Author: Michael Smith

Beekeepers Should Move their Colonies away from Sorghum and Milo

A new and devastating pest of sorghum and milo requires extensive spraying of insecticides for control.  The Yellow Sugar Cane Aphid was discovered on these crops in Mississippi last year.  The aphid has shifted from sugar cane onto the new and vulnerable plant hosts (sorghum and milo).  This pest can reach incredibly high populations in these fields in very short periods of time.  The result is severe economic harm to the grower.  As a consequence, many of these farmers are applying foliar insecticides 1-2 times per week.  If you have bees near these fields, they are under much greater risk of exposure than in years past because of this greatly increase rate of insecticide application.  I highly recommend that you move your bees away from these crops, or you find a way of protecting them from the potential of insecticide drift.  The risk is much greater than in previous years near these fields of sorghum and milo.


— Dr. Jeff Harris

New Varroa Management Guide Released

We just received our copy of a Varroa mite management guide that was produced by the Honey Bee Health Coalition™ (HBHC).  This is an extensive and excellent tool written primarily by Dr. Dewey Caron, and it that provides more details than in the one we had produced last year.  In particular, they provide more extensive information on each of the chemical treatments available for Varroa control.  I highly recommend that beekeepers use both guides when thinking about controlling this key parasite.  We have provided PDF files of the HBHC guide and our IPM guide under our Resources heading.

Become an Affiliate with MBA

The MBA board of directors has recently updated and made some important changes to its constitution to correct an error in the way representation on the Board of Directors had been organized. The primary rules for the organization of the board is as followed:

  • The MBA Executive Board now consists of greater than 10 members:
    • 3 members are the officers (President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer).
    • 3 members are At-large Directors that represent each of the membership levels (hobbyist, sideliner and commercial beekeepers) for MBA.
    • Each affiliate club will be allowed representation on the MBA Board.

In order to gain representation on the board, your local club must become formally recognized by the MBA Executive board. All clubs wishing to gain affiliation with MBA will be voted on by the Executive Board on the during a business meeting after the necessary information is submitted. Please send the following information into Cheryl Yeagley ( by the deadline of April 30, 2015.

  • List of officers. The list should include with contact information for each officer. Contact information should include email, phone number and mailing address. Please describe how officers are periodically replaced. You do not need to supply a copy of bylaws, but please tell us how you plan to elect new officers.
  • Starting date of the club. Please tell us when the club was formed and when the first meeting occurred.
  • Meeting schedule and location. Please tell us the specific location for your regular meetings. Also, how often do you meet? Some clubs may only meet quarterly, while others may meet monthly (e.g. the 1st Thursday of every month).
  • Average attendance. Please estimate the average number of people that attend your regular meetings.


2014 MBA Annual Conference Agenda

The 2014 Annual Conference will be here very soon and we will have an array of different speaks and workshops for attendees. Some of the sessions and workshops include Small Scale to Sideline and Beyond with Blake Shook, Beekeeping in Bangladesh with Phil Craft, Honey Bee Nutrition with Jennifer Tsuruda, along with many more. You can look over the agenda for this year's annual conference and the bio's for our speakers below. See you in Philadelphia. 
Blake Shook says he can’t imagine doing anything else and he probably never will. He is the current President for the Texas Beekeeper’s Association and a member of the executive board for the American Beekeeping Federation. Blake lives and operates his beekeeping business just outside of Dallas, Texas, in McKinney and he has been at it since he was just 12 years old. Doing the math, that was 10 years ago when Shook says he got involved in the trade after taking part in a local youth program that offered one beehive to kids between the ages of 12 and 17. By the time he graduated high school, he says he already had a pretty large beekeeping business. These days he has around 2,000 beehives and each hive has about 80,000 bees.
Phil Craft served as the Kentucky State Apiarst from 1999 through 2011. He is a graduate of Oberlin College in Ohio (BA in biology), and of the University of Kentucky. Phil continues to communicate with beekeepers through his “Ask Phil” question/answer column which appears monthly in Bee Culture magazine, and through his webpage, He is also the U.S. echnical adviser for Veto-pharma, the maker of Apivar. A native of the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, he now lives out in the sticks in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky near Lexington with his family, a very old dog, and some bee hives. You may send questions to Phil at
Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda is the new extension apiculturist at Clemson University. Prior to the new job, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of Greg Hunt at Purdue University. There she studied the molecular genetic aspects of several varroa-resistant behaviors that included grooming behavior and Varroa Sensitive Hygiene. She continues using molecular genetics to breed bees for improved resistance to varroa mites and the Small Hive Beetle in South Carolina.
Joey Daniels serves as President of the Mississippi Agricultural Aviation Association. He has owned and operated Daniels Aviation Inc. in Hollandale, MS for 9 years and has been in the Ag Aviation Business for 21 years. He has served as the MAAA board member for 6 years. He has logged over 17000 hours of crop spraying and forestry work. Joey attended Valdosta State University and Flight Training in Ag Flight in Bainbridge, GA. Joey is originally from Cordele, GA and has lived in Inverness, MS for 17 years where he is married with three kids.

