Mission, Membership & History


St. Clair Beekeepers Association
♦  Since 1917  ♦

The purpose and function of the St. Clair Beekeepers Association is the promotion of interest in bees and beekeeping by such means as encouraging…

  1. Good beekeeping practices
  2. The utilization of bees for pollination of agricultural crops
  3. The dissemination of information about bees and beekeeping


Membership – The SCBA currently has more than 90 members.  Click  Membership List to view.
The following history of the St. Clair Beekeepers Association was prepared by Pat Wagner of Edwardsville, who compiled the information from newspaper articles and association minutes.  Mrs. Wagner notes that there are many association minutes missing and would welcome additional information for this history.  If you have old clippings, minutes or photos about the St. Clair Beekeepers Association, please contact the SCBA Secretary, listed on the SCBA Officers page of this website.
The St. Clair Beekeepers Association Constitution states in Article 1, Section 1:  ” The purpose and function of the association is the promotion of interest in bees and beekeeping by such means as:  (a) encouraging good beekeeping management; (b) encourage the utilization of bees for pollination of agricultural crops; (c) encourage dissemination of information about bees and beekeeping.”
 An article in the Belleville Daily Advocate dated July 16, 1917, states:

Beekeepers Have Formed Organization

  A number of beekeepers of Belleville and vicinity met yesterday at the home of R. V. Dew and formally organized an association to be known as “The St. Clair County Beekeepers Association,” the object of which will be to promote the general interests of the pursuit of bee-culture in the county.  The following officers were elected:

     President – Charles Hertel, Belleville

     Vice-president – Wm. Hubert, Belleville

     Secretary-Treasurer – R. V. Dew, 910 Sycamore Street, Belleville           

  One of the features of the meeting was a demonstration in the apiary, where a practical manipulation of the hives and bees took place, to show the advantages of up-to-date methods of beekeeping.  The entire assemblage was right in among the bees and no one was stung, except Mr. Hertel, who purposely received a sting as an antidote for rheumatism. Interested parties can secure information concerning “The St. Clair County Beekeepers Association” by corresponding with the secretary.


An article published in the Belleville Daily Advocate dated February 2, 1933, states:

Beekeepers Form Own Association

  Beekeepers of this vicinity have formed an organization to be known as St. Clair Beekeepers Association, with a membership of 29 men. O. G. Rawson, of East St. Louis, is the president; W. E. Frierdich, of Belleville, vice president; G.L. Hankammer of Belleville, secretary, and Fred W. Peters of Belleville, treasurer.  The association will meet each last Friday of the month in the county highway building.  The purpose of the association include: promote better beekeeping; improve marketing of honey; promote the use of honey, and control of foulbrood, which is destroying hundreds of hives.


  The first minutes found were from a meeting on April 6, 1949, which was a reorganization meeting. Officers elected were: President – A. H. Zipfel, Vice President – Geo. L. Hankammer, Secretary – Edw. Meyling, Trustees – Edw. Meyling, Henry L. Kaiser, Clifford Wilder.  Mr. Hankammer was appointed chairman of the publicity committee. Meetings were set for the first Wednesday of each month from 8:00-10:00 p.m.  A “Basket” picnic was planned to which the St.Louis Association was invited. Prizes donated for the picnic included some queens, smoker, foundation, spools of wire and frames.  The secretary was authorized to buy 250 letterheads and 250 envelopes from the American Bee Journal for a total of $6.50.  It was also voted that members pay the full amount for bee magazines with the association keeping the savings.  A map of St. Clair County was secured to mark the locations of beekeepers yards “so as not to crowd on each others locations.” It was decided to get maps of Madison and Monroe Counties as well. Dues were $1.50 with $0.50 going to the state. 

  Programs for the year included E. R. Spencer, botanist, speaking on the relationship of plants to nectar and Mr. Glover, St. Clair County Farm Advisor, discussing honey producing legumes.

  Discussions during the year: to stop robbing, move the robbing hive; to clean excluders of propolis boil in lye water; keep good comb in the brood chamber to avoid abundance of drones; calcium chloride recommended as a preventative for weeds in front of hives; latest advisable date to get package bees – July 1; honey prices, size and style of honey containers (fancy glass was suggested). Anheuser- Busch planning new honey/corn syrup product to compete for honey trade.

  There were 20 members in the association and the treasury showed $9.20 at the end of the year.


  A motion was made to enter the St. Clair County Fair. Dues were raised to $2.00 with $1.00 going to the Illinois State Association. The motion of June 1949 to pay full magazine subscriptions was rescinded. A membership committee was formed to get new members. It was decided to donate 10 minutes of each meeting to plan for the fair.  Judges at fair should have set of rules or standards. The observation hive at the fair was a big hit.  The association sent $5.00 to the American Beekeeping Federation for dues for the association.  The KSD TV home economist would be contacted about using honey in her recipes. 

  Programs:  Mr. M. J. Deyell, editor of Gleanings, spoke to the members about bees starving in spring and about swarm control by the “Demaree” method.  He said the new swarm should be placed on the old stand.

  Carl Killion, chief state bee inspector, stated American foulbrood was down approximately 3% in Illinois. He also “condemned the unsanitary condition of some honey houses and the appearance of some honey packs on grocers shelves.”

  Mr. Glover spoke on how planting clover will benefit beekeepers. 

  Hoyt Taylor, secretary of the ISBA, spoke about advertising honey and support of the American Honey Institute. 

  Discussions: two queen system, benefits of Federal Association for Beekeepers, protection of bees from orchard spraying, feeding of sulfa in spring and fall, the red bud tree as a honey and pollen producer, requeening, staffing a tent and selling honey at the next St. Clair County Fair and getting literature from bee supply houses to hand out at the fair). 

  There were 19 members in the association and a balance of $7.86 in treasury at the end of the year.


  It was reported there were 1,400 colonies in the three counties of Madison, Monroe and St. Clair.  The March minutes note the meeting was held in the Highway Building in Belleville and there were 18 beekeepers in attendance.  The basket picnic would be held in August at which “only soft drinks will be permitted.”  The meeting night was changed to the first Monday of the month.  A report of honey flow by members showed the average per colony to be about 40 lbs. A display would be set up in the window of Illinois Power for National Honey Week.  Programs:  Chas. Stookey of KXOK talked to the group.  He would feature use of honey in a future program. Celeste Sullivan, Home Services Director of the Southern Division of Illinois Power demonstrated and prepared dishes containing honey.  The association toured the candle factory at the Clifford Wilder farm.  Carl Killion showed slides on comb honey. 

  Discussion: how to overcome foulbrood in the spring by feeding bees sugar mixed with sulfa, winter feeding, how to sell honey, price support, ISBA dues and benefits, National Honey Week.

  The association has 21 members and $22.88 in the treasury.


  A suggestion was made to send some honey to Arthur Godfrey and ask for a mention on his TV and radio shows.  A committee was appointed to investigate a course in beekeeping.  A summer meeting was planned with the Eastern Missouri Beekeepers at Grand Marais Park in East St. Louis.  

  Programs: Carl Killion gave a slide presentation on comb honey production. 

  Discussions: feeding sulfa, honey plants, requeening, two queen colonies, fall care of apiaries.

  The association has 22 members and $10.15 in the treasury.