MISSISSIPPI AGRICULTURE Commissioner Lester Spell has announced today the state's department of agriculture will host the annual statewide beekeeping workshop May 20-21 at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum in Jackson.

The department has worked with various groups and agencies to recruit new beekeepers because wild populations of honey bees have declined. Honeybees both in the wild and in commercial hives make an important contribution to Mississippi agriculture with their pollination of various crops and plants. Wild honeybee populations have regressed because of parasitic mites, other pests and disease.

“Our goal is to assist beekeepers in the maintenance of adequate numbers of honey bees available to pollinate crops and plants,” Spell said.

Topics for the workshop include discussions on basic beginning beekeeping as well as more advanced management techniques for experienced beekeepers. The format will be classroom discussions in the morning and outside demonstrations and activities in the afternoon.

Registration forms and information about specific activities and program topics can be obtained by contacting the state apiarist, Harry Fulton, at the Bureau of Plant Industry at 662-325-7765 or e-mailing him at Harry@mdac.state.ms.us. Registration is $10 for each day of the workshop.