The GA Master Beekeeper Program (GA-MBP) gives its participants not only the opportunity to learn, but also a sense of responsibility to teach others about the miraculous honey bee, the enjoyment of beekeeping, our shared dependence on pollination, a concern for the overuse of pesticides and shrinking forage-habitat in our environment, and the techniques of honey production and distribution. By the time of her/his certification as Master Beekeeper, each graduate has at least 15 such public service efforts under her/his belt, and s/he is challenged by Dr. Keith Delaplane to step up as public ambassadors for the cause of bees and beekeeping in their communities and beyond.
The UGA Honey Bee Program provides listings of certified GA Master Beekeepers not only to acknowledge their accomplishments, but also to serve as a resource for regional bee clubs, garden clubs, schools, county extension offices and others to contact and engage willing beekeeping experts to visit and address their groups, as well as participate in their various outreach programs (e.g., workshops, short courses, fairs, public demonstrations, etc.).
As an aside, Master Beekeeper Linda Tillman's recent, candid article on "Treating your Speakers Well" is an insightful narrative into what it's like to travel and make public presentations.
GA Master Craftsman Beekeeper Bill Owens sharing his wisdom on extracting honey.
GA Master Beekeeper Cindy Bee demonstrating how to install a package of bees.
Georgia Master Beekeepers
- Cindy Bee
- Paul Berry
- Melissa Bondurant
- Mary Cahill-Roberts
- Jimmy Carmack
- In memory of Bud Champlin
- Bobby Chaisson
- Bryan Cline
- Marcy Cornell
- Will Dix
- Jim Driggers
- Brutz English
- Steve Esau
- Keith Fielder
- Keith Fletcher
- Lonnie W. Funderburg
Cindy Bee, Master Beekeeper
Cindy Bee grew up with bees, following in her father’s footsteps, and eventually took over his operation. She has been removing honeybees from structures as a full time job for approximately twenty years and co-wrote (with Bill Owens, GA Master Craftsman Beekeeper) the only authoritative text available on the subject, "Honey Bee Removal: A Step by Step Guide."
Cindy operates approximately 65 hives, from which she produces and sells honey. She gives talks and lectures nationally (mainly in the winter), makes candles, and provides apitherapy.
Cindy was recognized by the Georgia Beekeeper's Association as the 2006 Beekeeper of the Year. During spring swarm season she receives and distributes swarm calls to other beekeepers and is always on call for questions and suggestions to beginning beekeepers. She recently completed a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing and is collecting stories from beekeepers aged 70 years and older who have been keeping bees for more than 25 years. Cindy moved to Maine in 2012 to pursue her interests in keeping bees and doing bee removals there.
Volunteer services available:
Cindy donates honeybees to nature centers and mentors new beekeepers who are starting out. And, she gives apitherapy.
Paid services available:
- Apiary consultations
- Talks and lectures on beekeeping at local, state and national bee meetings
- Cindy removes honey bees from structures
Paul Berry, Master Beekeeper
Paul is a fifth generation native of Columbus and lives in the suburb of Box Springs. A retired business owner, Paul spent almost 40 years building and running an electronic security alarm company, now managed by his son. His interest in honeybees 35 years ago was influenced by a neighbor who had three hives. His first attempt at beekeeping ended in disaster as he watched his first hive float down a flood swollen creek. Too busy raising a family and building a business, Paul put beekeeping on hold for a few years.
In preparation for retirement, Paul again began keeping honeybees. Putting education ahead of implementation, his second attempt was much more successful. With over 60 hives, he can’t decide if he is a hobby beekeeper or a sideliner. Although honey is a great reward, Paul’s passion is learning about this fascinating creature and teaching what he has learned to new beekeepers.
Paul has been a long time active member of the Georgia Beekeepers Association. He has been President of the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association for four years and loves chairing his clubs’ Education Committee.
Paul enjoys catching swarms and raising bees. Although he limits his travel, give him a podium and a microphone and he will teach beekeeping and/or “drone” on about honeybees all day.
Phone: (706) 527-0739
1210 Box Springs Road
Box Springs, GA 31801
Jimmy Carmack, Master Beekeeper
As a child I was always fascinated by bees and would catch them in jars to watch. I worked with a man who kept bees and he took me to the Sears and Roebuck store in downtown Birmingham where Sears had a large stock of beekeeping supplies. He showed me what to buy along with the “First Lessons in Beekeeping” book. So, in 1973 I ordered my first bees from Sears and Roebuck Co. which came from York Bee Company in Jesup, GA. I have been keeping bees ever since. I am a self-employed heavy equipment mechanic and sideline beekeeper, and lately it seems I have become more beekeeper and less mechanic.
My wife, Linda Kaye, and I met at a bee convention in Alabama, and we were married in our bee suits in Reno, NV, at the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in 2005. We have about 80 colonies of bees spread between Mobile and Huntsville, AL. We primarily produce wildflower honey, cotton honey and occasionally kudzu honey. These honeys have won numerous local, state and national ribbons. In 2007, Whole Foods Market, a national grocery chain, opened their first and only store in Alabama and contacted us to be their local honey supplier after sampling a variety of honeys from this area.
I have served as President/Vice President of Jefferson County Beekeepers Association numerous times and President/Vice President of the Alabama Beekeepers Association three times each. I was involved in the talks with the Alabama Farmers Federation in creating a Bee and Honey Commodity with their organization, and served on their Bee and Honey State Committee for 9 years which is the term limit. Currently I am the EAS Director for Alabama. Over the years I have been on numerous local TV shows, radio and newspaper articles to educate, promote and address honeybee issues.
Swarm retrieval and occasional bee programs to civic and church groups. Have participated in workshops and short courses at Auburn University, state and local bee meetings, have set up exhibits at fairs, Earth Day, and Farm Day for Kids at schools around the state. Currently establishing an apiary at Jones Valley Urban Farm in downtown Birmingham to use for beekeeping education and mentoring.
Bee removal from buildings, honey sales at numerous produce, health food and grocery stores in several counties. In summer months, I keep busy participating at several farmers markets.
Phone: (205) 854-8334
Mobile: (205) 966-5223
201 17th Ave NW
Birmingham, AL 35215
Bobby Chaisson, Master Beekeeper
I remember growing up with bees in the wall of my childhood home and have always wanted to have bees. I was able to get my first two colonies of bees in 2007 and have been hooked ever since. Shortly after getting my first bees I began doing bee removals myself. In 2014 Bill Owens approached me to come to work for Georgia Bee Removal and I jumped at the opportunity. Since joining Georgia Bee Removal I have been able to travel all over the Southeast to rescue and relocate honey bees.
