The Appalachian Beekeeping Collective program trains, supports, and provides bees and equipment at no cost to partner beekeepers in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia. Since 2016, we have helped more than a hundred partners get started in beekeeping for profit.
What makes our program unique?
Environmental Stewardship - Teaching people how to keep bees helps them understand local ecosystems and increases their awareness of world-wide threats to pollinators such as climate change and deforestation. As ABC beekeepers learn about natural beekeeping, they become better environmental stewards.
Support - Beekeeping can be a great way to earn a sustainable living in rural areas, but the start-up costs and learning curve can be steep. Our program helps eliminate some of the risk for partners. We support our members by teaching beekeeping skills in classrooms, providing all the supplies and equipment for free, regular mentoring at their hives, and bottling and marketing their honey.
Natural Beekeeping - Partners in our program never use antibiotics or synthetic pesticides in their colonies. We make sure our member apiaries are located on land not treated with synthetic pesticides, fungicides, or herbicides. We are careful to ensure our hives are placed in areas with plenty of natural forage, clean water, and low density of other honey bees.
Queen Breeding - We improve pest-resistance in our hives by using survivor stock to develop a hardy population of bees adapted to natural beekeeping practices and life in Appalachia. We try to requeen each hive annually. Each new generation of bees is even better adapted to our region than the last.