CAPPings – Sep/Oct 2022

October 13, 2022


Whew! Whirlwind summer!

First off, I must apologize for missing the summer edition of this newsletter and being late in getting this one out. The good news is that it was due to a very busy and productive summer. We were able to accomplish our goals for this year, and I am excited to see where our program is headed. Of course, the work continues, but I will try to make up for the missed edition here.

I was able to hire a summer technician, which helped tremendously. Many of you met Byrnes Britton at the summer conference. Byrnes expressed to me how friendly and fun all of you are and that he really enjoyed the job. Byrnes has returned to studying business at The Citadel. While he does not have a background or experience with beekeeping or agriculture, he told me that because of his experience in this position, he is interested in focusing on ag business. Thanks for being a positive influence in his professional development.

Speaking of the summer conference, it was so good to see all of you that attended! I had the pleasure of helping coordinate speakers for the conference, which turned out to be a real challenge. Larry Connor, well known beekeeping author, was scheduled to be one of our keynotes, but early in the summer suffered from a health issue that prevented him from travelling this summer. I want to personally thank Dr. Lewis Bartlett of the University of Georgia for stepping-in on short notice. I have since learned that Larry Connor has recovered from surgery and plans to be in SC this fall. Also, a huge Thank You to all of the vendors, volunteers, sponsors, and speakers that contributed. This year’s conference brought two new training options including a youth program and a half-day intro to beekeeping workshop. It was my pleasure to work with Danny Cannon to offer a working bee yard again with lots of demonstrations. Special thanks go to Doug Vinson (NCSBA president) and Robert Smith (NCSBA Master Beekeeping Program co-chair) for joining us at the conference and helping us in the bee yard. While it is a lot of work to set up the yard and schedule the demos, it is something I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to offering again next year. Also, we had the opportunity to engage about fifteen young folks along with their parents at the first ever youth program. I had a great time helping with that as well.

Gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) on blue vervain (Verbena hastata). Photo credit Ben Powell, CAPP

Two spotted scoliid wasps (Scolia dubia) on white wing stem (Verbena virginica). Photo credit Ben Powell, CAPP

I am super excited about the pollinator plots at the Pee Dee Research Station. Timely rains have made for exceptional growing conditions, and the plots look FANTASTIC! We are collecting data now on percent germination, cover, and insect diversity. Also, we are testing a few annual crops for summer forage, including buckwheat, phacelia, yellow sweetclover, hyssops, and zinnias. I had the pleasure of showing nearly 200 farmers and landowners the new plots and discussing the benefits of providing pollinator habitat at the Fall field day on September 1st.

The next phase of work has begun on the Master Beekeeping Program to continue updating the training materials. We plan to update the certified training study guide to have it match the new curriculum and be more user friendly. The plan is to make this more of a workbook that coincides with the new presentations and includes a glossary of terms commonly used by beekeepers. We also are working on the journeyman level materials. We would like to standardize the journeyman curriculum and presentations to make sure that all aspiring journeymen are receiving the same level of training. This is a delicate balance between increasing the intensity of training without overwhelming the students. Becoming a journeyman requires a very thorough coverage of all apicultural topics, but the amount and detail of material covered is a very serious step up from the certified level trainings. This really requires a training format that allows the student more time to complete the reading assignments and conduct independent study in preparation for the exam, so we are considering developing a modular training which allows the student to review the material on their schedule and ensures that all participants receive the same degree of instruction.

Ben Powell leads the beekeeping field day at Clemson University on Sep. 17th, 2022. Photo credit Sara Lyter.

Let me address some questions I received regarding the Basics of Beekeeping Hybrid Course that was scheduled for back in May. I had to postpone the course due to a family health issue that pulled my wife away for several weeks, preventing me from conducting the field days as planned. I rescheduled it for September which turned-out to be an excellent shift. The hybrid course provides a virtual learning opportunity for the underserved parts of the state and to respond to the numerous requests our extension offices receive for introductory beekeeper training.  This training program is not intended to replace the beginner trainings that local clubs offer. We continue to send inquiries to the local clubs that offer training, especially if they use the training materials developed for the Master Beekeeping Program. I feel much more comfortable doing this now that the certified level training presentations were updated earlier this year. I know that these beginner trainings are important for generating membership to the local associations, so I have intentionally limited the scope of this hybrid training program. Rather than replicate the training model of our neighboring states which provide pre-recorded and on-demand trainings, I offer the training once per year, deliver the lectures live, and limit registration to 40 participants statewide. Also, I firmly believe that successful beekeeping requires mentorship and a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. Both of which are well served by local associations, the SC Beekeepers Association, and the SC Master Beekeeping Program. Throughout the training I emphasize the importance of joining local clubs and the State Association for ongoing support and growth. While I admitted 40 students into the course, I received over 100 requests. Those additional requests were directed to their local associations, and the admitted registrants were encouraged to join their local association and to become certified. All ships rise with the tide, and it is the mission of the Clemson Apiculture and Pollinator Program to develop dynamic training options that raise the “watermark” of beekeeping statewide. This means providing instruction at all levels. The hybrid course is the best way to offer entry level instruction that supports local associations. We plan to make the Basics of Beekeeping Hybrid Course an annual program to be offered in September.