Teaching about honey bees is another passion I have. I serve as a Staff Instructor at Young Harris Beekeeping Institute in association with the University of Georgia. My schedule allows me to facilitate numerous Fundamentals of Beekeeping programs that teach beekeeping basics. I also encourage mentoring for successful hive management thus boosting bee preservation. As President of the Tri County Beekeepers Club I worked with elected city officials in Gillsville and obtained grants to establish an apiary in Gillsville City Park. This endeavor brings awareness of honey bees and pollinators to our community and allows unique hands-on educational opportunities to be available to civic and educational organizations in our community. In Jefferson, Georgia, I led the charge to have Jefferson named a Bee City USA. Encouraging residents and raising awareness to create sustainable habitats for native pollinators.
Elected city officials in Gillsville were supportive of me to apply for grants allowing our club to establish an apiary in Gillsville City Park. That also gives a hands on opportunity for anyone interested in our endeavor to bring bee awareness to the community.
I have also served on the committees that have worked with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to develop and implement the new bee removal regulations.
Honey bee removals from structures. Assisting beekeepers getting started and maintaining hives. Providing various programs on bees and beekeeping to civic groups. Providing various programs on bees and beekeeping to local clubs.
Certificates and Accomplishments:
2021 Certified Master Beekeeper
2019 Georgia Beekeeper of the Year
2018 Certified Journeyman Beekeeper
2014 Certified Beekeeper
2018-Present Regional Director for the Georgia Beekeepers Association
2015-Present President of the Tri County Beekeepers
2014-2015 Vice President of the Tri County Beekeepers
In Memory of Bud Champlin, Master Beekeeper
Deceased October, 2017
Bud had his first experience in beekeeping many years ago when stationed at Bolling AirForce Base in Washington, D.C. He met an elderly gentleman through a church off base who needed help getting started in beekeeping. He ordered the bees and equipment through Sears Roebuck. Bud assembled the hives and installed the bees. And, it didn’t take long to realize that he was keeping the bees and my elderly friend just wanted to watch.
Soon thereafter, Bud received orders to relocate and, with his pregnant wife, infant daughter (now, a beekeeper herself) and his dog, he brought along the bees. They headed to sunny, south Florida, where he struggled for two years as a novice beekeeper.
Twenty-five years later, after moving to Georgia, Bud took a practical beekeeping course and began to develop a real passion for the honey bee. He enjoyed progressing through the certification process offered through the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program at Young Harris College. He came a long way from when he first got started!
He purposely kept the number of his hives low (approximately 15) because he liked to keep the workload manageable and, thus, enjoyable.
As a member of several beekeeping clubs, including a founding member of the Appalachian Beekeepers of Georgia, he enjoyed giving informal presentations to schools, garden clubs and seniors’ centers. He sold his hive products at Jasper's farmers market. Bud retrieved swarms for free and had a sideline business removing bee colonies from structures.
Will Dix, Master Beekeeper
Will originally trained as an environmental biologist, but through a series of unforeseen events, ended up as a physician. Will began keeping bees in 2006 to improve the pollination of his fruit trees and gardens, but the bees soon captured most of his attention. Since then, he has expanded his apiary to where he produces his own queens as well as a surplus of honey every year.
Will is committed to integrating research-proven methods of beekeeping with the common-sense knowledge of people who have been keeping bees for years. His interests include research, raising queens, pollination, honey production, and education of new beekeepers and middle school students. He offers an introductory beekeeping course each winter in cooperation with the UGA/Oconee County Extension Office and the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association, but is happy to answer questions at any time.
- Introductory beekeeping classes and classroom programs
- Club talks on "Bee Stings and the Bee Sting Reaction," or "Occupational Health in the Bee Yard" (How to keep the bee KEEPER healthy)
- Swarm recoveries
- Local beekeeping consultations for a nominal fee
Brutz English, Master Beekeeper
I own a farm in middle Georgia, parts of which have been in my family since the 1820’s. I and my wife keep a variety of livestock, manage pecan trees, blueberries, blackberries, and a variety of other fruit bearing trees. I wanted to add something new and complimentary to my family’s farming operation, and a friend introduced me to the idea of keeping honeybees. I purchased my first two colonies in 2009, and over the next few years my apiary has grown to as many as fifty colonies. I hold a Commercial Beekeepers License as well as a Honey House License from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The primary focus of my beekeeping operation is honey production, but I also do some agricultural pollination as well. I am active in several local bee clubs in the middle Georgia area. I have served as the President of the Henry County Beekeepers Association as well as the Potato Creek Beekeepers Club. I am very active in the Georgia Beekeepers Association (GBA), and have served on the GBA Board of Directors since 2013.
I began attending the Young Harris-UGA Beekeeping Institute in 2010, becoming a Certified Beekeeper that same year. I began work on the Welch Honey Judge’s certification in 2011, and earned my judge’s coat and cap in 2012. I completed the Journeyman level requirements for the Master Beekeeper Program in 2014, and finally earned my Master Beekeeper certification in 2016.
- Speaking to school groups, bee clubs, and other civic groups about honeybees and related topics
- Judging and consulting on honey shows
- Mentoring new beekeepers
- Teaching introduction to beekeeping and related courses
- Apiary and honey house tours (by appointment only please)
- Swarm removals
- Consulting on structure and tree removals of feral honey bee colonies
- If I can’t help you with your honeybee question or problem, I will find you someone who can
Phone: (770) 843-2110
Liberty Hill Honey Company, LLC
Steve Esau, Master Beekeeper
Holding a degree in Animal Science & Industry from Kansas State University, Steve has spent the majority of his professional career in the meat production industry. Steve became interested in beekeeping back in 2010 when looking into getting backyard chickens and a co-worker asked if he had ever considered keeping bees?
After researching and the purchase/placement of 2 colonies for his backyard in 2011, Steve became focused on the science as well as the art of beekeeping. Through success and failures, Steve has grown those 2 colonies into ~75 to 100 production hives that he manages in Metro-Atlanta area with honey production as his main goal. With science in mind, Steve began attending Young Harris - UGA Beekeeping Institute in 2011 where that same year he became a Certified Beekeeper. Steve completed his Journeyman level requirements for the Master Beekeeper Program in 2015, and finally earned Master Beekeeper certification in 2017. Steve is a member of Georgia Beekeepers Association, American Beekeepers Federation, and Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association where he has served on the board of directors.
Steve enjoys working with and educating new beekeepers in an effort to help build a foundation of knowledge and success to lock them into a hobby that he feels is the most interesting and fascinating of any livestock he has ever tried to manage. Steve coordinates the Hive Inspection Program through Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association and maintains learning hives in multiple locations for new beekeepers or those thinking about keeping bees to get hands on experience.
Keith Fielder, Master Beekeeper
Keith Fielder can trace his roots and passion for beekeeping to his English, Scottish and German ancestors who first came to Georgia in the late 1700s. He is a sideline beekeeper with around 30 colonies which provide extracted, chunk and comb honey. He also produces specialty honeys like Sourwood, Cotton and Blackberry. The honey along with beeswax products are marketed locally by Keith’s wife Rose Anne. Beekeeping also allows Keith to indulge his hobby of wood working by making most his own wooden ware.
