Georgia Master Beekeeper Program
GA Master Beekeepers: Out-of-State
The Georgia Master Beekeepers listed below (by location) have been established, by virtue of their successful achievement,
as authorities and educational resources in their respective communities:
- Jimmy Carmack, Birmingham
- Keith Fletcher, Huntsville
- Lonnie W. Funderburg, Oneonta
- John C. Hurst, Jr., Birmingham
- Wil Montgomery, Southside
- Michael Steinkampf, Mountain Brook
- Damon Wallace, Opelika
Cindy Bee grew up with bees, following in her father’s footsteps, and eventually took over his operation. She has been removing honeybees from structures as a full time job for approximately twenty years and co-wrote (with Bill Owens, GA Master Craftsman Beekeeper) the only authoritative text available on the subject, "Honey Bee Removal: A Step by Step Guide."
Cindy operates approximately 65 hives, from which she produces and sells honey. She gives talks and lectures nationally (mainly in the winter), makes candles, and provides apitherapy.
Cindy was recognized by the Georgia Beekeeper's Association as the 2006 Beekeeper of the Year. During spring swarm season she receives and distributes swarm calls to other beekeepers and is always on call for questions and suggestions to beginning beekeepers. She recently completed a Master’s Degree in Professional Writing and is collecting stories from beekeepers aged 70 years and older who have been keeping bees for more than 25 years. Cindy moved to Maine in 2012 to pursue her interests in keeping bees and doing bee removals there.
Volunteer services available:
Cindy has donates honeybees to nature centers and mentors new beekeepers who are starting out. And, she gives apitherapy.
Paid services available:
- Apiary consultations.
- Talks and lectures on beekeeping at local, state & national bee meetings.
- Cindy removes honey bees from structures.
As a child I was always fascinated by bees and would catch them in jars to watch. I worked with a man who kept bees and he took me to the Sears and Roebuck store in downtown Birmingham where Sears had a large stock of beekeeping supplies. He showed me what to buy along with the “First Lessons in Beekeeping” book. So, in 1973 I ordered my first bees from Sears and Roebuck Co. which came from York Bee Company in Jesup, GA. I have been keeping bees ever since. I am a self-employed heavy equipment mechanic and sideline beekeeper, and lately it seems I have become more beekeeper and less mechanic.
My wife, Linda Kaye, and I met at a bee convention in Alabama, and we were married in our bee suits in Reno, NV, at the American Beekeeping Federation Convention in 2005. We have about 80 colonies of bees spread between Mobile and Huntsville, AL. We primarily produce wildflower honey, cotton honey and occasionally kudzu honey. These honeys have won numerous local, state and national ribbons. In 2007, Whole Foods Market, a national grocery chain, opened their first and only store in Alabama and contacted us to be their local honey supplier after sampling a variety of honeys from this area.
I have served as President/Vice President of Jefferson County Beekeepers Association numerous times and President/Vice President of the Alabama Beekeepers Association three times each. I was involved in the talks with the Alabama Farmers Federation in creating a Bee and Honey Commodity with their organization, and served on their Bee and Honey State Committee for 9 years which is the term limit. Currently I am the EAS Director for Alabama. Over the years I have been on numerous local TV shows, radio and newspaper articles to educate, promote and address honeybee issues.
Swarm retrieval and occasional bee programs to civic and church groups. Have participated in workshops and short courses at Auburn University, state and local bee meetings, have set up exhibits at fairs, Earth Day, and Farm Day for Kids at schools around the state. Currently establishing an apiary at Jones Valley Urban Farm in downtown Birmingham to use for beekeeping education and mentoring.
Bee removal from buildings, honey sales at numerous produce, health food and grocery stores in several counties. In summer months, I keep busy participating at several farmers markets.
201 17th Ave NW
Birmingham AL 35215
My very first memory of seeing a swarm absolutely mesmerized me. It looked like a strange formless creature, a piece of some limp, dark brown-shag carpet draped over a fence post. That was in 1969 and shag carpet was quite fashionable then. My babysitter screamed for me to get in the house, now! She ran a day care center out of her home while her husband kept a vegetable garden and managed a couple beehives.
