Learning About Bees and Beekeeping - Three U. S. Regional Associations

| 12/23/2011 1:50:51 PM

Tags: Eastern Apicultural Society, Western Apicultural Society, Heartland Apicultural Society, Kim Flottum, Bee Culture Magazine, beekeeping, honey bees, beeyard, honey shows, EAS, WAS, HAS, Kim Flottum,

There are three regional beekeeping associations in the U.S. All three were founded by beekeepers to provide educational opportunities for their members and connect members and Professional and industry leaders in a mutually engaging setting. They are aimed primarily at beginning, hobby and sideline beekeepers, but all three certainly enjoy the many commercial beekeepers that attend too. Unlike the commercial groups, none of the three support political action or get involved with petitioning government agencies at any level. All are self funded by a very low dues structure, funds from internal activities like auctions and raffles, plus donations from members.


The oldest of these, The Eastern Apicultural Society of North America was founded in 1955 when a forward thinking beekeeper from Rhode Island gathered together beekeepers from three states…Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts for a three day meeting at the University in Providence. Attendees were invited to stay at the University’s dorms, eat in the cafeteria, dance in the student center, attend lectures in the classrooms, and work bees in a temporary apiary set up just outside the dorms. All this for less than $20.00. It was a phenomenal success as hundreds of beekeepers…not only from the three states invited, but from several surrounding states attended.

An ad hoc committee meeting was held and the decision was made to do this again the following year, this time at the University of Maryland, to be headed by scientists from the USDA Honey Bee Lab in nearby Beltsville. This meeting, too, was a success, and when over, members from all states attending voted to form an Eastern States group. The following year, back in Rhode Island, a larger and more permanent group, the Eastern Apicultural Society was formed. This group, formed then still thrives today, and for short is called EAS.

Today, every state and Canadian province east of the Mississippi river is entitled to have a representative sit on the governing board of EAS. The annual conference, almost always held in August, is hosted by a member state beekeeping organization…for instance, this year the Vermont State Beekeepers are hosting the conference at the University in Burlington in August. Sometimes a large local group from within a state, or a major beekeeping business will play host, too.

Conferences are a week long, usually held at a University, but meetings at conference centers or large hotels are not uncommon, especially now that Universities are catching on to the fact that they can charge almost as much as a hotel for a student dorm room. Conferences are generally held in states or provinces from Ohio east, and Georgia north because travel to areas further west or south excludes a big portion of the membership, based primarily in the mid east and north east regions.

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