OUR WORK: Honey Bee Research & Education

The Queen’s Brigade is a nonprofit 501c-3 affiliate of Killer Bees Honey. Honeybees are the lifeblood of a sustainable environment. While bees play a critical role in pollinating all the food we consume, they receive most of their nutrients from the abundant forest flora. The mountain apiaries of Killer Bees Honey contribute to maintaining the purity and biodiversity of North Carolina’s Pisgah and Nantahala Forest’s; keeping a healthy environment for all who call the forest home. 

Twilight in the apiary


Our focus is dedicated to third-party independent research and providing educational information on the importance of the honeybee. We support the scientists who are expanding our knowledge on Mother Nature’s most successful pollinator.


We fund scientific research conducted by institutes and universities on topics that are significant to both long-term scientific questions on honeybee populations and also short term applied questions for immediate relevance on honeybee health and productivity. Our focus is directed to large educational institutions at the forefront of honeybee research where we rely on scientists who are conducting cutting-edge work on honeybee sustainability.


Our education focus is broad and includes a variety of different endeavors concentrating mainly on environmental studies and outdoor education. From supporting nonprofits that provide honeybee education for schools and community groups, to funding college interns learning and assisting in honeybee apiary management. Our goal is to spread the knowledge of honeybees and their importance to a healthy ecosystem.

Join Our AmBEEsadors

Through a donation to The Queen’s Brigade you will be helping to support researchers and educators, working to better understand and sustain these amazing insects. Every donation of $25 or above receives a “They Fly For Us” poster.

In addition 20% of all Wildflower Honey sales from Killer Bees Honey is donated to the Queen’s Brigade. All products listed below can be found on

Honey Bee Research

  • NC State University
    Apiculture Program
  • Texas A&M
    Honey Bee Lab
  • Bee Informed Partnership

Membership in Local Conservation & Food Purity Organizations

  • Friends of Panthertown, Inc
  • Conserving Carolina
  • Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

*No funds are used to cover administrative overhead expenses.

Spotting the Queen Anastasia

Snow covered hives

In the middle of Pisgah National Forest


KILLER BEES HONEY was started by Sean Collinsworth & Denise Altay, a husband and wife team committed to protecting the biodiversity of our forest through ethical bee stewardship and honey harvesting practices. Sean is certified with both the Italian Registry of Honey Sensory Experts and UC Davis in the Sensory Analysis of Honey. Honeybees are the lifeblood of a sustainable environment and healthy planet. A healthy planet requires healthy bees. We practice ecologically sound methods of managing bees and harvesting honey. Our business is driven by a bee-centric approach, not profits, market share or sales volume. 

From the beginning of our business we have made donations to Universities and centers conducting research on honeybees. Our grants have gone toward research focused primarily on maintaining the health of the honeybee and best practices. As our business grew and expanded to our very popular apiary tours, honey tastings and local educational seminars, we were thrilled with how much more people wanted to know. Many of our guests and participants wanted to know how to become more involved in promoting honeybee health. While there are many small but important things an individual can do to help sustain bee colonies where they live, we also believe that a larger effort to promote scientific research is ultimately the most important step that will be required to make a real, lasting difference. 

As a result, we decided to formalize our own giving with the creation of a separate non-profit, specifically for professional research and education related to the honeybee. This allows not only a narrow focus for our own giving related to this topic, but provides an avenue for others to contribute to the research centers that we believe are doing important work in this field. We do not take an administrative fee for operating the Queens’ Brigade Foundation but believe the funds should go directly to those who are keeping the bees flying for us!

Killer Bees Honey founders Sean Collinsworth & Denise Altay

Somewhere over the rainbow


Denise Altay - President
The Queen Bee
Denise has a background in non-profit finance and worked in NYC for 30 years with the nation’s largest community development intermediary. Denise had no interest or understanding of bees until her husband (the beekeeper) placed 3 beehives in their backyard. She quickly became obsessed with all things bee-related and now works very hard to make sure that her corporate wardrobe has not been completely replaced with bee-themed attire.

Sean Collinsworth - Vice-President
The Beekeeper
Sean has been raising bees since he was 12 yrs old. From 1 hive in a Chicago suburb, to 90 hives in the Western NC mountains. He is a passionate environmentalist who understands that bees are a sentinel species responsible not only for upwards of 55% of our food supply, but also for maintaining the biodiversity of our forest. Sean is the only American to be certified with the Italian Registry of Honey Sensory Experts and educated at UC Davis in the Sensory Analysis of Honey.

Samantha Arnold - Secretary
The Technology Bee
Samantha’s 20+ year background in digital marketing working with big media brands and agencies has kept her busy as the proverbial bee keeping up with all the cool technology and digital geegaws. While not a beekeeper, she supports our friendly pollinators by supporting bee-friendly websites and maintaining bee-friendly native plantings in the duneland forests of Northwest Indiana.

Annual Reports

Our fiscal year is January to December. The nonprofit received it’s determination letter in February 2020. Our first annual report is now available below.


Queens Brigade was seeded with a grant from the Collinsworth family foundation. Your donation will help us continue to support honey bee research and education.