John Skinner is Professor and Extension Apiculture Specialist at the University of Tennessee where he has worked on research, teaching and extension for 26 years. Research included mite pest management, pesticides movement in soil and from seed treatments, pollination ecology of native and crop species, plantings for pollinators, and developing web based information about bees and beekeeping. He trains extension agents to work with local bee associations throughout Tennessee. He coordinates a Master Beekeeper Program, leads the Bee Health eXtension site and is part of the BIP and NAPPC to reduce colony losses. He enjoys reading, hiking, fly fishing and tying, singing and foraging.

The Grand Interaction of Flowers, Bees, Growers, and Beekeepers

This presentation explains pollination as a mutualistic interaction where the pollinator receives food while visiting the flower and the plant reproduces. We will “think like bees” or “think like plants” to examine this interaction. Bees are the ideal pollinators having the morphology, physiology and behavioral attributes to be successful foragers. The flower(s) provide advertisements in the form of visual, olfactory and physical stimuli that the bee has the ability to respond to. Extending the Interaction further, beekeepers and growers must cooperate to understand their respective needs to successfully pollinate the crop and produce the fruit vegetable or seed that we need to survive.

Those Other Pollinators, Native Bees

This presentation describes the diversity of bees in addition to honey bees. It explains where bees fit into classification and examines the major families of native bees including aspects of biology, sociality, nest architecture, behavior and value as pollinators. We will look at native bees that are used commercially to pollinated crops such as orchard mason bees, leafcutter bees, alkali bees and bumble bees, but what about the sweat bees, carpenter bees, miner bees and orchid bees, Oh my?