Ben Powell, CAPP coordinator, visits the Dyce lab at Cornell University.

Add to these projects a flood of calls, emails, and apiary visits, and this has been an extremely productive and busy year. Thanks to all of you for your support of our efforts to build a solid apiculture education program at Clemson University. Delivering a statewide apiculture program requires cooperation with many stakeholders, and teamwork is essential if we are to advance our trade within and beyond South Carolina. Thanks to all of you that have given of your time and talents this summer to make all of this happen. Let’s continue to help beekeepers help bees.

Kindest regards,
Ben Powell
Clemson Apiculture and Pollinator Program Coordinator





           Corpus Politicum, The Body Politic

Ancient Greek philosophers often debated what form of governance would lead to prosperity for all members of society, their question… “How should civilization be structured to ensure that a community should prosper?” Another way of asking this question is “What assurances are there to prevent one member of a community from disaffecting another?” They often discussed cities and communities as if each is a living organism, the Body Politic, a collective of individuals with different roles that through their personal actions either support the body in its endeavor to grow and prosper or, conversely, infest it as an ailment that causes sickness and decline. The head equated to the administrative state and the hands and feet to the working classes, and the debaters understood that there must be balance among the different parts of the body. Strong mind but weak arms and legs, and the body is stifled. Strong body and weak mind, and the body is unruly, and its members compete for dominance. The metaphor continues to this day.

As beekeepers, we should be quite familiar with this concept. After all, the creature that we adore, the honey bee, displays a level of coordination and collective reasoning that exemplifies the Body Politic. Of course, we use the term “superorganism,” but the philosophical concept is similar. The queen puts forth signals through her pheromones and production of brood that drive the colony to collect resources and grow, and the workforce regulates the queen’s behavior as they assess the economy of the environment and the condition of the nest. This system of inherent communication among the members of the body maintains balance, and balance leads to prosperity.

Unfortunately, no community is without its malevolent constituents. Prosperity attracts those that would feed off it, selfishly focused on their own interests while contributing nothing to the growth of the community. In the case of the honey bee, the most malicious parasite is the Varroa mite. It takes advantage of the most prosperous honey bee colonies, the ones that have been most successful at finding resources and growing the workforce. As it infiltrates these colonies it sows deceit and maliciousness, aka viruses. These viruses corrupt the normal and healthy pathways of communication in the colony, which leads to decline of the colony’s “body politic.”

This is where many of us find our bees in the fall of the year, especially if we have done little to prevent Varroa mites from infesting our colonies. Over the last few weeks, I have fielded numerous emails and Facebook posts about “abandoned hives” and inexplicably queenless colonies. Almost all of these inquiries claimed the colonies to be very strong just weeks prior to the losses. Many callers made unproven claims that pesticides were at fault, but in most cases, the losses were attributed to Varroa mites and the rampant spread of viruses through the colony.

Varroa mites from a sample of a heavily infested colony. Photo credits, Ben Powell, CAPP

The question then is, what can be done now? If you haven’t taken steps to control Varroa mites, is it too late? I would say the answer is “better late than never,” but there may be colonies that have developed virus loads that are so high that they may not recover in time for winter. A recent study of Deformed Wing Virus transmission (Locke et al. 2017, see ) demonstrated that simply treating to reduce Varroa in heavily infected colonies does not remove the virus because other modes of transmission exist. Even after Varroa mites were removed, the virus persisted at high levels. Also, current DWV research has shown that the new DWV-B variant is more virulent and deadly and has largely replaced the original DWV-A variant (Paxton et al. 2022, see “Science Review” below). This shows why it is so critical to keep Varroa mite levels low throughout the year, not just in the lead up to winter.

