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Honey Bee Program

Honey bees have been the Official State Insect of Georgia since 1975, and a subject of teaching and inquiry at the University of Georgia for decades. These marvelous insects are manageable and are used to produce honey and pollinate crops. They are practical models of biological organization and social behavior.

Honey bee research at the University of Georgia addresses sustainable bee health management issues as well as more basic questions on bee pollination and foraging ecology. In all its endeavors, the UGA Honey Bee Program aims to develop research, teaching and extension initiatives that are locally responsive while globally relevant.

How to protect Pollinators & other Beneficial Insects

Some of the six- and eight-legged creatures you come across outside may seem scary, but they are actually helpful. These beneficial insects pollinate our flowers, fruits and vegetables - and some even kill the "bad" (or, destructive) bugs.

Please don't run to the big box store for a can of pesticide promising the most devastating results... first, read our information on Beneficial Insects.

Click the cover below to learn more about how to protect our state's pollinators:

Community and School Gardening in Georgia

Helping community and school gardeners succeed

Interested in Honey Bee Health?

Read more about Bee Health on

Africanized Bees In Georgia

Questions or comments

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In the News...

Young Harris Beekeeping Institute May 9-11th

Online Registration for the 2018 Beekeeping Institute has closed. However, walkins are welcome and you can register at the institute. Questions or comments: Please contact Bear and Marybeth Kelley, the Bee Institute Registrars, at or (229) 322-5025.

This year's 2018 Beekeeping Institute program can be viewed here

Our Latest Research

Ecological and evolutionary approaches to managing honeybee disease

Honeybee declines are a serious threat to global agricultural security and productivity. Although multiple factors contribute to these declines, parasites are a key driver. Disease problems in honeybees have intensified in recent years, despite increasing attention to addressing them. Here we argue that we must focus on the principles of disease ecology and evolution to understand disease dynamics, assess the severity of disease threats, and control these threats via honeybee management.


Fine scale population genetic structure of Varroa destructor, an ectoparasitic mite of the honey bee (Apis mellifera)

In this paper we collaborate with Emory colleagues to show that detectable genetic variation in Varroa populations occurs between apiaries, between colonies within an apiary, and even within colonies. This is evidence that a significant part of Varroa spread is horizontal via human-assiseted movement. Horizontal transmission, as opposed to vertical transmission when a colony swarms, is thought to promote higher virulence in mites.

Support the Bee Lab: Eat More Honey

Please support our UGA Bee Lab research efforts by purchasing some of our private-label, pure, raw honey. It is available from three convenient locations:

  • Athens Seed, Lawn and Garden
    54 Greensboro Highway
    Watkinsville, GA 30677
  • Southern Hardware 650 GA-72, Comer, GA 30629
  • Cofer's Home and Garden
    1145 Mitchell Bridge Road
    Athens, GA 30606
  • UGA Entomology Department
    413 Biological Sciences Building
    120 Cedar Street
    Athens, GA 30602