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Our Commitment

It is the function of the Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter (HCBC) Board Members to govern the bee club in accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws of the chapter and promote friendship between all beekeeper members. As officers and directors of the club, we are at the disposal of our members, to serve them in the best manner possible, while helping to promote a healthy relationship between all club members and our local communities. Below, you will find short biographical summaries of each board member, describing their beekeeping experience and other attributes of their life.

HCBC Board Members…


Al Edwards

I first began beekeeping in the early 1980’s when Mr. Eston West of Canton gave me my first hive to manage as his health issues began to diminished his ability to continue his involvement with bees. My interest in and number of hives grew during this period, maxing out at eight colonies during this first period of beekeeping. Heavy travel demands for work limited my ability to effectively manage the bees and by the early 1990’s I gave up on beekeeping on this first round.

After retiring, my interest in the honey bee and beekeeping had not diminished, and I once again began beekeeping by starting with Clemson University’s beekeeping course to reintroduce myself to beekeeping in this new era for bees. The new millennium had brought a radically different approach to managing bees with the invasion of mites and other pests and diseases we had never heard of in the 1980’s.  I am now into my eighth year of beekeeping in this second life as a beekeeper. Again, I am keeping the number of colonies under ten, depending upon how successful I am in managing and overwintering the colonies.

My hives are at the farm off Kim’s Cove Road outside Canton. In the past, I have kept hives for short periods in the upstate of South Carolina, primarily to facilitate an earlier Spring build-up. I found this was much too labor intensive to be effective so that was a short-lived experiment. I have been a member of the NC State Beekeepers Association since 2014 and a member of the HCBC since 2014. I am a retired Project Manager from Fluor Daniel Construction Company, where I managed engineering and construction projects for the food and beverage industry.

HCBC Secretary


Carrie Keller

Carrie Keller started beekeeping in the early 1980’s with her husband in Maggie Valley. Beekeeping was much different before the Varroa mites migrated to this region and beekeeping tasks were simple and occasional. They moved to Asheville in the 1990’s to be close to work and they had to give their hives to other members of the early Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter (HCBC).

When their kids finished with college, they reclaimed the use of the family property in Maggie and discovered that a reeducation for updated beekeeping skills was necessary! They set up a scattered apiary on family property and rejoined the club. As an educator, Carrie volunteered and showed her dedication for programs to educate the public about honeybees. She created a PowerPoint for schools and made a copy for the club library. Being a member of the HCBees Board of Directors was enjoyable and Carrie served two full terms before returning to standard membership. Over the years her apiary has swelled and decreased because of environmental changes and circumstances… it was difficult to preserve her apiary while continuing to live in Asheville.

The pandemic brought her and her husband back to Maggie in 2020 where he now works remotely, and she has been able to focus her attention on her garden and bees. In the spring of 2020, seven swarms migrated to her fields, five of which she caught and installed in hives. She is experimenting with top-bar hives because of her aging back and reduced strength and loves being able to work with both her Langstroth traditional hives and her horizontal hives (she now has two).

For Carrie and her husband, “keeping bees” is more of a hobby than a profession, knowing the “girls” are doing their best to support the environment. She honors the honeybees and does her best to steward their efforts, while enjoying a quart or two of honey as her reward. Carrie also serves on the board of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture (ASAP), and she is a founding member of the Southern Appalachian Paddlesports Museum that is in Asheville at the Black Dome Mountain Sports store.

HCBC Treasurer

My wife Ann and I have lived at 3500 feet in a rural section of Haywood County for 21 years. We had been concerned about the declining bee population when Ann saw a notice for a two-day introduction to beekeeping.  We went to get a general idea about the situation with the bees and won a smoker, one package of bees, and one bee jack with a hood.  Reluctantly, we became bee keepers.  During the last eight years we have experienced many more good years than bad.  We are busy people so the monthly HCBC meetings became our bee school providing major resources for all we have learned from splits to swarms to fighting varroa mites and more.  These meetings with the outside speakers and members ensure that we walk away with something new learned every month.  In addition, membership in HCBC and North Carolina State Bee Association has provided invaluable site visits and resources.  The honey we harvest is fantastic for our own personal consumption and our neighbors, friends and family are always eager to receive our honey gifts.  So, although we might have been reluctant beekeepers at first, aiding these wonderful creatures has become a rewarding hobby that benefits us personally as well as the nature that surrounds us.  


