The Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce will hold four workshops to recruit, educate, and increase participation for new beekeepers in Mississippi.

Honey bees in the wild and in commercial hives make an important contribution to Mississippi agriculture through the pollination of various crops and plants. Populations of wild honey bees in the state have been declining in recent years due to parasitic mites, other insect pests, and disease.

Growing participation in beekeeping has the potential to increase the number of bees available to pollinate plants and crops.

Workshop dates and locations are:

• March 4: Beginner Beekeeper Workshop, Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum, Jackson, Miss.

• May 5-7: Advanced Workshop, Mississippi State University, Starkville, Miss.

• May 15-16: Lecture and Field Exercises, Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum, Jackson.

• June 2-3: Basic Workshop, Forrest County Extension Service, Hattiesburg, Miss.

Workshops will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions beginning with lectures and concluding with field exercises. Lectures will cover topics such as beginner’s beekeeping, bee biology, re-queening, disease and parasite control, quality honey production, colony management, and additional field exercises will allow for hands-on work in hives.

There is no charge for attending any of the workshops and pre-registration is recommended. Registration forms and workshop agendas can be obtained by contacting Harry Fulton, State Apiarist, at the Bureau of Plant Industry at (662) 325-3390 or Harry@mdac.state.ms.us.