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Beekeeping Education and Support Fund

Fourth Year Veterinary Students learn how to diagnose honey bee diseases as part of a clinical rotation through the veterinary school.  The teaching apiaries provided locations where students can learn hive-handling and disease management skills.  Michigan is one of the most important states for bees and beekeeping. Michigan beekeepers not only produce delicious honey, but they also provide pollination for fruits and vegetables in the state. While much of the honey production and pollination is done by large-scale commercial beekeepers, small-scale beekeepers are an important and growing group. It is estimated that over 10,000 individuals in Michigan participate in small-scale beekeeping. 

These small scale-beekeepers are essential to our state. They provide pollination services and produce to other small farmers, produce locally available honey, and small-scale beekeeping provides a pipeline to train beekeepers and to start new sideline and commercial beekeeping operations. Small-scale beekeeping is essential to Michigan agriculture, but it is a difficult time to be a beekeeper. High losses from diseases and other stressors continue to plague beekeepers, making up-to-date information and training essential to their success. Michigan State University Extension wants to increase and improve education and extension to small-scale beekeepers. 

Your Gift Will Support Michigan Beekeepers and Honey Bees

With help, we can support small-scale beekeepers and promote honey bee health in a variety of ways:

  • Partnership with clubs: MSU Extension will partner with state-wide and local beekeeping associations to provide education and outreach.  This campaign aims to strengthen the partnership between MSU Extension and the beekeeping associations that serve the beekeepers.  Funding will cover travel, programming, and material costs to develop scientifically based beekeeping education through the Michigan bee clubs. 
  • Extension and Education ApiariesBeekeepers in Michigan need more online and hands-on opportunities to learn about beekeeping. MSU can maintain honey bee colonies around the state so that beekeepers can practice hive-handling and learn management skills. We were able to purchase hives and bees through a grant, but continued support is now needed to maintain and manage the colonies. In the past few years we have been able to use the Extension and Education Apiaries to provide seasonal updates and recommendations to beekeepers through the Michigan Beekeepers' Association newsletter, our MSU Bee Blog, the Michigan Small Farms Newsletter, the Michigan State University Facebook page, and presentations. We have used the apiaries for in-hive instruction and demonstration for beekeeping associations, military veterans in the Heroes to Hives program, veterinary students, and veterinarians. In 2019, MSU managed apiaries at MSU farms in Benton Harbor, Escanaba, Hickory Corners, Lake City, Lansing, and Novi. We are seeking support to continue managing these apiaries and to support beekeeping clubs that are looking to provide education to local beekeepers.
  • Online education and programming: Not every beekeeper has a local club or can easily drive to an Extension and Education Apiary. We want to support all the beekeepers throughout the state, and we can do so through online programming. We have had great success and feedback for our online Pollinator Champions Course as well as our MSU Beekeeping Webinars, which have been broadcasted live through Facebook and posted on our You Tube Channel. We need support to produce these materials and to make them accessible to all beekeepers. 

Project Budget

Funding for this project will be in the following ways:

  • A collection of boxes for bee homesSupport the time needed to provide outreach, education, and support for small-scale beekeepers.
  • Maintain existing apiaries by covering travel costs to visit and care for bees as well as necessary maintenance costs. This includes feed and treatment for the bees as well as batteries for scales and monitoring equipment.
  • Support staff to travel to bee clubs for in-hive and classroom presentations.
  • Print handouts and outreach materials.
  • Secure editing and audiovisual support of online materials.

Make a Gift by Mail:

University Advancement
Spartan Way
535 Chestnut Road, Room 300
East Lansing, MI 48824

*Make check payable to Michigan State University and write “Appeal 21OOPCF1BEEKEEP” in the note section.

CARES Act

The CARES Act allows taxpayers to take a charitable deduction of up to $300 for those who take the standard deduction. As always, please consult your tax advisor/attorney for advice on your specific situation.

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