Recent November Happenings

If you attended our last meeting, we were treated to four different presentations. Our President, Ira Poston, initially introduced Mr. Richard French, the coach for FIRST LEGO League team of four kids from Alamance County. Each year r_first_lego_league FIRST LEGO League team at the ready to test their smoker fuel. (Photo: Richard French)[/caption]


Lighting the fuel puck. (Photo: Geoff Leister)

The next three presentations during our meeting by 1st-year beekeepers Sally Bryan & Darrell Holt and 2nd-year beekeeper Zivon Price were both informative and entertaining.

During the Burlington Christmas Parade on November 19th the Alamance County Beekeepers introduced Sweet Betsy (aka Jennifer Welsh) to the city. Our mascot’s name is from the native red flowered sweet betsy bush (christmas-parade-2016-sweet-betsy-4

During the parade Sweet Betsy was transported in Randy Stinson’s float (aka BMW). Sweet Betsy made her first appearance to the public during the Farm-To-Table event on September 20th & 21st at Historic Cedarock Park. Members Ira Poston, Corey Gillespie, Mike Ross, Randy Stinson, and Charles Black also participated as some 800 fourth graders experienced ever so briefly the wonders of honey bees, beekeeping and pollination services.


Gibsonville Elementary School


Jennifer Welsh, Linda and Geoff Leister

Jennifer Welsh, Linda and Geoff Leister

Members Jennifer Welsh, Linda Leister and Geoff Leister participated in Heritage Day activities at Gibsonville Elementary School on Thursday, November 10, 2016. A PowerPoint presentation designed for grades Pre-K, K, 1st & 2nd, covered basic information on honey bees and pollination. A second PowerPoint was presented to 3rd, 4th & 5th grades. That presentation included images of a natural hive, as well as, ancient, traditional and modern artificial hives. Paul Jollay loaned us his Plank Bee Gum which was compared to an 8-frame Langstroth hive. A mock hive inspection was demonstrated on a hive, with frames, tools, and smoker. The ever favorite observation hive ended each of the twenty-two 10-minute sessions.

Hexagonal Wax Cells

We were challenged with questions by some bee informed students. One of the most challenging questions was asked by several students: “Why do honey bees build hexagonal shaped cells to create their wax honeycomb?” Great question! Lack of time prevented us from answering in detail, but some followup research on-line found the following that may be of interest to some of our members as well as students:

On National Public Radio’s Robert Krulwich Wonders on Science:

North Carolina State Fair Booth 2016

Members Zivon Price and Sheyenne Michelizzi assembled and created the following display that was delivered to the fair grounds on Tuesday, October 11 with the help of Ira Poston. 


Photo by Zivon Price

Our booth received 4th place overall.
Zivon & Sheyenne’s display of Geoff Leister’s (No.’s 1 – 12) Nectar and Pollen producing plants received a 1st place. Posted images HERE.

Geoff Leister’s Black & White photo (No. 13) received a 3rd place ribbon
Mike Ross: Chunk Honey received a 3rd place ribbon.
Keith Elkes: Pure Beeswax received a 2nd place ribbon.
Sylvia Willis: Gift Basket received a 6th place ribbon.

Honey Bee Swarming Chart

There could be no better time to introduce Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.10.01 PM


It is free and downloadable as a PDF from Vita Europe after you register your name, email address, country, zip code and select a password:  HERE  This gives you access to an amazing group of 100’s of honey bee, bee, plant, and beekeeping related images. It is well worth a look. You may have used Vita’s Apiguard or Apistan products for control of Varroa mites.