That being said, now is a very critical period of time for your colonies for a variety of reasons. We have already mentioned Varroa mites and the viruses they exacerbate, but I must emphasize how important it is to have colonies producing healthy winter bees right now. Keeping mite percentages below 2% is essential for that to happen. Just as important as mite control, the beekeeper should take initiative to make sure the bees are well fed and ready for winter. This is a time of natural constriction both in the availability of food and the growth of the colony.

Goldenrod (Solidago sp.) in flower. Photo credit Ben Powell, CAPP

The fall nectar flow, which consists mainly of goldenrods, asters, and a few other perennial flowers and annual crops, is underway, but it produces less honey than the spring. Depending on your location, the bees may or may not add any honey stores to supply their winter needs, so the beekeeper may need to feed. After Hurricane Ian passed through, we abruptly entered fall with very cool nights in the low 50s F and moderate daytime temperatures in the 70s F. While the bees may be bringing in fall nectar, they probably are consuming it quickly to generate heat for the still large brood areas. The demonstration colonies at the Pee Dee Research Station are maintaining weight, but not adding any new honey stores. Even though goldenrods and some crops are still blooming, colonies are consuming the food as fast as it comes in.

Graphs of hive weight (green) and ambient temperature (blue) for the week of Oct. 6-13, 2022. Photo credit Ben Powell, CAPP

In most of South Carolina, our first frosts do not begin until the first or second week of November. This gives the bees about one more brood cycle before nectar sources will abruptly end, so a 1:1 syrup is sufficient through October. After frost, feed should be switched to either 2:1 syrup or candy/dried sugar feeds which do not require drying and stimulate brood production less. It is not recommended to add pollen at this point because brood production will decline sharply in the next few weeks, and unused pollen will attract undesirable pests such as small hive beetles.

As incoming food declines in the fall, bees are quick to rob when given the opportunity. Beekeepers should be careful when conducting inspections and refrain from keeping colonies open for long periods. The smell of drying nectar coming from open colonies will attract potential robbers. Weaker colonies need to be combined to help them fend off robbers and pests. Also, it is important to begin restricting entrances and closing screened bottom boards. This will help not only with reducing robbing and pressure from other pests such as yellow jackets and mice but also make it easier to maintain more constant temperature in the brood area. These are standard winterizing practices that you can do to reduce stress on colonies.

Another important activity is to reduce unused space in the colonies. If you have supers on but the bees are not actually adding honey to them, then it is best to remove them and store them for winter. This reduces the amount of comb the bees have to defend from pests and heat loss to empty space above the brood area. If your supers have a frame or two of honey, then you might consider placing the supers away from the bees for them to clean-out the honey and transport it back into their overwintering configuration.

Remember, the condition of bee colonies going into winter will largely determine their condition coming out of it. The good news is that our winters are relatively mild, and well fed and defended colonies with low Varroa mite counts typically do quite well the following spring.



“To faction an end, to wealth increase”

Many years ago I participated in voice competitions. No, this was not like American Idol or The Voice. These were recitals of classical works intended to demonstrate range and technical proficiency of the singer. My voice instructor, Dr. Bill Hobbins, helped me select songs and prepare for the recitals. One song Dr. Hobbins suggested was an old English drinking song from the 1700s, not exactly what most would categorize as a classical work, but “Down Among the Dead Men” is both challenging and fun and did a great job of capturing the judges’ attentions. The song opens jubilantly with the lofty proclamation, “Here’s a health to the king and a lasting peace, to faction an end, to wealth increase.” Apparently, the merrymakers gathered in those English pubs recognized that fracturing of a community into “factions” and focusing on the minute differences among groups over the overwhelming commonalities of the community will lead to the destruction of the community. Here I go again, harkening back to the Body Politic.

The beekeeping community is no different, and it seems that this group of people who share a strong common interest continuously focus on each other’s differences. I suppose that is going to happen anywhere there is passion for one’s trade, but the problem is that new beekeepers find this confusing and the conflicts off-putting. Many beekeepers turn away and avoid beekeeper organizations all together, turning to resources like “YouTube” and other sources of information online. Some beekeepers do try to get involved, and they ask me questions like: “What organizations should I join?”, “Where do I get the best information?”, “Who should I believe?”, “Whose side should I be on?”, and “Who is right?” It seems like I get just as many questions about other beekeepers as I do about the bees themselves, so I thought I might take a moment to discuss some of the various beekeeper organizations.

