• Hives and Habitats

    Pollinator Health, Management & Conservation

  • Welcome!


    Our mission is to support a healthy pollinator population through research, conservation and education.




    Solitary Bees vs. Social Bees

    There are over 20,000 bee species worldwide. Honey bees, are one of the best known 'bees' due to their treasure troves of honey, beeswax, pollination services and other benefits to mankind. Honey bees however are an exception to the bee world. Most bees are solitary, and nest in hollow twigs, or burrow underground. If you disturb a solitary bee nest, and if the female is inside the nest and not on a foraging trip, she may buzz past but she won't sting to defend her nest. This is a one big difference between honey bees (which are truly social) and solitary bees. Honey bees will not only defend their nests, they will die to do so. Honey bee workers are the only bee with barbed detachable stingers that continue to pump venom into their victim long after the bee is swatted away to die. Female solitary bees have the ability to sting, but usually only do when trapped in a hand. Another big difference between solitary bees and honey bees is the number of individuals in the nest. A honey bee nest is usually composed of an egg-laying queen, depending on the season a few hundred male drones, hundreds of thousands of workers (guards, foragers, nurse bees, etc.), and the next generation developing as brood- eggs, larvae and pupal bees. Whereas a solitary bee nest is composed of the brood on their own personal provisions in a nest made by a single mother bee who does all of the egg-laying, foraging and making the nest. She has no time or desire to risk her future potential nests by attempting to defend just one nest.

  • Hawaiian Yellow-faced Bee News

    The latest efforts to develop conservation management tools for Hawaiian yellow-faced bees:

  • Field Guide to the Endangered and Introduced Bees of Hawaii

  • Research Update April 2017

    Presentation at University of Hawaii-Manoa

  • Videos


    USFWS Pacific Islands Coastal Program video sharing our research project.

  • The potential management of the chimney bee


    The opportunity to study the ground-nesting, chimney bee (Anthophora abrupta) arose when a homeowner found a nest aggregation in an open-air shed. After learning that A. abrupta are beneficial, the homeowner opted against chemical control, and instead collaborated on research. I prescribed a nesting habitat augmentation which involved artificial nest blocks made of clay, splitting the mother nest aggregation, and selective relocation of populated nest material. This was successful and led to an increase in each local population.


  • Chimney Bee 

    Featured Creature article for IFAS Extension

  • Native Buzz: Citizen science for solitary bees and wasps

  • Cedar Post Nest Site Building Plans

  • Bumble Bee Research

    For my masters research at University of Florida, I studied small hive beetle attraction to honey bee and bumble bee colonies. This was done by collecting airborne volatiles from bumble bee and honey bee components (adult bees, immature bees, wax, pollen, honey) and whole colonies; comparing these volatiles through analysis with gas chromatagraph mass spectometry (GCMS); performing choice tests- in which reared small hive beetles chose between these components in 4-way olfactometric choice test arenas; screening commercial and wild bumble bee colonies for small hive beetles and associated yeast (Kodomaea ohmeri); analyzing yeast via developmental assays, morphometrics, and DNA analysis.

  • Kodamaea ohmeri in bumble bee colonies

  • Comparison of bumble bee and honey bee colony airborne volatiles

  • Honey Bee Research

    My first experience working with honey bees was in 2006 when I took a beekeeping class and lab taught by Dr. Dewey Caron. We learned the parts of the hive, bee development, bee anatomy, seasonal beekeeping, products of the hive, pests and diseases, bee diversity, and much more in the lecture portion of the class and got hands-on experience managing our own hives in the apiary during the lab portion of the class.  Since that course, I've been fascinated with honey bees and bees of all kind.


    I worked with honey bees throughout my graduate studies in Dr. Jamie Ellis' Honey Bee Research & Extension Laboratory at University of Florida. I was an advisor for the Master Beekeeper Program, and a speaker for each of the Bee College events throughout graduate school. I helped to manage the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory bee hives, in our apiary, on the experimental farm in Citra, at the UF President's mansion, on blueberry farms, and at Austin Cary Forest. I taught several college level courses at a Teaching Assistant or as a Guest Lecturer providing open hive demos and beekeeping related workshops. I also provided beekeeping presentations around the state at elementary schools, beekeeping clubs, master gardener meetings, retirement communities, botanical gardens, zoos, museums, and more. I got to meet and work with some of the brightest minds in beekeeping as they would visit to meet, attend or speak at classes in Bee College events or conduct research at University of Florida. The support network for beekeeping in Florida was the gold standard. I regularly interacted with growers, apiary inspectors, bee club members (with beekeeping clubs in nearly every county in the state), county extension agents, and researchers from private industries, universities, and government agencies.


