About Us

Honey Bee Extension and Research Program

Founded in 2012, the honey bee program is operated by Extension Professor Dr. Jeff Harris and his Research Associate, Audrey Sheridan.  The main lab and offices are located in the Clay Lyle Entomology Building, just west of Sorority Row.  Click on the campus map below for directions to our building:

Clay Lyle Map

The program was developed through MSU’s Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Entomology and Plant Pathology in response to the needs and requests of in-state beekeepers.  Our mission is to produce high-quality and relevant honey bee research and to disseminate the most accurate information on bee management to beekeepers throughout the state of Mississippi.  For more information about the research focus and extension services provided by our lab, click here.



Meet Dr. Jeff Harris.

DSC_0176 (800x704)I am the Extension/Research Apiculturist here at Mississippi State University.  I moved to Mississippi after working for 15 years as a bee breeder with the USDA, ARS Honey Bee Breeding Lab in Baton Rouge, LA.  I am best known for my involvement with other scientists in developing lines of honey bees that express high levels of Varroa Sensitive Hygienic (VSH) behavior.  Prior to working with the government, I received my doctoral degree in insect physiology (Department of Zoology & Physiology) and my Master’s degree in entomology (Department of Entomology) from Louisiana State University.



Meet Audrey Sheridan.


I have worked in honey bee research for nearly 13 years, beginning at Oklahoma State University with a Master’s in Entomology and continuing to Mississippi State, where I am a full-time Research and Extension Associate.  My particular interest is in Small Hive Beetle behavior and control, but I am excited to dive into honey bee breeding with Dr. Harris! Educating the public about bees and beekeeping is one of my favorite aspects of the job, and interacting with the beekeeping community provides excellent ideas and direction for new research as well.


Meet Heather Blackwell.

FB_IMG_1439412468334Heather is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Entomology. She is a Graduate Research Assistant working with honey bees. Heather’s research focuses on how the pesticides used in the Mississippi Delta on soybean crops impacts health of queen bees. She holds undergraduate degrees from East Central Community College (Associate of Science; 2006) and Mississippi State University (Bachelor of Science; Biology Education; 2008). For the past seven years she has also been on staff at several camps at MSU, including Bug and Plant Camp, Beekeeping Camp, MSU Intergenerational Conservation Camps for upland and wetland ecology, and Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge Rangers Day Camp.