Kelley’s Hive Raffle Funds Future Beekeepers

By Bobbi Heider

Tri-County Beekeepers Association (TCBA) was founded over 35 years ago to support beekeeping in Ashland, Holmes, and Wayne counties of Ohio. Today, TCBA has over 200 members throughout Ohio and neighboring states. Aside from their monthly meetings, they show off bees and beekeeping at local community events and host what many believe to be the largest one-day beekeeping workshop in the United States. They have also added a New Beekeepers Course, which shows new beekeepers everything a beekeeper might want to do with their bees or hives throughout the year.

Saturday March third was the 34th annual workshop held by TCBA. The workshop offered many programs, including a children’s program, cooking contest, hands-on activity room, and a large vendors’ area.

With over a thousand in attendance, TCBA did not do things by themselves. Bees have never been as exciting and fun as they were with the Lorain County Beekeepers, who held special sessions for beekeepers up to the age of seven.With two dozen speakers, topics ranged from sustainable beekeeping, bee plants, how to handle swarms, beekeeping equipment, and raising your own queens. It was a difficult choice for many which topics they wanted to hear about.

Door prizes were awarded throughout the day, and tickets were sold for an “Education Raffle”. This year the prize was a complete beehive donated by Walter T. Kelley Company. At the end of the day, the winner of the hive was announced, as well as the recipient for TCBA’s Scholarship Award.

This year, the winner of the hive was Rhonda Griffen. She and her husband are first year beekeepers. She claimed the hive as “hands-off” to Mr. Griffen, saying he already had five of his own.

This year TCBA announced not one, but two winners of the scholarship. The scholarship was originally created to assist ATI students taking the beekeepers course. Today, the scholarship is used to assist individuals who show an active interest in wanting to become a beekeeper, but may not have the resources to begin.

Bala Fodor is a 14-year-old who is interested in raising bees on his family’s farm. He has planted an orchard and realizes how important bees are for pollination. He realized how few bees there are in his area, and wants to do what he can to change that. He has a great support system with his parents and has attended both the beginner classes and monthly TCBA meetings.

Brian Miller is a 16-year-old who understands the complexities of bees and beekeeping. After studying bees and their place in the natural environment he decided to become a beekeeper. He has attended several TCBA workshops.

For more information about the Tri-county Beekeepers or any of their programs, you can visit The monthly meetings are usually held on the last Wednesday of the month at the Honey Bee Laboratory on the ATI/OSU campus in Wooster, Ohio and all are welcome.

Bobbi Heider got into bees 3-1/2 years ago when her husband Joe came home from an errand and asked if he could get a pet. She said “sure” before realizing he meant a hive of 30,000+ honey bees. They currently have 16 colonies and are active members of Tri-County Beekeepers Association as well as Stark County Beekeepers Association.

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