Keith has been an invited educational speaker and guest lecturer on apicultural topics for beekeeping organizations and community groups, not only across Georgia, but on a national and international level as well. He has lectured and presented workshops at the meetings of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, Eastern Apicultural Society, and most recently at the summer meeting of the Institute of Northern Irish Beekeepers. Keith serves on the staff of the annual Young Harris – UGA Beekeeping Institute in Young Harris, Georgia. He also enjoys working with various youth oriented groups such as Georgia 4-H, informing young people about the honeybee and beekeeping.
Keith is a certified Welsh Honey Judge and as such was extended the honor of being the first U.S. Welsh Honey Judge to serve as a Judges Steward at the Great Yorkshire Honey Show in Harrogate, England in 2008.
He has been sought out for comment on apicultural matters by media outlets such as the New York Times, Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Los Angeles Times, Atlanta Magazine and the British Broadcasting Company.
Keith has served the Georgia Beekeepers Association first as Secretary then as President during 2006-2007 and Past President 2007-2008.
He is employed by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension as the County Extension Coordinator for Putnam County.
Keith Fletcher, Master Beekeeper
My very first memory of seeing a swarm absolutely mesmerized me. It looked like a strange formless creature, a piece of some limp, dark brown-shag carpet draped over a fence post. That was in 1969 and shag carpet was quite fashionable then. My babysitter screamed for me to get in the house, now! She ran a day care center out of her home while her husband kept a vegetable garden and managed a couple beehives.
Flash forward nearly 40 years later. I saw a notice in the local newspaper that the Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association (Va) was having their monthly meeting. There, I met my mentor and close friend, Karla Eisen, who opened her hives up for my intellectual curiosity that warm June Saturday. Next, I took stewardship of two hives at Chris Pearmund's vineyard after the beekeeper had quit. Imagine the blissful therapy of tending bees among acres of grape vines on the weekends, set in the rolling hills of Northern Virginia, after enduring Pentagon office stress during the week. My first beekeeping jobs were to learn as much as I could and feed those two hives to ensure their winter survival. In that summer of 2007, I harvested about 22 one-pound jars of honey.
Today, I am growing my honey-producing operation to bottling nearly 650 pounds of honey. I moved to Alabama, when I retired from the Air Force, to be close to my native Franklin County, Tennessee, but not before I had the distinct privilege to intern with a commercial beekeeper in Vermont, Michael Palmer, in 2010. Mike, who keeps 700-750 hives in Vermont and New York, is a huge proponent of a sustainable apiary system using nucleus colonies instead of importing package bees, and I have adopted his passion in this regard. In fact, every package I have bought either died the first year, or never produced any honey. My personal beekeeping success has been in making summer increase, overwintering these nucs and using them at the beginning of the following spring. Both Mike and Karla taught me this art and I use it to make and sell nucs to my Alabama customers. From 2008 to 2011, I participated in a USDA project to investigate higher survival rates for colonies started from nucs vs. packages.
I have anywhere from 35-50 colonies spread out in 6 beeyards in Alabama and Tennessee. I have begun a new step in sustainability of my operation by successfully raising my own queens. I hold memberships in the following organizations:
- Jackson County (Alabama) Beekeepers Association
- Madison County (Alabama) Beekeepers Association
- Elk Valley Beekeepers Association (Winchester, Tenn)
- Virginia State Beekeepers Association
- Alabama Beekeepers Association
- Tennessee Beekeepers Association
- Prince William Regional (Virginia) Beekeepers Association
I am extremely proud, not only to be a Georgia Master Beekeeper, but to also be part of the first class of Alabama Master Beekeepers, a program begun by David and Lynne Kelton of Etowah County, AL in 2011.
I do speaking engagements for a nominal fee, talking about my personal experience of keeping bees and growing my operation with nucs. I speak to school organizations for free. I am extremely passionate about returning Alabama's beekeeping industry to the level it enjoyed 50 years ago, and I get very vocal advocating laws that will help the bees, as well as passionately rejecting legislation that will hurt beekeeping. I am grateful and filled with pride whenever someone else begins beekeeping, because I know the joy this hobby has put into my life, and I wish this same joy and success upon them.
Lonnie W. Funderburg, Master Beekeeper
In the fall of 1989, a remark by a retiring client, "I want to set up some bee hives", sparked my interest in beekeeping. I visited a commercial beekeeper, Louis Harbin, who referred me to Jim Cain. After assembling and painting six brood boxes and eighteen shallow supers, I installed six packages for my retiring client in April 1990. Then, I began acquiring colonies of my own.
Since 1991, I have been the resident beekeeper at Homestead Hollow - a folk festival held three weekends a year in Springville, Alabama. In 2003, I began the certification program at the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute. At the May 2005 course, I was awarded my Georgia Master Beekeeper certification. For almost seven years, I maintained a colony in the atrium of the Professional Office Building of Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. Beginning in 1999, I have been keeping some colonies near unique nectar sources such as ti ti, gallberry, sourwood, and cotton.
In 2005, Birmingham television station WBRC Fox 6 featured me with my hospital atrium colony on Good Day Alabama, and I was a guest on the Oneonta WKLD radio station. Since 2008, I have presented a frame assembly workshop at the spring Beekeeping Institute at Young Harris College.
At most every opportunity, I will speak to a local bee club, an elementary class, garden club, or civic organization on a variety of beekeeping-related subjects. Over the past few years, I have assisted with a dozen or so bee removals from structures. My wife, Bonnie, and I sell honey, candles, lip balm, skin cream, and hand lotion. When availability permits, I sell nucleus hives (nucs).
In Memory of Michael Gailey, Master Beekeeper
Deceased December, 2008
Michael's interest in beekeeping started when he helped a friend with his bees. After a few years his curiosity grew and he wanted to learn more. Michael signed up for the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, the State Bee Club and a local club. He was reading about bees everyday at work during his lunch break. He then felt confident enough to sign up for the Master Beekeeper Program. Michael was in one of the first groups to receive the Master degree after four years. He had 25 colonies, raised his own queens and built his own equipment. He would sell out of honey every year, wishing he had more. What started as a curiosity became his favorite hobby.
Michael's wife is the 4-H Coordinator in Banks County and he had many opportunities to volunteer in the local school system by giving presentations and by helping with 4-H District Project Achievement (DPA) projects and presentations. He had a Power Point presentation on the hive equipment and accessories that he built and sold.
He would build and sell white pine bee hive equipment and accessories to local people in the Northeast Georgia area. It became a very successful sideline business. He sold pure local honey to local people and businesses.
