Decked in protective clothing, beekeepers and bee-keeping students calm the bees with a smoker. Photographs by Sarah Routh.

Beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder

Originally Appeared in : 9908-4/11/19

DUBLIN--There’s something to be said about a warm Southern welcome. After experiencing his very own, Pete Kreiner decided to give back in a unique way. Kreiner is a beekeeper from Michigan who travels down South to Georgia during the cold months — November through May — to tend to his own kind of flock, or should I say colony? His purpose in doing so is to restock his bees because it’s too cold in the winter months in Michigan to keep them alive and well.


A husband and father to 13 children, Kreiner is a parishioner of St. Mark Church in Eastman and Immaculate Conception Church in Dublin, during that six-month period. Since Georgia is a bee-producing state due to its warmer temperatures, he decided that he’d like to share his passion for beekeeping with fellow parishioners and expose them to the reality and beauty of beekeeping.


Beginning on the first Tuesday in February, a small group gathered at Immaculate Conception Church in Dublin to begin an eight-week course on beekeeping. The course began classroom-style inside the church. Students learned about the basics of beekeeping: what they would be doing when they began interacting with the bees and hives, what different hives look like, the different stages of bees as they go through their lives, how to properly care for the bees, and how to assemble equipment such as the bee boxes.


“You can have one hive and get it going good and then split it, and then over the period of a season you can split it two-three times and by the time you’re done, you’ll have four separate colonies,” said Father Jacob Almeter, parochial vicar for Immaculate Conception Church and bee-keeping student. “You might lose some bees, but you’ll double the amount of bees you originally had.”

Father Jacob Almeter, parochial vicar of Immaculate Conception Church in Dublin and bee-keeping student, holds up a beehiver frame covered with bees. Photograph by Sarah Routh.


Once the indoor courses were complete, the group took them outdoors to begin hands-on experience with maintaining the bee hives. The hives were kept in a wooded area adjacent to the parish, far enough away to avoid any interaction with humans.


“Once people see the quality of hands-on experience and know what to do, it’s amazing to see how much you’re able to learn from this,” Father Almeter said. “I learned so much already that if I was to get into it one day, I’d kind of know what I was doing.”


The final class was held March 26. Kreiner will continue to maintain the hives here until he heads back to the Midwest with his new bees. He will end up leaving with about 500 colonies. His class in Dublin started off with 12 hives and ended up producing another 24. In the smaller hives, the students were able to produce their very own queens.


Sarah Routh is a frequent freelance contributor to the Southern Cross. She and her husband, Lehman, are members of Immaculate Conception Church in Dublin.

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