on how to raise queens, and Philip Moore will discuss various forms of pest management. Both work at UT’s Institute of Agriculture and are associates of Dr. John Skinner.
The meeting will be Monday, Jan. 11, at 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Blount County Library.
Seasonal management tips will be presented by Jim Stovall.
Both of our main speakers have been with us before, and we are happy to welcome them back.
We will also discuss plans for the new format and date for the new beekeepers short course in February. If you are asked to help with this effort, please be prepared to say yes.
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.
After many years of offering a two-night short course for new beekeepers in February, the BCBA is changing the time, place and format of that course.
In 2016, the short course will be Saturday, Feb. 20, at Maryville Church of Christ across the bypass from Foothills Mall.
The main reason for the change is that we have more people come to that course than the room at the library can hold. During this year’s course, we had nearly 150 people, and many people had to stand.
We will begin making the arrangements and putting together the program soon, and we will be calling on the members to help out with this important endeavor.
The regular meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association will be on Monday, July 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Blount County public library. The main topic on the program will be mead and how to make it out of your honey.
In addition, beekeepers can bring a sample of honey to have it tested for moisture content. Howard Kerr, a BCBA member and veteran beekeeper, will bring the testing equipment and has offered to test the honey of anyone who brings recently extracted honey to the meeting.
Honey should have about 19 percent or less water content to be considered real honey, and sometimes, with our humid days, it is difficult to determine the exact percentage. Howard will give us some insight about that on Monday
We’ll also have some information about how the CSX train derailment and evacuation has affected Blount County beekeepers.
The story quotes BCBA members Coley O’Dell and Howard Kerr and BCBA president Harlen Breeden. Mike Studer, the state apiarist, is also quote.
The story is a good summary of the situation at present:
Beekeepers with hives within the two-mile zone of last week’s CSX train derailment in Maryville can go ahead and extract honey, but are being asked to keep that honey separate until it can be analyzed for contaminants, the state apiarist said Tuesday.
Mike Studer, the state apiarist, has asked that Blount County beekeepers — particularly those in the evacuation zone of last week’s train derailment — request that CSX have honey from beehives within the zone analyzed for contaminants.
That request should be made at the CSX outreach center, which is located at Heritage Middle School.
Studer said beekeepers within the zone can extract the honey in their hives, but they should keep it separate from other honey they have and they should clean their equipment thoroughly after the extraction. The request to separate the honey will hold until honey from the zone can be analyzed.
All Blount beekeepers should continue to monitor their hives to check for significant bee kills for at least another week.
All Blount County beekeepers can extract honey from their hives, Mike Studer, state apiarist, said on Saturday morning.
But beekeepers should continue to monitor their hives to see if they notice any significant bee kills that might occur over the next couple of weeks.
Studer asked on Friday that honey extraction be suspended from many Blount County hives, particularly those close to the train derailment site that cause the evacuation of more than 5,000 people from their homes on Thursday.
The train car that derailed was carrying a dangerous chemical, which caught fire and took more than16 hours to burn itself out. A number of Blount beekeepers maintain hives that are well within the radius the evacuation zone.
State and federal environment officials were on the scene Thursday to test the air and water to see if any parts of the environment had been polluted, and they are continuing to gather samples.
Studer said he had been in touch with these officials, and to date they have found no levels of pollution outside normal levels.
If you see a significant bee kill in front of your hives over the next couple of weeks, you should contact Mike Studer at 615-517-4451 or Harlen Breeden, president of the Blount County Beekeepers Association, at 865-719-1828.
Mike Studer, the state apiarist, has asked that Blount County beekeepers, particularly those who have hives near the site of the recent train derailment, to do the following:
— Leave the honey on the hives. Do not extract any honey until the state has had a chance to run some tests to determine if the honey has been contaminated.
— Check the front of your hives immediately to see if there are any significant bee kills that have occurred in the last 36 hours.
— Continue to monitor the fronts of your hives daily. Contaminations sometimes take several days to show their effects. If you see a significant loss of bees over the next week or two, contact Mike Studer or BCBA president Harlen Breeden.
Studer said that his belief is that the railroad company CSX will continue to be responsible for any damage resulting from the accident. That would include damage to beehives or honey.
Studer said he hopes to have more information about possible honey contamination by sometime next week.
If you see anything unusual with your hives that might be attributed to the railroad accident, you should call Harlen (865-719-1828) or Mike (615-517-4451) immediately. This is especially true about large amounts of dead bees. Their carcasses deteriorate quickly, so the sooner they can be tested, the better the results will be.
The train derailment occurred early Thursday morning near the crossing on Old Mount Tabor Road and not far from Old Glory Road. A number of our members have hives close to that site.
It’s the state law to have your beehives registered, so don’t neglect this important duty.
If you want them inspected, below is a list of association bee inspectors. There is no cost for this service. If you are planning to move the hives, they must be inspected.
Current inspectors in the BCBA:
Stacey Adair, 983-6223
Harlen Breeden, 719-1828
Stephanie Tarwater, 805-1994
Dennis Barry, 414-2116
Dale Hinkle, 423-261-5234
Charlie Parton, 984-3059
José Ashbrook, 258-8636
Ricky Bailey, 865-250-8123
Dennis Barry presented the seasonal portion of the June meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association on June 8 and told those attending that they should keep in mind the following during this busy month for beekeepers:
- The honey flow is nearly finished, and the honey supers should be coming off the hives fairly soon.
- Think about when you will start feeding your hives. With the flowering season over, the feeds are likely to run out of stores by August.
- Get ready to medicate, if you choose to do so. Some medications are temperature sensitive, so make sure you are away of how to put them on.
- Prepare to enter your honey in a local fair or contest. For local beekeepers, there is the Tennessee Valley Fair, the Blue Ribbon Fair and the Tennessee Beekeepers Association annual meeting, just to name three venues coming up in early fall.
- Order your queens now if you are going to re-queen in the fall.