Friday, October 31

8:00 a.m. Registration & Visit Vendors

9:00 a.m. Derwin Trash --- MBA President’s Welcome

9:15 a.m. Blake Shook --- Small Scale to Sideline and Beyond

10:00 a.m. Jennifer Tsuruda --- Grooming Behavior and Varroa Mites


11:15 a.m. Charie Stribling --- Liability Insurance and Honey Bees

11:45 a.m. LUNCH --- BRISKET SANDWICH (ticket required)

1:00 p.m. Phil Craft --- Beekeeping in Bangladesh

1:00 p.m. Blake Shook --- Beekeeping 201 Workshop

1:45 p.m. Joey Daniels --- Aerial Crop Sprayers and Bees

1:45 p.m. Jennifer Tsuruda --- Honey Bee Nutrition Workshop


3:00 p.m. Steven Coy --- Pollinator Protection

3:00 p.m. Jeff Harris --- Getting Started in Beekeeping Workshop

3:45 p.m. Audrey Sheridan --- Foraging Behavior

3:45 p.m. Phil Craft --- First Year Hive Management Workshop

4:30 p.m. Richard Adee --- Legislative Update

4:30 p.m. Jeff Harris --- Basic Bee Biology Workshop


6:30 p.m. DINNER --- FRIED CATFISH & FIXIN’s (ticket required)

Saturday, November 1

8:00 a.m. Registration & Visit Vendors

9:00 a.m. Jeff Harris --- Instrumental Insemination

9:00 a.m. Johnny Thompson --- Honey Houses & MS Department of Health Workshop

9:45 a.m. Audrey Sheridan --- Caste Differentiation

9:45 a.m. Jeff Harris --- Medicating Bees Workshop


11:00 a.m. Questions and Answers (wrap up)

11:45 a.m. Annual Business Meeting

You may download the PDF copy of the agenda here.

The MBA Annual Convention

Our annual convention will be held at the Neshoba Coliseum at 12000 HWY 15 N, Philadelphia, MS 39350 (phone: 601-656-5775) on Friday-Saturday (October 31 – November 1, 2014). The Thompsons (Johnny, Kenneth and Joan) became the local program organizers after Derwin Thrash had trouble finding a suitable venue in central Mississippi. As usual, there will be an annual business meeting on the Thursday (October 30) before the convention. This meeting will be at the Dancing Rabbit Inn (13240 HWY 16 W, Choctaw, MS 39350; phone 601-389-6600). Johnny has blocked off about 30 rooms for Thursday night, and this is also the hotel reserved for attendees of the convention staying over on Friday night. The room charge is $69 + tax for Thursday night and $89 + tax for Friday night. To receive the convention rate, use the following room block code when you make your reservations: DGBEE14. The phone number for the reservation desk is 1-866-44-PEARL. The deadline for making your reservations using the group rate is October 9, 2014. Check-in time is 4:00 PM; check-out is 11:00 AM.

If you play golf, this is a chance to play on a pretty nice course. The Dancing Rabbit Golf Course ( is offering a twilight package rate of $75 for anyone wishing to play on Thursday afternoon. You can also play on Saturday after the meeting, but you will pay the usual rates. If interested, please book your tee-time way in advance with Sean Racki because the playing slots will fill up long before the meeting.

A local Cattlemen Association will provide beef brisket for lunch on Friday. The Banquet meal (Friday night) will be a southern style Catfish Fry with all the trimmings. Chicken nuggets and beef brisket will also be available for those not wanting catfish.

Johnny invites everyone to come to Broke-T Honey (their home) after the meeting ends on Saturday. It will be an opportunity to mingle and relax with fellow beekeepers and talk bees.

Speakers for the convention will include Blake Shook, Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda and Phil Craft. A registration form is available to  download here. Please send your convention registration form and fees to Stan Yeagley, 214 Shadow Wood Dr., Clinton, MS 39056.


Beginners Workshop in Jackson

The Central Mississippi Beekeepers Association hosted a beginner’s workshop on Saturday, March 15 at the Ag & Forestry Museum. Walter McKay started the event with a hands-on presentation of beekeeping equipment and jargon. He was followed by me with several power point presentations related to bee diseases, nutrition and methods for starting colonies of bees from either nucs or packages. The formal presentations were followed by an on-site lunch, which was provided by a local Boy Scout troop.

After lunch, we assembled in groups to learn how to work colonies of bees. This is almost always the best part of these workshops. For some folks, it was the first time that they had ever seen the inside of a hive. The outside activities were very relaxed and informal, and we covered all of the basics including lighting a smoker, the proper way of working a colony of bees and recognizing abnormal colony conditions.

Many of the > 115 participants told me that they greatly appreciated the day with the bees. All of the CMBA members that helped with the event deserve a round of applause for ensuring an uneventful (in terms of things going wrong) and educational experience for new beekeepers. This is almost always the workshop having the largest attendance each year.

4-H Beekeeping Essays – Due on January 20, 2013

The American Beekeeping Federation and The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees continue to sponsor an annual beekeeping essay contest for 4-H members. The topic for this year’s contest is “Beekeeping in Colonial Times.” Official rules for entry can be found at MSUCares (

Essays will be judged by a team of entomologists from Mississippi State University. State winners will receive prize money (1st place – $100, 2nd place – $75, and 3rd place – $50) and a plaque from MBA at our next annual convention. We may even ask the first place winner to read the winning essay at the banquet. The State first place winner will receive a book from the sponsors. National winners will also receive prize money (1st – $750, 2nd – $500 and 3rd – $250). Submit your essay and all required documents to Jeff Harris ( by close of business on January 20, 2014.

© 2020 Mississippi Beekeepers Association

Site Designed and Hosted by AccessdriveUp ↑