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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.

Board Members…
Board Minutes Monthly Minutes Constitution

2017  Officers and Directors

President and Mountain Regional Director

Allen Blanton

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.


Rich Byers

My wife and I have had great success and great failure keeping bees. We sell honey from our home when we have some, and we continue to learn more and become more skilled at being good babysitters for these amazing creatures. Just having trouble getting them to sit up and stay. But boy can they fetch! Some days two to three miles they fetch! Now that’s good training!

Vicki Morrison

In December of 2013, I moved here from Northeastern Minnesota. I bought three hives, and a “nuc” with all the equipment I needed from another beekeeper, because she got stung very severely and she had to stop beekeeping. Thus, I plunged into beekeeping without any experience, yet I did receive guidance from other beekeepers who helped me until my late husband moved to NC in the Fall of 2015. My husband and I enjoyed having bees and harvesting honey, however, I am beekeeping alone again with the help of other wonderful, experienced beekeepers in the club. I love my bees and being a beekeeper.

Cynthia Schwartz

In April 2005, I inherited two hives from my dad’s apiary and I began to read as much as possible online about bees.  While living in Asheville, I learned that I could go to bee school and I signed up for the courses, completed the training, and became a certified beekeeper on August 15, 2007.  Hence, I then joined the State Beekeeper’s Association and started learning a lot about beekeeping from Ed Buchanan.  In addition, I took the written exam to become a journeyman beekeeper, however, the practical application part of the exam was in Raleigh and due to my mother being sick, I was unable to take that portion of the examination.

In 2014, I moved from Asheville to Waynesville and I joined the bee club in Haywood County. On August 8, 2015, I rejoined the State Beekeepers Association again and I took the practical portion of the journeyman test and passed it. Currently, I have three hives in my bee apiary, which is located at my house. I am employed full-time at Clayton Homes of Waynesville, and part-time at the Arc of Haywood. In January 2017, I was elected treasurer of the bee club and excitingly I look forward to getting to know fellow beekeepers of Haywood County and surrounding areas.

HCBC Cynthia Schwartz

Carrie’s interest in beekeeping began when was a young mother in Maggie Valley in 1988, and joined the early version of Haywood County Beekeepers. Circumstances took the Keller’s from Maggie and they had to give their bees away in 1995.  With their two kids grown and on their own, the Keller’s returned part-time in 2010 to their beloved mountain home and have restructured their mini veggie garden, fruit trees and apiary! Beekeeping has radically changed since their early bee days and she is busy learning how to be a modern beekeeper.  Jerry still works in Asheville so Carrie is busy going back and forth between their Asheville and Maggie homes, loving both locations.

Beekeeping is much more complicated than it was in our earlier experience in the 1980’s. Nowadays the beekeeping community is stronger with passionate advocates of our hives, and the education expansion into schools and events is helping spread the word of the value and importance of our honeybees. Proud to be an apiary advocate! What a great club we have!


Carrie Keller


Spencer Huggins

I started in beekeeping about 1955 when I was a teenager. My favorite uncle sent our family a package of bees and the book ABC-XYZ of Beekeeping. Everyone in the family was afraid of bees but me, therefore I became a bee overseer. I have been in and out of beekeeping every since.  I closed my Electrical Control business in October 2008 and moved to Waynesville. I brought several hives from Florida and set them up at a friends place on Hemphill Road in the Jonathan Creek community. I joined HC Bee Club in 2011. Became treasurer in 2012 and VP in 2015. I am now one of the directors.


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 over-wintering 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.

Spencer Hussins


Kathy Taylor

As Past-President of the Haywood County Beekeeper’s Club, Kathy commits herself to helping beekeepers grow and improve their beekeeping skills.” She states, “The board and I are planning to present a line-up of outstanding and knowledgeable speakers at each of our meetings for the coming year.” These speakers remain committed to helping beekeepers expand or remain with the number of hives they now enjoy. In 2007, Kathy and her husband, Howard, began beekeeping with just two hives on their 1.6-acre orchard in Canton, NC. Today, they manage a 12-acre orchard with twenty-one hives. They built a beautiful apple barn with a bee supply store in the loft. When Kathy is not at work in the orchard and caring for her bees, this Journeyman beekeeper somehow finds time to carry out her duties as a registered nurse at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC. She is also author of Kathy's Notes, a monthly newsletter filled with helpful beekeeping tips.


David Zachary

As the webmaster for the Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter (HCBC), this brand-new “certified” beekeeper has the honor and responsibility of ensuring the “web-hive” remains healthy and that 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 fellow beekeepers easy access to the information that the staff has deemed necessary for posting to this website. Though I am new to beekeeping, I possess over twenty-years of experience in web and graphics design and I will utilize such skills to present a site that is informative for all beekeepers.

Finally, I am one who learns from those who are more knowledgeable and experienced than I, and it is astounding to see such an amazing insect in action. 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 Productive, and Bee Thankful!

Haywood County Extension Director

Bill Skelton

Bill tells the story of coming home from a day on the lake and finding a bathroom full of bees! A swarm had entered through the bathroom vent and several hundred had found their way into the bathroom.  Watching the beekeeper come and collect the swarm begin a fascination with honey bees.  The biggest and most important milestone for Bill's beekeeping is that he met his wife in Beekeeping Class.  Bill completed the Journeyman level of the NC Master Beekeeper Program through the NC State Beekeepers Association (NCSBA) and progressing on the Master level.  Additionally, he has twice been recognized as the NCSBA Extension Worker of the Year for his support of the local bee club and beekeeping support activities. Bill was awarded a lifetime membership to the Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter (HCBC) during the February 2017 meeting for his many years of dedication to the club.


Rick Queen

Rick Queen is a Haywood County native, attending Tuscola High School. He received an associate degree at Wingate College and graduated from Haywood Community College with an associate degree in Fish and Wildlife Management. He founded Queen's Bee and Berry Farm in Transylvania County and managed the farm twenty years. During the 1990's he was president of Transylvania County Beekeepers Club.  After moving back to Waynesville, Rick worked in hardware and he returned to beekeeping in 2013. Rick is an active member of the Haywood County Beekeepers Club and the NC State Beekeepers Association for four years and he maintains around twenty-four hives for honey production. Rick recently completed the Journeyman level of the NCSBA Master Beekeeping Program and serves as a beekeeping mentor.

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Haywood County Beekeepers Chapter of the NC  State Beekeepers Association

Home Board Members Bee Education Apiaries Events Vendors Resources Contact Us