Chilton County Beekeepers Association set to host class for aspiring keepers

Published 4:21 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

By Carey Reeder/ Staff Writer

The Chilton County Beekeepers Association is set to host another class for the community on Feb. 26 to spread information and the hobby of beekeeping.

Started about 10 years ago, the Chilton County chapter of the Alabama Beekeepers Association was founded by Bill Evans and built up by Larry Wyatt over the years.

“Beekeeping is essential to our economy because bees are responsible for one-third of our food supply,” Wyatt said. “We try to get as many beekeepers as possible because it is such a vital role in everyday life.”

Wyatt got involved in beekeeping due to his wife’s bad allergies. Local, raw honey is a great aid in helping treat allergies, and that was enough for Wyatt to devote much of his time the next 10 years to caring for honey bees.

“I’ve always been fascinated by them; they’re marvelous creatures,” Wyatt said.

The class will be on Feb. 26 and begin at 8 a.m. at the Chilton County Recreation Center. The cost for the class is $45, and items to begin one’s own beekeeping journey will be available such as premade hives and boxes, beekeeping suits and reading materials.

Space is limited and registration is required by emailing or calling 256-348-9410.

The class will start by covering what is needed to start a beekeeping hobby such as how to get the bees into the boxes, tools to use and how to examine the hive.

“We are not going to give a 100-year overview of beekeeping in the class,” Wyatt said. “We are trying to give everyone an overall grasp of what is involved in beekeeping and making them better suited to do it.”

The class will feature six speakers with each one talking about an important aspect of beekeeping to help educate and prepare the students. Wyatt will be among those speakers discussing the basic needs for beekeeping and what beekeepers actually yield after it is done properly.

“There are certain things that you must do, but beekeeping is a constantly changing endeavor,” Wyatt said. “The more we learn about them, the more we realize how unique they are.”

Other speakers at the class will include local farmer Anita Andrews discussing the different things that can be used from the hive other than the honey, such as the wax and pollen. Justin Cagle, the vice president of the association, will talk about the first year of beekeeping and what someone interested in getting involved can expect.

Evans will host a panel covering hive inspection and will go through everything to check in hives for the health of the bees. Vince Wallace, the vice president of the Alabama Beekeepers Association, will talk about the 10 most common mistakes beekeepers make to help new beekeepers avoid those.

And finally, Tom Hoggle will talk about the pests, parasites and diseases that affect bees and how to protect them from those.

“This is why we do this, to get people in and involved,” Wyatt said. “You can learn a lot of info online, but also a lot of misinformation. You need to be a part of an association so you can have others you can reach out to for help and that is the benefit of the club.”

Honey bees are the only creature that produce harvestable honey. With the help of the Chilton County Beekeepers Association, more and more people will have the knowledge to protect these unique and important creatures for years to come.