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Honey Bees on Comb

28th Annual Alabama Beekeepers Symposium

After being a virtual event for the last few years, the 28th Annual Alabama Beekeepers Symposium is back to being an in-person event. The symposium will take place Saturday, February 4 at the Jefferson State Community College Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center in Clanton, Alabama. The cost to attend is $50, and registration is required. Lunch and refreshments are included in the registration cost.

Register Online

What to Expect

As always, the ideal of this event is providing science-based beekeeping information for Alabama beekeepers. This year, the symposium will feature two fabulous keynote speakers: Ernesto Guzman from the University of Guelph, Canada and David Tarpy from the University of North Carolina.

For those new to the world of beekeeping, this year’s symposium has the Beginning Beekeeping track. This day-long workshop is taught by professionals from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and the Auburn University Pollinator Lab. Attendees of this workshop will receive a certificate of completion.

As usual, the event will feature a full floor of beekeeping supply vendors, from major name brands to local artisans. To make the symposium even more fun, a new Honey Show and pre-symposium Welsh Honey Judging Level 1 workshop has been added. Both of these events will be run by Brutz English.

  • The Honey Show is open to any attendee. Find an instruction sheet for submitting your exhibit here. Ribbons will be awarded to the Honey Show winners at the end of the symposium.
  • The Welsh Honey Judging Level 1 workshop is Friday, February 3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of this workshop is $45 and is separate from the symposium.

Friday, February 3 Agenda

  • Welsh Honey Judging Level 1 Workshop – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday, February 4 Agenda

8 a.m.

  • Doors Open

8:25 a.m.

  • Welcome by the mayor of Clanton and the president of the Alabama Beekeepers Association

Beginning Beekeeping

9 a.m.

  • Beginning Beekeeping attendees go to their classroom at Jefferson State Community College

All Other Attendees

10:45 a.m. – The symposium breaks out into three different tracks

Main Auditorium

  • Guzman
    • Impact of Acaricides on Honey Bee Health
    • Effects of Nosema Ceranae and Its Treatability
  • Tarpy
    • Past and Future Roles of Antibiotics in Beekeeping
    • Diagnosing Queen Problems
  • Dani Reams
    • Changes to Alabama’s Cottage Food Law’s Effects on Beekeeping Products

The Journey to Mastery – Jefferson State Community College, Room 206

Journeymen beekeepers from the Alabama Master Beekeepers conduct beekeeping presentations as they pursue their Master Beekeepers certificate. This year, there are five Journeymen presenters.

  • A Year of Beekeeping – Corey Matheson
  • Extended Release Oxalic Acid for Varroa Management – Jonathan Szecsey
  • Keeping Bees At Work: Lessons Learned from an Office Building Rooftop Apiary – Jeff Lisenby
  • Pollination: The Importance of Honey Bees for Our Food Supply – Bill Grimmett
  • Making Splits When You Can’t Find the Queen – Wayne Boshell

DIY Talks – Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center, Room EDC 3 (next to the vendor hall)

Speakers from the Auburn Pollinator Lab and Alabama Extension will cover three do-it-yourself topics.

  • Queen Rearing
  • Building Hive Equipment
  • Making Nucleus Colonies

Return to Main Audience Hall

  • Honey Show Awards – Brutz English, Welsh Honey Judge
  • Closing remarks and raffle prizes
  • Survey and evaluation

