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The University of Tennessee Institue of Agriculture

Bees and Beekeeping

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Bees and Beekeeping

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2015 TN Master Beekeeper Advanced Class schedule and registration is open at this link. This is a new, advance level class

bee inspection

More information on what we do:

UT honey bee extension efforts focus on supplying accurate research-based information to extension agents and beekeepers to improve the beekeeping industry, promote pollination of fruits and vegetables and help beekeepers "keep" their honey bee colonies alive.

Honey bees pollinate numerous crops in the United States valued annually in excess of $14.6 billion. The value of crops benefiting from pollination exceeds $119 million annually in TN. Diseases and pests, especially two parasitic mites have caused annual losses in some years averaging 50%.

field class extension logo Cooperative efforts address the needs of regional, state and local beekeeping associations, along with national needs for pollinator health. Activities include conducting educational programs, workshops and training sessions for agents and beekeepers. The Tennessee Beemaster Program provides extensive classes and demonstrations with enrollment exceeding 500 in the year 2000. A minimum of three classes are being offered in 2008-09 with 180 enrolled. These classes emphasize how to manage mite and disease populations using integrated pest management strategies, or IPM. We provide publications for beekeeping information through our state level extension publications, some of which can be found on the "publications" page. We are also heading up a 'managed pollinators' national eXtension initiative (pronounced E-extension) to provide research-based, online extension information, in co-operation with the USDA and CSREES, as a way to address colony collapse disorder and improve the overall health of managed bees nationwide.

sticky board Research efforts at UT include developing an integrated pest management system for honey bees and pollination improvement studies. Mite management studies have included developing alternative treatments for tracheal and Varroa mites including formic acid gel and seeking registration for the botanical oil product, ApiLife-VAR. ApiLife-VAR has become an important, new, 'soft pesticide' product for beekeepers nationwide, along with the similar product; Apiguard. Other IPM studies have worked with genetic resistance, physical factors (open bottom boards) and isolation (reduce re-infestation) to manage Varroa mites populations below economic thresholds. This work was done in co-operation with researchers from Georgia and South Carolina. Pollination studies include assisting the UT Dogwood Team to develop new cultivars resistant to powdery mildew and anthractnose by using honey bees to pollinate selected cultivars in cages. Other studies examine how to improve vine crop pollination including squash and pumpkin. Additional person to person extension work is conducted through a myriad of public event displays, lectures, Q&A sessions, and our traveling observation hive.



Learn about Blueberry pollination in the first video in a series about Pollination Security in the Northeast


A major storm in 2011 knocked down a bee tree. This gave us the opportunity to illustrate a frequently asked question: I have honey bees in a tree. Can I remove them and keep the bees?


Extension Specialist and Proffessor John Skinner and State Apiarist Mike Studer are interviewed here by Chuck Denny of UTIA about honey bee losses nation wide.

Ag day observation hivePlease examine this colony of web-pages to learn more about beekeeping in Tennessee!