Flash forward nearly 40 years later. I saw a notice in the local newspaper that the Prince William Regional Beekeepers Association (Va) was having their monthly meeting. There, I met my mentor and close friend, Karla Eisen, who opened her hives up for my intellectual curiosity that warm June Saturday. Next, I took stewardship of two hives at Chris Pearmund's vineyard after the beekeeper had quit. Imagine the blissful therapy of tending bees among acres of grape vines on the weekends, set in the rolling hills of Northern Virginia, after enduring Pentagon office stress during the week. My first beekeeping jobs were to learn as much as I could and feed those two hives to ensure their winter survival. In that summer of 2007, I harvested about 22 one-pound jars of honey.
Today, I am growing my honey-producing operation to bottling nearly 650 pounds of honey. I moved to Alabama, when I retired from the Air Force, to be close to my native Franklin County, Tennessee, but not before I had the distinct privilege to intern with a commercial beekeeper in Vermont, Michael Palmer, in 2010. Mike, who keeps 700-750 hives in Vermont and New York, is a huge proponent of a sustainable apiary system using nucleus colonies instead of importing package bees, and I have adopted his passion in this regard. In fact, every package I have bought either died the first year, or never produced any honey. My personal beekeeping success has been in making summer increase, overwintering these nucs and using them at the beginning of the following spring. Both Mike and Karla taught me this art and I use it to make and sell nucs to my Alabama customers. From 2008 to 2011, I participated in a USDA project to investigate higher survival rates for colonies started from nucs vs. packages.
I have anywhere from 35-50 colonies spread out in 6 bee yards in Alabama and Tennessee. I have begun a new step in sustainability of my operation by successfully raising my own queens. I hold memberships in the following organizations:
- Jackson County (Alabama) Beekeepers Association
- Madison County (Alabama) Beekeepers Association
- Elk Valley Beekeepers Association (Winchester, Tenn)
- Virginia State Beekeepers Association
- Alabama Beekeepers Association
- Tennessee Beekeepers Association
- Prince William Regional (Virginia) Beekeepers Association
I am extremely proud, not only to be a Georgia Master Beekeeper, but to also be part of the first class of Alabama Master Beekeepers, a program begun by David and Lynne Kelton of Etowah County, AL in 2011.
I do speaking engagements for a nominal fee, talking about my personal experience of keeping bees and growing my operation with nucs. I speak to school organizations for free. I am extremely passionate about returning Alabama's beekeeping industry to the level it enjoyed 50 years ago, and I get very vocal advocating laws that will help the bees, as well as passionately rejecting legislation that will hurt beekeeping. I am grateful and filled with pride whenever someone else begins beekeeping, because I know the joy this hobby has put into my life, and I wish this same joy and success upon them.
In the fall of 1989, a remark by a retiring client, "I want to set up some bee hives", sparked my interest in beekeeping. I visited a commercial beekeeper, Louis Harbin, who referred me to Jim Cain. After assembling and painting six brood boxes and eighteen shallow supers, I installed six packages for my retiring client in April 1990. Then, I began acquiring colonies of my own.
Since 1991, I have been the resident beekeeper at Homestead Hollow - a folk festival held three weekends a year in Springville, Alabama. In 2003, I began the certification program at the Young Harris Beekeeping Institute. At the May 2005 course, I was awarded my Georgia Master Beekeeper certification. For almost seven years, I maintained a colony in the atrium of the Professional Office Building of Princeton Baptist Medical Center in Birmingham. Beginning in 1999, I have been keeping some colonies near unique nectar sources such as ti ti, gallberry, sourwood, and cotton.
In 2005, Birmingham television station WBRC Fox 6 featured me with my hospital atrium colony on Good Day Alabama, and I was a guest on the Oneonta WKLD radio station. Since 2008, I have presented a frame assembly workshop at the spring Beekeeping Institute at Young Harris College.