Tom Handford, Master Beekeeper
After the Bee Institute, I was stung by the bug. The real adventure started two weeks later; my wife bought me my first hive and suit for Father’s Day. When I took my son to get the hive he was traumatized with his fear of bees. We had one bee suit between us. While I closed up the hive my son watched. Then I removed my suit and gave it to him. We managed to take off one super and make a stretcher to carry the hive and other super to the truck. When we arrived back at the house we carried the bees across the creek on a make-shift bridge (because the agreement was that the bees were to stay on the other side of the creek!). After tucking in the bees for the night we went up to the house and I put the honey super on the front porch in order to clean it the next day. Little did we know … the next afternoon when my son arrived home from school I got a call telling me that we had a new hive on the front porch! Then my wife arrived home! Needless to say, I learned a great deal about the robbing behaviors of the honeybee that day. But best of all, my son started losing his fear of bees.
The last six years has been a series of beekeeping adventures – I have continued to attend the Beekeeping Institute where I became a Welsh Honey Judge and a Master Beekeeper. I have also attended the Born and Bred Program in North Carolina and hope to work more in queen rearing. I have become involved in bee removal from structures. I am a charter member of the Appalachian Beekeepers Association and Vice President of the North Georgia Mountain Beekeepers Association.
Bee presentations with /or without bees, honey judging, and bee removals from structure for a fee. (Droning on to anyone who will listen is always free!)
Phone: (828) 494-3564
Mobile: (828) 361-6813
14 Golden Rd.
Murphy NC 28906
Fred Hembree, Master Beekeeper
Fred Hembree first became fascinated with honeybees as a little boy when he was asked to help his grandfather harvest honey on a rural Tennessee farm. As a young adult, he was given Walter T. Kelley’s book, How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey, which he read numerous times until he felt confident enough to begin an apiary on his own. Now a third-generation beekeeper, Fred has written articles for Bee Culture and Farming magazines. He has presented workshops for local beekeeping associations, the Tennessee Beekeepers Association and also for the Heartland Apicultural Society. Fred is a certified Welsh Honey Judge and is a member of the Rutherford County Beekeepers and the Tennessee Beekeepers Associations.
Fred is married to Debra Church, a Young Harris College / UGA Certified Beekeeper. Together, they enjoy working bees, catching swarms, harvesting honey and sharing their knowledge of beekeeping with others. They take pleasure in managing their bees and producing local honey for sale.
In the tradition of Rev. Lorenzo Langstroth, Fred is a clergyman apiarist. He earned the Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Fred is now retired from active ministry, having served as a chaplain in the US Army and as a local church pastor. While doing short-term mission work in Honduras, Fred also developed a love for scuba diving on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system and he is a certified Master Scuba Diver.
Fred is available for local swarm removals and to speak to beekeeping associations, schools, churches or civic groups.
Phone: (615) 207-4004
2023 Alexander Blvd.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
Jay Hendrix, Master Beekeeper
Jay is a sideline beekeeper from Forsyth County, GA, and keeps about 30 colonies. Jay is constantly learning as a beekeeper; he focuses on current research and science, as well as proven techniques from older, experienced beekeepers. He attends beekeeping conferences throughout the USA and enjoys networking with other beekeepers, building some of his own equipment, and experimenting with new ideas. His primary interest in beekeeping, other than the pure enjoyment of observing and working with these amazing little creatures, is in helping honey bees return to healthy stability in our environment.
Jay is a member of the Forsyth County Beekeepers Club, the Cherokee County Beekeepers Club, the Georgia Beekeepers Association, the Eastern Apiary Society, the Western Apiary Society, the American Beekeeping Federation, and the American Honey Producers Association. In addition to his beekeeping activities, Jay is a UGA certified Master Gardener and UGA certified Master Naturalist. He is a retired Army officer and business man, a graduate of GA Tech in electrical engineering and Middle Tennessee State University in history, and is the owner/operator of a small home rental business.
Jay raises queens for his own use, sells honey to personal customers, removes swarms, helps new beekeepers, and does a variety of volunteer work, including classroom and on-site apiary presentations.
John C. Hurst, Jr., Master Beekeeper
John Hurst is a practicing OB/GYN physician at Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. He has consistently kept bees as a hobbyist since 1980 and now maintains fifteen hives at his Cahaba Heights home. In association with Master Beekeeper Michael Steinkampf, he maintains fifteen hives at Rockhurst Farms Research Apiary in Wilsonville, Alabama.
John and Michael have coauthored articles in local medical news publications and Bee Culture. John was instrumental in establishing the Annual Auburn University Beekeeping Symposium with Dr. Jim Tew of the Auburn Cooperative Extension Services and has presented to the Symposium on multiple topics such as Bee Sting Allergic Reactions, Honey Bee Research and Varroa Treatment in Alabama. John has participated in NASA Honey Bee Net scale hive network at his Cahaba River site for the past four years.
John currently maintains hives for the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and along with Michael maintains an observation hive at the Birmingham Zoo. John actively participates in the Jefferson County Beekeeping Society, currently serving on the Board of Directors. He has recently appeared with Wendy Garner, a local TV anchor, in a series of programs about beekeeping at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (NBC, Channel 13, Daytime Alabama).
John’s passions are mentoring novice beekeepers and observing their improvements in beekeeping skill and knowledge. He is also passionate about educating the public of the importance of saving our bees for pollination as well as sharing their pure “liquid gold” with his friends and family!
Dan Long, Master Beekeeper
Dan comes from a family of avid gardeners and nature lovers. It’s no surprise he chose Horticulture for a career and beekeeping as a hobby. For the last 20 years he has operated Brushwood Nursery, a mail order nursery specializing in clematis and shipped to all 50 states. He began beekeeping in 1996 but has only gotten serious about it since moving the family and business to Athens, Georgia. It’s the hometown of his wife, Becky, and a great place to raise kids. He has two at home and four adult children.
Dan keeps around 18 hives most of the time. Several of them are observations hives, a particular fascination for him ever since he began maintaining one at Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens. He designs and builds them as well and maintains two at home. In addition to the usual liquid honey, Dan enjoys making soft set (creamed) honey for family and friends as well as offering it for sale. He also barters rendered beeswax to a local woodworker where it is used in a natural finish.
Dan has been active in local beekeeping clubs, The Young Harris UGA Beekeeping Institute, and state conferences.
Dan has provided educational opportunities for children, teens and adults through various programs and classes. He is available to speak to clubs and other organizations and will consult on the construction, installation and maintenance of observation hives for residential and public locations.
Noah Macey, Master Beekeeper
Insects have always fascinated Noah, so when his mother brought home an observation hive in 2004, he was hooked. A few years later, he was running his own colonies in the backyard, and now he has kept bees in numerous Atlantan locales, including the Blue Heron Nature Preserve and Chastain Park. He attained the ranking of Master Beekeeper in 2013.
