History | Connecticut Beekeepers Association

Connecticut Beekeepers’ Association


An Historical Summary

The Connecticut Beekeepers’ Association was organized on May 13th 1891 at the home of Edwin E. Smith, Watertown, Conn., with the Following charter members

Edward S. Andrus                                 Torrington

B. F. Stratton                                       Hazardville

Geo. S. Griswold                                  Middlebury

Edwin E. Smith                                    Watertown

E. Turner                                              Hazardville

Porter L. Wood                                     Waterbury

Mrs. Porter L. Wood                             Waterbury

Mrs. W. E. Riley                                   Waterbury

W. A. Buell                                           Litchfield

Rev. W. J. Peck                                    Corona, L. I.

Rev. Joseph Kyte                                  Northfield

The first officers were elected as follows:

President                                               Edward S. Andrus

1st Vice President                                  B. F. Stratton

2nd Vice President                                 Edwin E. Smith

Secretary                                               Mrs. W. E. Riley

Treasurer                                               Porter L. Wood

The object of the Association, as stated in Article 2 of the first Constitution, was “The promotion of scientific bee culture by forming a strong bond of union among beekeepers.”

On September 24, 1908, the Association was incorporated under the laws of the State of Connecticut by James A. Smith, George W. Smith and Francis H. Hills.

In 1904, Stephen J. Griffen of Bridgport started the campaign for the suppression of foul brood.  The Association continued the struggle and in 1913 the General Assembly, on petition of our Association, provided means for correcting the meanace of Foul Brood with an appropriation of $750.00, and a program under the direction of Dr. W. E. Britton of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, with A. W. Yates of Hartford and Henry Coley of Westport as inspectors, was begun.  By patient instruction and demonstration, this difficult work checked the spread of bee diseases.  On the death of Dr. Britton, Dr. Zappe of the Experiment Station, assumed supervision of the inspectors and W. H. Kelsey, of Bristol, Roy Stadel of Southing ton, and Elbra Baker of Brooklyn, continued the work.  On Mr. Kelsey’s retirement, Cyril Simpson of Glastonbury took over his territory, and two years later Philemon J. Hewitt, Jr., of Litchfield succeeded Mr. Simpson.  This may be called the beginning of the Association’s “Big Brother” jobs, it being the only representative group to focus attention on the needs of the beekeeping industry in Connecticut.

The Apicultural Department was established in connection with Extension work at Connecticut Agricultural College, with Pro. L. B. Crandall in charge at Storrs, Conn.

Beginning in 1909, the Association annually exhibited honey and bees at the Connecticut Fair, Charter Oak Park, Hartford, to 1928, so long as the Fair existed.

In 1928, during the administration of A. W. Yates, a petition for State aid was granted by the legislature, the Association inaugurated a broad educational program with lectures, publications and motion pictures made available to beekeepers throughout the state.  In 1929, $2000 biennially was appropriated for the issuing of periodicals and bulletins advancing the Apicultural interests of the state.

On January 1st 1929, the first issue of the “Connecticut Honey Bee” was published under the Editorship of Telley Eugene Babcock, of Norwich, Connecticut.  Mr. Babcock served the Association in this capacity for twenty years, and during that time brought to Connecticut beekeepers the knowledge gleaned by the best research workers in Bee Husbandry.  During the 1907-1908 term of the Connecticut General Assembly, he did his best to further the interests of the beekeeping industry, as a representative from the Norwich District.  Our magazine has been helpful and well balanced, carrying articles of the better practices in beekeeping all through the years.  Mr. Babcock always showed an open mind on new methods, and publicity was always available to anyone who thought he had made a discovery of value to others.  The avowed purposes of our publication are to help beekeepers on the following problems:

Spreading beekeeping knowledge

Less expensive production

Control of Swarming

Eradication of diseases

Curtailment of winter losses

Easier methods of manipulation

Better queens and strains of bees

The value of bees in the advancement of agriculture, especially horticulture.

In the year 1931 we celebrated our Fortieth Anniversary, with appropriate speakers and much pleasant reminiscence, with a goodly attendance of charter and newer members.