At most every opportunity, I will speak to a local bee club, an elementary class, garden club, or civic organization on a variety of beekeeping-related subjects. Over the past few years, I have assisted with a dozen or so bee removals from structures. My wife, Bonnie, and I sell honey, candles, lip balm, skin cream, and hand lotion. When availability permits, I sell nucleus hives (nucs).
1260 Easley Bridge Road
Oneonta, AL 35121-4110
In 2005 North Carolina offered 2 hives for free to new beekeepers through the Gold Leaf program. Having enjoyed my introduction to mushroom production through the Gold Leaf program I applied, but I was not chosen to get a hive. However, an interest was sparked and Robert Brewer (Towns County, GA Agriculture Extension Service), Larry Sams (president of North GA Beekeepers Association), and Keith Wood (Cherokee County, NC Extension Service) held an introductory beekeeping meeting in Andrews, NC. There I learned about the Young Harris Bee Institute and subsequently enrolled.
After the Bee Institute, I was stung by the bug. The real adventure started two weeks later; my wife bought me my first hive and suit for Father’s Day. When I took my son to get the hive he was traumatized with his fear of bees. We had one bee suit between us. While I closed up the hive my son watched. Then I removed my suit and gave it to him. We managed to take off one super and make a stretcher to carry the hive and other super to the truck. When we arrived back at the house we carried the bees across the creek on a make-shift bridge (because the agreement was that the bees were to stay on the other side of the creek!). After tucking in the bees for the night we went up to the house and I put the honey super on the front porch in order to clean it the next day. Little did we know … the next afternoon when my son arrived home from school I got a call telling me that we had a new hive on the front porch! Then my wife arrived home! Needless to say, I learned a great deal about the robbing behaviors of the honeybee that day. But best of all, my son started losing his fear of bees.
The last six years has been a series of beekeeping adventures – I have continued to attend the Beekeeping Institute where I became a Welsh Honey Judge and a Master Beekeeper. I have also attended the Born and Bred Program in North Carolina and hope to work more in queen rearing. I have become involved in bee removal from structures. I am a charter member of the Appalachian Beekeepers Association and Vice President of the North Georgia Mountain Beekeepers Association.
Bee presentations with /or without bees, honey judging, and bee removals from structure for a fee. (Droning on to anyone who will listen is always free!)
14 Golden Rd.
Murphy NC 28906
Fred Hembree first became fascinated with honeybees as a little boy when he was asked to help his grandfather harvest honey on a rural Tennessee farm. As a young adult, he was given a copy of Walter T. Kelley’s book, How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey, which he read numerous times until he felt confident enough to build his first two hives and begin an apiary on his own. Now a third-generation beekeeper, Fred has written articles for Bee Culture Magazine and Farming Magazine. He is a member of the Tennessee Beekeepers Association and the Robertson County and Rutherford County Beekeepers Associations. Fred has presented workshops for the Tennessee Beekeepers Association Annual Conference and for the Heartland Apicultural Society. While there are many aspects of beekeeping that Fred enjoys, he particularly likes helping newcomers get started in beekeeping.
Fred is married to Debra Church, a Young Harris College / UGA Certified Beekeeper. Together, they enjoy working bees, catching swarms, harvesting honey and sharing their knowledge of beekeeping with others. They manage an apiary of approximately a dozen hives and take pleasure in producing local honey for sale.
In the tradition of Rev. Lorenzo Langstroth, Father of American Beekeeping, Fred is also a clergyman apiarist. He earned the Doctor of Ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia and is an ordained minister. Fred is currently serving as Senior Pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Springfield, Tennessee.
Fred is available to speak at beekeeping meetings and to schools, churches or civic groups. Assistance with travel expenses and honoraria is appreciated.
