Entomology, Department of


First Advisor

Dr. Judy Wu-Smart

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Weller

Third Advisor

Dr. Louise Lynch-O'Brien

Date of this Version



Brummel, C. (2022). Integrated honey bee education and research aids for promoting pollinator conservation. [Master's 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 Courtney R. Brummel


Extension and outreach programs combine University instruction and research, with off-campus outreach and service to the community. Successful public education requires training in which colleges and their education services provide programs relevant to today’s needs. To better engage with the public, institutions and Extension professionals often partner with private and not-for-profit organizations to provide training opportunities. The following thesis reviews one such partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Kimmel Orchard & Vineyard that provides science-focused, on-farm experiences and agriculture production training programming. Chapter 1 reviews their partnership since it began in 2005 and highlights examples of current farm-to-table education and conservation programs emphasizing the roles beneficial insects play in agroecosystems. Given the popularity of beekeeping, the reasons for keeping bees and demographics of beekeepers have greatly diversified over the past decade. With the evolving needs in beekeeping, innovations are necessary to provide scientifically vetted, evidence-based, and time-tested tools for beekeepers. Chapter 2 provides an evaluation of alternative honey bee hive structures comparing productivity and colony performance across three hive types to assess advantages and disadvantages for each. Results indicate minor differences in overall colony productivity, including some differences in brood and adult population, wax, pollen and nectar production levels between colonies managed in smaller boxes (Supers) compared to the other two hive types, but with no significant differences in overall honey yield, mite counts nor survivability. Data suggests that using alternative hive structures that require less physical labor such as smaller boxes (Supers) or hives that expand horizontally (Brummels) will be comparable to using the standard Langstroth hive structures (Deeps) and will not impact colony performance measures. The results of this study identify alternative options for managing bee colonies without the heavy lifting requirements of the standard Langstroth method and promotes local engagement regarding the importance of pollinator-friendly landscapes and practices that support healthy landscapes for managed and wild bees.

Advisor: Judy Wu-Smart