The Alabama Cooperative Extension System Beekeeping Program – an Update

The Alabama Cooperative Extension System Beekeeping Program – an Update

During October, 2011, final agreements were reached between the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES) at Auburn University and me (Dr. James E. Tew) to provide extension and outreach programs for Alabama beekeepers, growers, homeowners and gardeners.  The agreement is a one-year contract, subject to renewal upon agreement by both parties.

In this part-time capacity, I will conduct an annual spring meeting/workshop that will be conducted at Auburn University.  Additionally, I will develop a web page presence, compose a seasonal newsletter, author factsheets, answer questions, and support the programs of the Alabama Beekeepers’ Association – including the new Master Beekeepers’ Program that has just recently been initiated.  No doubt other issues, such as the future arrival of the Africanized honey bee will need addressing also.

Much of this program will be conducted electronically supported by frequent visits around Alabama to speak to groups and to observe Alabama beekeeping.   Even though I have already conducted this program for seventeen years, this will be the first year that I have done it without being on the staff at The Ohio State University.  I retired from that position effective October 1, 2011.

I am anxious to make this extension program a meaningful contributor to both new and experienced beekeepers.  Please help by offering suggestions and continuing in beekeeping.


Jim Tew

4 thoughts on “The Alabama Cooperative Extension System Beekeeping Program – an Update

  1. OK: you asked, remember? The Master Beekeeper program could, I think, be very helpful to both the State Apiarist and to ACES. Dennis said that our only inspectors are both consigned to the lab and to the trap lines for the duration of this economic downturn — why could Master Beekeepers not be trained to make field inspections? Understanding that they are not experts — they could spot potential problems and refer the matter to Dennis’ office; they could help answer general questions, point the hobbyist beekeeper to the appropriate resources, etc. You could ake this service a part of the Master Beekeeper’s required duties for continued certification. As for ACES, you could develop a model along the lines of the Master Gardener course and use the Master Gardeners as teachers for beginner beekeeping classes — that wy, some degree of standardization (in terms of the information presented, etc.) could be achieved.
    Just thinking out loud here ….
    Loyd Mehaffey

    1. Loyd, all of your comments are interesting. I have taken the liberty of sending your comments to the Alabama Master Beekeeper Committee. I am somewhat new in this extension position and the Alabama Master Beekeeper Programs is sparkling new. Please give us some time to tweak things. And thanks for using the web pages.

  2. Hi,

    My husband and I have 5 1/2 acres in Lincoln that we are establishing as a sustainable permaculture (hopefully). I am very interested in beekeeping as a personal source of honey and to try and reverse the dwindling population.
    What is my best bet for getting start-up information? Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your interest in beekeeping and in the health of bees in general. Have a look at the web page for the Alabama Beekeepers Association. Check out their list of county groups to see there is a beekeeping group in your area. I know that the Jefferson County beekeepers is a thriving group but I don’t know where they meet. By getting to know other beekeepers, you will learn the sources for information, equipment, and procedures. A short book I wrote for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is posted at: Backyard Beekeeping.

      The best to begin beekeeping is passing as the early spring season passes. This could be good or bad – depending on how you look at it. Also contact your county extension office to see if they know of local resources. Alabama is a great state for beekeeping. After you review these initial contacts, communicate with me again.

      Good luck.

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