Bees wanna swarm!


It’s that time of year again! Honey bee populations are burgeoning in their hives and when that happens, a large part of the colony might separate out and take off. It’s how honey bee colonies reproduce. After leaving the hive, the worker bees, along with their queen, first find a place to hang for a while — in a tree, on a bicycle chain or a fence, or on any other comfy site — while scout bees look for a new place to call home.
If you notice a swarm, please don’t be alarmed, and please don’t do harm. The bees are calm and non-defensive in a swarm state, though they can appear scary. It’s actually an awesome and thrilling sight and you are lucky to witness it!

Happy spring time!
Honey Bee Swarms Do Not Always Land in Trees
The above text was originally posted by Cynthia Pierce, County Extension Support Specialist and Alamance County Beekeepers Newsletter Editor.
Photos above by Geoff Leister

Swarm and Bee Removal

Welcome to Alamance County Swarm and Bee Removal

Honey Bees in Swarms

If you are requesting that a swarm of bees (honey bees ONLY) be removed from your property in Alamance County, North Carolina, and surrounding areas, please contact:
             Jeff Telander at 919-618-8094.
He will call the nearest available local beekeeper to collect the swarm.

Honey Bees in Structures

If honey bees are seen coming and going from your home, tree or outbuilding this requires more technical removal options called “Trap Outs” or “Cut outs” and most beekeepers all charge for this service as explained on Forsyth County Beekeepers webpage HERE. They have also posted a clear and very informative Bee Removal FAQ. After reading the information, please contact Jeff about possible removals in Alamance County.

Depending on the task, such as of a swarm removal versus an established colony housed in a structure, beekeepers will sometimes charge for the latter service. You can find out why HERE?

We only remove honey bees and NOT carpenter bees, yellow jackets, wasps, hornets, or bumblebees. Here is a useful Bee Identification Guide.

Questions that Jeff may ask!

1. Are they honey bees?
2. Are bees entering a structure or in a mass outside?

3. When were they noticed?
4. What has been done?
5. Has any pesticide been used?
6. Has anyone else been called?
7. Has anyone been stung? Might indicate an aggressive (dry) swarm.
8. How large is the cluster/swarm? Basketball or softball size?
9. Where is it, specifically?
10. How high up are they?
11. Do you plan to call someone else?
12. Do we have permission to collect the bees?
13. Is this your property? Give me specific directions to get to the swarm site.


Guide to Native Bees in North Carolina

Here is a “honey” of a bee book that can be a guide to the identification of some of the more than 500 “other” North Carolina native bee species visiting the flowers in pollination gardens or flower beds. This book is published and distributed by UNC Press for NC State Extension and is described as follows:

“Identifying bees on the wing is known to be tricky. The Bees of North Carolina: An Identification Guide is a beginner’s resource designed to help quickly and generally identify native bees in North Carolina. Developed by experts at NC State Extension, it provides an overview of some of the most common groups of bees in the state. The guide will help users learn to recognize bees according to key characteristics and, eventually, according to their overall appearance.”

Thanks are due to authors Hannah Levenson, Graduate Research Associate, Entomology & Plant Pathology at NC State University and Dr. Elsa Youngsteadt, Assistant Professor, Extension Urban Ecology Specialist, for this excellent publication. The authors mention that even in December and January, you may often see Small Carpenter Bees (Ceratina), Sweat Bees (Lasioglossum) and Metallic Green Sweat Bees (Augochlora) out foraging with your honey bees on warm days.

The guide is available now to download as a FREE pdf file HERE

Paperback copies will be available from UNC Press for $14 in January 2020 and are available for pre-order HERE

Here are a few selected images of native bees that have visited our Burlington apiary and garden.

Female Cuckoo Leafcutter bee (Coelioxys) on Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Mining Bee (Andrena) on Serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea)

Long-horned bee (Melissodes bimaculatus) on Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia)

Metallic Green Sweat Bee (Augochlora) on Cranesbill Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Sweat Bee (Halictus ligatus) on Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

American Bumble Bee (Bombus pensylvanicus) nectaring on Giant Blue Lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Flowering in Alamance County, NC

At noon on Sunday, November 24, 2019, bees were flying and foraging on the Climbing Aster (Ampelaster carolinianus) in the apiary. This not only included honey bees, but also Bumblebees and small native bees. Honey bees were nectaring and gathering pollen. This member of the Asteraceae plant family is a native perennial vine that produces abundant pale purple to lavender flowers beginning in late October. It grows with support from a trellis or fencing to 4 to 5 feet tall, and frost does not seem to impede the flowering. It attracts both bees and butterflies well into November here in the Piedmont of NC. The plant does better in full sun, but will survive in partial shade.

Pollen gathering honey bee on Climbing Aster (Ampelaster carolinianus)

In flight honey bee approaching a Climbing Aster flower (Ampelaster carolinianus)

Links to UK National Honey Show Presentations

Under “Resources,”  I have posted links to four presentations presented at the 2018 National Honey Show in Surrey, England by Dr. Clarence Collison. He writes monthly column “A Closer Look” for Bee Culture magazine. He is an Emeritus Professor of Entomology and Department Head Emeritus of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS.


We would like to announce that starting on January 21, 2020 the Alamance County Beekeepers will start the 29th consecutive year of offering a Beginning Beekeeping Course. The objective of the course is to create an interest in beekeeping and provide information needed for a person to become a keeper of honey bees, a beekeeper. No prior experience is required to take the course. This is a 24-hour course, 20 hours in the classroom and 4 hours in the field. The structured classes start, as noted above, on January 21, 2020 and will continue each Tuesday evening from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. through April 4th. All class sessions will be held in the auditorium of the Ag Extension Office located at, 209 N. Graham Hopedale Rd, Burlington, NC 27217.

