Frequently Asked Questions


What is the philosophy of Coal Country Beeworks?  
Economic diversity depends upon landscape diversity.

What is Coal Country Beeworks?
It is a university initiative that collaborates with coal companies to reclaim surface mine sites with pollinator forage and habitat.  The goal: create a three-season bloom, in which diverse and Appalachian native flowers and/or trees are blooming spring, summer and fall. 

Why?
The United States loses one in every three bee hives a year due to a variety of reasons, such as residential uses, pesticides, transportation needs, and deforestation.  Kentucky loses 130 acres of forestland every day (Steve Bullard, UK Forestry 2008).  So, working with coal companies to plant nectar-producing undercanopy such as sourwood and basswood offsets that loss and provides for more dietary diversity for honey bees in this time of crisis. 

Why are honey bees important? 
Honey bees are responsible for at least $15 billion dollars of agricultural fruits and vegetables, such as almonds, berries, cucumbers, apples, squash, etc.  Honey bees are indirectly responsible for flowers such as alfalfas and clovers that our animal industry depends upon.  Furthermore, honey bees evolved with flowers such as asters, purple coneflowers, sunflowers, and bee balm, which nourish our souls.  When there is a pollination crisis, the costs of food rise as do the costs associated with long term health care and diets.

How did Coal Country Beeworks get started?
The Coal Country Beeworks project started in 2008 with a generous gift from Tennessee beekeepers Elaine and Edwin Holcombe.  They donated salary and thirty mite-resistant bee hives to establish on surface mine sites. Allen Meyers, a local Kentucky queen producer, volunteers time, equipment and leadership. 

Which coal companies partner with Coal Country Beeworks?
The sentinel company, International Coal Group, ICG-Hazard, offered to host sites followed quickly by James River Coal.  Now Pine Branch Coal and TECO have planted over four hundred acres of trees or flowers specifically for pollinators.  We are looking to expand to West Virginia and Indiana in the following years.

Who are the other partners?
Dr. Tammy Horn, author and beekeeper, is the primary coordinator, but the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative set a foundation by developing guidelines for high value hardwoods.   Private foundations such as the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Foundation for the Preservation of the Honey Bee, the Steele-Reese Foundation and the EKU Office of Regional Stewardship have provided crucial financial support for workshops, salary, and equipment.  Other key players: Dr. Alice Jones, director of the Eastern KY Environmental Research Institute, provides institutional oversight at EKU.  Horticulture major Nan Campbell weighs hives for the NASA climate change project: honeybeenet.gsfc.nasa.gov.

Events

Please note these events are tentative and subject to cancellation due to weather.

  • Jan. 4-10, 2016: American Beekeeping Federation-Apiary Inspectors of America joint conference, Sawgrass, Florida.  
  • Jan. 22-23, 2016:  Eastern KY Winter Bee School, Hazard KY.  Pre-registration will be $20 for adults and $10 for High School or Grade School students.  Registration at the door will be $25 and $15.  Keynote speaker: Dr. Ricardo Bessin (University of Kentucky Entomology and Kentucky Integrated Pest Management Coordinator).   Please send checks to the following address:  Perry County Cooperative ExtensionOffice, 933 Perry Park Rd. Hazard, KY 41701-5322 Phone: (606) 436-2044 Questions can be addressed to Charles May, cmay@uky.edu
  • Feb. 8, 2016: Bell County Beekeepers Association.  Pineville, KY
  • Feb. 20, 2016: McCreary Central High School, Stearns KY .  Registration: $15 pre registration, $20 at the door, and this includes refreshments and lunch.  For more information or send pre-registration checks, send to attention of Greg Whitis, McCreary County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. PO Box 278, Whitley City, KY 42653. 606-376-2524. gwhitis@uky.edu
  • Feb. 27, 2016: Northeastern KY Bee School, hosted by the Licking River Beekeeping Association. Registration opens at 7:00 a.m.-8:30 a.m. School begins at 8:30 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m.  Guest speaker: Dr. John Strang, University of Kentucky Horticulture Professor.  Pre-registration is $20.00 for adults, $25 at the door.  Children are $7.50 regardless.  Price includes lunch and refreshments.  For more information, please contact Bobby Fore, ATTN: Beekeeping School, 1338 Stevens Road, Owingsville, KY 40360.  Please make checks payable to LRBA.
  • Mar. 4-5, 2016: Organic Association of Kentucky, Paroquet Springs Convention Center, Shepherdsville, KY.
  • Mar. 12, 2016: Bluegrass Beekeepers School.  KY State University.  Frankfort, KY 40601.
  • Mar. 15, 2016: Vegetation Management Conference, Lexington, KY 
  • Mar. 22, 2016: Lake Cumberland Beekeepers Association, Somerset, KY
  • Mar. 29-Apr. 1: Green Forests Work events, Daniel Boone National Forest.
  • Apr. 2, 2016: Eastern KY Seed Swap, Pikeville, KY
  • Apr. 4, 2016: Pike County Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 11, 2016: Grant County Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 14, 2016: Big South Fork Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 19, 2016: Woodford County Beekeepers Association
  • Apr. 21, 2016: Pine Mountain Beekeepers Workshop
  • Jul. 1, 2016: Deadline to enter honey, beeswax, honey culinary items in the Kentucky State Fair. 
  • Jul. 14-16, 2016: Heartland Apiculture Society.  Bowling Green, KY. 
  • Jul. 16, 2016: Kentucky State Beekeepers Association Summer Meet, Bowling Green (joint event with Heartland Apiculture Society)
  • Jul. 25-29, 2016: Eastern Apicultural Society conference, Galloway, New Jersey.

Please call (502) 229-2950 for more information about events.