MSU gets new apiary for classes, research

Published 10:23 am Thursday, April 7, 2022

By Susan Collins-Smith
MSU Extension Service

MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. — Beekeeping classes at Mississippi State University will be held in a new, improved apiary beginning this summer.

The 768-square-foot facility, which houses at least 12 beehives, will be used for beekeeping workshops and research. Located at the Clay Lyle Entomology Complex, the apiary is a joint endeavor of the MSU Extension Service and Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

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The apiary was constructed through a partnership among MSU assistant professor and MAFES researcher Priya Chakrabarti Basu, Extension bee specialist Jeff Harris, and MSU Delta Research and Extension Center Head Jeff Gore.

The apiary will enhance research and teaching activities and serve as a permanent home for the honeybees used in Extension teaching and MAFES research programs.

“This apiary will allow us to have larger classes and better interaction with participants,” said Audrey Sheridan, the apiculture Extension and MAFES research associate in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology. “We’ll be able to keep the honeybees here year-round, too, instead of having to move the hives when we have a workshop.”

Beekeeping classes offered through Extension include beginner beekeeping and queen rearing.

Sheridan and Chakrabarti Basu are studying how bee nutrition influences bees’ interaction with pesticides and how bees are impacted by other stressors, including pests, parasites, diseases and climate change.

Materials for the apiary were donated by local businesses.

Harris offers beekeeping programs regularly around the state. His next comprehensive workshop is scheduled for April 27 in Prentiss from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event will cover first-year beekeeping, basic hive equipment, overwintering honeybees, and managing Varroa mites and other diseases. Hands-on activities will also be offered, including how to inspect a hive, how to work bees and how to sample for Varroa mites. Registration is required. For more information and to register, call the Jefferson Davis County Extension office at 601-792-5121.

For information about potential upcoming beekeeping classes, contact the local Extension office.