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The Buzzing Place to Be

Volunteer with the NBA

Volunteering is a powerful way to make a positive impact in your community and beyond. By lending your time, energy, and skills to the Nebraska Beekeepers Association you can help create a better beekeeping experience for those around you. Whether you're looking to build new skills, meet new people, or simply make a difference, volunteering with the NBA is a fulfilling and rewarding experience. And with so many opportunities available, there's no limit to what you can achieve. So why not consider volunteering today? By joining the efforts of the Nebraska Beekeepers Association you can help make a real and lasting difference to the organization and its mission. 


By Dr. Judy Wu-Smart


This year we received 40 packages and 20+ queens for our research and teaching apiaries so we’ve been keeping very busy. Here’s a photo of what that looked like in our lab and when we started setting up our hives for classes this Spring at the Pollinator Garden Apiary on East Campus.
Some of these hives were the same ones you inspected during our field training classes. I really enjoyed meeting all of you and your families at our beekeeping classes and have attached a few pictures to share from Lincoln, North Platte, Scottsbluff, and Nebraska City. Each of these locations (and Seward and Omaha) now have teaching apiaries that you can visit to work with and learn from other beekeepers during open apiary days.


The weather was warm enough for our Lincoln class to do a swarm demonstration, so people got to experience a swarm of bees up close and even take some selfies.


The North Platte class experienced beekeeping under high winds (30 mph) and chilly conditions (low 50’s) but it’s better for the packages to be hived immediately rather than sitting in a garage. These packages were so big and full that they were all out of syrup when we hived them.


The Western Nebraska beekeepers hosted the field training for our course in Scottsbluff and Kimmel Orchard hosts our classes each year in Nebraska City. We had excellent weather for both of these days and beekeepers spent the day inspecting hives and gleefully playing with bees.

You can find out more about these open apiaries here: Open Apiary | Great Plains Master Beekeeping | Nebraska ( However, keep in mind “Open Apiaries” is a new effort through Great Plains Master Beekeepers Training program and in partnership with Nebraska Beekeepers Association as well as many other beekeeper associations across the region. Therefore, we are still receiving new locations and details on available times for some areas so check back during the summer for new/updated information.


I hope that bee packages were all installed without any issues and your hives should be progressing and expanding outward, especially given all this warm weather lately. Feel free to move frames that have not been drawn out toward the center (placed in between drawn frames) to encourage them to keep drawing out wax combs. Add second boxes if the colonies have 7+ frames drawn out and are queenright with good brood, meaning they have offspring of all stages (eggs, larvae, & pupae) present. Move one frame with older brood and food into the center of the 2nd box to draw and encourage bees to move from the 1st box into the new box. No need to find the queen but it's good to make sure there are no queen issues (such as queen cells).


You should NOT see formation of queen cells (either swarm cells or emergency replacement cells) shortly after installing hives unless something went wrong with the installation or bees are doing so well that they are feeling congested. If you do see queen cells then contact your mentor but don’t mistaken them for drone brood or cells containing developing male bees which are larger and protrude out of frames but not as elongated or to the extent that queen cells are.

Well, that’s it for updates. I’ll send out another update sometime mid-summer but please keep in contact with your mentors regularly and let us know how things are going by posting on facebook.

Happy keeping and bee well.

Judy Wu-Smart

Associate Professor & Extension Specialist

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bee Lab

Bee Lab Website: UNL Bee Lab | Department of Entomology

GPMB Website: Great Plains Master Beekeeping | Nebraska (

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