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News Filed Under Beekeeping

A queen bee scurries toward the bottom left corner of a frame of capped cells containing bee larvae. Worker bees have many different jobs within a colony, including caring for baby bees. (File photo by MSU Extension/Keri Collins Lewis)
March 22, 2017 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

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.

March 3, 2017 - Filed Under: Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Beef, Beekeeping, Forestry, Seafood Economics

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.

March 1, 2017 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

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.

Bill Evans, a Mississippi State University researcher with the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, discussed research and education priorities with representatives of the fruit and nut commodity group on Feb. 22, 2017. MSU Extension Service specialists and agents also took part in the annual MSU Central Mississippi Producer Advisory Council meeting in Raymond, Mississippi. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
February 24, 2017 - Filed Under: Commercial Horticulture, Commercial Fruit and Nuts, Forages, Beef, Beekeeping, Dairy, Equine, Forestry, Wildlife

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.

Dawn Morgan manages more than 20 hives at FloBaby Farms and sells raw honey, comb honey and beeswax from her home in Starkville, Mississippi on Nov. 22, 2016. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
November 22, 2016 - Filed Under: Women for Agriculture, Beekeeping

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."

As bee swarms land on branches and other objects this spring, do not disturb them. The honeybees are seeking a new home and will usually move on within a few days. (MSU Extension Service file photo)
May 13, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Wildlife

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

April 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

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.

Honey bee swarms, such as this one found in a cedar tree, are part of the natural process colonies go through when they outgrow their current living space. (MSU Extension Service/File Photo)
April 14, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

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.

Several beehives were set up at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson, Mississippi, on March 16, 2016, for a hands-on, beginners beekeeping workshop planned for the weekend. The number of beekeepers in the state continues to rise. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Susan Collins-Smith)
March 18, 2016 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

RAYMOND, Miss. -- Beekeeping is hot right now, with numbers of producers steadily increasing in Mississippi and across the U.S.

“Beekeeping continues to grow in astonishing numbers across the country,” said Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. “Most of that growth is from people who want to do it as a hobby.”

Johnny Thompson, a Philadelphia, Mississippi, beekeeper who raises queens and nucleus colonies, said about half of his customers are new to beekeeping.

Mississippi State University participated in a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study that looked at several herbicides’ toxicity to honeybees. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
December 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Crops, Beekeeping

STONEVILLE, Miss. -- Because bees are important to the success of crops, honeybee health is important to Mississippi State University.

Jeff Gore, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, participated in a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service study of pesticide toxicity to honeybees. The study was conducted in Stoneville at the USDA-ARS Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center. It was part of ongoing efforts to protect the population of pollinators.

What looks like weeds to a farmer or landowner is forage for pollinators such as honeybees. Angus Catchot and other researchers at Mississippi State University are part of efforts to find management plans that balance competing needs. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Kevin Hudson)
December 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Crops, Beekeeping

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- People who care about honeybees know that insecticides and pollinators are usually a bad mix, but it turns out that herbicides used to control weeds can spell even bigger trouble for bees.

Jeff Harris, bee specialist with the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said herbicides destroy bee food sources.

The bee hazard icon and accompanying label information are designed to provide warnings and information that will allow chemicals to be used against pests while protecting pollinators from exposure. (Graphic by Environmental Protection Agency)
August 14, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Chemical companies have added a new bee hazard icon on labels of certain insecticides to protect pollinators from chemicals hazardous to their health.

Blake Layton, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the icon and the accompanying pollinator protection box are required on labels of systemic insecticides that contain imidacloprid, dinotefuran or thiamethoxam or clothiandin.

A bee feeds on clover in the pollinator project garden at the Mississippi State University R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville June 16, 2015. (Photo by Kevin Hudson/MSU Ag Communications)
July 10, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Backyard hobbyists and commercial producers of fruit and vegetable crops share a common need: pollinators.

Without them, flowering plants would be unable to produce fruit and seed. Bees are most commonly associated with pollination, but butterflies, hummingbirds and flies also are common pollinators.

Varroa mites -- such as this one attached to a honeybee -- transmit viruses, weaken bee health and factor prominently in the decline of bee populations. (Photo by USDA-ARS/Steve Ausmus)
June 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A lifelong beekeeper and Mississippi State University Extension Service apiculture specialist offers an unusual list of reasons for bee colony death.

“My top three reasons for bee colony death are Varroa mites, Varroa mites and Varroa mites,” said bee expert Jeff Harris. “This is my sarcastic response to the heavy emphasis in the press on the effects of insecticides and other pesticides on honey bees.

Mississippi beekeepers can post a "Bee Aware" flag, such as this one flying in a bee yard in Monroe County, Mississippi, to raise awareness of pollinators in the area. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/Reid Nevins)
June 17, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Pitting farmers against beekeepers does little to solve the problems facing pollinators.

Beekeepers often choose to place bee colonies near row crops, such as this cotton field in Lowndes County, Mississippi, because the plant blooms provide much-needed nectar during the hot summer months. (File Photo by MSU Ag Communications
June 16, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- “Just mentioning bees and pesticides in the same sentence is sure to get a buzz,” said Angus Catchot, an entomologist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Media skirmishes about bee health, agriculture practices and the role of pollinators in food production are a mixture of fact, propaganda and general misunderstanding, Catchot said.

March 20, 2015 - Filed Under: Agriculture, Crops, Commercial Horticulture, Fruit, Livestock, Beekeeping, Forestry

BILOXI, Miss. -- Mississippi State University experts met with agricultural producers and industry professionals recently to exchange ideas about educational programming and research for 2015.

About 100 participants attended the annual Coastal Research and Extension Center Commodity Advisory Council meeting to discuss priorities with MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station specialists, researchers and agents.

Spring is a busy time for bees and beekeepers, as longer days and warmer weather bring the first flowers, such as this henbit, into bloom. (File photo by MSU Ag Communications/Kat Lawrence)
March 3, 2015 - Filed Under: Beekeeping, Insects

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Spring is a busy time for bees and beekeepers, as longer days and warmer weather bring the first flowers into bloom.

Jeff Harris, Mississippi State University Extension bee specialist and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station researcher, said bees are growing rapidly during the months of February and March.

Mississippi State University Extension Service beekeeping specialist Jeff Harris presents 4-H'er Garrett Smith of Starkville, Miss. with the state- and national-level awards for the 4-H Honey Bee Essay Contest. The presentation was made May 7, 2014 at MSU. (Photo by MSU Ag Communications/Keri Collins Lewis)
May 8, 2014 - Filed Under: 4-H, Beekeeping, Community

MISSISSIPPI STATE – A Starkville eighth-grader won first place at the state level and second place at the national level of a 4-H writing competition with his essay about beekeeping during colonial times.

Garrett Smith, a 4-H member and student at Starkville Academy, said he was inspired to enter the 4-H Honey Bee Essay Contest after he toured Mississippi State University’s entomology lab with his little brother’s Clover Dawgs 4-H club.

Beekeeping is a popular activity in Mississippi. The state has 12 full-time commercial beekeepers, 35 part-time honey producers and several hundred hobbyists. (Photo by MSU Extension Service/File Photo)
March 21, 2014 - Filed Under: Beekeeping

MISSISSIPPI STATE -- If thoughts of keeping bees have been buzzing in your head, you’re not alone.

“Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby, a profitable sideline, or a full-time occupation,” said Jeffrey Harris, beekeeping specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Mississippi is home to approximately 12 full-time commercial beekeepers, 35 part-time honey producers, and several hundred hobbyists. The state ranks twenty-eighth in the nation in honey production, with about 2.25 million pounds of honey produced each year.

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