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
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.
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