Kentucky Department of Agriculture welcomes new State Apiarist

Role is responsible for identifying, eradicating diseases for honeybees


FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 29, 2024) – Amanda Skidmore, of Oldham County, will join the Kentucky Department of Agriculture May 1 as the new State Apiarist, Commissioner Jonathan Shell has announced.


“As farmers we can do a lot of things, but replicating the power of bees is one that is impossible,” Commissioner Shell said. “Amanda’s background and enthusiasm for protecting nature’s pollinators will be an asset to this position. We welcome her onboard as she continues our work toward bettering agriculture for Kentucky and the world.”


Skidmore’s responsibilities include identifying infectious diseases for honeybee colonies and helping to eradicate those diseases. In addition, she will help to educate the non-beekeeping public about the importance of honeybees and offer best advice practice to the beekeeping community.


"I am extremely excited to take on the role of state apiarist,” Skidmore said. “Honeybees are vital to agriculture production in Kentucky, and I can't wait to start working with Kentucky beekeepers." 


Pollinators, such as the honeybee, are a key part of the food web. Insects, like moths, feed more than 80 percent of birds in the U.S., as well as reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Plus, pollinators contribute to healthy soils and clean water by fostering robust plant communities.


More than 80 percent of the world’s flowering plants need a pollinator to reproduce. Across the United States each year, honeybees pollinate $15 billion worth of crops, including more than 130 types of fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Their role is imperative in generating more profitable yields on America's working agricultural lands.


Skidmore is a graduate of the University of Kentucky where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Entomology and Sustainable Agriculture with a minor in pest management and a doctorate in entomology focusing on integrated pest management in specialty crops. She worked on beneficial insects and pollinators during her post doctorate work at Purdue University, before becoming an assistant professor at New Mexico State University. At New Mexico State University she served in joint roles as the State Integrated Pest Management Coordinator and assistant professor of Integrated Pest Management for Small and Urban Farms. She moved back to Kentucky to take on the role as the assistant professor of Agronomy at Morehead State University before becoming a full-time grant writer.


Skidmore has worked with pollinator conservation and education throughout her career. Her background is integrated pest and pollinator management and developing pest management strategies that increase the use of multiple management practices to reduce pesticide use. She uses a science-based approach to her teaching and outreach programs. Her educational experience includes working with students in kindergarten through 12th grade, college students, and the general public collaborating on projects and organizing several citizen science projects.

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