Let It Bee 

When Bob Whitworth was in high school, he did a little beekeeping. Then he moved on to other things for the next 30 years. It was about 10 years ago when he returned to the hive. He was working as an agricultural agent for Tipton County when he received a call that a swarm of bees had landed on the lawn of the county courthouse and had shut the courthouse down. "A county executive called me to see if I could get a beekeeper to catch them," Whitworth recalls. "I couldn't find one, so I went up to the courthouse and caught that swarm. That's how I got restarted."

Whitworth, who now maintains 50 hives, is vice president of the Memphis Area Beekeepers Association, which has about 70 members. This Saturday, the association is holding its 42nd Annual Beekeeping Short Course at Agricenter International, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The course covers everything a novice beekeeper needs to know -- from the equipment to buy to honeybee biology. Participants will assemble a hive, and new beekeepers can sign up to win a hive, bees included.

Another thing those taking the course will be schooled on: the right attitude. "You have to have a love affair with stinging insects," Whitworth says, "because they will sting you no matter how well you treat them."

42nd Annual Beekeeping Short Course, Saturday, March 3rd, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Agricenter International. $10

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