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Beekeeping group may be forming in Albany

ALBANY, Ga. -- In light of increased interest in bees, a group of Albanians is pushing forward to fulfill a need they say has been lacking.

A meeting is scheduled at The Candy Room in downtown Albany at 7 p.m. on Nov. 22 for those interested in establishing a beekeeping group in the Good Life City.

"What we need is resources," said Kathy Brinson, one of the organizers. "There are a lot (of beekeeping clubs) in north Georgia.

"There are a lot of people here I've never heard of that are beekeepers."

Brinson, who has two hives that she maintains, said the groundwork to establish this group was already in place before the death of 73-year-old Curtis Davis, a Dougherty man, last month resulting from an Africanized honeybee attack.

However, there is a good chance the incident might make for a better response.

"I think there will be a heightened interest in keeping people on their (the bees') good side," Brinson said.

The attack was the first record of Africanized honeybees in Georgia. They were first spotted in the United States 20 years ago.

"The Africanized bees, if they take over, it would be devastating," Brinson said. "The more European bee (populations) that are established, the greater the defense against Africanized bees."

European honeybees and Africanized honeybees look the same, and there is no difference in their venom. However, Africanized bees are less predictable and more defensive. They are more likely to defend a wider area around the nest, and respond faster and in greater numbers that those of the European strain.

Davis suffered more than 100 stings from the swarm he encountered.

Richard Grebel, a mentor to Brinson, also has had a hand in getting this club going.

"We have a lot of people here interested in bees; I think the response will be pretty good," he said. "We need to educate, because you don't ever know (when something will happen)."

The Candy Room is located at 125 Pine Ave. For more information, call (229) 435-5115.