Noah has worked for the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project (http://bees.gatech.edu/), which aims to determine the effects of urban environments on honeybees. While there, he appeared on WREK, the Georgia Tech radio station, as well as WABE, Atlanta's NPR station.
Noah enjoys discussing bees with whomever will listen—whether they be new beekeepers, old beekeepers, radio hosts, or people off the street. He also enjoys presentations to elementary school children as they often share his sense of humor, literary taste, coloring ability, and general maturity level. He’ll happily remove a swarm of reasonable elevation (one accessible with a normal ladder) and sells raw honey and clean beeswax when available.
Wil Montgomery, Master Beekeeper
I started keeping bees about 1976 in California, the state where I was born and raised. I try to help new people interested in starting out with a hive or two of bees. I'm listed at alabees.com on the web where most people find my contact information. One of my most memorable experiences in keeping bees was to be selected as a cooperator in a research project funded by Alfa Insurance and the USDA bee lab in Baton Rouge, LA.
I got to know Dr. Bob Danka when he brought me 15 queens, 5 Russian, 5 VSH, and 5 Control. I was privileged to participate in the project for two years. The goal was to see which type of queen was the most resistant to the mite Varroa destructor. When instructed to do so, I would collect 300 bee samples into plastic bags and either take or send them to the University of Alabama Huntsville campus where Dr. Ward would do a mite count and calculate whether or not a hive needed medication. The VSH queens proved to be the more mite resistant, followed by the Russians and as expected the control queens were the poorest. The most difficult portion of the experiment was getting queen acceptance. In some cases the hive would accept a queen, only to supersede her within two weeks. I've had many hobbies in the past, but beekeeping is the only one that has given the most challenge and satisfaction. I currently manage about 25 hives in Alabama.
I pick up swarms and remove bees from a building for a fee. I sometimes attend a farmers market in Gadsden, AL, selling honey and beeswax candles. I have two prerequisites if you want my assistance getting started with bees: (1) hives must be registered with the AL State Apiary Department and (2) you must be a member of the Alabama State Beekeepers Association.
Steven Nofs, Master Beekeeper
Unlike most beekeepers who learned the craft from a close friend or family member, I had no exposure to honeybees until my 20s. While finishing my engineering degree at Virginia Tech, I needed some electives and while searching the course catalog, I found “Introduction to Bees and Beekeeping.” That course got me hooked and I have thoroughly enjoyed keeping bees ever since.
Along with my wife Jacqueline, we produce honey and many other hive products in the central Georgia area including bee pollen, beeswax candles, and lip balms. Our products can be found in several central Georgia retail outlets as well as local farm markets.
I am currently serving as president of the Heart of Georgia Beekeepers Association. I have appeared on Macon’s WMAZ-TV and have written beekeeping articles for the Macon Telegraph. I have also done numerous presentations for children’s groups and civic groups.
I am available to do honeybee presentations (with or without live bees). I also pick up hanging swarms and remove honeybees from structures.
Phone: (478) 396-0712
304 Woodmont Court
Macon, GA 31216
Jay Parsons, Master Beekeeper
It’s been a few years, but by all accounts Jay has been kept by the bees since April of 2007. This is not the first time bees have been in the family. His grandfather had bees, although it’s been about half a century from that point in time until now. Jay remembers on his way out to collect eggs from the chicken house and being cautioned by his grandfather not to go behind it because there were bees there. Well, curiosity being what it is, Jay, after returning with the eggs, just had to ask what those white boxes behind the chicken house were for. He missed out on a good education there as his grandfather died very young and never was able to pass on all that beekeeping information.
After two other Master’s degrees, one in Science and another in Education, this current Master’s in Beekeeping through the Beekeeping Institute seems like a fine blend of curricula. He plans on continuing in this field of bees and dreams well into retirement and feels that there is a whole lot more entomology to learn as well as practices to implement. Now that Jay has a few over twenty hives, he thinks it is time to expand on a number of themes. His honey house is nearly complete and Department of Agriculture approval just down the road, so certain commercial avenues may open up in the future. More hives are a definite as well.
Currently Jay is a member of the Board of Director’s of the Metro-Atlanta Beekeeper’s Association and participates in a number of community awareness public service activities. Jay has been active in the honey contest sector too and has a number of red, white, and blue ribbons not to mention a Best of Show ribbon also. He has won the ribbons for extracted honey in several color grades, wax block, section comb, creamed honey, and mead. Perhaps candles, sculptures and other related products will be next. His favorite however, is getting the bees to make wax and honey in the older section comb tradition using the square basswood boxes. He uses antique section comb cartons when participating in honey shows.
When not being taken to task by his Apis friends to maintain their little wooden square homes or repair the furniture therein, Jay teaches for the Cobb County School System. An early retirement always seems like a really fine idea when it comes up for discussion.
Jay is available for outside swarm removals, removals from inside houses, and select presentations with an observation hive. Jay sells honey and candles at some of his presentations and is also developing a fledgling website to promote products and honeybee awareness.
Phone: (404) 379-7621
5694 Kimberly Lane
Norcross, Georgia 30071-3415
Barbara Anne Phillips, MD, MPH, MBA, Master Beekeeper
Dr. Phillips is a graduate of Cornell University Medical College in New York City. She trained in Ophthalmology with a specialty in Medical & Surgical Diseases
of the Retina which she practiced in New York City for many years. She additionally holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Columbia University and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, with a focus on finance, from Regis University. Dr. Phillips retired from her surgical practice in New York City and is now a resident of Savannah, Georgia. She is an avid scuba diver and a Team Ocean Diver with NOAA at Grey’s Reef. She is on the voluntary faculty at Mercer Medical College, Savannah campus and a member of many subspecialty medical societies.
Dr. Phillips has been keeping bees since she moved to Savannah and is a Master Georgia Beekeeper and Welsh Honey Judge. All of her hives are kept on Skidaway Island and she is very active in both adult and school level bee and ocean education. She has appeared on both national and local television in bee related broadcasts. Dr. Phillips’ honey is Certified Naturally Grown, which means it is free of chemical application in or around her hives. Her honey is raw and unfiltered and she produces both liquid ‘gold’ honey and creamed honey. She has several hives which supply friends and family with honey with a little left over.
Phone: (201) 966-8566
17 Captain’s Crossing
Savannah, Georgia 31411
Marcus Pollard, CPA, MBA, CGMA, Master Beekeeper
My foray into beekeeping started in 2018 when I was looking for a substitute for sugar on my homestead. Most of my life I had to stereotypical fear of bees and it wasn’t until I purchased my first hive in 2018, did I start to realize my new passion. I quickly realized that there is a vast untapped population of potential beekeepers that are unaware of the bounty that is honey bees. Beeing the first African American UGA Certified Master Beekeeper I wish to inspire those who may be interested but never witnessed anyone like them in the beekeeping community.