First off, let’s start locally. You may have heard the adage that “all beekeeping is local.” Well, whoever coined the term is spot-on. The performance of colonies is directly determined by the surrounding landscape, climate, and biological stressors such as predators, pests and diseases, and beekeepers are affected by local markets, laws, and activities of other beekeepers in their community. No matter where you keep your bees, their health and your profitability will be affected by local conditions, so it makes perfect sense for local beekeepers to gather and communicate with each other regularly. I argue that every beekeeper should participate in their local beekeeper organization(s), even if you do not agree with its leadership and have personality conflicts with other members. There is no better place to learn and share information that directly affects your colonies and operation. Also, local associations are uniquely important for new beekeeper onboarding and mentoring, which is important for preventing pests and diseases across the region and maintaining consumer confidence in beekeepers and their services. One other important role local associations serve is to be an advocate for beekeepers. When counties or municipalities consider laws, ordinances, regulations, development and public health activities that can affect beekeepers, the Association can be a voice to help officials make informed decisions. In South Carolina there are at least two dozen local beekeeper associations that are actively meeting and involved in their communities, so most of you have a group within a short drive of your location.

State and regional associations also influence beekeeping at the local level. Most states have a state beekeepers association, and South Carolina is no different. The South Carolina Beekeepers Association (SCBA) is a non-profit organization consisting entirely of volunteers who provide educational resources to beekeepers across the state, support local beekeeper associations, and advocate on behalf of beekeepers at the state level. To accomplish its mission, the SCBA offers two annual conferences which include trainings and invited speakers that address timely topics in apiculture. The SCBA also manages the state’s Master Beekeeping Program, a training and certification program for ambitious beekeepers. The Association offers financial support through grants for clubs that offer youth programs and for beekeepers who conduct research. There are many services that the State Association can offer that most local clubs cannot. I would argue that the most important aspect of participating in your state Association is to fellowship with a large audience of people with common interests and goals as you, and the flow of information that happens at SCBA events is certainly worth the investment of time and money. Our neighboring states conduct similar activities through their state associations, and many SC beekeepers also attend meetings and trainings in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, and beyond. For beekeepers seeking a broader scope, there also are three regional beekeeper societies in the U.S.: the Western Apicultural Society, the Heartland Apicultural Society, and the Eastern Apicultural Society. Each covers a section of the country with delegates and members from various states. South Carolina is covered by the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS), which operates much like the SCBA but with a broader geographic scope. The EAS offers an annual conference which moves each year to various locations across the eastern US, and the Society manages its own master beekeeper program and grant program.

Then there are the national organizations, which differ largely in their target audience and advocacy platform. The national association that most suits you is mostly determined by your reason for keeping bees and the goals for your operation. Let’s discuss your options.

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is the largest organization with the broadest scope in North America. Beekeepers of all scales and intents join the ABF which provides an annual professional development conference and legislative advocacy programs at the federal level. The ABF conference offers presentations and workshops by industry experts that cover current research, best practices, legislative updates and keynote presentations. The conference has the largest tradeshow in North America, a massive honey show, silent auction, and youth programs. One tradition that sets ABF apart is the coronation of the annual “Honey Queen,” which is a rising female beekeeper who is elected to be the official spokesperson for beekeepers and the beekeeping industry in North America.

The American Honey Producers Association (AHPA) is another large organization, but it’s focus is directed more at advocating for commercial honey producers and processors. The AHPA offers an annual conference which features presentations on honey bee health, honey markets, business economics, legislative and regulatory updates, and the trade show features equipment for honey producers of all scales. The AHPA is much more involved in policy and legislative matters and has been the primary driver for investigating honey fraud and interference in international honey markets. For instance, the AHPA was integral in the recent honey dumping investigation by certain other countries that is suppressing honey prices in the US.

The National Honey Board (NHB) is a collaborative effort between large scale honey packagers and importers and the US government to improve honey markets nationwide. The Board was a result of the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 and was established under the rules and regulations of the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Industry Information Order, effective May 2008. The Board consist of representatives from honey processors with oversight from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the US Department of Agriculture. The purpose of the Board is to promote honey usage in the US through advertising, promotion, consumer education, development and marketing research for honey and honey products. The Board self-assesses the first handlers (packers and importers) 1.5 cents per pound to be used for research and promotion projects designed to maintain and expand the market for honey and honey products in the United States and abroad. This revenue also is used to support honey bee research. One of the most useful things the Board does for all beekeepers is to provide recipes and information about honey and its various uses to help beekeepers market their products.