In 1937 the Women’s Auxiliary was created by popular demand to publicize the uses of honey.  A splendid series of lectures and demonstrations including Honey Cookery Contest held at Connecticut University each year during Farm and Home week, have been carried on throughout the years under the guidance of Mrs. Claude L. Yates, its President.

A School for Beekeepers, proposed by Chas. J. Rost, Secretary of the Association was conducted under the instruction of veteran members of the Association.  During the first two years the sessions were held in the Apiary of A. W. Yates at Hartford.  During the session of 1950, the school and demonstrations was held at the Experimental Farm of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in Hamden, under the supervision of Roy Stadel of Southington.  It was felt that this school was of great value to both experienced and novice beekeepers, as out of his vast store of beekeeping knowledge, Mr. Stadel helped the experienced beekeepers to solve their problems and started the beginners on the right path toward practical beekeeping.

The Fiftieth Anniversary was anticipated in 1938, featuring a Field Day, with a World Championship Bee Tree Hunt in the Litchfield Hills about Winsted, Conn.  The actual celebration continued through the year 1941, with a Field Day at Goodwin park, with Mr. E. R. Root of Medina, Ohio as Keynoter of the Associations campaign for “Bee Poison Reform.”  The final Jubilee event consisted of a two days Convention, October 17th and 18th, with experts leading discussions on ways and means for correcting the bee poison menace.  The final feature of the celebration was a Birthday Party with gifts, songs, movies of past meetings, and a banquet, with remarks by Dr. James I. Hambleton, E. R. Root and the Past Presidents. Dr. E. F. Phillips of Cornell University gave special credit to Mrs. C. L. Yates, President of the Auxilliary for the splendid banquet and cooperation with the Awards Committee, Cyril Simpson and Charles J. Rost.

In 1948, the first Winter Meeting was held in the Grange Hall at Rocky Hill, and these winter meetings are now a part of our yearly program.

In 1949, our Association became affiliated with the National Federation of Beekeepers, believing that much can be accomplished by joining other organizations on a National level.

In the July, 1949 issue of The American Bee Journal, we were gratified to note that Mrs. Ida Richardson, of Norwich, who was for many years our Publicity Chairman, was honored as “The Woman of the Month.”  The Journal described her work by saying “During the many years Mrs. Richardson has served on the Publicity Committee of the Connecticut Beekeepers ‘ Association she handled regional state and local honey exhibits and collaborated with others in writing pamphlets and answering innumerable letters of inquiry.  Her most valuable contribution to the Association has been the reporting of beekeepers’ meetings in the “Connecticut Honey Bee” and the collecting and careful editing of honey recipes for publication.”

On April 21st, 1951, the Sixtieth Anniversary of the Association was celebrated by an all-day meeting at the YMCA in Hartford, with a banquet and representatives of many beekeepers’ Associations of neighboring states as honored guests.  Our keynote speaker was Dr. E. F. Phillips of Ithaca, N.Y., noted author and authority on bees.  This meeting will be remembered as one of the highlights of our history.

Since 1951, the association has gone forward in its activities.  In 1952 a revision of the Constitution and by-laws was undertaken and executed with several additions since then making the present one printed in this booklet the up to date one under which we are operating.

A number of back volumes of the Connecticut Honey Bee were collated and bound into volumes in 1952 and distributed to various individuals and libraries in the U. S. and one set was sent to the British Research Association.

A honey House Sanitation code was proposed from a model sponsored by the American Beekeeping Federation.  The Code was later gotten through the Connecticut Legislature.

In 1952 the Beekeeping School was revived as it was felt there was an urgent need for it.  It started in April under the direction of Mr. Roy Stadel.  It was for beekeepers and beginners in keeping bees and was carried on for several years.

The Connecticut Beekeepers Assn. Helped establish and form the Eastern Apicultural Society in cooperation with Massachusetts and Rhode Island beginning as a Tri-State program that expanded into and organization covering the eastern seaboard.  This organization has now existed for nearly eleven years and has a scope of program similar to the national Federation.

Our official publication “The Connecticut Honey Bee” has been kept in print over the years in spite of low funds to print it.