3624 Legacy Drive
Springfield, TN 37172-6382
John Hurst is a practicing OB/GYN physician at Brookwood Medical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. He has consistently kept bees as a hobbyist since 1980 and now maintains fifteen hives at his Cahaba Heights home. In association with Master Beekeeper Michael Steinkampf, he maintains fifteen hives at Rockhurst Farms Research Apiary in Wilsonville, Alabama.
John and Michael have coauthored articles in local medical news publications and Bee Culture. John was instrumental in establishing the Annual Auburn University Beekeeping Symposium with Dr. Jim Tew of the Auburn Cooperative Extension Services and has presented to the Symposium on multiple topics such as Bee Sting Allergic Reactions, Honey Bee Research and Varroa Treatment in Alabama. John has participated in NASA Honey Bee Net scale hive network at his Cahaba River site for the past four years.
John currently maintains hives for the Jefferson County Beekeepers Association at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens and along with Michael maintains an observation hive at the Birmingham Zoo. John actively participates in the Jefferson County Beekeeping Society, currently serving on the Board of Directors. He has recently appeared with Wendy Garner, a local TV anchor, in a series of programs about beekeeping at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens (NBC, Channel 13, Daytime Alabama).
John’s passions are mentoring novice beekeepers and observing their improvements in beekeeping skill and knowledge. He is also passionate about educating the public of the importance of saving our bees for pollination as well as sharing their pure “liquid gold” with his friends and family!
Rockhurst Farms Research Apiary
P.O. Box 43445
Birmingham, AL 35243
I started keeping bees about 1976 in California, the state where I was born and raised. I try to help new people interested in starting out with a hive or two of bees. I'm listed at alabees.com on the web where most people find my contact information. One of my most memorable experiences in keeping bees was to be selected as a cooperator in a research project funded by Alfa Insurance and the USDA bee lab in Baton Rouge, LA.
I got to know Dr. Bob Danka when he brought me 15 queens, 5 Russian, 5 VSH, and 5 Control. I was privileged to participate in the project for two years. The goal was to see which type of queen was the most resistant to the mite Varroa destructor. When instructed to do so, I would collect 300 bee samples into plastic bags and either take or send them to the University of Alabama Huntsville campus where Dr. Ward would do a mite count and calculate whether or not a hive needed medication. The VSH queens proved to be the more mite resistant, followed by the Russians and as expected the control queens were the poorest. The most difficult portion of the experiment was getting queen acceptance. In some cases the hive would accept a queen, only to supersede her within two weeks. I've had many hobbies in the past, but beekeeping is the only one that has given the most challenge and satisfaction. I currently manage about 25 hives in Alabama.
I pick up swarms and remove bees from a building for a fee. I sometimes attend a farmers market in Gadsden, AL, selling honey and beeswax candles. I have two prerequisites if you want my assistance getting started with bees: (1) hives must be registered with the AL State Apiary Department and (2) you must be a member of the Alabama State Beekeepers Association.
1401 Lakemont Dr S
Southside, AL 35907
Michael Steinkampf is a reproductive endocrinologist who directs Alabama Fertility Specialists, a private fertility clinic in Birmingham, Alabama. He has degrees in Chemistry from LSU and Princeton University. Michael came late to the world of beekeeping, having begun at the age of 55, but he has made up for lost time by engaging in a variety of beekeeping activities. Starting with one hive in 2009, he now has about 30 hives sited throughout north central Alabama, including a research apiary in Wilsonville, Alabama, which he operates with his mentor and colleague John Hurst.
Michael has written beekeeping articles for his local newspaper, for Bee Culture magazine, and for an educational Internet blog (www.sandhurstbees.com) that documents his beekeeping adventures. He has given invited presentations at the Auburn University Beekeeping Symposium on medical aspects of beekeeping, and he recently mentored a Boy Scout on a beekeeping-related Eagle Scout Service Project.
Two years ago, Michael began supplying members of his local beekeepers club with swarm lure that he formulated himself; the number of repeat customers attest to its effectiveness. Since 2010, he has served as a volunteer observer for the NASA HoneyBeeNet scale hive network (his site info and data can be accessed at http://honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sites/ScaleHiveSite.php?SiteID=AL002).
