The Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Our mission is to advance scientific knowledge and to provide science-based information to improve the sustainability of food
and fiber production, protection of natural resources and the lives of all the people in Tennessee and across the world.


Overview of UT and TDA Apiculture Assistance

The UT Institute of Agriculture and the TN Department of Ag (TDA) work together to support the beekeeping industry in TN. This chart summarizes some of the responsibilities under each agency. Links for county Extension offices and TDA can be found below the chart.

Click HERE to find your county office. *Just click on your county and then “About Us” to get the list of staff – please email your Agriculture and Natural Resources agent(s).

TDA Office of the State Apiarist (Mike Studer) (*For assistance with basic inspections, contact your local beekeeping club to see if they have a local inspector or mentor who can help you. Regional or state-level inspections are required for regulatory services such as permits.)

TN Ag Enhancement Program (TAEP) This cost-share program supports TN beekeepers who have at least five years of experience and 15 or more hives – beekeeping has challenges but this program is great motivation to try to stick with it and plan to grow your hobby into a production. Honey bees fall under Application B (haha!) for Producer Diversification. *The application period for 2020 was Oct. 1-7, 2020 but you can still check out the website until 2021 application materials come out in the summer of 2021, with applications likely due the in early October. Questions? Please contact

TDA pesticide information – please call (615) 837-5148 for assistance with a suspected pesticide-related bee kill. Time is of the essence due to the short window of opportunity for an investigation so this is the first call to make.

TDA Food Safety – if you pack or sell more than 150 gallons of honey per year, you must be licensed and inspected by the State of TN as a food manufacturing facility. Contact TDA Consumer and Industry Services Division at (615) 837-5153 for more information.


Scroll down to the bottom of the page for EVENTS


Swarm Season is Here – Bee Ready!

It is the time of year when honey bee colonies reproduce by dividing and swarming. Generally, around 50-75% of the adult bee population and the old queen leave and find a temporary site (often times a tree branch), where they will hang out while some individual bees go scouting for permanent nesting sites. A collective decision is made and the swarm takes flight for the permanent location, where the colony will be established. If you are a homeowner, who sees a cluster of bees, please contact your local beekeeping association to have a local beekeeper collect the swarm. Many of the local beekeeping associations have a swarm catcher list on their websites. You can also try contacting your county Extension office. It is always helpful if you have photos (to confirm they are actually honey bees and not yellowjackets, paper wasps, or another type of stinging insect) and have exact location information.

UT Master Beekeeping Program

Classes are coordinated by the State Apiculturist (Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda). Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Master Beekeeping Program in-person classes are currently on hold. As much as we understand the need for education and support for beekeepers and want to provide classes, we need to ensure the health of us all, which helps ensure the health of our bees. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Save your Thursday evenings April 22-July 8 for beekeeping education! This 12 week series (must attend at least 10 sessions for certification) meets from 7:00-8:30pm EST and costs $125 per participant ($150 after April 15th). Do not be confused by the name – there are no prerequisites for this Basic Level class and you will learn skills to help you be a successful beekeeper! Please note that if you intend to take the Advanced Level in the future, the Basic Level class is a prerequisite. This class is intended for participants over the age of 15; younger youth are encouraged to participate in their county Extension 4-H Beekeeping and Entomology Program.

If your Oct 2020 TN Ag Enhancement Program proposal was approved and you have not taken a TN MBP course or your previous certificate was issued before 2017, you will need to take the live, virtual 2021 TN MBP course series to receive the additional cost-share. You will have until August 1, 2021 to submit your TN MBP certificate and receipts to TDA TAEP. Please see the TAEP/Producer Diversification websites and email contact (above) for more information about the dates and requirements.

–> The live, virtual 2021 MBP evening course series is now full

AS OF 4-20-21, everyone who has registered has been sent a unique zoom link and an invitation to the Google Classroom (with an assignment).

Miss out? Fill out this INTEREST FORM to be informed of future class offerings!

When classes are developed, they are posted on this UT Apiculture website and EPP’s Facebook site, as well as shared with those who fill out the Interest Form, county Extension offices, and the TN Beekeepers Association. If you hear talk about classes from others, always check this official website to verify.


In the meantime, please consider attending a free, online beekeeping series to continue learning about bees and beekeeping! UT Apiculture is proud to be a part of this collaborative and diverse team! We want to make sure bee clubs and beekeepers do not feel obligated to hold in-person monthly meetings so now beekeepers (and bee enthusiasts) from around the world can tune in and continue their beekeeping education from the safety and comfort of their homes.

At Home Beekeeping Webinar Dates

***We have reached our maximum for registration but you can still watch via the Lawrence County Extension Facebook page (no registration needed – just go to the site a few minutes before 6:30pm Central Time)! Presentations will also be posted on the Facebook site for 2 weeks in case you missed it live or want to watch the presentation again.