The Association in 1966 is in preparation for a wider horizon with the prospects of participating in the International Apicultural Congress to be held at the University of Maryland August 11-17, 1967.  This will be a rare opportunity for contact and work in a program showing research going on all around the world.

Within the last several years a beekeeping course for college credits has been operating at the Connecticut Central State College in New Britain, CT, under the guidance of Professor David. C. Newton in the Dept. of Biological Sciences.  Mr. Newton has pioneered in making a fumigation chamber using Ethylene oxide to sterlize diseased hives and combs.  Some of this project was sponsored by the Connecticut Beekeepers Assn. through a gift of money.  A project of how bees resist foulbrood was found by freezing live sealed brood.  This involved the time it took the colony to remove the dead brood.  It varied from five days to over twenty-one days.  Mr. Newton is also working on artificially bred queens to find worthwhile resistant bee stocks.

Professor Alphonse Avitabile of the Biology Dept. of the University of Connecticut Branch Waterbury has instituted a beekeeping course for credits.  Another of his contributions was establishing a section of the Kirschbaum Library for books on bees.  Mr. Avitabile has researched work on locations and data on colonies in trees and other places.  Some of his work was also done on swarm behavior relating to queens and hive cite locations.

The Ethylene Oxide treatment of diseased equipment and combs is a monetary savings of much value over burning to eliminate bee disease.

In, July 1977, Mr. Norman Farmer, Bristol, Conn. Has manufactured a fumigation chamber for doing this work.  The specifications and method of operating was with the help of Mr. Newton.

Connecticut Beekeepers Association History Part II 1977-1991

The period from 1977 to 1991 has seen more changes in Connecticut Beekeeping than any other period:

A Major effort to reduce insecticide poisonings from Methyl Parathion resulted in a restricting regulation on the use of micro-encapsulated methyl parathion (Penncap M) on Apples and Corn.

Tracheal Mites were first found in Texas in the fall of 1986 resulting in quarantines which delayed the introduction of the mite into Connecticut until the fall of 1989.

Varroa Mites were discovered in Wisconsin in 1987.  Quarantines were again instituted which delayed their arrival in Connecticut until fall of 1990.

The africanized honey bee has crossed the border from Mexico into Texas in the winter of 1991.

The application of computer technology has allowed the production of “The Honey Bee” to continue at a reduced cost.  It has also substantially shortened the time from production to mailing; an important advantage in a fast changing beekeeping industry.


The early 80’s saw large bee losses, from pesticides all over the state.  Gypsy Moth were traveling in waves across the state, devouring everything in sight.  Homeowners were spraying everything in sight with anything that killed bugs/  Tree spraying businesses were sprouting up all over and some were indiscriminate in what they sprayed and where they sprayed it.  Beyond even this problem, sweet corn growers were spraying tasseling corn with the most insidious pesticide, micro-encapsulated methyl parathion.  Bees would carry the capsules back to the hive thinking they were pollen, feed it to the brood, and work it into the wax.  A new package installed into the hive with contaminated wax would also die!

Using the funds of the Connecticut Beekeepers and the Sierra Club, a new regulation was made stopping the use of micro-encapsulated methyl parathion on tasseling corn and also in orchards with substantial flowering undergrowth.  The years following the institution of the new regulations saw major decreases in pesticide losses.  Helping the situation was a court ruling placing the ultimate responsibility for pesticide use on the user.  The ruling occurred because of EDB contaminating of ground water where it was used by tobacco growers in the Connecticut River Valley.  This ruling precipitated major reductions in the use of all pesticides throughout the agricultural industry.  Later when public outcry over the use of Alar on apples grew to a frenzy, the growers felt pressure to reduce the use of all pesticides to the absolute minimum.


Tracheal mites crossed the border into Texas and were first found in 1986.  Almost immediately, Connecticut instituted a quarantine restricting importation of bees from areas known to have tracheal mites.  This action probably resulted in Connecticut being one of the last states to document tracheal mites within its borders in the fall of 1989.  From the evidence available, it appears that the mites probably arrived in packages shipped through the U.S. Postal Service illegally.  The quarantine delayed the introduction of the mites long enough to allow registration of menthol which can be used to control the mites.


