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.