2020 Beekeeper of the Year Nominees

Oconee County Nomination for 2020 SC State Beekeeper of the Year

BILL FOSTER 174 W Bennett Rd, Westminster SC 29693

wwfoster@alumni.clemson.edu 864-723-5720

Bill Foster started beekeeping in 2014, just after buying a small farm and planting various fruit trees and bushes. He was interested in increasing the yield of them and decided to get a beehive. He discovered he enjoyed beekeeping, and it grew from there. The number of hives have varied from year to year, with the most being 20 boxes. Although 6-7 of those were nucs he was using to raise queens. In 2017, Bill launched a queen rearing project where he kept detailed records of success vs failures of hatched queen cells. He then presented the details of his method with pictures & charts to the local Association. The following year he continued with his queen project and presented the updates to the Association. Also in 2017, Bill built an electronic hive scale and used it to monitor the activity in his bee yard. Bee products that Bill has produced in the last 12 months include honey, wax, lip balm & candles, all of which he sold along with queens and a few nucs.

At the Local Association level, Bill is in his 4th year of serving as Treasurer. He processed & delivered a club order for honey containers, so that members could get discounts. For the Oconee Local Association, he did a Bloom Calendar Presentation in 2016 and a Queen Rearing Presentation during 2017, 2018, & 2019. He also did the Queen Rearing presentation to the Pickens Local Association in 2019. Needless to say, Bill has good communication & presentation skills and demonstrates a willingness to learn and to mentor other beekeepers.

Bill has been a member of the State Association for 6 years and has attended the state meetings 3 of those years. As Oconee Treasurer, he also collects state dues from Oconee members and forwards them on to the state, encouraging all local members to be state members.

For Local Community Service, Bill has manned the Beekeeper Booth at the local Foothills Heritage Fair for 4 years, where he has greeted the public and answered beekeeping questions.

It is with great honor that Oconee County Beekeeper Association nominates Bill Foster for SC State Beekeeper of the year. Voted & passed by email on 3/23-3/24 2020.

Submitted by Halie Williams, Secretary

Rev. James Benware passed away last fall. He helped establish 2 bee associations (York and Chester) and taught all the beginner beekeeping classes for these clubs as well as Lancaster.
Let me know and I will send something more formal.
Dale Starnes

Mr. Danny Cannon, Vice-President

SC Beekeepers Association

1437 Jessamine Rd.
Lexington, SC 29073

Dear Danny,                                                                                                    February 12, 2020

It is my pleasure to nominate James Craig as the SCBA Beekeeper of the year on behalf of Charleston Area Beekeepers Association (CABA). James has excelled as a master beekeeper, club board member, educator, and mentor. He goes above and beyond in community service.

James currently serves as the secretary of CABA. With 185 members, it is one of the largest associations in the state. Our local club’s success is in no small part due to James’ leadership. He sends monthly newsletter updates, attends board meetings, writes the minutes, manages the membership list, and teaches at our annual certified beekeepers class. James is a great communicator who enjoys informing and updating our membership with scientific articles and tips for best practices.

Perhaps he is most well-known for his skills as a bee wrangler. I believe most local pest control companies, tree services and contractors have Jim on speed dial. For the last five years, in the low country, he is the go to man for cut-outs and swarm collection. He often invites beekeepers to experience the joy of the chase, and has donated more than 350 live colonies to them and local nonprofits during that time. His multiple presentations at our Honey Bee Expo and monthly meetings have been very informative. His workshops have encouraged others to experiment with equipment and to try their hand at bee wrangling themselves. Jim was instrumental in recruiting speakers and planning our highly successful Natural Beekeeping Symposium featuring world renowned Dr. Thomas Seeley.

Jim is the low-country’s only Master Beekeeper. His quest for scientific knowledge and practical experience is infectious.  He continually researches, comes across websites and articles, and then passes that knowledge onto our membership. He has conducted several presentations at the Spring and Summer state meetings. Although he has been beekeeping for less than 10 years, he has the enthusiasm, drive and persistence that I see in old-time, multi-generational bee keepers. It’s great to have new energy in the bee keeping world.

The state beekeeper of the year should be one who is influential, has the heart of a teacher, endless curiosity, the patience of a kind mentor, and the love of service. I believe James Craig is that person. The most refreshing thing is that he has the humility not to seek it.

With great respect,

Nancy Simpson

Certified Welsh Honey Judge

SCBA Director  & EAS Representative

It is with great confidence that the Officers, Board of Directors, and membership of Wateree Beekeepers Association recommend to you, the Executive Committee and members of The South Carolina Beekeepers Association, DAVID MCFAWN, as 2020 Beekeeper of the Year.

We are aware that David has been elected as Beekeeper of the Year previously (1996), and are of belief that even by removing his earlier accomplishments from this recommendation he is 100% deserving of the current nomination based solely on his current practices and service, to the Apiculture community. David has contributed more to the advancement of beekeeping in the State of South Carolina than most clubs have done as entire working groups!

In addition to this nomination, we would request that he be considered for a Lifetime Membership to the South Carolina Beekeepers Association.  His service has far exceeded the expectation of requirements for this acknowledgement, and endorsement.

He has been a member of the SCBA since the early 1990’s. He quickly adopted South Carolina as his home base for bees and has been dedicating a majority of his life to improving the conditions of bees and the education of beekeepers since his arrival. He has learned to “not take anything for granted. [Your] ideas might be right and then they might be wrong under a different set of circumstances.” His goals, as a beekeeper, when pressed on the issue include,     “making a difference,” for the apiculture society as a whole.

