Association News


Bee Informed

National Colony Loss Management Survey
Organized by the Bee Informed Partnership

Beekeepers needed! Thank you for your interest in participating in the National Colony Loss Management Survey organized by the Bee Informed Partnership and sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Please go to our online survey  and complete the survey there. It will be live on April 1st and close on April 30th. Please do not complete the survey more than once. Information about past Winter Loss and National Management Surveys and the annual reports can be found online at

The Colony Loss Survey has evolved from our winter loss survey because last year we found that commercial beekeepers lost 25% of their colonies over the summer, and so we are now starting to monitor and report annual, in addition to winter losses. The National Management Survey is conducted annually in conjunction with the Colony Loss Survey. Designed to take about 30 minutes, the 2 surveys are aimed at looking for relationships between colony loses and colony management (including disease treatment strategies, supplemental feeding, etc.) and/or other factors that may influence colony health (such as colony location, honey production, and forage type). Your participation in this research is voluntary and your responses will be kept confidential. In any publication or presentation resulting from this research, no personally identifiable information will be disclosed.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at Once again thank you for your participation.

Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp
Project Director, Bee Informed Partnership
University of Maryland

Karen Rennich
Project Manager, Bee Informed Partnership
University of Maryland

Highlights of Upcoming Meetings

April 23: Presentation by Mickey & Tina Cunningham on top nectar and pollen producing plants for honeybees for home landscaping.

May 16 (May 23 rain date): Annual bee workshop at Eural Clippard’s bee yard. Hands-on bee inspections, maybe catch a swarm, lunch, silent auction, more!

May 28: Marketing Roundtable: bring your best marketing and sales techniques to share.

Click here to go to our calendar of events…

4th Annual Mid-Atlantic Organic Honey Bee Convention
Richmond, VA

When: Saturday March 28th , 2015
Time: 8:00 AM – until appx. 5:00 PM
Where: The Friends Meeting House – 4500 Kensington Ave., Richmond, VA (not downtown).  Map is here.

Register at our website HERE.
(If you prefer to avoid registration over computer, send a check to HSS Inc., 10514 Gayton Road, Henrico VA 23238 & include name, address, phone.)


Sam Comfort of Anarchy Apiaries has 500 hives from NY to FL. His talk entitled “Future Zombee Apocalypse: Bee Prepared & Stick Together!” includes queen rearing and breeding as a viable beekeeping livelihood, do-it-yourself methods, hardier bees, several hive designs.

Wyatt Mangum PhD will discuss queen rearing (with or without grafting) with top bar hives, getting straight combs in top bar hives, and will show his own new movie clips of bee behavior and honey flow dynamics.

VA State Apiarist Keith Tignor will give fascinating facts and figures on honey bee behavior & production rates in his talk “Beekeeping by the Numbers.”

John Adams focuses on bait hive design, what works & what doesn’t, cluster top bars that can be changed into frames, finding wild bees, and of course “More Splatterings of Interest.”

Click here for the website dedicated to the 4th Annual Mid-Atlantic Organic Honey Bee Convention.

Highlights of Upcoming Meetings

February 26: Presentation by Mickey & Tina Cunningham on top nectar and pollen producing plants for honeybees for home landscaping.

March 26: Brian Kreowski, area bee inspector, will speak.

May: Annual bee workshop, date to be determined.

Click here to go to our calendar of events…

MEBA 2015 Meeting Schedule

Meetings are the fourth Thursday each month EXCEPT for November which meets the third Thursday; there is no meeting in December. Meetings begin at 7:00 pm and last approximately 1 1/2 hours. In 2015, all monthly meetings and classes will be held in Room 201, Galax Hall, Wytheville Community College. INCLEMENT WEATHER: if WCC is closed to evening classes, MEBA will not meet.

Click here to go to our calendar of events…

MEBA Meeting Minutes for January 22, 2015 are posted here.
Keep up with the news!

Highlands Beekeepers Association & Washington County Extension Service Presents
A Honeybee Symposium

When: Saturday March 7th , 2015
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Where: Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center – Abingdon VA

Pre-registration fee is $40.00 Registration at the door is $50.00. Cutoff date for pre-registration is Feb. 27.
Register online or Print out the brochure and mail your check to the address on the registration form.

8:00 a.m. Vendors Open
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Dr. David Tarpy
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Lunch (box lunch included in registration fee)
1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Michael Bush
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Dr. Richard Fell

Spring 2015 Beginning Beekeeping Classes To Be Held

Mountain Empire Beekeepers Association will offer “Beginning Beekeeping” at Wytheville Community College beginning February 17, 2015.  The five-week class will be held on Tuesday  evenings from 6:30-8:30 pm in Room 201, Galax Hall. The class cost is $40 which includes a textbook.  Families are eligible for a discount.

It is not necessary to have bees to take the class.   Students will be assisted in obtaining bees and equipment.   Additionally, new beekeepers can be assigned a mentor during their first year of beekeeping.

This popular class fills quickly.  For an application, click HERE or contact Mickey Cunningham at 276-579-2123 or


In Memoriam 

Mountain Empire Beekeepers lost one of its members on June 25, 2013, Sharon Ratcliff. She was the previous Vice President and Secretary of the association and will be missed. In her memory, MEBA donated $50 each to the American Diabetes Association and American Cancer Society.

Diabetes Letter                 Cancer Letter

2013 Spring Workshop

What an enjoyable and educational day! The rain held off just long enough to finish the workshop before it started to downpour. This year we got to see how an observation hive was set up, how queens were introduced to a hive, and how nucs were made. Thanks go out to all the volunteers for helping with set up and hive demonstrations!! And to Mr. Clippard for allowing the use of the beautiful Cove Spring Farm.

2012 August Picnic Potluck in Atkins

This summers picnic almost didn’t happen, but in the end everything worked out well! The picnic was hosted by one of our club members, with their park-like backyard. The association provided hamburgers and hot dogs while members brought their own potluck dishes. Everyone had a wonderful afternoon!

Firing up lunch

MEBA Members

2012 Mountain Empire Spring Workshop

The May 19th workshop was a great success this year, with beautiful weather and tolerant bees. Eural Clippard was kind enough to allow us the use of his farm on Crockett’s Cove Road in Wytheville.

Spring Workshop getting underway

Queen and Drone Cells

Workshop hives

A great end to a productive day

Custom Beehive at West Wind Winery

David Daugherty and Warren Strittmatter made a beehive modeled after an old farmhouse on the grounds of West Wind Winery in Max Meadows. The beehive was donated to Paul Hric, an owner of West Wind Winery, and a beekeeper.

West Wind Hive

Africanized Honeybees in Georgia (posted Jan 2011)

Keith Tignor, Virginia state apiarist, has mentioned that Africanized honeybees (AHB) have been found in Georgia. A quote follows:

“The finding of a feral AHB population in Dougherty County, GA, raised concerns among beekeepers, and apiarists, throughout the east coast. Virginia’s beekeepers obtain 61% of their out of state queens and 79% of their packages and bees from Georgia. The establishment of a feral AHB population in that state would increase the risk of this pest breeding with the queen and nuc production colonies and spreading to other states. At this time my counterpart in Georgia is conducting surveys for AHB. I expect to receive further information on the status of the Georgia honey bee population at an apiary inspectors meeting in January. In response to the Georgia announcement I distributed copies of the Beekeeping Best Management Practices at the Virginia State Beekeepers’ Association meeting last month [November].”