In my professional life I am an Accounting and Finance manager. Additionally, I am the founder and CEO of Pollards Produce a small farm that produces vegetables, honey and wax products. I really enjoy sharing my passion with others by mentoring, presenting, and teaching. I enjoy mentoring new beekeepers and hosting interested parties to my apiary to discover the wonderful world of bees. I also enjoy creating content on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube on my channels Bee Pimpn. I am always experimenting with and reading about new techniques in beekeeping trying to perfect my craft. I have taken courses in instrument insemination, and currently raise my own queens by splits and grafting.
Honey bee removals from structures. Assisting beekeepers getting started and maintaining hives. Providing various programs on bees and beekeeping to schools or civic groups. Providing various programs on bees and beekeeping to local clubs.
Certified Public Accountant – GA & IA
Chartered Global Management Accountant
Master Business Administration
Certified Open Water Scuba Diver
Class A CDL Driver
Instagram: Bee Pimpn
Facebook: Bee Pimpn
YouTube: Bee Pimpn
Jim Quick, Master Beekeeper
Jim attributes his love for honeybees to his grandfather who began teaching him the craft in 1979. Today, Jim operates about 40 hives, produces and sells honey, and is on call for swarm removal.
Jim is an advocate for honeybees and beekeeping. He hopes by speaking to young students about the importance of the honeybee he can inspire them be the next generation of beekeepers. Jim speaks at many of the local daycares and primary and elementary schools. He has spoken to several Boy Scout troops, 4-H clubs and Home School Associations. Jim also maintains an observation hive for the Griffin-Spalding County Schools Science and Enrichment Center.
He has made presentations at the Georgia Beekeepers Association annual meeting and the annual Young Harris College / UGA Beekeeping Institute in Young Harris, Georgia.
Jim is available to new beekeepers to answer questions on the various aspects of beekeeping, demonstrate how to work and maintain a hive, honey extraction, how to catch a swarm, and swarm removal from a structure.
Jim is employed at the University of Georgia – Griffin Campus. He is a Research Professional in the Entomology Department.
Presentations, Demonstrations, and Bee Removal. All services are evaluated individually to determine fee.
Philip Quinn, Master Beekeeper
For many years, Philip worked in the UGA Honey Bee Program apiaries and laboratory to maintain the honey bees and collect research data, including projects in microscopy and dissections. He also managed this UGA Honey Bee Lab website and the GA Bee Letter Listserv database, compiled and analyzed research data, contributed to professional publications, created and maintained project management software, coordinated the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, as well as graded the exams and kept the historical records for the GA Master Beekeeper Program.
Philip is a member of the Georgia Beekeepers Association and Eastern Apicultural Society. He is a two-term past President and “2011 Beekeeper of the Year” of the Tara Beekeepers Association in Forest Park, GA. He has presented various public beekeeping courses and workshops, has been a well-regarded instructor at our annual Young Harris Beekeeping Institute, and has spoken to beekeeping clubs, garden clubs, schools and other groups, such as the Georgia Farm Bureau, on various honey bee, beekeeping and pollination-related topics.
Tom Rearick, Master Beekeeper
Beekeeping for me started out as a choice between honey or fresh eggs. Honey won out because bees take up less space and are much cleaner than chickens. What I never expected was that beekeeping would also feed my intellectual curiosity.
In my professional life, I am an engineer and serial software entrepreneur. I've worked on computer vision and artificial intelligence projects at General Electric and Lockheed. I started and sold two companies based on artificial intelligence technologies. So I became intrigued as I learned about the intelligent behaviors of bees and their colonies. I was also humbled because - even with the unlimited resources of large defense contractors - we never created anything as smart as a bee.
I enjoy sharing my passion with others in classrooms, clubs, public demonstrations, and as a mentor. I serve as the webmaster for the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Association and have written for Bee Culture magazine. My interest in the intersection between beekeeping and technology is expressed in my blog, Beehacker.com . I also enjoy cooking, woodworking, building & flying multirotors, and Airstreaming.
In Memory of Howard Reagan, Master Beekeeper
Deceased August, 2014
Howard came from a multi-generational beekeeping family. His father, grand father, and great-great grandfather all kept bees. So, he grew up around bees and kept bees for most of his life.
After retirement, Howard was a side-line beekeeper and enjoyed progressing through the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program at Young Harris College. He produced & sold honey from the Dawsonville Farmers' Market and other venues from time to time.
Howard belonged to the Forsyth and Amicalola bee clubs, where he mentored new beekeepers and represented the club annually at the Forsyth County Fair. He also spoke to schools about honey bees and beekeeping.
Dale Richter, Master Beekeeper
Dale began beekeeping at the age of five under the tutelage of his Grandfather, E.P. Posey. Dale taught beekeeping classes/exhibitions throughout his entire school years, from elementary school through high school. He later was a student/employee at the University of Georgia Honeybee Lab under Dr. Al Dietz and maintained the UGA bees, which at that time consisted of 8-10 colonies kept on campus behind the Biology building. He continued to teach and learn about honey bees thought his adult life, and obtained his Master Beekeeper certificate in 2007.
Dale has been a lifelong member of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, and a Director for the Association on many occasions. Dale founded and chartered the South Georgia Beekeepers Club in 1979, which was one of the first beekeeping clubs in South Georgia. The club was a very strong and active force in South Georgia until it was disbanded 12 years later due to aging members and time restrictions on most of the remaining members. He is also a member of several other local beekeeping clubs. Presently, Dale is either Administrator or Moderator for several bee-related sites on Facebook, and stays active in the beekeeping community, both locally and on a international basis.
In October, 2010, Dale became the first beekeeper to encounter Africanized Honey Bees in Georgia. This occurred while responding to an incident in Dougherty County (Albany) in which an elderly gentleman was clearing some debris piles and was fatally attacked by Africanized Honey Bees. (The bees were in an abandoned porch column from the man’s property, and had been taken over by a swarm of AHB illegally brought to Georgia from Florida by a migrant beekeeper). Since that time, Dale has worked diligently with local, state, and Federal officials to monitor for more AFB and to educate the public and emergency responders about AHB and how to respond to their presence. Dale’s work has been featured on The History Channel, Discovery Channel, America Now, and several other local, state, and international media outlets.
Dale is an emergency responder for bee-related incidents for many local 911 agencies, as well other governmental, military, industrial, or police agencies.
Dale does honey bee presentations and classes throughout South Georgia for schools and civic groups, and participates in the Jimmy Carter Farm Days on the grounds of the Jimmy Carter Farm when available. He also uses his position as a MIddle/High School basketball coach to teach young adults about the importance of honeybees and the ecosystem in general. His habit of eating honey straws before each game has spread to all four of his teams, as well as some opposing teams as well. His volunteer work for the Dougherty County Search and Rescue Team, long with the Lee County CERT team enables Dale to continually teach and speak about honey bees to broad sections of the community and various government Councils.