David has spoken to over 15 SCBA clubs in the past 3 years as well as Schools, churches, garden clubs, master gardener events, the Sierra Club, The University of South Carolina Sustainable Carolina program, and anybody else who wants to know about bees! He is an accomplished writer and has, to his credit, over 40 articles for various publications, including:

“Old Comb and Beeswax,” Bee Culture, December 2019

“Hive Equipment,” Beekeeping: The First Three Years, Winter 2019

“Dr. Tom Seeley’s Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness (EEA) and the Valentine Hive,” Bee Culture, November 2019

“Which Feeder to Use: It Depends,” Bee Culture, September, 2019

“Autumn Management in the Southeast,” Beekeeping: Your First Three Years,                                    Autumn 2019

“Moving A Hive,” Beekeeping: Your First Three Years, Autumn 2019

“Extracting Your Honey Crop,” Bee Culture, August 2019

“Smokers,” Bee Culture, June 2019

“Working A Colony,” Beekeeping: Your First Three Years, Summer 2019

“Making Splits,” Bee Culture, April 2019

“Choosing and Assembling Equipment,” Beekeeping; First Three Years, March 2019

“Summer Management in the Southeast,” Bee Culture, June 2018

“Beekeeping Safety,” Bee Culture, May 2018

“Extracting Your Honey Crop,” Bee Culture, April 2018

“Spring Colony Management in the Southeast,” Bee Culture, March 2018

“Beekeeping Financial Analysis: Lets Develop Some Metrics,” Bee Culture, February 2018

“Varroa Treatment Decisions,” Bee Culture, January 2018

“Beekeeping in the Tampa, Florida Area—Christian and Stephanie Ramthun,” Bee Culture,         December 2017

“Hurricanes,” Bee Culture, November 2017

“Beekeeping in Central South Carolina,” Bee Culture, October 2017

“When is a Colony Worth Saving? Beekeeping Finance,” American Bee Journal, July 2017

“Mentoring Beekeeping: The First Three Years,” Bee Culture, September 2017

“Out-Yards Financial Analysis,” American Bee Journal, February 2016

“Feeding and Making Splits,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, November 2015

“Bees Are a Lot like Humans,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, September 2015

“Bottom Boards – Solid or Screened,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, August 2015

“Walk-Away-Splits,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, August 2015

“Spring and Summer Beekeeping Management – April thru August,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, March 2015

“Beeswax Candles,” Beekeeping Without Borders / Apicultura sin fronteras 83 / Noticias Apicolas / Videos Apicolas (todo 3 en 1), April 2015

“Beekeeping Finance – Integrating the Honey Business,” American Bee Journal, April, 2015

“South Carolina Winter Management – December thru March,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, December, 2014

“Beekeeping Finance,” American Bee Journal, December 2014

“Beekeeping Finance,”  Beekeeping Without Borders / Apicultura sin fronteras 83 / Noticias Apicolas / Videos Apicolas (todo 3 en 1),  April 2014

“Current Status of Honey Bees,” South Carolina Master Gardener Program, October 2014

“South Carolina Fall Management – August thru November,” SC Beekeepers Association Newsletter, October 2014


“Beekeeping Business Tenants,” American Bee Journal, August 2003

“Local Honey Marketing for a Small or Sideline Honey Business,” American Bee Journal, August 2003

“Letter to the Editor, World Economy,” American Bee Journal, January 2004

He has written and published two books: “Beekeeping Tips and Techniques for the Southeast United States, Beekeeping Finance” published by Outskirts Press, and “Getting the Best for your Bees,” which was self-published.  He has written award winning grant proposals about pollination of cucumber. In addition, he has been recognized as a leader in the Honey Bee industry by the USDA who relied on him to present a workshop for the Certified Crop Advisors workshop.

He can be found at educational events of all types representing the SCBA and Honey Bees. When the Mid-State Beekeepers Association decided to do a hands on, “Bees in the Backyard” program for its members David was one of the first to volunteer to teach both morning and afternoon sessions.  He was instrumental in helping the USC Club get equipment and membership, by speaking on their behalf. He has volunteered repeatedly to teach Beginner Certified Classes, and numerous Journeyman courses.

Most recently David has worked tirelessly to manipulate schedules and secure speakers for the SCBA Spring and Summer conferences, the 2019 EAS Conference and has been instrumental in assuring the educational requirements of all types of beekeepers are being met. He does not discriminate between treatment free, natural treatment and beekeepers that treat for Varroa. His goal has been education and support for all.

To round out his resume, we would be lax in overlooking his involvement with research programs. Beyond the required research projects David did for his Master Craftsman certification in North Carolina, he worked with Dr. Hood and Steve Tabor, two distinguished and respected apiarists.  He did research on honey bees and bumble bees, comparing their effectiveness in pollinating cucumbers. Most recently, 2018, 2019 and now 2020 have found David in the woods of the Congaree National Park (a pesticide free zone) and surrounding lands looking for feral bee colonies to try to find elusive, genetically different, untreated, honey bees existing in the wild. The bees that were collected from the fringe of the park are in the process of being analyzed to determine if they are truly a feral, untreated population, or a population of bees from a seasonal swarm. His most recent analysis will be of the honey to determine what the bees are foraging on in the Congaree.

David makes regular trips to the Clemson University library to research the most current studies on the areas he is independently researching. He attends local meetings, State meetings, Regional meetings, and meetings with beekeepers in their home states. He never misses an opportunity to expand his knowledge base, or share the most current information from reputable sources.

When apprised of our club’s intention to nominate David for this award, Dewey Caron said, “I totally support this. David is a major resource for program development and was responsible for the success of the 2019 EAS conference in Greenville.”  Michael Bush said that David, “is a great guy and up on all things in the bee world.”  We agree 100%!