The course is to encourage area residents to explore and become involved in the art of beekeeping. Participants will have the opportunity to register to win one of three hives (valued at $160 each) the club will give away as part of a hive grant from the Tennessee Beekeepers Association. Winners must be present to win and, in addition, make a two-year commitment to beekeeping.
Aside from its obvious importance in protecting the health of honey bees to pollinate crops for our food supply, beekeeping is a fascinating hobby that can produce sweet rewards. The Cherokee Beekeepers Association has a long history of providing free education for the community and mentorship for those interested in beekeeping
One of the most exciting new aspects of this year’s short course is a partnership with the FFA groups of McMinn County and McMinn Central High Schools. FFA students will help in many ways with hosting the event.
Presenters will include Charlie Parton, president of Tennessee Beekeepers Association, and Lynda Rizzardi, past president of TBA, along with experienced local speakers. In addition to four informative sessions designed to explain why people keep honey bees, what honey bees do, where and how to get started beekeeping and when to get honey bees and manage them through each season, attendees will have the opportunity to meet area beekeepers, examine beekeeping equipment, see live demonstrations of frame building and smoker lighting, browse exhibits and shop vendor tables. The day will also include door prizes and a free lunch.
The Cherokee Beekeepers Association meets regularly at the Valley Farmers Co-op in Athens on fourth Thursdays of each month at 7 p.m. Some of the meetings and activities planned for 2014 include Getting Started in 2014: The Hive from Bottom to Top, by Kevin Lane, on Feb. 27; Pollen and Nectar Sources for Bees, by Jim Garrison, (past TBA president), on March 27; a Field Day to demonstrate installation of package bees at the home of Jim Gentry on April 12; How to Build a Honey House, by Charlie Parton on April 24; Queen Pheromones, by Randy Rolen, on May 22; Harvesting and Packing Honey by Jim Gentry, Mike Coulter and Myron McCleary, on June 26; Best Beekeeping Books and Articles by Lynda Rizzardi on July 24; and The Africanized Honey Bee vs. the European Honey Bee, by Stephanie Tarwater on Aug. 28.
Club officers for 2014 are Gwen Lane, president; Mike Coulter, vice president; Jan Stephenson, secretary/treasurer; and Art Howard, chaplain.
For more information about the short course or the club, visit http://cherokeebeekeepers.blogspot.com/.