Beginning Beekeeping Workshop

MBA President Johnny Thompson and Dr. Jeff Harris will be hosting the second annual workshop for beginners at Broke T Honey Farm on December 9th! This is an all-day workshop that will give “new-bees” a thorough introduction to everything they need to start colonies of their own, including hands-on experience with bees in an established and professional beekeeping operation.

Follow the link below for more information:

Beginner Beekeeping Workshop


MSU Extension Beekeeping Series

Mark you calendars for September 25th and October 24th if you want to attend the MSU-EXT beekeeping series, “Fall Management Strategies” at the Monroe County Extension Office. Classes begin at 6:30, and registration is required. Click here for the event flyer and contact information.

Fall Flower and Garden Fest offers attractions for bee enthusiasts…

If you love gardening as well as beekeeping, visit the MSU Truck Crops Experiment Station in Crystal Springs, MS on October 13th & 14th for a fun and educational event!!

2017 Fall Garden Flyer

Upcoming Beekeeping Meetings

Dear Beekeeper,

Here are two meetings that are pertinent to beekeepers in Mississippi.  They will occur next Tuesday, and you participation would be greatly appreciated.

Mississippi Farm Bureau Honey Bee Commodity Meeting – The annual meeting allows beekeepers to discuss programs and issues affecting them. The commodity group provides input for MSFB to help shape policies. All beekeepers are welcome to participate – 10:00 AM on July 18, 2017 at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation in Jackson, MS.

Board Meeting of the Mississippi Beekeepers Association – This is our typical summer meeting. It will follow lunch after the MSFB Honey Bee Commodity meeting. Various items will be discussed, including preparations for the upcoming MBA annual convention – 1:00 PM on July 18, 2017 at the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation in Jackson, MS.


Jeffrey W. Harris

2017 Beekeeping Camp

Beekeeping Camp is back this year, and we still have open spots to fill! The camp will be held from June 18-22 at the Clay Lyle Entomology building on MSU campus. You can find out more about this action-packed event and register at:

Beekeeping Spring Classes Are Here!

The flowers are blooming (early), the bees are working hard, and Mississippi beekeepers are chomping at the bit to kick off our 2017 educational workshop series…so check out the Events calendar on our blog site for more information!  The first workshop will be in two weeks in Jackson. The program is already available for download…just follow the link provided. There is also a queen rearing workshop coming up next month in Pike County for those who were unable to attend our Starkville queen rearing class last year. Registration information is available now, so sign up to secure a spot!

Be there or be…uhh…hexagonal!


Mid-winter colony inspection

Winter mortality claims between 25% and 30% of managed honey bee colonies across the United States every year. Sometimes it is the result of high pathogen loads in the winter bee population; sometimes it is due to starvation. The short, mild winters we experience in Mississippi would lend one to believe that starvation is less likely an issue, and yet it does occur; usually during late January and February. Granted, winter mortality is more common among beginner beekeepers, but some years the losses are widespread in the beekeeping community.

Dead worker honey bees in a colony that starved due to inadequate honey reserves.
Dead cluster in a colony that starved due to inadequate or inaccessible honey reserves. Photo credit Alex Wild.

The most frustrating discovery during winter colony inspection is a small, dead cluster of bees in the brood box, and a full super of honey above them. The combs surrounding the cluster are probably empty. Especially if the cluster is quite small (i.e. softball size) this could be a case of poor access to food. It is important to note the size and position of the cluster at the beginning and end of the overwintering phase.  Bees begin to form a cluster when daytime highs are consistently about 60 F. This happens around mid-November in most of Mississippi. The colony gathers around the remaining capped brood in the brood nest, so it is important to locate this area when preparing hives for winter. You will want to place capped honey comb above and directly beside the cluster, as bees naturally eat their way up through honey comb. A very small cluster may not be able to travel far to reach honey stores, so if you are using a syrup feeder, make sure it is located proximate to the cluster.

Temperatures fluctuate quite drastically between December and March; there are periods of 70 F daytime temps that may last a few days to a week, followed by a sudden drop to sub-freezing night time temperatures. These huge temperature gradients will cause bees to break cluster and feed heavily, then reform a cluster, often somewhere else in the hive. It is very important to perform an inspection mid-winter to ensure bees have not eaten back too much of their stores due to these warm intervals. It is also important to rearrange honeycomb for better access if the cluster has moved away from the honey.

I usually perform our winter inspection during the mid-January warm spell (guess what I’m doing this week), and almost always feed 1:1 sugar syrup to compensate for high bee activity.  Once the maples and redbuds start to bloom in late February, I will go back through our hives and feed a thinner syrup to encourage wax production for brood rearing. Bees are bringing in pollen during this time, but I will typically supplement with 1/3 to 1/4 of a pollen patty.

The take-home message here is to be sure to do a January inspection, even if you think your bees had plenty of stores going into winter. Starvation is not just a problem for northern beekeepers!


2016 MBA Convention

Greetings beekeepers! Registration is open for the 2016 Convention, which will be held this year in Gulfport, MS. Look under the Resources tab on this blog site to find 2017 MBA Membership Renewal and 2016 Convention Registration forms. Also, please read the Letter of Invitation from MBA President Austin Smith for more information about this year’s convention. Hope to see you there!


Beekeeping Spring Series: Moving Forward

From the Monroe Co. Extension Office

Dear Beekeeper:

The last part of our series is approaching this weekend. Keith Williams will conduct this lesson, so please come to the “Beekeeping Spring Series: Moving Forward” to be held at the MSU Monroe County Extension Service Office at location 517 Highway 145 N., Ste. 1  Aberdeen, Mississippi 39730

This workshop is specifically for local beekeepers that want to learn how to promote and manage bees on their property! We will cover summertime inspections, rules for modern beekeeping, more on splits, also chores, tactics and ideas for success. We will also have demonstrations on beekeeper tactics on inspections, bee hive box parts and much more. Some parts of these sessions will be a “hands-on” learning experience through a series of lessons. **Please wear appropriate clothes, we will look at an active hive in demonstration at a local beekeeper’s hives.

This workshop will meet at the Monroe County Extension Office on Saturday, May 21, 2016 at 9:00 AM until noon.

There is no fee, so please call (662-369-4951) to register by Friday the 20th for the Beekeeping Spring Series.

If you want to have more hives of bees, you will find this workshop very helpful.  See you there!


Randall Nevins

Extension Agent/County Coordinator

Monroe County MSU Extension Service

517 Highway 145 North, Suite 1

Aberdeen, MS 39730

Office  (662) 369-4951

Fax      (662) 369-3682

Cell     (662) 769-9924

Pre-Registration for Queen Rearing Workshop

This year we are providing a catered lunch for participants in the Queen Rearing Workshop. However, we need a head count a few days before the workshop to know how many lunches to order. If you are interested in a complimentary lunch, please pre-register by April 25th. Thank you!!!