Entomology, Department of


First Advisor

Dr Judy Wu-Smart

Second Advisor

Dr Kyle Koch

Third Advisor

Dr Larkin Powell

Date of this Version



Brummel, S. (2022). Developing Regional Extension Programs and Research Tools for Beekeepers. [Masters thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln]. Digital Commons.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College of the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Entomology, Under the Supervision of Professor Judy Wu-Smart. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2022.

Copyright © 2022 Sheldon Brummel


The body of work presented in this thesis describes the development and structure of the Regional Great Plains Master Beekeeping training program, which started in 2019, serves 1500+ beekeepers across five Midwest states (IA, KS, MO, NE, WY), and is supported through local partnerships and beekeepers. This chapter also discusses the leadership structure and aspects I developed for program advancement and long-term sustainability, such as incorporating mentorship and volunteer service goals as well as requiring independent projects to become a certified Master beekeeper. Independent projects may focus on research or teaching goals but must illustrate the candidate’s ability to apply scientific methods and critical thinking skills that will contribute to the GPMB program and the greater beekeeping industry.

The second chapter of this thesis is an example of a GPMB research-based project which seeks to evaluate a new field assay that will help beekeepers identify which colonies are more pest and disease resistant and thus are ideal for breeding and which colonies should be culled or removed from the apiary. Evaluating the use of alternatives to liquid nitrogen will allow for cheaper and more mobile testing for hygienic behavior in small scale and hobbyist beekeeping operations which is critical for selecting and promoting locally adapted stock. The thesis presented here seeks to describe these changes and highlights ways the Midwest beekeeping industry has adapted through training programs that do more than offer knowledge and skills but also promote experiential learning and retention through community engagement.

Advisor: Judy Wu-Smart