Speakers

Guest Professors

  • Ernesto Guzman was born and raised in Mexico where he started to keep bees when he was 17. His interest in bee biology and beekeeping further developed when he became a TA of an introductory apiculture course at the National University of Mexico. Eventually, Ernesto kept more than 300 bee hives and produced over 10 tons of honey a year. He took several beekeeping courses in the United States, and–after getting a DVM degree–he moved to Davis California for graduate education in entomology. After getting his PhD, he conducted research on the behavior and genetics of Africanized honey bees and their resistance to parasitic mites for 12 years. Then, he accepted a position at the University of Guelph where he has worked for more than 15 years. Ernesto Guzman’s research is focused on genetics, behavior, and diseases of honey bees. Guzman is author or coauthor of more than 120 peer-reviewed publications and is recognized as a world authority in honey bee breeding and parasitic diseases of bees.
  • David R. Tarpy is a professor of applied ecology and the NC State Extension honey bees specialist. Among other Extension initiatives, his program runs the Queen & Disease Clinic and the Beekeeper Education & Engagement System (BEES). His research interests focus on the biology and behavior of honey bee queens in order to better improve the overall health of queens and their colonies. His lab focuses on the reproductive potential of commercially produced queens–testing their genetic diversity and mating success in an effort to improve queen quality. He has served on the boards of the NC State Beekeepers, the Eastern Apiculture Society, the Bee Informed Partnership, and the editorial boards of the top two scientific journals on apiculture. He is a highly sought after speaker for clubs around the country and is in high demand to talk about the research coming out of his lab.

Alabama Extension Speakers

  • Allyson Shabel
  • William Rowe
  • Olivia Fuller
  • Selina Bruckner
  • Geoffrey Williams

Auburn Pollinator Lab Speakers

  • Geoffrey Williams
  • Clint Walls
  • Selina Bruckner
  • Rogan Tokach
  • Jennifer Standley

Guest Beekeeper Speakers

Alabama Apiary Inspection Unit

  • Philip Carter currently serves as an apiary inspector with Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries. His work involves maintaining surveillance of the beekeeping industry for the detection and prevention of honey bee pests and diseases.

Alabama Master Beekeepers

  • Corey Matheson has been married for 42 beautiful years, has three children, and four grandchildren. He has worked for the Federal Aviation Administration for 21 years. A curiosity about beekeeping led to Matheson attending an introductory beekeeping course in January 2017. That spring, he purchased three nucleus colonies, which catapulted him into the fascinating world of beekeeping. Colonies were multiplying quickly, and his talent in hobby woodworking helped him build some of the new equipment needed. The hives grew to 70 in three years, and he began selling nucleus colonies and queens. Matheson manages 50 to 70 colonies, mentors three beekeepers, and is collaborating to have colonies in two community gardens next spring.
  • Jonathan Szecsey has been a member of the West Georgia Beekeepers Association since 2016. He has also been a member of the Alabama Beekeepers Association since 2017, where he is a Journeyman Beekeeper. Keeping bees since 2016, Szecsey has eight colonies and two double-stack nucleus colonies.
  • Jeff Lisenby started beekeeping in April 2018 with two nucleus colonies in his backyard in Mountain Brook. His mentor was Leland Hull, a retired dentist who–for many years–has tended the bee hives at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Lisenby added two more colonies in the spring of 2019, and his apiary has consisted of four to eight colonies since then. Since 2019, he has served on the board of the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association and has served as vice president of the association since November 2021. He completed the Apprentice requirements for the Alabama Master Beekeepers program in July 2022 and is now working on satisfying requirements for the Journeyman certification.
  • Bill Grimmett and his wife Cheril live in Arkadelphia in Cullman County where they began keeping bees in 2017. They now provide hives for approximately 25 colonies. They are members of the Cullman County Beekeepers Association and the Blount County Beekeepers Association, where Grimmett serves as vice president and is active in education and mentoring.
  • Wayne Boshell is a retired truck driver and became a beekeeper five years ago. He is a Journeyman beekeeper with a 30-hive apiary in Mulga, Alabama.

Beekeeping Symposium mapDirections

This event will be held at the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center at Jefferson State Community College, 1850 Lay Dam Road, Clanton, Alabama 35405.

Take I-65 to Exit 212. From the north–turn right, from the south turn left, off of the exit ramp. Go approximately 1 mile, and Jefferson State Community College is on the left. The entrance to the Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center is through the far left double doors.


More Information

For more information on the 28th Annual Alabama Beekeepers Symposium, contact William Rowe at wjr0001@auburn.edu or (251) 589-5572.

Register Online

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