CULLMAN, Ala. – Bees and other pollinators are integral to our ecosystem and food supply. Whether keeping bees as a hobby or for profit, several upcoming opportunities are available through the Cullman office of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).
“Keeping bees is a hobby all of us have benefited from,” shared ACES Cullman County Coordinator Kira Sims. “You may enjoy the hum of your own hives and the search for the queen bee, but for most of us the benefit is indirect. We may not keep our own bees, but we eat fruits and vegetables that were pollinated by honeybees, and many of us love the sweet taste of honey.”
Sims seeks to provide more information to those interested in learning about beekeeping.
“If you are like me, you would love to try your hand at keeping bees but (you’re) not sure where to start,” she said. “There is good news! There are several events in 2023 that will help you get acquainted with the ins and outs of beekeeping.”
So, you want to keep bees for fun and profit?
As part of the Veteran and Beginning Farmer series led by Tony Glover, this workshop will cover basic beekeeping and a panel discussion with experienced beekeepers from the area. Hands-on stations presenting hive construction along with honey extractors, needed tools and more will also be available. The Cullman County Farmers Federation will provide a light dinner. The class is free and will be held at the North Alabama Agriplex on Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 6-8 p.m. To register, contact Glover at 256-568-0005 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At-Home Beekeeping Webinar
This webinar is held on the last Tuesday of each month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. and covers topics such as water foraging, supplemental feeding and more. The webinar is hosted by ACES on Facebook Live or via Zoom. Registration information is available at www.beeculture.com/at-home-beekeeping-webinar-9.
Cullman County Beekeepers Association
These meetings where novice beekeepers have the chance to meet with experienced beekeepers are held each odd month on the second Tuesday. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. at Alfa Insurance at 307 Main Ave. NW. More information is available at www.facebook.com/groups/5735129549845038.
The basics of beekeeping will be covered by local beekeepers, Phillip Garrison and Laura Britt, along with building a hive from scratch, at the Agriplex on Oct. 12. Registration will open later in the year at www.agriplex.org. This Living Landscape series class costs $10.
Other resources include the Alabama Beekeepers Association and its annual spring and fall conferences. The 28th Annual Alabama Beekeepers Symposium will be this Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Jefferson State Community College Clanton Conference and Performing Arts Center in Clanton, Alabama. Conference registration is $45 and available at www.alabamabeekeepers.com.
Sims encourages aspiring and experienced beekeepers to keep up with the latest news and remember available resources for questions.
“You can also stay current on beekeeping trends with the ACES monthly beekeeping newsletter. Find this at www.aces.edu and search for ‘beekeeping newsletter.’ Use the ACES calendar to find other beekeeping related workshops and events around Cullman and across the state,” she said. “If you have specific questions about keeping bees, reach out to the Cullman County Extension Office and we will connect you to the folks that have the buzz about bee knowledge! Call us at 256-737-9386 or visit us in person at 402 Arnold St. NE, Suite G1, Cullman, AL 35055.”