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Cheatham Beekeeping Association Honors Past, Looks to Future

The Cheatham County Beekeepers Association is honoring its past and is looking ahead to the future. During its regular September meeting, the organization celebrated one of its founding members, announced efforts to grow its membership, and discussed ways to tackle beekeeping challenges.

The Association recognized Paul Carter, fondly known as The Bee Man, and Paul’s wife, Joyce Carter, for all their contributions. Kendall Garrett, president of the Cheatham County Beekeepers Association, presented a check to the Carters on behalf of the club, which Paul Carter promptly donated back to the organization.

Following the check presentation, members sang a celebratory song, “God Bless Our Paul and Joyce,” to the tune of “God Bless America,” and then thanked the Carters for sharing their knowledge with the community.

“It’s been a pleasure working with the club, and it’s good to see a lot of interest in beekeeping now,” Carter said.

Garrett echoed Carter’s words before announcing opportunities for people to learn about bees and beekeeping. “We need to keep people coming in, especially families and the younger folks.”

Members talked with Ronnie Barron, UT-TSU Cheatham County Extension Agent, about partnering with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students on beekeeping projects, as a way to reach young people.

Other education efforts include two days of workshops at Jackson’s Chapel Community Center in Charlotte, Tenn.: a free introductory session for beginners on Nov. 10 and a $45 all-day seminar featuring speakers on beekeeping topics on Nov. 11. The fee covers the first year of membership to any attendee’s area beekeeping association. Registration is required. For more information, call the UT-TSU Cheatham County Extension Office at 615-792-4420.

Six members are also attending a state beekeeping association conference in October at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn. The conference provides classes which help answer many questions which beekeepers of all levels might have, according to member Richard Gillingham.

Many queries arose out of a discussion over insect pests. Hive beetles have plagued several beekeepers in the group, with one member losing four hives. Various treatments have been successful, including increased sunshine for the hives, installing traps, and using insect-catching strips.

Creating a new, unique breed of bees for the area was also a topic of importance for members. While many beekeepers have had to purchase their bees from out of state in the past, Garrett said it’s time to try it in Cheatham County. “It’s tough, but we as a group need to take on responsibility for trying to breed our own bees.”

In other business, member Robin Johnson was honored for receiving the second place prize for the Association’s booth at the Cheatham County Fair in August. The association also recognized its new secretary, Sharman Gillingham.

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