USDA Scientist Needs to Purchase Bees for Research

Dr. Yu Cheng Zhu, a research entomologist at the Stoneville USDA Lab, needs to purchase combs of brood and possibly adult bees for a toxicology research project.  He would prefer to buy from local (Delta area) beekeepers, and will drive to pick up the bees.  Beekeepers willing to sell must be able to accept credit cards.  If interested, please contact Dr. Zhu by phone or email:

Yu Cheng Zhu, Ph.D.
Research Entomologist
USDA-ARS
Stoneville, MS 38776, USA
Tel. 662-686-5360
E-mail: yc.zhu@ars.usda.gov

Bee Garden at MSU

By Jeff Harris

 Dr. Geoff Denny (Assistant Professor in Plant and Soil Sciences at Miss. State University) asked me to discuss gardening for pollinators and honey bees on the main campus in Starkville on Saturday, April 26.  We met at the old enology (wine making) lab near the North Farm.

I have little gardening experience myself, and when I have planted; my emphasis has always been on providing hummingbirds with adequate food plants.  However, my research associate, Audrey Sheridan, educated me recently on various aspects of gardening for bees and other insect pollinators.  She and another technician have maintained a pollinator garden at the Clay Lyle Entomology Building for many years.

 

GardenHives (800x532)Section of the pollinator garden at the Clay Lyle Entomology Building.

I began the discussion with a short presentation on the basic biology of honey bees.  I emphasized the importance of poly-floral diets in providing bees with the broad diversity of nutrients (amino acids, sterols, and vitamins) from the different pollens available to them when many different flower species are blooming simultaneously or in succession.  The talk then shifted to basic considerations of planting gardens and the types of plants that appeal to bees (and those that provide the best nutrition for honey bees).  I used Audrey’s power point slide set on this subject as part of my presentation.

GardenSkep (800x534)

 A water feature (shaped like a skep hive) provides the soulful sound of a waterfall, but more importantly it can provide a drink for thirsty bees.

After the formal presentation, many of the participants followed me to Clay Lyle where we wandered around the pollinator gardens.  Many of the plants were in full bloom, and various species of bees, flies, and butterflies were visiting the flowers.  It was another beautiful spring day, and the participants seemed to enjoy actually seeing a well-established pollinator garden.

NativeGarden (800x532)

 Poly-floral gardens provide a diversity of pollens that make them nutritionally ideal for honey bees and other pollinators.

Starkville Student Wins Big with Honey Bee Essay

JeffGarrett (713x473)By Keri Collins Lewis

 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.

“I became more interested in entomology after the tour,” Smith said. “I learned a lot about the history of beekeeping while doing online research for the essay. I downloaded a book because there isn’t a lot of information about beekeeping in colonial times online.”

Smith said he found it interesting to learn that honeybees are not native to the U.S. He also learned to appreciate the contribution bees make by pollinating crops.

“I now know to think twice before swatting a bee,” he wrote in his essay.

On May 7, MSU Extension Service beekeeping specialist Jeff Harris presented Smith with $100 from the Mississippi Beekeepers Association for his state-level award and $500 and a book about beekeeping for his national-level award.            Smith will receive a plaque and read his essay at the state beekeeping conference in the fall.

The national 4-H Honey Bee Essay Contest is sponsored by The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees and the American Beekeeping Federation.