At the completion of the classroom instructions, we will have a Field Day on Saturday, April 4th, depending on weather. During the Field Day, we will spend 4 hours in a bee yard to gain hands-on experience in working with the bees.

It’s best to register in advance to assure you have a seat and course materials. The room can only hold 50 people comfortably, so be sure to register early. The cost of the course is $85.00. This includes $10.00 building usage fee, $25.00 for Local and State dues and hand books. If your spouse or other member of your family wants to take the course and you can share the books, then the cost for the additional person would be $35.00. To register in advance, please send your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address along with your payment to: PO Box 215, Elon, NC 27244 Please make check payable to Alamance County Beekeepers.

If you live in the Burlington area, you most likely won’t need directions to the Ag Building; however, if you are coming from out of town one simple way to get to the Ag Extension Office is to get off I-85/1-40 at exit 145 and head toward downtown Burlington. This street is Maple Avenue. Stay on Maple Avenue through the center of Burlington until you get to Church Street, turn right travel approximately 2.1 miles until you get to Graham Hopedale Road, turn left, travel one block and the Ag Building is the first building on the right.

We would also like to announce that in 2020, the Alamance County Farm Bureau will again be sponsoring a Cost-Share program. This is a program where a number of people are awarded two hives each, along with a package of bees for each hive. Applications for this program will be available on the first evening of the class.

Even though you have registered in advance, we would like for you to come a little early, maybe 6:00 PM, on the first night, January 21st, so that we will have time to issue name tags and handbooks and still be ready to start our class at 6:30 PM.

If you know someone interested in taking this course, we would appreciate you sharing the above information with that person. This course announcement will also be posted on the Alamance County Beekeepers Web Site – <>

Hope to see you on January 21st

Download the Announcement Here!
Download Course Class Schedule Here!

2019 NC State Fair Booth Results

Alamance County Beekeepers Association
2019 NC State Fair Booth

Photo: Sheyenne Michelizzi

Thanks are due to all club members who participated by preparing and contributing entries that garnered a 1st place winning booth. Special thanks are due to Sheyenne Michelizzi, Zivon Price, and Johnny Mills for designing and assembling the booth and for coordinating the delivery and arrangement of all contributors entries.

County Display Booth Entries
Place: 1 County Display Booth (Sheyenne Michelizzi, Zivon Price, Johnny Mills)

Place: 1 Display 12 nectar-producing plants (Linda Leister & Geoff Leister)
Place: 2 Pure beeswax dipped candles (Catherine Parsons)
Place: 2 Chunk honey (Mike Ross)
Place: 4 Quilts-suitable for wall hanging (Roma Lloyd)
Place: 5 3-jars, 14 oz., Honey extracted, dark amber (Jennifer Welsh)
Place: 5 3-jars, 14 oz., Honey light amber (Paul Jollay)
Place: 6 3-jars, 14 oz. Honey extracted extra light (Mike Ross)

Photo by: Sheyenne Michelizzi

Members Individual Entries

Paul Jollay’s Entries
Place: 1 Special Awards Best in Show: Senior Division
Place: 1 3-jars, 14 oz., extracted, extra light
Place: 1 2-bottles non-carb. dry mead
Place: 2 2-bottles sweet mead
Place: 6 3-jars, 14 oz., extracted amber
Place: 6 3-jars, 14 oz., honey, light amber

Sheyenne Michelizzi’s Entries
Place: 1 Pure beeswax dipped candles
Place: 3 Novelty Items Beeswax

Nancy Montgomery Entry
Place: 1 Quilts-suitable for wall hanging

Ira Poston’s Entries
Place: 1 3-sections cut comb honey
Place: 3 1-comb for extracting
Place: 3 3-jars, 14 oz., extracted amber

Mike Ross’s Entries
Place: 1 Sweepstakes Awards Senior Sweepstakes
Place: 1 Bulk Display Pure beeswax single block
Place: 1 3-jars, 14 oz., chunk, comb, light
Place: 2 1-comb for extracting

Jennifer Welsh’s Entries
Place: 4 Cookies – plain, any flavor
Place: 4 Pure beeswax product display

Ariel Welsh’s Entries
Place: 1 Sweepstakes Awards Junior Sweepstakes
Place: 1 Junior Honey Competition 1 B&W print honey bee/scene
Place: 1 Junior Honey Competition 1 color print honey bee/scene
Place: 1 Junior Honey Competition Beekeeping Coloring Book
Place: 2 Junior Honey Competition Display pure beeswax products
Place: 5 Foods cooked w/Honey-Juniors Cookies – any variety not list

Amber Welsh’s Entries
Place: 1 Junior Honey Competition 3-jars, 14 oz.,extracted, light
Place: 1 Junior Honey Competition 3-jars,14 oz. extracted, dark
Place: 1 Junior Honey Competition Display pure beeswax products
Place: 2 Foods cooked w/Honey-Juniors Cookies – Chocolate Chip
Place: 4 Junior Honey Competition 1-color print honey bee/scene

Photo: Cynthia Pierce

One part of the Alamance County Beekeepers Association State Fair Exhibit included a display of 12 Nectar and Pollen Producing Plants for which the club won 1st place. The 12 Bee Friendly Culinary and Aromatic Herb Fact Sheets for each herb entered are available for download individually as separate pages below or as a single 12 page PDF document HERE. Select a plant name to download.

1. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum)
2. Borage (Borago officinalis)
3. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
4. Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
5. Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum)
6. Sweet Marjoram or Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
7. English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
8. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
9. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus)
10. Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflora)
11. English Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
12. Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)