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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.


Many of the viruses now being discovered in beehives are introduced by the varroa destructor, according to Philip Moore, a bee researcher at the University of Tennessee.

Philip Moore

Philip Moore

Moore spoke to the November meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association on Nov. 10 on emerging trends in honeybee health. The picture he painted is not a pretty one for bees or beekeepers.

There are more than 20 viruses that researchers are looking at that infect beehives, he said. Most of these — though not all — are introduced into the hives by varroa.

Moore made the following points during his talk:

  • For most of the viruses, a beekeeper is going to be unaware that they are there. When the hive starts showing symptoms of having a virus, it’s usually too late to do anything about it.
  • Beekeepers should be careful about taking frames from weak hives and putting them in strong hives. Doing this often brings viruses into the strong hive.
  • Beekeepers should inspect their hives regularly for any unusual activity or unusual-looking bees. These are indicators that something is wrong with the hive.
  • The most important thing a beekeeper can do to fight viruses is to try to keep the varroa levels in the hive at a minimum.
  • Some types of bees, such as Africanized bees or Russian bees, exhibit behaviors that help them fight varroa.

Moore said more information about all of this can be found at the University’s website:

Here’s an article that Moore co-authored with Michael Wilson, Dr. John Skinner about beehive viruses:

Key words: honeybees, beehives, bee health, Philip Moore, varroa, varroa destructor, beehive viruses, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Blount County Beekeepers Association, Russian bees, Africanized bees, beehive inspection, John Skinner, Michael Wilson

Marla Spivak of the University of Minnesota is one of the nation’s leading researchers on bee health and beekeeping.

She is articulate and eloquent spokesperson for honeybees, the reasons they are in danger, and sensible sustainable beekeeping.

In this 16-minute video, she outlines some of the reasons that we should all be paying attention to the health of our bees.


Spivak says there are two things that everyone can do to help out bees:

  • Plant more bee-friendly flowers.
  • Don’t use pesticides.

Here are some additional highlights of her talk:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Blount County Beekeepers Association

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

Chuck Davis


Mark Ford


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 2018

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maryville Church of Christ, 611 Sherwood Drive in Maryville.

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 2018:

January 8 – regular meeting

February 12 – regular meeting

February 17 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

March 10– New Beekeepers class

March 12 – regular meeting

March 17 -Wooden Ware class

April 9 – regular meeting

April  TBA-Field Day for new beekeepers

May 14 – regular meeting

June 11 – regular meeting

July 9 – regular meeting

August 13 – regular meeting

October 8 – regular meeting

November 12 – regular meeting

December 10 – Christmas dinner

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