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).
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- From the outside, a honey bee hive looks pretty simple: bees fly in and out. They fly around flowers, and once inside the hive, they make honey.
They must be hard workers -- after all, the phrase "busy as a bee" had to come from somewhere.
Like many natural phenomena, a hive of honey bees is incredibly complex. Some scientists even classify a beehive, also called a colony, as a superorganism, an insect society made up of individuals that create a functioning whole.
BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University researchers and Extension Service agents heard suggestions from Coastal area agricultural producers and industry leaders about the research and education they need from the university in 2017.
The MSU Coastal Research and Extension Center Producer Advisory Council meeting was held on Feb. 28 in Biloxi. The annual meeting helps the university allocate time and resources to the most important issues facing Mississippi's agricultural producers and related industries.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Experienced and aspiring beekeepers in Mississippi will have two opportunities to hone their skills in March
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is hosting a Beginning Beekeepers Short Course March 4 and an Intermediate Beekeeping Workshop and Queen Rearing Seminar March 25.
The beginners' course will be at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson. Topics include diseases, honeybee biology, hive inspection, basic equipment, seasonal management, honey extraction and small hive beetle management.
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."