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With 28 participants, the 2014 Beginner's Beekeeping Class has the second largest enrollment in the history of the Association. There was a "buzz" of excitement on the evening of January 23rd when the class gathered for the first time. Several Association members also joined us to welcome our newest members! We'll post updates here on how the class is going and we might even include some pictures. Beginners Beekeeping Class Schedule __________________________________________________________________________________________ Jan 23rd, 2014 Instructors: Mike Radcliffe and Richard Guess Topics: Introduction to Beekeeping _______________________________________________________ Jan 30th, 2014 Instructor: Frank Blanchard
Components of a Hive
Beginners Beekeeping Class Schedule
Jan 23rd, 2014
Instructors: Mike Radcliffe and Richard Guess
Topics: Introduction to Beekeeping
Jan 30th, 2014
Instructor: Frank Blanchard
At our November, 2013 monthly meeting, Association Board member Glen Perdue gave a presentation on how to sell your honey legally in South Carolina. As a follow-up, we thought it might be helpful to provide some links to important information from the South Carolina department of Agriculture's website.
A recent change in the law in South Carolina allows beekeepers to sell up to 400 gallons or 4,800 pounds of honey annually directly to end users without having the honey processed in an approved honey house. However, in order to do this, you must obtain an Exemption Certificate from the Department of Agriculture. There is NO COST for this certificate. Below is a link that will take you to the SCDA application for a honey exemption certificate: Along with your application, you must submit a sample of your honey label for approval. Below is a link to the requirements for honey labels in South Carolina: Remember, you CAN sell your honey directly to end-users in South Carolina WITHOUT processing it in a honey house approved by the SC Department of Agriculture. However, in order to do so legally, you MUST have a Honey Exemption Certificate and you can ONLY sell your honey DIRECTLY to end-users. In other words, you CANNOT sell your honey wholesale. Also, ALL the honey you sell must be properly labeled and you are limited to selling no more than 400 gallons of honey annually
Along with your application, you must submit a sample of your honey label for approval. Below is a link to the requirements for honey labels in South Carolina:
Remember, you CAN sell your honey directly to end-users in South Carolina WITHOUT processing it in a honey house approved by the SC Department of Agriculture. However, in order to do so legally, you MUST have a Honey Exemption Certificate and you can ONLY sell your honey DIRECTLY to end-users. In other words, you CANNOT sell your honey wholesale. Also, ALL the honey you sell must be properly labeled and you are limited to selling no more than 400 gallons of honey annually
Many beekeepers start either their first or new colonies by purchasing "package bees". Typically, a package of bees consists of 3lbs. of live bees (about 30,000 bees) and one mated queen. The package includes a mix of mostly female worker bees and some drones (males). One of the many benefits of belonging to our Association is that we place a "group" order for package bees and then pick our bees up from Spell Bee/Gardner Apiaries in Baxley, GA. Then, on a specified day, we deliver the bees to Camden, SC for our members to pick up at a specified location. This allows our members to avoid the individual cost of having the live bees shipped by the U.S. Postal Service. It also means that the bees are delivered to Camden on the SAME day that they are placed in the package instead of spending several days in transit. It's a "win-win" for everyone.
NOTE: The Association does NOT assume ANY liability for package bees once they are delivered to an Association member. It is also normal, in fact unavoidable, for some bees to die in transit. This is an accepted industry standard and should not be a cause for alarm.
WE WILL BEGIN TAKING ORDERS FOR PACKAGE BEES AT OUR FEBRUARY, 2014 MONTHLY MEETING! We have reserved a limited number of packages and additional queens, so members are encouraged to place and pay for their orders as early as possible.
The time to Start thinking about how many packages and/or queens you're going to need in the Spring is NOW!
Here are our guidelines for ordering package bees:
1. New members who successfully complete the 2014 Beginner's Beekeeping Class ARE eligible to order package bees for Spring, 2014 delivery.
2. Only members who have paid their 2014 membership dues are eligible to order package bees.
3. Resale of package bees for profit is STRICTLY PROHIBITED. Members can only order as many packages as they need for their own personal use. The Association reserves the right to place a limit on the number of packages ordered by any individual member at our discretion or to refuse to accept an order from a member.
4. Because the Association incurs considerable expenses associated with the pick up, transportation and delivery of the package bees each Spring, we reserve the right to add a nominal amount to the purchase price of each package to help defray these costs. This is NOT viewed by the Association as a fund raising event. By spreading these expenses among all members and by buying "in bulk", the total cost per package is typically considerably less than it would cost for an individual to order their own bees.
