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Around this time every year, the UGA Bee Lab gets a lot of inquiries about how to get started in beekeeping. While the University does not endorse any groups, products or services, the list below is offered as a helpful beginning point for starting your adventure:
A great book to begin with is Dr. Delaplane's "First Lessons in Beekeeping," which is available through the Bee Lab in Watkinsville for $15. We can always forward a copy to the Biological Sciences building on campus where you can pick it up in the Entomology office; you can also ask Dr. D sign it for you if he's in his office.
There are also great resources online. You could begin with our website: Bees, Beekeeping & Pollination. There are also some free videos by Dr. Delaplane on "A Year in the Life of an Apiary" and lots of other resources available on eXtension.org.
Join a local beekeeping club:
Attend the meetings of one or more local bee clubs. Arrive early and stay late to facilitate opportunities to mingle with beekeepers. The GBA website has a great map of clubs. Here are several clubs reasonably close to Athens:
- Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers, meets monthly on the first Monday at 7PM, Campbell Research Center, 1420 Experiment Station Rd., Watkinsville, GA 30677
- East Metro Beekeepers, meets the 4th Tuesday each Month at 6:30 P.M. at the Rockdale Co. Extension Office, 1400 Parker Rd., Conyers, GA 30012 Contact for more info: David Shipp, 770-843-0313, email@example.com
- Tri-county Beekeepers, next meeting is Monday, February 9th from 7:00 - 8:30pm at the Gillsville Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 2595 Hwy. 323, Gillsville, GA 30543
- Gwinnett Beekeepers, Second Tuesday of Each Month, Hebron Church, 202 Hebron Church Rd, Dacula Ga 30019, Building A - 3rd Floor
- Oglethorpe County Beekeepers, third Monday each month at 7PM, Oglethorpe Co. Farm Bureau, 925 Athens Rd. (US 78), Crawford, GA 30630
Find a beekeeping class:
Unfortunately, the UGA Honey Bee Program does NOT offer classes to the public at the lab. We do offer a "Beginner Track" in our annual beekeeping conference (in conjunction with Young Harris College) in May, which you are welcome to attend - see our YHBI webpage for registration information - but it's not necessarily the best program for folks who just want some basic information to help decide whether or not to get into beekeeping. On the other hand, below is a list of what might be better options for more intimate, hands-on introductions:
- February 21, 2015 - North East Georgia Mountain Beekeepers - Beekeeping Short Course, Elachee Nature Center, 2125 Elachee Drive, Gainesville, GA. Cost: $45 individual / $60 couple. Contact Slade Jarrett – 706-677-2854 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- February 21, 2015 - Beginning Beekeeping Series will be presented by the Chattahoochee Valley Beekeepers Association in cooperation with Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center. It will consist of six, two-hour sessions over six consecutive Saturdays, 3PM to 5PM, beginning February 21 through March 21. New beekeepers will go home with their own bees installed in their own hives. Fee is $100 for all, or $25/session.
- February 21, 2015 - Cherokee Beekeepers 21st Annual Bee School, First Baptist Church of Holly Springs, 2632 Holly Springs Parkway, Holly Springs, GA 30142. Cost: $45 per person & $25 per additional family member.
- April 2015 (day to be announced) David Johnston of Bartow Beekeepers will be hosting a hands-on apiary event in Cartersville, GA.
- March 5, 2015 - Victor Halbgewachs is presenting a free one-night beginners' bee school in Dallas, GA, at 7:00 PM; Sign-up via Elrod Garden Center 770-445-8577.
- March 7 and April 18, 2015 - Forsyth Beekeepers Club Beginners Beekeeping School, at Sawnee Mountain Preserve from 9:00 am - 2:00 p.m. Cost: $40 (includes one-year club membership), call Hoyt 770-479-1731.
Sat, 14-Mar-2015 - Cindy Ball's bee school series at Lazy-B-Farm in Statham, GA, has their third (out of 6) meeting coming up on from 9AM to 12PM. You can probably join in for the remaining 4 classes. Call Cindy at 770-289-2301 and check out the link above for more info. Cindy also has a support group (monthly conference calls) for women beekeepers that's free and could lead to some great relationships.
The Georgia Beekeepers Association also maintains an ongoing list of many classes and events.
Keith Delaplane & Jennifer Berry were approached by Kim Flottum, Editor of Bee Culture Magazine, in 2013 to lead the editing effort for the next (42nd) edition of the popular beekeeping tome, "The ABC-XYZ of Bee Culture."
They subsequently engaged Philip Quinn to create an online, project management and reporting system to coordinate the massive undertaking, and began the search for other editors to share the responsibility for  reviewing the more than one thousand individual subject topics from the 2007 edition and  deciding which articles will be kept, which need to be rewritten, which will be discarded, and, finally, what additional pertinent topics have arisen in the last seven years that need to be added to keep the popular reference tome current and relevant.
In addition to Dr. Delaplane and Ms. Berry, the distinguished list of editors now includes Clarence Collison, Kim Flottum, Ann Harmon, and Jim Tew. The project management system went live (online) in August 2014, and the work progresses as the editors contact potential authors, make arrangements, set strategies, and update each other by posting their progress.
Among the many, exciting topical contributors who have confirmed are Charles Abramson, Dewey Caron, Yanping Chen, Sue Cobey, Bob Currie, Jamie Ellis, Rick Fell, MaryAnn Frazier, Tugrul Giray, Ernesto Guzmán-Novoa, Jeff Harris, Zachary Huang, David de Jong, Gene Kritsky, Wyatt Mangum, Eric Mussen, Jeff Pettis, Juliana Rangel-Posada, Diana Sammataro, John Skinner, Leellen Solter, Marla Spivak, Dave Tarpy, Jürgen Tautz, Tom Webster, and Mark Winston!
Sue Cobey, world-wide consultant on honey bee breeding, genetics and instrumental insemination, visited our UGA honey bee laboratory Thursday through Sunday (Jun 5-8, 2014).
The UGA staff was augmented by volunteers from the Forsyth County Beekeepers and Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers in order to accomplish the huge amount of work in just a few days.
Sue hails from a scenic island near Seattle, Washington. She holds dual posts at the University of California - Davis and Washington State University, as well as offers services as a private consultant. She regularly trains beekeepers, research scientists and their staff in honey bee insemination, bee breeding, and queen rearing techniques. She is also well known for her own closed-population breeding program of New World Carniolan bees.
Read more about Sue: