Georgia Master Beekeeper Program
Master Craftsman Beekeepers
Bill Owens, native of Georgia, grew up around honey bees as a child. He loved nature and the outdoors. After a serving in the U.S. Navy, Bill settled in Monroe, Georgia and he started keeping bees of his own. Bill also joined the Monroe City Fire Department where he quickly moved up in the ranks. In 2000, Bill converted his small single hive hobby into a successful sideline business with over 100 colonies called Owen Apiaries. In addition to honey production, Bill owns and operates Georgia Bee Removal, a subsidiary of Owens Apiaries. Georgia Bee Removal is a company that removes honey bee colony infestations, as well as other insects such as yellow jackets, wasps, and hornets, from homes and businesses around the state. From 2004 to 2006, Bill assisted with field research at the University of Georgia honey bee lab.
Bill earned his AAS in Fire Science Technology at Lanier Technical College in 2005 and BS in Fire Science Management from American Military University in 2008. At the same time, Bill was also studying bees. After five years of study in 2006 through the University of Georgia and Young Harris College, Bill earned the certification and title Master Craftsman Beekeeper. Bill is the first beekeeper in Georgia to earn the highest certification in this trade. It is a title which he alone still holds as of today. Bill’s work is published in multiple news and magazine articles. He has honey bee research published in Apidologie, the leading journal devoted to bee science. In 2011, he co-wrote and published his first book on honey bee removals Bee Removal: A step by step guide. Bill does consulting work and speaking engagements on honey bees, bee safety, and the bee industry in general. He is a member of the Georgia Africanized Honey Bee (AHB) Committee and one of the leading developers/presenters of the training for public safety personnel in the state for the response of AHB stinging incidents. In his spare time, Bill teaches core curriculum of fire science at Georgia Piedmont Technical College (Formally Dekalb Tech) and is an continuing education instructor for North Georgia Technical College in their newly developed Basic Beekeeping program. He also designs websites and is the web master of the Georgia Beekeepers Association.
Bill has served in many leadership roles within the honey bee industry to include Chairman of the Eastern Piedmont Beekeepers Association, President of the Georgia Beekeepers Association, and Vice President of the Eastern Apicultural Society. Bill earned the Walton County Public Servant of the year in 2006 and City of Monroe Firefighter of the Year in 2003. His other roles at Monroe City Fire Department have included City Fire Inspector, Chief of Training, and Public Information Officer as well as the Chairman of the Walton County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
Bill is an entrepreneur, author, instructor, firefighter and beekeeper who enjoys the simple life with his wife Lisa, their dogs and acres of bees. Bill and Lisa hope to build a small house on their 10 acres of land in Morgan County, where they can have their own homestead.