Master Beekeeping Master Beekeeping

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.



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)

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 website will be updated soon with information for 2020 but you can take a look now for an idea of the requirements, process, eligible items, etc. The 2020 application materials will be available in late August. Note that the 2020 application period will only be one week long – Oct. 1-7, 2020 – so mark your calendars and start getting your application materials ready! 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.


***The USDA has recently included honey in its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Please see their website for details and FAQs. The application period closes on December 11, 2020.


–> Read about the impact of COVID-19 on honey bee research and education: COLOSS survey: global impact of COVID-19 on bee research. Every participant reported an impact on one or more of their activities.


UT Master Beekeeping Program

Classes are coordinated by the State Apiculturist (Dr. Jennifer Tsuruda) and hosted by county Extension offices. There is a basic class and an advanced class – you must take the UT basic class before you can enroll in the advanced class. Either of these classes will count towards TAEP requirements and the certificates of completion are good for three years for TAEP.

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the Master Beekeeping Program 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.

*We have checked with TDA and no one is need of a MBP class in 2020 for TAEP reimbursement/certification (certificates are good for three years). If you will be applying to TDA’s TAEP program Oct 1-7, 2020, and have not taken a UT MBP class or your certificate was issued before 2017, you will have until August 1, 2021 to take a UT Master Beekeeping Program class for the required certification for additional cost-share reimbursement. Please see the TAEP/Producer Diversification websites and email contact (above) for more information about the dates and requirement. We hope UT will be able to offer traditional in-person classes with hands-on opportunities next season but do not worry – no matter what, we will have some type of educational programming that will qualify before the Aug. 1, 2021 deadline.

–> We are tentatively planning classes in Fentress County in April of 2021 and Knox County in May 2021. More information and registration will be available in 2021, once we have more current information and guidance on the covid situation.


Please fill out THIS INTEREST FORM to help guide us in planning class locations in the future.

When classes are developed, they will be 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. We started back in March with two presentations a month but are now switching to once a month as more folks are phasing out of stay at home orders. Stay tuned as we add dates into 2021!

***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.

ASIAN GIANT HORNETS (Vespa mandarinia)

You can also find posts and links to photos about Asian giant hornets on EPP’s Facebook page (click HERE). 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.

10-26-20 Update – The Washington State Department of Ag discovered an Asian giant hornet nest in a tree near Blaine, WA last week and they believe they successfully vacuumed out the hornets from the nest on Saturday, Oct. 24th. More information to come – the USDA will study some of the collected hornets in hopes of developing a lure or attractant for trapping. You can see and watch some neat photos and videos on the WSDA Facebook page.

Please see the WA State Dept of Ag’s website for previous updates and more information.


In recent weeks, people in TN have reported seeing syrphid (hover) flies but have thought they were hornets or bees. Please see these placards to see the differences between these flies and hornets/bees – many of these flies are beneficial insects so please refrain from killing them.



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.




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


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