Kentucky Ag News

Author and state apiarist Tammy Horn to speak at Kentucky Artisan Center


Special to Kentucky Agricultural News

BEREA, Ky. - Nationally-known beekeeping author and Kentucky’s state apiarist Tammy Horn will present “Women and Bees” May 17 at 2 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea.


Horn will share information she has gathered in her travels around the world visiting contemporary beekeepers, as well as research from work with Appalachian archives. In historical artwork and archival manuscripts, there are glimpses of women apiarists as producers of queen bees, as beekeepers who capture runaway swarming bees, and of some who “speak” to bees and work easily with them – known in Appalachia as a bee charmer.

Horn’s grandfather grew up hunting bee trees and passed his beekeeping knowledge on to his granddaughter. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents kept bees on their properties in eastern Kentucky.


“The year I finished my Ph.D. was the year my grandfather introduced me to beekeeping, and my real education began,” Horn said.

Born in Harlan County, Horn has a bachelor’s degree from Berea College, a master’s degree from Fort Hays State University, and a doctorate from the University of Alabama. Horn is the author of “Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation.” Her second book, “Beeconomy: What Women and Bees Can Teach Us About Local Trade and Global Markets,” brings to light many overlooked heroines and histories from prehistoric times to today.

After writing “Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped America” (2005), Horn was named National Endowment for the Humanities Chair of Appalachian Studies at Berea College, where she has researched and supervised a small honey bee monitoring project, Coal Country Beeworks. This project develops pollinator habitat on surface mine sites and works to develop a long-term beekeeping infrastructure in eastern Kentucky.

As state apiarist, Horn’s job includes identifying and eradicating infectious disease in honeybee colonies. She also helps educate the public about the importance of honey bees, and offers best practice advice to the beekeeping community. Her job involves hive inspections and providing health certificates for the transport of bees out of state. Horn is currently president of the Kentucky Beekeepers Association.

This free talk “Women and Bees” will be held in the private dining room of the Kentucky Artisan Center. As a part of the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Chautauqua Series, this program is funded in part by the Kentucky Humanities Council Inc. and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT, and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.