September 24, 2023

With honey bees underneath risk, UF/IFAS Extension presents some concepts for residents to help the powerhouse pollinators.

“Honey bees are critically vital to our meals provide,” mentioned Amy Vu, UF/IFAS Extension state specialised agent within the Honey Bee Analysis and Extension Laboratory (HBREL). The lab celebrates 5 years on the Gainesville campus this month.

“Right here in Florida, we additionally host migratory hives from across the nation for overwintering, when many different states not have flowers in bloom,” Vu mentioned. “Florida has the second largest variety of honey bee colonies in the US. This makes bees in our state vital for meals grown nationwide.”

Beneath, Vu presents 5 steps anybody can take to assist close by honey bee colonies thrive.

1. Plant a pollinator backyard

Floridians can select vegetation that flower at completely different instances of the 12 months. The UF/IFAS Extension Grasp Gardener Volunteer Program recommends having a minimum of three vegetation in bloom at any given level within the 12 months. The bees aren’t choosy, both, and container gardening will do for these with restricted area. Be taught extra about “Gardening for Bees”:

2. Decrease using harsh pesticides

Solely use pesticides when and the place wanted and observe all labeled directions. Merchandise which are hazardous to honey bees should state so on the label, per a UF/IFAS Extension peer-reviewed publication from Vu and different specialists. Uncover extra info within the “Minimizing Honey Bee Publicity to Pesticides” article on Ask IFAS:

3. Present a water supply

Honey bees want water, too! Take into consideration leaving out a shallow dish the place your pollinator guests frequent. Simply be sure you refresh the water supply a minimum of each 5 days to forestall mosquitoes from having fun with it as a breeding floor, as nicely.

4. Help the HBREL or be a part of your native and state beekeepers’ affiliation

The HBREL helps beekeepers – from the yard colony to giant business operations – with analysis and academic alternatives year-round. Sponsors can help programming and analysis by way of completely different donation ranges to “undertake a bee,” “undertake a queen” or “undertake a hive” by visiting

The lab additionally connects with the Florida State Beekeepers Affiliation and maintains a listing of county-level golf equipment statewide. Becoming a member of a gaggle with neighboring beekeepers can result in native advocacy and help for honey bees.

5. Discover ways to hold bees

HBREL has all of the introduction you have to get began. Hearken to over 100 episodes of “Two Bees in a Podcast,” masking subjects from infectious illnesses to cottage meals legal guidelines for honey gross sales, and a lot in between. The lab additionally presents quite a lot of on-line programs by way of their Grasp Beekeeper Program and bee-Studying brief programs.

For in-person instruction, the lab hosts two hands-on Bee School multi-day occasions every year, one in Gainesville and a second alternates journey to the Panhandle or South Florida