    Unfortunately, here in Hawaii, the beekeeping community have many fewer resources than what beekeepers enjoyed in Florida. Though my hope is to offer as much support as I can, and I am actively working to strengthen the beekeeping community and provide resources for Hawaiian beekeepers. I'm currently an advisor for the Iolani School Apiary Club, this is a group of >100 student and faculty members who are eager to get started with bees of their own. They are also helping with my yellow-faced bee work. I started the Oahu Buzz Beekeeping Club in Hawaii, an online beekeeping community which also now meets on the North Shore. I am working with beekeepers and growers and am offering workshops, presentations, and open hive demos to help this community.

  • Standard methods for wax moth research

  • Bibliography

    The potential management of a ground-nesting, solitary bee: Anthophora abrupta (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

    Florida Entomologist 98(2): 528-535. 

    Graham, J R; Wilcox, E; Ellis, J D (2015)

    Managing a locally rare, ground-nesting bee with artificial nest sites and selective dispersal via translocation of nest materials.

    Native Buzz: Citizen scientists creating nesting habitat for solitary bees and wasps.

    Florida Scientist 77(4): 1-15.

    Graham, J R; Tan, Q; Jones, L C; Ellis, J D (2014)

    A citizen science project was developed to inspire participants to design, build, monitor and report data on solitary bee and wasp artificial nest sites in their backyards.

    Standard methods for wax moth research

    Apicultural Research 52(1): 1-17.

    Ellis, J D; Graham, J R; Mortensen A (2013)

    Methods for conducting research on the wax moth, a honey bee nest parasite.

    A scientific note on the comparison of airborne volatiles produced by commercial bumble bee (Bombus impatiens) and honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies

    Apidologie 44(1): 110-112.

    Graham, J R; Carroll, M J; Teal, P E A; Ellis, J D (2013)

    The airborne volatiles were collected from honey bee and bumble bees colonies and analyzed via GCMS, the resulting chemical compounds were compared and found to be quite different.

    Kodamaea ohmeri (Ascomycota: Saccharomycotina) presence in commercial Bombus impatiens Cresson and feral Bombus pensylvanicus DeGeer (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies.

    Journal of Apicultural Research 50(3): 218-226.

    Graham, J R; Ellis, J D; Benda, N D; Kurtzman, C P; Boucias, D G (2011)

    Kodamaea ohmeri, a yeast known to attract small hive beetles, honey bee nest pests, was found in commercial and feral bumble bee colonies.

    Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) attraction to volatiles produced by Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae) and Bombus impatiens (Hymenoptera: Apidae) colonies.

    Apidologie 3(42): 326–336.

    Graham, J R; Ellis, J D; Carroll, M J; Teal, P E A (2011)

    Small hive beetle attraction to various components from honey bee and bumble bee colonies was investigated in 4-way olfactometer choice tests.

  • Contact Me

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  • Career Preparation

    University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Bee Research & Conservation

    Post-Doctoral Research, Plant and Environment Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa

    Identify and monitor individuals, nests and populations of native and non-native bees in the field

    • Determine and describe native and non-native bee nest architecture, parameters & preferences
    • Rear immature bees from dissected nests and record life histories and development
    • Design, implement, and monitor artificial nest systems for habitat enhancement for endangered yellow-faced bees
    • Develop protocols for collection and captive rearing of native and non-native bees
    • Prescribe conservation management methods to increase abundance of native bees

    University of Florida

    Research Assistant 

    Doctor of Philosophy, Entomology and Nematology

    Minor in Agricultural Education and Communication

    • Establish, transport and maintain honey bee colonies for research projects
    • Recruit, interview, hire, train and supervise field and laboratory research technicians
    • Identify, design, construct and implement native bee and wasp research sites 
    • Design, develop and deliver outreach presentations, lectures, workshops and educational materials for various audiences
    • Assist colleagues in the design and execution of various research projects
    • Develop and execute research pertaining to PhD degree

     University of Florida

    Research Assistant

    Master of Science, Entomology and Nematology

    • Assemble honey bee equipment, establish and maintain research apiaries 
    • Design and implement rearing program for research colonies of small hive beetles 
    • Monitor and maintain honey bee and bumble bee colonies for field and lab research
    • Design, develop and deliver outreach presentations for various audiences
    • Assist colleagues in the design and execution of various research projects
    • Develop and execute research pertaining to MS Degree

    University of Delaware

    Undergraduate Research


    Bachelor of Science, Entomology and Applied Ecology

    Minor in Wildlife Conservation


    • Design rearing cages for colonies of coleopteran biological control agents
    • Monitor and maintain colonies of coleopteran biological control agents
    • Establish and monitor field sites for evaluation of beetle damage to plants
    • Design, develop and deliver poster presentations to report results of projects
    • Develop and execute research pertaining to undergraduate thesis
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