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Beekeepers Club: Let the honey flow

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The first meeting of the Sowega Beekeepers Club came together as smooth as -- you guessed it -- honey.

"There is no other bee club in Southwest Georgia," said newly elected President Kathy Brinson. "There are 16 clubs in the state, and we need one here."

The club plans to provide members and the community with technical beekeeping data and information on bee habitat, biology and safety.

The club is open to anyone interested in honeybees on any level. The first meeting drew about 35 veterans and newbies to the Candy Room on the 100 block of Pine Avenue.

Retired and back on her family's farm from residing in Princeton, N.J., Donna Pennington was one of the newbies. Saying that she recognized the importance of bees to plant pollination, Pennington described why she wanted to put bees on her farm.

"I want to have a vegetable garden, and I want fruit in the trees," Pennington said. "I also need help in getting started, so that's why I'm here."

That help came easily as Dick Grebel, a beekeeper who doesn't remember how long he has been keeping bees, gave a program on hive basics at the inaugural meeting.

Grebel -- let's call him at least a 30-year-veteran beekeeper -- showed various tools, such as plastic hive frames to insert into wooden hive boxes.

Taking a hive frame out of the box Grebel said, "You just cut the cap off the wax, and honey comes pouring out. Then you put the frame back and tell the bees to fill it up again."

Many of the questions during the meeting centered on the type of grazing that benefits bees and their honey best. Veterans chimed in with suggestions such as Dutch white clover, canola and buckwheat.

More help for Pennington came as newly elected Vice President Dewayne Pitts offered his phone number for when she needed additional advice.

Club members seemed so friendly and immersed in beekeeping that the $20 annual fee for the club didn't have -- wait for it -- much of a sting.

The dues will be used to bring experts in to talk to the club about subjects such as beekeeping without chemicals during the club's 6:30 p.m. second Thursday of the month meetings.

Club officers are looking for a more permanent place to meet, Brinson said. Until then, information is available online by e-mailing kbrinson@bellsouth.net.