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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


The November meeting of the Blount County Beekeepers Association will feature the topics of overwintering bees and bee health.

Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson

We’ll be hearing presentations from University of Tennessee researchers Michael Wilson, who will discuss proper overwintering practices for beekeepers, and Phillip Moore, who will talk about how to protect the health of your bees.

John McDade will present the seasonal management portion of the program.

The meeting, which will be on Monday, November 10, at 6:30 p.m. in the Blount County Library.

Phillip Moore

Phillip Moore

Michael and Phillip are on the research staff of UT’s Entomology and Plant Pathology Department and work closely with Dr. John Skinner, the state apiculturalist. This will be an informative session you won’t want to miss.

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 our bees.

Related sites

Blount County Beekeepers Association

Beekeeping expert Tew talks about bees and their environment at August BCBA meeting


Key words: Blount County Beekeepers Association, overwintering bees, honeybee health, Michael Wilson, Phillip Moore, John Skinner, University of Tennessee Entomology and Plant Pathology Department

More than 850 Blount County students and teachers saw first-hand what beekeeping is like during the Blount Farm Tour earlier this month.

That exposure to bees came through the efforts of Blount County Beekeepers Association members Harlen Breeden, Pat Breeden, Darlene Parton and Charlie Parton. They were helped by UT grad student Heather Lowry, who is an assistant to Dr. John Skinner.

Below are pictures, courtesy of Harlen:




IMG_0650 IMG_0651 IMG_0652


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Tom Webster

Tom Webster

The Tennessee Beekeepers Association fall conference will be Friday Oct. 10 and Saturday Oct. 11, 2014 in Cookeville, Tenn.

Dr. Thomas Webster, assistant professor at Kentucky State University and one of the founders of the Heartland Apiculture Society (HAS), will be the keynote speaker.

Other speakers include Harris Overholt and Kent Williams of Kentucky; Tennesseans: State Apiarist Mike Studer, Dr. John Skinner, Dr. Clarence Collison, Charlie Parton, Jim Garrison, Barry Richards, Sheila Ray, Jeff Dayton, Judy O’dell, Sue Dickhaus, and Wanda Coleman.

The Honey Show Director will be Jan Stephenson, Secretary/Treasurer of Cherokee Beekeepers. As you harvest honey and wax, remember to prepare entries for the George DeBusk Honey Show. Also keep your eyes open for opportunities to take photos for the photography competition.

Click here for the official honey show rules and guidelines (PDF file).

Available to download: Beekeeper Registration – PDF or Word

Vendor Registration – PDF or Word

More information about the conference can be found at Key words:

University of Tennessee State Apiculturist John Skinner has recently been part of a research project to find out more about the pollination of cranberries and other berries in the eastern United States. Below is his report, which was originally published in The Hive Tool, the newsletter of the Tennessee Beekeepers Association.

The Amazing Cranberry –Bogs, Bees and Berries


By John Skinner, Professor and UT Extension Bee Specialist

Recently I returned from a trip to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where Michael Wilson and I videotaped and photographed blooming cranberry bogs and the people that make this successful. This is a continuation of the cooperative project that started last year with low bush blueberry in Maine.

Our Maine cooperator, Dr. Frank Drummond participated in the TBA convention last year. I returned from this trip in awe of such a unique crop, its rich American history, the balance of maintaining a bog environment and the challenges getting this crop pollinated.

Dr. Anne Averill, Entomologist from the University of Massachusetts and her technician and great organizer sister Marty escorted us from bog to bog. We interviewed growers, industry representatives, cranberry association people, and scientists studying all aspects of cranberry production and pollination.

Cranberry is a plant that grows native from the Carolinas to the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Cape Cod is the birthplace of the industry. The plant requires acidic peat soils, coarse sand, a constant water supply and a long frost free season. The area around Plymouth is ideal for this crop. In the 1880s the Cape Cod Cranberry Association was formed.

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Blount County Beekeepers Association

Join us

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

Dale Hinkle
423-261- 5234


Kathy Flaherty
203-314- 0270


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 2019

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 14 – regular meeting

February 11 – regular meeting

February 16 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

TBA– New Beekeepers class

March 11 – regular meeting

March 17 -Wooden Ware class

April 8 – regular meeting

April  27-Field Day for new beekeepers

May 13 – regular meeting

June 10 – regular meeting

July 8 – regular meeting

August 12 – regular meeting

October 14 – regular meeting

November 11 – regular meeting

December 9 – Christmas dinner

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