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.

Beginning Beekeeping Course – 2018





We would like to announce that starting on January 23, 2018 the Alamance County Beekeepers will start the 27th 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 23, 2018 and will continue each Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. through March 27th. 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, March 31st, 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 $75.00. This includes $10.00 building usage fee, $21.00 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 $31.00. To register in advance, please send you name, address, telephone number, e-mail address along with your payment to: Zivon Price, 421 Canterwood Drive, Mebane, NC 27302. 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 2018, 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 23rd , so that we will have time to issue nametags and handbooks and still be ready to start our class at 6:30 p.m.

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 – http://alamancebeekeepers.org

Hope to see you on January 23rd.

Download Course Announcement

Download 2018 Course Syllabus

Annual Ice Cream Social

It was a perfect day for our annual Ice Cream Social hosted by Don & Shirley Moore at Breezy Acres Apiary under the shade of several large pecan trees. Don welcomed and  introduced special guests Jerry & Betty Isley from Randolph County; Nancy Rupert, Bee Inspector, South Central region; Janno Lewis from Montgomery County; Don Hopkins, Bee Inspector, North Central Region; and Dr. Kathleen Kidd NC State Biological Control and Apiary Inspection Programs Administrator.

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Don outlined the planned afternoon activities that would start with demonstrations by Nancy Rupert and Don Hopkins. All of Don’s hives were on their second treatment with thymol based Apiguard, so he was particularly interested in checking the current population level of Varroa mites in two hives using the powdered sugar shake method. Don was also hopeful that these two hives were strong enough to split. In the end, no splits occurred after the inspections, but one NUC was created by downsizing a weak hive that was impacted by a low population of bees and hive beetles.

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Drone with two Varroa mites attached.

Drone with two Varroa mites attached.

After two hours in the bee yard, ice cream was served! Flavors included homemade banana, cherry, peach, persimmon, blueberry, French vanilla among others. The dessert selections also included pound cakes, blueberry crunch, brownies, orange cake, strawberry cake, apple cobbler, persimmon pudding, and old fashion strawberry among others. Bee yard talk and visiting continued into the late afternoon.

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The end to this perfect day came with the discovery of a recently emerged Luna Moth (Actias luna) expanding and drying its wings. The larvae feed on persimmon, sweet gum, walnut, sumacs and hickories. The adult moths do not feed and only live about one week.


Preserving our Heritage at Cedarock Historical Farm

Thanks to our Vice President, Mike Ross, for organizing, setting up and participating in our beekeeping exhibit during FarmFest: Preserving our Heritage at the Cedarock Historical Farm on Saturday, August 22nd from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM . Mike was joined by Randy Stinson, Johnny Mills, Judy Ross and other members. Cory Gillespie and Charles Black helped out that afternoon and Neil Cary was there for the middle of the day. Mike also provided the following pictures.

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Foxfire Way of Beekeeping



Photo by Cynthia Pierce

Members Paul Jollay from Glencoe Honey Company and Ira Poston from Blueberry Hill Apiaries presented a program on beekeeping in the past and how it is done now as part of the summer series Foxfire in Cedarock Park, Celebrating Craft Traditions of the Appalachian Culture. Future programs are listed on the PDF flyer HERE. Beekeeping is covered in Foxfire 11 and can be accessed HERE. Paul & Ira covered the history of beekeeping as well as addressing current practices and some of the equipment used. An observation hive with a full frame of honey bees and a marked queen kept the questions flowing at the end of the program.

Alamance County’s Farm Bureau “Homegrown” in the Park

The Alamance County Farm Bureau “Homegrown” “In the Park” held at Burlington City Park on Saturday, April 11th was well attended. To celebrate Alamance County Agriculture both the Alamance County Beekeepers and the Extension Master Gardeners Volunteers had exhibits. Thanks are due to members Mike Ross, Neil Carey, Corey Gillespie, Cynthia Pierce, Linda and Geoff Leister for their participation and for fielding the many questions from visitors about honey bees during the daylong event. The top attraction for both adults and kids was Mike’s observation hive that included a marked queen, drones, workers and emerging young bees. Another favorite for the very young kids were Linda’s “take home” handouts of selected line drawings of bees and flowers for coloring.

Beginning Beekeeping course instructors and mentors were also busy last Saturday distributing and helping to install newly received honey bee packages received by the 2015 class members.

Alamance County Hive Locations

 GIS Map

A PDF of Alamance County Hive Locations can be downloaded HERE. This is a Geographic Information System (GIS) map composed of multiple layers of information. In this case an Alamance County map has 122 hive locations plotted with a 1-mile flight radius that our honey bees travel as they forage on nectar & pollen. Also included are Alamance County’s Voluntary Agriculture Districts that include properties that are dedicated to either five acres of horticulture, ten acres of agriculture, or twenty acres of forestry.