5. No orders will be accepted after the deadline date and time set by the Association. The deadline for 2014 package bee/queen orders is 5:00pm on Friday, March 7th, 2014. FULL PAYMENT FOR ALL ORDERS MUST BE RECEIVED BY this DEADLINE OR your ORDER WILL BE CANCELLED.
6. Cost, ordering and delivery details will be posted on our website and communicated by e-mail to registered members of the website as soon as they are made available by the supplier. Being a registered member of the website does NOT qualify a person to purchase package bees.
Spring is always a busy time of year for Beekeepers and for our Association. We get lots of requests, especially around EARTH DAY, for a beekeeper to come to an Elementary School, Community Festival, Garden or Civic Club or other event to highlight the importance of the honeybee. Typically, we try to bring along an Observation Hive full of live honey bees because nothing draws and keeps a crowd of children or adults quite like a few thousand live bees behind glass!
A critical part of our mission as an Association is to educate the public about the importance of the honeybee and other pollinators because of issues like the overuse of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in agriculture, the loss of bee habitat and inadequate forage for bees to name just a few. Every time we take a few hours out of our busy schedules, we are serving as Ambassadors for the insects who have no voice of their own!
Special thanks are in order for Mike Radcliffe, Richard Guess, Debbie Kruger and Linda Graham for volunteering their time recently in this ongoing public service. We're asking other members of our Association to contact us so we can add your name to our "Speakers List". Even if you're a new Beekeeper, if you've taken a Beginner's Beekeeping Class then you already know MUCH more than most folks about the honeybee, plus we'll always try to pair you up with a more experienced Beekeeper for your first few "gigs".
Here's an example of two "bee" questions that were asked by elementary school students at a recent Earth Day Celebration. If you don't know the answers, why not take a moment to search the internet for answers? Then you WILL be smarter than a 5th grader!
1. How many times a minute can a bee flap her wings?
2. How fast can a bee fly?
WBA and Honeybees are "in the news" locally
Recently, our Association was mentioned and one of our members was interviewed by a local news station about CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder. If you'd like to read the online story and see the video, click on the link below.
We always love it when the honeybee gets attention. One of the goals of our Association is to educate the public about the importance of the honeybee so we try to take advantage of opportunities when they come along!
There are many advantages to belonging to a local Beekeeping Association, not the least of which is access to reasonably priced packages of honeybees! Here's how the process works for Wateree Beekeepers Association. Instead of our members ordering their packages of bees separately and each paying for shipping through the U.S. Postal Service, we pool our orders and then send two beekeepers to Spell Bee in Baxley, GA to pick up the bees. This year we brought back over a hundred 3 lb packages of bees in the back of a short-bed Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. The folks at Spell Bee are experts at loading packages so the bees are well ventilated and there is no shifting of packages during transit.
It's a classic example of how collaboration can produce a win-win scenario. Think of all the benefits of this system:
1. It's "earth friendly" - because ALL the packages of bees are transported at the same time in a fuel efficient way that reduces the carbon footprint involved in getting them from Georgia to South Carolina
2. The bees are less stressed - because the bees we purchased from Spell Bee were shaken into packages just a few HOURS before they were loaded on our truck. Then, we delivered them to our Association members less than SIX HOURS later! So, these bees are about as FRESH and UNSTRESSED as they can be.
3. Reduced Cost - because we're not selling the bees to make a profit, we only have to add a couple of dollars to each package to cover the cost for incidental expenses like gasoline and food and lodging for two beekeepers. Our "transporters" are Association members who donate their time and because they're beekeepers they know a little more than the Post Office about how to safely transport live insects, especially the kind that can sting! The end result is that our Association members save up to 30% on each package they buy!
If this sounds like a "paid advertisement" don't worry, it's NOT. Our package bees for this year have long since been delivered and are already busy settling into their new South Carolina homes throughout Kershaw and surrounding counties, so we're not trying to SELL anything.
We DO, however, plead "guilty" to heartily endorsing yet another list of benefits enjoyed by those who belong to their local Beekeepers Association.
p.s. We've already reserved 150 packages for next Spring, so we'll be doing it all over again in 2014!
p.s.s. Special thanks to Steve Garner of Spell Bee/Garner Apiaries, the nations largest producer of package bees. Steve and his dedicated crew treat every customer the same way they treat their bees, with special attention!
Wateree Beekeepers Association is proud to unveil our first LOGO. We will soon be taking orders for t-shirts, polo shirts, sweat shirts and lots more, all featuring this unique and colorful logo. Check this website frequently OR register to receive e-mails containing details on how to order!