Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby, a profitable sideline, or a full-time occupation. The industry in Mississippi is composed of beekeepers that manage their colonies for honey production, as well as producing queens and package bees.
Several large commercial, migratory beekeepers in the Midwest also winter several thousand colonies in Mississippi. There are between 20 and 30 thousand colonies in the state during the summer and 80-120 thousand during the winter. Mississippi has 12 full-time commercial beekeepers, 30-40 part-time honey producers and 800 hobbyists. Mississippi ranks 28th in the nation in honey production and produces about 2.25 million pounds of honey each year.
The 1996 value of honey production in Mississippi was $1,156,000. Net annual income of Mississippi beekeepers from honey and beeswax production, sale of packaged bees and queens, and pollination fees is estimated to be between $2.1 and $3.1 million. Honey bees contribute a value to pollination of fruits, berries, vegetables, sunflowers, cotton, soybeans, peanuts and wild plants in Mississippi exceeding $200 million annually (Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce).
RAYMOND, Miss. -- Agricultural producers and industry professionals in central Mississippi met with agents and research scientists of the Mississippi State University Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station Feb. 22 to share input and give feedback.
The Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting was held in conjunction with Hinds Community College and the Alcorn State University Extension.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Dawn Morgan's father was an organic gardener before organic was cool, but for years she preferred a more manicured yard and the practices that entailed.
Then she began reading about the decline of bee colonies and remembered her dad's orchard and garden buzzing with pollinators.
"Dad kept bees but in a very primitive way," she said. "No bee suit, no smoker, never used herbicides or pesticides. He did everything naturally."
RAYMOND, Miss -- This time of year is when swarms of honeybees settle in trees or shrubs as they leave their hives searching for larger places to live
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The Mississippi State University Extension Service will host a daylong queen-rearing workshop at the MSU Apiculture Lab on April 30.
The workshop will cover the benefits of raising queen bees, preparing a quality cell builder, troubleshooting problems with queen rearing, and grafting and non-grafting techniques. PowerPoint sessions will begin in the morning, followed by hands-on demonstrations and grafting practice in the afternoon.
COLUMBUS, Miss. -- The fear of being stung by thousands of swarming bees typically sends people running for a can of pesticide.
But swarming is a dramatic display of democracy in action and can be a source of wonder instead of panic for those who understand what is going on.
Reid Nevins, Lowndes County coordinator of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said bees swarm as part of the natural process of establishing new colonies.