The American Association of Professional Apiculturists (AAPA) is primarily made of researchers and extension specialists from the Nation’s universities and federal agencies. Members must have a research and education component to their job descriptions, so this group is not open to practicing beekeepers. The AAPA members typically publish in peer reviewed journals. The AAPA hosts the American Bee Research Conference (ABRC) which meets jointly with the American Beekeeping Federation at their annual conference in January, which means that most of the academic researchers working with honey bees in North America also attend the American Bee Federation conference and present on the most recent results of their research and extension projects.

North America has been a leader in the beekeeping trade and honey bee research since the Langstroth hive system was developed nearly 200 years ago, but we by no means are the center of beekeeping in the world. Beekeepers from every continent are contributing to the wealth of knowledge we have of this remarkable insect. As an attempt to pool that knowledge and help beekeepers solve the most critical problems the industry faces there are two international organizations that have formed.

The International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations, also known as Apimondia (, represents the beekeeping community at the international level. They operate much like the American Bee Federation does but on a global scale, offering a biannual conference that moves among the continents to expose participants to the cultural and practical influences on apiculture in all parts of the world. The trade show is the largest of its kind, represented by products from all over the world, and the conference consists of the brightest minds and researchers in all aspects of apiculture and honey markets. If any of you are looking for a good excuse to visit Chile, you might think about attending Apimondia in Santiago next year.

There also is an organization known as COLOSS (, that operates at an international level much like the American Association of Professional Apiculturists does here. The organization gets its name because it is focused largely on the “prevention of COlony LOSSes.” Like the AAPA, its members are researchers and extension educators from universities and research labs across the world, comprised of more than 1,600 members representing 106 countries. The most important role COLOSS plays is to establish accepted scientific methods for conducting various aspects of apiculture and honey research, so that results are vetted and more widely accepted among the scientific and beekeeping community. These methods are published in the COLOSS Beebook: Standard Methods for Apis Mellifera Research.

In summary, your level of involvement in beekeeper organizations is likely determined by the intensity of your operation. If bees are a source of income for you, then you probably need to be involved at the national or international level. All beekeepers, no matter how invested they are in the trade, should participate at the state and local level, even if it’s just to learn from others and share your knowledge. While commercial and sideliner beekeepers manage the vast majority of colonies, it is the hobbyists that are widely distributed across the state and have the greatest impact on their neighboring beekeepers. If you are not involved with your state and local associations, you probably are missing out on critical information that affects your operation, and you are missing the opportunity to be a positive influence on your fellow beekeepers and community as a whole.



In the Balm of Your Hand

They go by many common names, including horsemint and bergamot, but the common name I like the most for the plants in the genus Monarda is “Bee Balm.” Just as the name suggests, this group of plants is highly attractive to all types of bees and other pollinators and is a fantastic addition to any pollinator garden, providing an attractive flower display and nectar through the hot summer months.

Monarda is a genus of plants endemic to North America. As members of the family Lamiaceae, also known as the mint family, these plants share many common traits with other more familiar mints, including stems that are square in cross section, leaves that are arranged opposite of each other, and flowers clustered at the tips of the branches. Species in the tribe Mentheae, which is the largest tribe of mints, have distinctively aromatic odors which make them favorites for use in cooking, scented candles, potpourri, and even for medicinal purposes. The bee balms also belong to the Mentheae and have been used in teas to ease sore throats and digestive issues along with other ailments.

Scarlet bee balm, Monarda didyma. Photo credit John Ruter, University of Georgia,

There are about two dozen species of bee balms across North America, most of which occur in the south-central part of the continent. Texas is actually home to the greatest diversity, but there are five species common to the eastern US and the Carolinas. The most common and widespread is the lavender-colored Monarda fistulosa, also known as “wild bergamot.” The two northern species are aptly named for the colors of their flowers, scarlet bee balm, M. didyma, and purple bergamot, M. media. The fourth species is lemon bee balm, M. citriodora, named for its distinctly citrus odor. The fifth species is spotted bee balm, M. punctata. While spotted bee balm is probably the best adapted for South Carolina’s hot summers, it is not planted as commonly as the other species because its flowers are not as vibrantly colored. I would argue that it is more interesting than the other species because of its unique texture and that the leaves around the flower clusters are colored lavender.