Dale owns and operates The Buzz Fuzz (FACEBOOK:Dale Richter’s The Buzz Fuzz), a licensed and insured bee removal service. He also owns the websites www.honeybeeremovalgeorgia.com, and www.honeybeeremovalUnitedStates.com, websites where beekeepers throughout Georgia and other states may participate in nuisance honeybee removals. Dale is a licensed Pest Control Operator, Wildlife Control Operator, and certified media consultant. Dale also handles other stinging insects, including yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, bumblebees, etc. He also does free swarm removals.
Facebook: DaleRichter’s The Buzz Fuzz
The Buzz Fuzz
158 Cookville Road
Leesburg, GA 31763
Randy Rolen, Master Beekeeper
As a barefooted 11 year old country boy, there was no greater excitement during the summer for Randy than helping his uncles rob their bee hives. While he really wasn’t much help to them, it made him feel important to hold the washtub as his uncles cut the honey comb from the frames. Since those early years, he always wanted to get into beekeeping. However, like all of us, other things kept getting in the way and he kept putting it off. After facing and surviving a life treating illness, the vision of items on his bucket list to complete in life suddenly cleared. Beekeeping was there waiting for him. His journey for knowledge of the honey bee began as he looked into their unbelievable world. He found the journey for knowledge of the honey bee is never ending.
Randy is a charter member of the Chattooga County Beekeepers Association. He is a past club president of the Northwest GA Beekeepers Association. He currently serves as program chairman for the TN Valley Beekeepers Association. He is a member of the GA Beekeepers Association, Alabama Beekeepers Association, and the TN Beekeepers Association.
Randy works for his two Honey’s (Carolyn and his bees). Together, they enjoy harvesting honey, helping other beekeepers, and attending state educational sessions. He has taught continuing education courses on Beekeeping at a local college. In addition, he does honey bee education programs for clubs, schools, and other organizations
Randy is available to catch swarms, and mentor new beekeepers on removing swarms from structures. He is also available to speak on various honey bee subjects. He is available to mentor clubs on how to run successful “Introduction to Beekeeping Seminars”.
Paul Smith, Master Beekeeper
Paul was born and raised is Seattle, WN, in 1942. He joined the U.S. Naval Air Reserve in Seattle in 1958 and became and Aviation Electronics Technician. He served two years aboard the USS Pine Island (AV-12) and became a ham radio operator K7YSU. P.D. toured the Far East and earned his Shellback Status traveling to the Galapagos Islands. Paul’s current call is N4CUA and he is active in the Athens Radio Club, which emphasizes public service. His favorite activity is working with the American Red Cross (ARC) during UGA football games. Paul is, also, a regular blood donor for the local ARC. He has served over 32 years.
Paul earned an MS in Ecology (Biology) in 1973 from the University of Minnesota. Paul was hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Ely, MN., May 1971. He worked on the Shagawa Lake Project that demonstrated the efficacy of removing phosphorus from municipal sewage to control eutrophication of lakes. Subsequently, phosphorus could no longer be used to build detergents.
He worked 35 years as a Research Aquatic Biologist. In 1976, he was transferred to Corvallis, OR, and, in 1979, to Athens, GA, retiring in 2005. Paul and his wife, Albie, bought a home with a developed garden, many fruit trees and blueberries. The previous owner kept honeybees for pollination, and we liked their Tulip poplar honey. Paul decided to take an extension course on beekeeping at UGA in the fall of 1979. He has been keeping honeybees, ever since.
In 1995, Paul was one of the founding members of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Assn. He served as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice-Chairman and Chairman. Smith regularly attends the UGA Beekeeping Institute (BKI) held yearly at the Young Harris College to keep current with management practices. The Institute began in 1991, is International in scope, and features a comprehensive Honey Show. There are 14 different categories for folks to compete, from art, to candles making, to extracted honey, mead making and photography. Paul has won "Best in Show" twice, for extracted honey, and, twice, won the "Black Jar" award for best tasting honey. He has also won blue ribbons for chunk honey and beeswax candles. At the 2012 BKI, Smith was awarded the official title of "Georgia Master Beekeeper". Paul & Albie have two children (all working is health care) and four grandchildren.
Paul's public service interests are swarm removal and mentoring newbie's, consulting about removing bees from structures, presenting programs on the health benefits of hive productsand selling hive products.
Paul Snapp, Master Beekeeper
Paul is a fourth-generation beekeeper who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains of North East Tennessee. He is now a hobbyist beekeeper residing in Wilson County, Tennessee. Of the many hobbies he has enjoyed over the years, apiculture has turned out to be a wonderful combination of entomology, woodworking, design engineering, selective breeding, product development, sales and marketing. He has found beekeeping to be not only of personal interest but also a topic of great interest to the general public. Through public speaking, workshops, festivals and fairs, he has received great satisfaction in being an ambassador for the cause of honey bees and the practice of apiculture.
Paul is a member of the Eastern Apicultural Society of North America and the American Beekeeping Federation. Along with being a Georgia Master Beekeeper he is also a Montana Master Beekeeper certified by the University of Montana. In addition to his interests in beekeeping, Paul is an FAA Certified Airline Transport Pilot as well as a Certified Flight Instructor. He enjoys the outdoors, hunting and long-range marksmanship. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York with a degree in engineering and served in the United States Army as a paratrooper and an Army Ranger. After his military service he has worked for several corporations involved in electronics manufacturing.
Paul helps new beekeepers and provides classroom presentations on honey bees and apiculture.
Linda Tillman, Master Beekeeper
Linda Tillman has been interested in beekeeping since the 70s when she checked out all the books she could find in the Nashville library on how to have bees in your backyard. With raising children, finishing graduate school, and starting a career along the way, she didn’t actually begin keeping bees until 2006.
Linda now has hives at her home and maintains hives at community gardens, environmentally green inns, and in the mountains. To keep records of her beekeeping experiences, Linda started an Internet blog in April 2006 when she installed her first nucs (www.beekeeperlinda.com). She writes about her beekeeping learning experiences, her mistakes and her successes. On her blog she demonstrates her passion for natural beekeeping, using no poisons and foundationless frames, among other natural beekeeping practices. She has made and posted videos on basic beekeeping skills such as inspecting a hive, harvesting honey without an extractor, using a simple solar wax melter, and other topics. She posts frequently on her blog which is visited by people from all over the world, gets about 750 visits a day in busy season, and has almost 1000 subscribers.
Linda has been interviewed for Internet podcasts and on Atlanta radio programs. She has given talks and workshops big and small, from local garden clubs, scout troops, and school groups in the Atlanta area to the Southeast Organic Beekeepers Conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. One of her favorite activities is mentoring new beekeepers. Linda served as the director for the early years of the Metro Atlanta Beekeepers’ hive inspection program. She has been the co-editor of the monthly GBA newsletter for the past four years and is currently the secretary of Georgia Beekeepers Association. She is a co-founder of the Atlanta Beekeeping Meetup group.
