Training Educators to Protect Honey Bee Pollinators with Sustainable Pest Management

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2003: $126,648.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Region: Southern
State: Tennessee
Principal Investigator:
Dr. John Skinner
Univ. Tennessee

Annual Reports


  • Animals: bees


  • Pest Management: general pest management


    Nine workshops for 68 county Extension agents and 83 beekeeping association representatives were conducted in Tennessee(3), Alabama(4) and Kentucky(2). Workshops started with 3-hour classroom presentations with one hour on basic honey bee biology and pollination, followed by two hours on pest detection and integrated pest management. Workshops concluded with 2-hour hands-on inspections of honey bee colonies. Two new publications and two powerpoint presentations were produced for attendees. Post-session testing indicated agents’ knowledge after classes improved by 31% on average. Six new beekeeping associations were started as a result of this training with 2 new ones in each state.

    Project objectives:

    The project was intended to increase county Agriculture Extension agents' awareness of the importance of honey bees as pollinators and demonstrate the tools and techniques used to establish and maintain healthy, productive honey bee colonies. Specific objectives included:
    1) Increased educators' (extension agents and beekeeper representatives) knowledge about crop pollination and demonstrate how they, in turn, can train beekeeper-farmers to manage bees to improve pollination;
    2) Increased educators' knowledge about new honey bee mite management tactics and how to use them effectively.
    3) Improved extension agents' attitude about a subject that most are unfamiliar with.
    4) A long-term, mutually beneficial relationship should be established when trained, confident educators interact with beekeepers having very diverse lifestyles who request information about protecting their bees. When beekeepers discover that agents care about their problems and have the skill to provide solutions, future interactions are more likely to be successful leading to lasting partnerships that can serve as a framework for more programs.
    5) Improved recommendations, skill training and better rapport with educators should increase adoption of these management tactics by beekeepers throughout Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.