Varroa mites were first discovered by an alert beekeeper in Wisconsin in the fall of 1986.  It has been speculated that the mites first arrived in Florida, since further examination revealed wide infestation there.  Once again quarantines, supported by the Connecticut Beekeepers, were instituted, probably resulting in delay of varroa mites arriving in Connecticut until the fall of 1990.  Also, General Use Registration of Apistan Strips (fluvalinate) was achieved in January 1990 allowing control of the mite to start almost immediately upon its discovery in Connecticut.


February 1991 the first swarm from Mexico was found in Texas.  At this time there is much speculation about the consequences of this new importation.  Some say it will be devastating and others say it may be our salvation in the search for mite resistant bees.  It seems that little can be done to stem the spread of the Africanized honeybee.  No country in South or Central America has been able to stop the seemingly inevitable progress of Africanized honeybees.


Starting in 1990, the format of the Honey Bee was changed to allow further reductions in the cost of production.  The cost of producing five issues of the Honey Bee in 1990 was less than producing four issues the previous year (1989).  Throughout the difficult financial times of the Association, it has been the desire of the membership to maintain the quality of the content of our journal.  In the spring of 1991, the Connecticut Beekeepers Association and the CT Agricultural Experiment Station entered into a cooperative project to produce a small guide to help new beekeepers get started.  We have maintained a close relationship to the Experiment Station in New Haven.

With the tightening of the budgets in all areas of State and Federal Governments, this cooperation is most important.  With state budgets cut to the point of deleting the position of Bee Inspector for 1991, the Connecticut Honey Bee and the Connecticut Beekeepers Association remain a vital link of information for Connecticut’s beekeepers.

List of Presidents of the Association

1891: Edwin S. Andrus, Torrington
1892: B.F. Stratton, Hazardville
1893-1897: George H. Yale, Wallingford
1898-1905: Charles H. Chittendon, Killingworth
1906-1912: Allen Latham, Norwichtown
1913: Elijah Vanderwerken, Stamford
1914-1915: Sherman E. Bunnell
1916-1919: Rev. D. D. Marsh, West Hartford
1920-1923: Henry L. Lankton, Wethersfield
1924-1925: Allen Latham, Norwichtown
1926-1928: A. W. Yates, Hartford
1929-1933: Telley E. Babcock, Norwich
1933-1935: E. G. Converse, Bantam
1935-1938: Roy Stadel, Southington
1938-1939: Ernest Ryant, Grosverondale
1939-1941: Cyril B. Simpson, South Glastonbury
1941-1945: Claude L. Yates, Hartford
1945-1946: W. H. Kelsey, Bristol
1946-1947: Raymond H. Gillette, Watertown
1947-1949: Frederick J. Bielefield, Middletown
1949-1952: Philemon J. Hewitt, Jr., Litchfield
1952-1955: William J. McCormick, Stratford
1955-1956: Fred T. Coxeter, West Haven
1956-1958: Chester H. Niles, Mt. Carmel
1958-1960: Edmund H. Hamann, Riverside
1960-1962: Harry A. Powell, New Britain
1962-1964: S. Lester Hook, Stamford
1964-1966: Charles R. Underhill, Jr., Canterbury
1966-1968: Eugene Keyarts, Madison
1968-1973: Thomas Raney, Cornwall Bridge
1973-1976: Alphonse Avitabile, Bethlehem
1976-1979: Albert Yankowski, Jr., Huntington
1979-1980: Henry Neuhauser, Farmington
1980-1983: William Cannon, Hamden
1983-1984: Ronald Edwards, Huntington
1984-1985: MaryLou Tenney, New Milford
1985-1986: P.Kim Flottum, Southbury
Mar 1986-Oct: Dr.Larry Connor, Cheshire
Oct 1986-1990: Chuck Howe, Goshen
1990-1993: Austin Knox New Milford
1993-1998: Don Nyce, Madison
1998-2000: Jim Grey, Marlbough
2000-2007: Rollan Hannan, Jr. Southbury
2007-2013: Ted Jones, Farmington
2013-Present: Gilman Mucaj, Granby


Ted and Becky Receiving Award



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