Having won many ribbons at honey shows, Linda gives talks to beekeepers on preparing honey for show, harvesting honey, as well as pouring wax blocks. Always interested in new ways to employ products of the hive, Linda has made lip balm, lotion, lotion bars, and soap with her beeswax and honey.
Linda is a retired clinical psychologist, a grandmother, a bread baker and loves to cook with honey. She gives talks at bee clubs, garden clubs, and schools all over Georgia.
- Swarm removal (if it doesn’t require a tall ladder!)
- Talks on bees and beekeeping for garden clubs, school groups, camps, scout troops, community organizations, eco-fairs, science fairs, etc.
- Talks to beekeeping groups on such topics as:
- Harvesting honey without an extractor
- Making and using a solar wax melter
- Creating your own lip balm and lotion
- Preparing honey and wax for entering a show
- Doing a basic hive inspection
Damon Wallace, Master Beekeeper
Damon's involvement with beekeeper associations includes charter membership and officerships with the Saughahatchee Beekeepers Association and Alabama Beekeepers Association. He is also certified in the Young Harris/UGA Beekeeping Institute Welsh Honey Judge program.
Damon gives bee talks to just about anyone or any club who will listen. Several spring and fall festivals will find him talking bees, selling honey and promoting beekeeping. He's given presentations to community involvement groups, professional associations and even an international environmental conference.
He does voluntary swarm removals; he prefers those at chest-high on outer branches of the tree. He sells honey and makes a small amount of candles and lotions for his family’s use.
Phone: (334) 745-5312
2003 Highpoint Drive
Opelika, Alabama 36801
Tom Watson, Master Beekeeper
I grew up in northeast Tennessee and as small child loved to sit and watch insects. I could lay in the grass for hours watching ants, bees and wasps. I learned that even while foraging, a bee will take only so much attention and experimentation before it will reward you with the wrong kind of attention in return. I also learned that wasps will eventually find you, even at a distance, if you continue throwing a ball at the window shutter they live behind. Ants were much more forgiving.
As the years progressed, I gave up all that insect stuff, became an engineer with degrees from Tennessee and Georgia Tech and moved to Chicago. The draw of the South eventually lured me back to Atlanta. I married and my wife and I had two boys. In 2008, when the boys were nine and seven, we all stumbled upon a video series on PBS about beekeeping called “Honeybees & Beekeeping, A Year in the Life of an Apiary” featuring UGA’s Dr. Keith Delaplane. After seeing the series, we decided to be a family of beekeepers. So, late in the season that year, we trekked to West Georgia to pick up two hives and off we went. My wife lasted three days until an errant leaf landed on her arm while filming us working the hive (she thought it was a bee and freaked out) and the boy’s interest ran out of about three weeks later.
The whole family still helps with extracting and selling the honey but other than that I am the only active beekeeper. I enjoy beekeeping with about ten to fifteen hives and also enjoy making and inventing things to support my beekeeping habit. For example, I currently make Entrance Disks, OA regulated vaporizers, Bee Vac accessories and other bee related designs with my 3-D printer. I live on eight acres in the middle of Johns Creek with my family where we enjoy the space from and the proximity to our neighbors. I belong to, and served on the board of the Metro Atlanta Beekeeper and belong to the Forsyth Beekeepers and Georgia Beekeepers Association.
- Speaking to school groups, bee clubs, and groups about honeybees and related topics.
- Mentoring new beekeepers.
- Swarm removals.
- Apiary setup
- Beekeeping gadgets
Virginia Stephens Webb, Master Beekeeper
Joe Stephens, Virginia’s father is her model for beekeeping. Beekeeping was a family hobby for many years and in 1964 Virginia received her first beehive. From then forward she was hooked on keeping bees. Virginia was the first 4-H winner in Tennessee Beekeeping and was the 1975 Tennessee State Honey Queen.
Today she and her husband Carl are full time commercial beekeepers and queen breeders in North Georgia. Their beekeeping operation consists of over 350 production colonies and a queen yard. They specialize in raising Russian Queens. Virginia became the first Certified Welsh Honey Judge in the United States. She has competed throughout the United States and in Europe in honey show and has won Best in Show in over 20 shows. In 2005 Virginia and her husband attended the Apimondia (World Beekeeping Federation) and entered the first ever World Honey Show. With over 21 countries participating, and 400 individual entries, Virginia’s Sourwood Honey won the top Honor of BEST HONEY IN THE WORLD. This year at the American Beekeeping Federation Honey Show, Virginia again won Best in Show for the 3rd time.
Virginia is a greatly sought after speaker, speaking to beekeeping clubs, agriculture organizations and civic clubs throughout the US. She has worked with beekeepers in almost every state and in the Caribbean. She also writes about the importance of beekeeping in agriculture.
Currently she is a member of the American Beekeeping Federation Board of Directors, the Georgia Farm Bureau Honeybee Advisory Committee, Treasurer of the Georgia Beekeepers Assoc., a charter member of the Russian Queen Breeders Association and past member of the National Honey Board Nominations Committee.
1993 Georgia Beekeeper of the Year, 2002 North Georgia Farm Bureau, Farm Woman of the Year, Tennessee Beekeepers Assoc. Life Time Member and Past President of the Georgia Beekeepers Association and Metro Atlanta Beekeepers Assoc.
Teaching Children about Bees. Currently Virginia speaks to over 2,000 children each year about the importance of beekeeping and the roll of beekeepers. Workshops on Conservation and Beekeeping (Beekeepers have always been Green); Marketing Outside the Beehive; Everything You Wanted to Know about Beeswax (Candles, Ornaments, Painting and Cooking); Preparing Honey to Show and Small Operation Queen Breeding.
Phone: (706) 754-7062
349 Gastley Road
Clarkesville, GA 30523
Michael Young, Master Beekeeper
Michael has held many officer positions in beekeeping organizations including:
- President of the Ulster Beekeepers Association
- Chairman of Dromore District Beekeepers Association
- Show Manager Dromore District Beekeepers Association
- Chairman for the Council of National Beekeeper Associations
- Chairman and founder of the Institute of the Northern Ireland Beekeepers Association
Michael is available to give lectures on:
- Queen rearing
- Essential oils and oxalic acid
- African killer bees
- Honey judging producing exhibits for the show bench
- Mead making
- Bee disease
- All aspects of beekeeping
Michael is available to offer workshops on:
- Wax modeling, candles
- Gourmet honey cookery
- Encaustic wax painting
- Preparing bee produce for the show bench
- Making mead
- Practical beekeeping
- Judging bee produce at honey shows
Terms: Michael only asks that his travel, accommodation and food are provided.
0044 02892 689724