T.R. Hoffman

Webmaster - Director

David Zachary

ZBees ApiaryAs webmaster for the Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter (HCBC), this “certified” beekeeper has the honor and responsibility of ensuring that the “web-hive” remains healthy and all appropriate information is updated in a timely manner and, in conjunction with the guidelines of the other directors and officers. The “web-hive” must be user-friendly and allow beekeepers easy access to the information that the staff has deemed necessary for posting to this website. It is astounding to see such an amazing insect in action for without these honey-producing creatures there would have less food to place on our table each day and thus, I thank our Creator for the honeybee because, I love the taste of honey.

Always, Bee Safe, Bee Happy, Bee Productive, and Bee Thankful!

HCBC Director


John Geers

Stiles ApiaryI began beekeeping more out of curiosity than anything else.  When I was growing up, an elderly neighbor had a couple of hives near my home and I enjoyed seeing the honeybees visiting the white clover in our yard.  But, I had missed seeing them for years.  While on a consulting trip, I was browsing the shelves at a Barnes and Noble and came across a book on beekeeping and the more I leafed through it the more intrigued I became.  The rest is history and I was hooked.  I picked that book up in February and by April I had two beehives in my back yard.  My apiary quickly grew to three hives in its first season.  During my first overwintering period, I lost one hive and successfully brought a nucleus hive through winter reconstituting three hives.  After this last year, I have five hives in the apiary and so far have lost none of these.  I am interested in getting into queen breeding specifically focusing on VSH queens to assist with Varroa Mite control.

I am employed full-time by CollegeNET, Inc.  Our company makes event and class scheduling software which I travel across the country implementing for colleges and universities.  My client list includes small community colleges all the way up to Ivy League institutions like Cornell University.  I am a graduate of Western Carolina University (many times over!) holding a BSBA (double major in accounting and economics), an MBA, a BA in English Literature, and an MA in English Literature.  My focus area for my MA degree was medieval literature which is how my apiary got its name from Beorn in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  A bit of trivia, the word, Beo, in Old English means “bee”.


Keith Stiles

Zach, webmaster
2022 Officers and Directors
HCBC DirectorHCBC Director


Rudie Bax

I began bee keeping about 13 years ago out of plain old curiosity.  I have three healthy hives coming out of the winter and I will split them in May.  I just enjoy messing with bees and poking around in the hives to see how a bee colony works and functions throughout the year.  I also enjoy teaching school kids about bees and their importance in our environment.

HCBC Director

Allen's adventure into beekeeping began as a youngster when his father and grandfather were beekeepers in the mid 70's.  Allen states, "Beekeeping is an enjoyable hobby of mine and I have been keeping bees for over ten years.” Further, Allen has completed the Master Beekeeper or third of four levels in the Master Beekeepers Program with the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association (NCSBA)." Allen has also completed sessions one and two of the NC 'Born & Bred' program and he is currently engaging in queen rearing and making splits. He is using natural methods including the NICOT system of rearing queen bees. Allen currently serves as an NCSBA Mountain Regional Director.

In closing, Allen has been in Pastoral ministry for over twenty years and was the Pastor of Center Pigeon Baptist Church for ten years in Haywood County. Allen is currently serving as interim pastor of the Meadow Grove Baptist Church and he lives in the Bethel community with his wife, Debbie. They have one daughter, Trisha, who is a graduate of Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida with a master degree in nursing and is currently serving on teaching staff at Pensacola Christian College.

HCBC President


Allen Blanton

I met my wife, Melanie, while attending Appalachian State University. We always said we would return to the NC Mountains we fell in love as soon as we could, so when I retired from the Army in 2013 we made a bee-line to Western NC and settled in Clyde. I have tried my hand at bee keeping several times since 2013 but found that without some bee education, bee-keeping is really only bee-having (for a limited time). I really only consider myself a bee-keeper for the past year or so. In addition to the bees, I raise goats and alpacas. Melanie and I own the WNC Real Estate Store in Maggie Valley and enjoy working with home buyers and sellers. When we’re not doing that, you can find us on our farm, Windsong Vista Farm, just below Cedar Cliff Mountain in the Crabtree area of Clyde.

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