Seminar to Shed Light on Beekeeping in Florida
by LOUIS RODRIGUEZ ROSADO
Introduction to the Western Honey Bee
Western Honey Bees are one of 300 bee pollinator species in Florida. Although they are not the only pollinators in the state, these bees are credited for approximately 85% of the pollination of all crops in Florida. In other words, agriculture as we know it would be very different without honey bees. Moreover, not only do these bees help in the pollination process of our food sources, but they also help pollinate ornamental, landscape and natural areas plants. These bees are extremely important to our world.
The Western Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) has been domesticated for thousands of years, tracking them even in ancient Egypt. This has been the case because of their nesting behavior, making it easy for humans to work with them. Although beekeepers back then were different from modern beekeepers, we keep bees for similar reasons. Aside from pollination purposes, honey bees provide us with a variety of products including honey, wax, propolis, pollen, and even bee venom.
Honey bees are mostly known for their honey production. Honey is a substance derived from the nectar gathered by the bees during the pollination process. Once a bee returns to the hive, she will start regurgitating the nectar from bee to bee. During this process, each bee adds enzymes to the nectar until one bee deposits the nectar into a hive cell. Later other bees are going to dry out this substance and cap it, converting the nectar into honey. Depending on the flower where the nectar was gathered, the flavor and color of the honey will vary. Honey can be sold as raw honey, processed honey, and with or without a honeycomb. Honey can be used as a nutritious food, for medicinal purposes, or for mead and other honey drinks.
The 2023 Ridge Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Seminar
Many people have a great interest in beekeeping for their honey production or for pollinator behavior. Unfortunately, people don’t realize all that is needed to be a beekeeper, even for personal purposes. The Ridge Beekeeper Association is the local Beekeeper Association of Polk County. They have a meeting on the third Monday of each month at the UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Office. The purpose of the association and the meetings is to share and inform the public with science-based information about beekeeping in Florida. Experienced beekeepers help new, beginner, or even more advanced beekeepers in their apiary ventures. They also offer a seminar every two years as a family event to provide educational information about honey bees and beekeeping in general.
This year, the 2023 Ridge Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Seminar will be held on May 20 at the Polk County UF/IFAS Extension office from 9 a.m.–3:30 p.m. This family-friendly event is a collaboration among the Ridge Beekeepers Association, Polk County, and UF/IFAS Polk County. The purpose of this event is to provide science-based education to the public about beekeeping in Florida and the importance of the Western Honeybee. Some of the topics that will be taught at the event include hive construction, starting a hive, honey extraction and honey tasting, bee transportation, queen bees, nectar sources for bees, wax rendering, beekeeping tools, pests and diseases identification, and looking inside the hive.
If you want to start as a beekeeper or just want to know more about honeybees, don’t pass up this opportunity.
For registration, go to: http://bit.ly/3IX3P4D