Did You Know UTK is a Certified Bee Campus?

In March 2020, UTK became a certified Bee Campus, USA. Learn more about what this designation means for the campus and its pollinators!



Everyone Can Practice Responsible Bee Stewardship

Whether you are a beekeeper, a farmer, or a pesticide applicator, you can help in preventing accidental bee kills due to pesticides. Even homeowners can help by spreading the word about this program! TN participates in FieldWatch, a multi-state program that supports communication, collaboration, and cooperation between stakeholders who use or are affected by pesticides. Learn more at the FieldWatch website and make sure the check out the section on resources for videos on how to use this voluntary system. This program is free for stakeholders to use thanks to the TN Dept of Ag.

Beekeepers can sign up and register on the beecheck website (one of the programs of FieldWatch). Please note that this is a separate (and voluntary) registry than the mandatory TDA apiary registry and you are not automatically enrolled when you register your apiary with TDA. When you register for beecheck, please use the same email address that you used when you registered your apiary with TDA – this will facilitate and speed up the cross-checking for your beecheck registration to be accepted.


Are your Zoom meetings getting stale?

Is your house messy? Do you want to spark conversation about bees and beekeeping? If so, please click below to download some of Dr. Tsuruda’s  photos to use as your virtual background at your next Zoom meeting! Downloading and Zoom instructions are provided and a short survey is included to help steer the development of additional backgrounds.


ASIAN GIANT HORNETS (Vespa mandarinia)

Please see the WA State Dept of Ag’s website for previous updates and more information on the individuals and nest found near the Canadian border.

NCSU’s Plant Disease and Insect Clinic has a post with great photos but please note that each species can vary in size so it is helpful to look at the coloration and markings on the abdomen.

Anyone who believes they have seen an Asian giant hornet is encouraged to email photos to their local Extension agriculture and natural resources agent for identification through UT’s Distance Diagnostics program. So far, almost all submissions have been identified as European hornets, yellowjackets, or eastern cicada killers – none have been confirmed as Asian giant hornets. However, we want to be sure we do not have any Asian giant hornets in the area so if you are still unsure after consulting the photos in the links, please email your photos to your Extension office (see below) for identification.

There are many insects in TN that show a resemblance to these hornets. Please see these placards to see some of the visual features of syrphid flies compared to cicada killer wasps and bees – many of these flies are beneficial insects so please refrain from killing them.


More questions about bees and beekeeping?

Please contact your county Extension agricultural agent – click HERE to find your county office. *Just click on your county and then “About Us” to get the list of staff – please email your Agriculture and Natural Resources agent(s).

Upcoming Events & Recent Happenings

Upcoming Events

Recent Happenings

  • Dr. Tsuruda was recently a guest on Dr. Jamie Ellis’ Two Bees in a Podcast show at University of Florida and shared about how she became an Extension Specialist and what it means to be an Extension Specialist who deals with bees.

  • Enjoy UT’s Field Days from the comfort of your home! The Milan No-till Field Day is going virtual this year (starting July 23)! EPP’s Dr. Tsuruda and Dr. Stewart have presentations about the value of pollinators and how to protect them from pesticide exposure, and Michael McCord from TN Wildlife Resources Agency talks about opportunities for establishing pollinator habitat (see Tour J). Click on the picture below for more information!
  • Pollinator Week 2020 – EPP Facebook – June 21-28, 2020
  • Great Plains Master Beekeeping Fun Day – June 14, 2020
  • Stay at Home Beekeeping webinar – Learning from Pandemics to Improve Bee Management – April 16, 2020
  • Worcester, MA Beekeepers Association Spring Conference – March 7, 2020
  • Alabama Cooperative Extension Services 25th Annual Beekeeping Symposium – Clanton, AL February 1, 2020
  • American Beekeeping Federation Conference & American Bee Research Conference – Schaumburg, IL January 8-11, 2020
    Looking forward to hearing the latest in bee research and beekeeping and sharing a research study conducted in TN!
  • Extension Agent In-service Trainings
    Had a great time working with TN’s Extension agents! We are working on increasing assistance for beekeepers across the state!
  • Entomological Society of America Annual Conference – St. Louis, MO November 8-17-20, 2019
  • Dr. Tsuruda and Dr. Juliana Rangel (Texas A&M) are looking forward to the exciting symposium they have organized on the importance of advocating for research-based information for beekeepers. Great speakers from across North America presenting on topics with common misconceptions in the beekeeping world.

Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda

2505 E.J. Chapman Drive
207 Ellington Plant Sciences Building
Knoxville, TN 37996