Wild bergamot, Monarda fistulosa, in bloom. Photo credit Ben Powell, CAPP

Another advantage of the spotted bee balm is that it is the only eastern species that is attractive to western honey bees. While all of the bee balms are exceptional nectar producers that are visited by numerous species of bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, and hummingbirds, the flowers of most bee balms are too long and narrow for honey bees to access the nectaries. The spotted bee balm has shorter and wider flowers that honey bees can access. The pollinator test plots at the Pee Dee Research Station include spotted bee balm, and I have observed honey bees using them through the late summer and fall. They started blooming in mid summer and continue to be productive even as this newsletter is published. I have been very impressed with how long they have bloomed, their tolerance for the hot, sandy site, and the diversity of pollinators that they have attracted.

A large four-spotted scoliid wasp (Pygodasis quadrimaculatus) with it’s head burried in a spotted bee balm flower, Monarda punctata. Photo credit Ben Powell, CAPP

The spotted bee balm is still blooming at the Pee Dee station, but bee balms in general are mid-summer bloomers. You might ask why I would discuss them in the fall if they bloom in the summer. Well, I’m glad you asked. Bee balms are perennial plants, and perennials are best planted in the fall of the year. You can plant them now either by seed or by seedlings. If you plant by seed, be patient. They will not germinate until next spring. If you are considering adding bee balms to your yard, or better yet, to field borders and firebreaks at the farm, then now is the time to get them in the ground. Find a sunny location, eliminate competing vegetation, and keep the soil moist after planting, and you will get to enjoy bee balms next summer.




Evidence is mounting that honey bee viruses, especially deformed wing virus, are critical factors in colony decline and losses. A thorough study of deformed wing virus and its new variant, DWV-B, has shown that the old variant (DWV-A) has largely been replaced by the new variant. This is concerning because the new variant appears to be more virulent and deadly.

Paxton, R J, M Schäfer, F Nazzi, V Zanni, D Annoscia, F Marroni, D Bigot, E R Laws-Quinn, D Panziera, C Jenkins, H Shafiey. 2022. Epidemiology of a major honey bee pathogen, deformed wing virus: potential worldwide replacement of genotype A by genotype B.” International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife 18: 157-171.

Deformed Wing Virus, variant B, appears to be able to replicate in Varroa desctructor, something variant A could not, which may be a primary reason for why it is more virulent and pathogenic in honey bee colonies. Promiscuous feeding by Varroa mites infected with DWV-B may explain the significant spike in prevalence of DWV-B in honey bee colonies world wide.

Gisder S, Genersch E. 2021. Direct evidence for infection of Varroa destructor mites with the bee-pathogenic deformed wing virus variant b, but not variant a, via fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis. J Virol  95:e01786-20. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01786-20

Varroa Sensitive Hygiene traits have been selected for with a variety of honey bee breeding programs. The trait involves a behavior where workers sense and remove infected brood. The cannibalization of brood infected with Deformed wing virus can serve as an alternate mode of virus transmission even after Varroa mites have been removed from a colony.

Posada-Florez, F., Z S Lamas, D J Hawthorne, Y Chen, J D Evans, E V Ryabov (2021). Pupal cannibalism by worker honey bees contributes to the spread of deformed wing virus. Scientific Reports, 11(1), 1-12.

A recent study of Deformed Wing Virus transmission demonstrated that simply treating to reduce Varroa in heavily infected colonies does not remove the virus because other modes of transmission exist. Even after Varroa mites were removed, the virus persisted at high levels. This shows why it is so critical to keep Varroa mite levels low throughout the year, not just in the lead up to winter.

Locke, B., et al. “Persistence of subclinical deformed wing virus infections in honeybees following Varroa mite removal and a bee population turnover.” PloS one 12.7 (2017): e0180910.


Research on small hive beetles is ongoing, so efficient methods for raising significant numbers of healthy, disease-free beetles outside of bee hives are needed. The USDA Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology developed a simple and inexpensive system for raising small hive beetles outside of the hive, which raises the question, “Do small hive beetles have to have bee hives to reproduce?”

Charles J. Stuhl (2022) A novel method in small hive beetle rearing, Journal of Apicultural Research,DOI: 10.1080/00218839.2022.2130596



Check the SC Master Beekeeper Program website for a certified course near you. Many courses occur during the winter season.

Feb 2425, 2023          Spring meeting of the SC Beekeepers Association. This year’s spring meeting will be expanded to two days. The theme will focus on honey production, marketing and health benefits.

We are working on advanced trainings for next spring.  Stay tuned.


Honey bees on a Clemson hive




Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.

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