New Links Added to Resources

I have added several NEW links to our Resources webpage that you are invited to explore. First, the following link was suggested to me by visitors using our Resources page to further their interest in honey bees, beekeeping and insects in general. Through additional research they discovered A Guide to Beekeeping from Flowers to Harvesting and they wanted to share this helpful resource with our members.
The Strathcona Beekeepers Association of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada are “dedicated to the support of bees (both native and honey) and beekeepers. Their site is “intended to be a resource for gardeners, educators, farmers, beekeepers and anyone interested in creating a healthy, sustainable environment.” I have added the links to their menu entitled “The Beekeepers’ Library.” This is a “must see” webpage that will take you hours & hours of your time to examine and digest. In addition, I added a link to “A Quick Reference Guide to Honey Bee Parasites, Pests, Predators, and Diseases” from Penn State.


Star Tribune Documentary: “Bees at the Brink”

The following links lead to an extremely well written 4 part documentary that includes amazing images and imbedded videos posted on Star Tribune website. Enjoy!

Nature’s Dying Migrant Worker Part 1
Battle For Our Hearts And Mind Part 2
Fields Of Green A Desert For Bees Part 3
A Scientist’s Aim: Save The Bees Part 4

For a clearly presented explanation of the Waggle Dance be sure watch this 5-minute video on the Waggle Dance on Vimeo HERE.

Heritage Day at Gibsonville Elementary School

Tony Abbruzzi introduces tales about honey bees, with Cynthia Pierce and Linda Leister.

Tony Abbruzzi introduces tales about honey bees, with Cynthia Pierce and Linda Leister.

Our club was invited to talk for about 15 minutes about honey bee anatomy; general beekeeping tools and equipment; and the importance of pollination during the newly resurrected Heritage Day Event at Gibsonville Elementary School on November 13, 2015. Our team was composed of Cynthia Pierce, Tony Abbruzzi, and Linda & Geoff Leister. The morning sessions included 10 classes of well behaved and attentive students from Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades. The afternoon sessions were attended by 8 classes of equally attentive 3rd and 4th graders, as well as very engaged and honey-bee-savvy 5th graders who tested our bee grey matter databases. As usual, the most exciting part of our presentation came near the end of the talks when the suspicious red cover was removed from an observation hive containing a deep frame covered with hundreds of worker bees, larvae and a laying queen.

Cynthia introduces the kids to some basic honey bee anatomy.

Cynthia introduces the kids to some basic honey bee anatomy.


Discussion by Cynthia about the bee stinger and its removal kept the kids attention.

Cynthia talks about the bee stinger and its removal that kept the kids’ attention.


Farm to Table 2015


Cynthia Pierce with one of the 19 4th grade classes.

Cynthia Pierce with one of nineteen 4th grade classes that participated in Farm To Table on September 23, 2015.

If you’ve never taken the opportunity to work at the annual Farm to Table event, you should consider doing it. It’s work, but it’s fun, and you’ll learn a thing or two. But mostly, you’ll enjoy sharing your love of beekeeping with young members of our community.

This annual event is offered by the Chamber’s Agri-Business Committee and provides about 800 area 4th-graders the chance to learn about agriculture in our community. The program, provided at no charge, educates students about where their food comes from and what is involved in food production before it reaches the dining room table. Several different areas of farming are represented including dairy, poultry, farm technology, beekeeping, forestry products, beef cattle, field crops, soil and water conservation, and plant science.

Our club was well represented at this years’s 2-day event held on September 22nd & 23rd at Cedarock Historical Farm. Over two days, volunteers from our club talked about honey bees’ role in agriculture as pollinators of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The kids asked great questions [What does mate mean? Why does smoke calm them down — shouldn’t it make them panic? What do drones do?], and they got to practice being still instead of panicky around free-ranging bees, as some bees escaped the observation hive. Mike Ross, Randy Stinson, Corey Gillespie, Charles Black, Wayne and Janice Foulks, Geoff and Linda Leister, Tony Abbruzzi, and Cynthia Pierce represented beekeeping this year. Thanks to all. (Submitted by Cynthia & Geoff)

Cynthia Pierce

Student using a lighted smoker carefully guided by Cynthia Pierce.

Tony Abbruzzi captivates the students attention with honey bee flight facts.

Tony Abbruzzi captivates students’ attention with honey bee flight facts.