Michael considers one of his most important achievements to be introducing his beekeeping mentor to the concept of integrated pest management (IPM), and suggesting that they attend the Young Harris College/UGA Beekeeping Institute. In 2011, Michael won Best of Show at the YHC/UGA Honey Show for his innovative observation hive, which he subsequently established at the Birmingham Zoo. He recently became the first Georgia Master Beekeeper to be awarded a research grant from the National Honey Board; his project aims to study changes in hive design that could improve honey bee health. Michael’s ultimate goal is to use his knowledge of reproductive biology and chemistry to become a better beekeeper.
Sandhurst Bee Company
3308 Sandhurst Road
Mountain Brook, AL 35223
Looking for a meaningful hobby to fill a gap in some sort of “late mid-life crisis” led me to a bee symposium at a local university a number of Februarys ago. Seeing pollen in early February, not being stung during the open hive demonstration, and hearing a little about honeybees triggered a resurgence of “upbringing memories:” my Dad’s 3 acre garden, 4-H’er for 11 years, woodworker still with all my fingers, UGA Agricultural Engineer. I was captured by these fascinating little creatures – honey bees.
My involvement with beekeeper associations includes charter membership and officerships with the Saughahatchee Beekeepers Association and Alabama Beekeepers Association. I am also certified in the Young Harris/UGA Beekeeping Institute Welsh Honey Judge program.
I give bee talks to just about anyone or any club who will listen. Several spring and fall festivals will find me talking bees, selling honey and promoting beekeeping. I’ve given presentations to community involvement groups, professional associations and even an international environmental conference. I do voluntary swarm removals; I prefer those at chest-high on outer branches of the tree. I sell honey and make a small amount of candles and lotions for my family’s use.
2003 Highpoint Drive
Opelika, Alabama 36801
As a hobbyist, I manage hives in Llano and Travis counties in Central Texas. I like to promote natural beekeeping and avoid synthetic chemicals and antibiotics. I advocate Integrated Pest Management, including organic biopesticides. I am a member of the Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup, the Texas Beekeepers Association, the America Beekeeping Federation and the Williamson County Area Beekeepers Association. I regularly attend the annual Texas and North American Beekeeping Conferences, as well as provide bimonthly presentations to the Round Rock Beekeeping School and advanced instruction for their master class.
My mission is to educate and promote awareness of this fascinating subject whenever possible. I have presented lectures on honey bee biology, management and diseases to the Austin Urban Beekeeping Meetup, the Texas Beekeepers Association and the Central Texas Beekeepers Association. The Round Rock Fire Department, Tow Fire Department and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in both Williamson and Travis Counties list me as an expert contact for bee-related issues. In addition, I am currently developing a curriculum so that a beekeeping certification program for Texas area beekeepers might be offered.
Upon request, I am often available to lecture on the following topics:
- Honey bee biology and behavior
- Natural beekeeping management
- Urban beekeeping
- Pests and pathogens
- Varroa mite management and IPM
- Africanized honey bees
8701 North Mopac #150
Austin, TX 78759
lw at ausapts.com
Michael has held many officer positions in beekeeping organizations including:
- President of the Ulster Beekeepers Association
- Chairman of Dromore District Beekeepers Association
- Show Manager Dromore District Beekeepers Association
- Chairman for the Council of National Beekeeper Associations
- Chairman and founder of the Institute of the Northern Ireland Beekeepers Association
Michael is available to give lectures on:
- Queen rearing
- Essential oils and oxalic acid
- African killer bees
- Honey judging producing exhibits for the show bench
- Mead making
- Bee disease
- All aspects of beekeeping
Michael is available to offer workshops on:
- Wax modeling, candles
- Gourmet honey cookery
- Encaustic wax painting
- Preparing bee produce for the show bench
- Making mead
- Practical beekeeping
- Judging bee produce at honey shows
Terms: Michael only asks that his travel, accommodation and food are provided.
0044 02892 689724