About the program
The University of Minnesota has maintained an internationally recognized research and extension program on honey bees since 1918. Since 1992, the Department of Entomology has supported the only bee research and extension program within five contiguous states (MN, WI, ND, SD, IA), and has developed a unique, regional extension program that receives strong support from professional and hobby beekeeping associations in these states.
Minnesota is the fifth largest honey producing state and North and South Dakota are the second and fourth. The recent collapse of honey bees nationwide threatens the economic vitality and profitability of the U.S. honey bee industry. Today more than ever, there is an increased need for effective research and outreach on honey bees.
Bee pollination of fruits, nuts, vegetables and flowers is vital to human nutrition and to the ecology and aesthetics of urban and rural landscapes. Value-added products from the beehive – honey, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and beeswax – provide many health and economic benefits to people worldwide.
- Hobby Beekeepers
- Commercial Honey Producers
- Master Gardeners
- Commercial Fruit & Vegetable Growers
- K-12 Science Teachers
- Medical Professionals
- To protect the health of bee pollinators and to promote sustainable beekeeping practices.
- To increase health of honey bees through research-based education on a variety of topics. Most recently we are exploring the antimicrobial activity and benefits of propolis (plant-derived resins that bees collect and apply as caulk within their nest cavity) on diseases and the immune system of honey bees.
- To breed bees for resistance to diseases and parasitic mites, to give beekeepers sustainable control options that do not facilitate the development of diseases and mites that are resistant to treatments, and do not contaminate the honey.
- To increase the understanding of the public of the roles and value of honey bees in the economy and quality of life in Minnesota including the creation of a working bee lab and education program in the new Bell Museum.