Backyard Beekeeping

Join UF IFAS Extension Pinellas County on September 26, 2015 for an Introduction to Beekeeping. Register online.

Beekeeping is becoming increasingly popular in Florida. Commercial beekeepers maintain hundreds if not thousands of colonies for honey production and to provide pollination services to crops, while the typical urban or backyard beekeeper maintains one to five colonies. Backyard beekeeping traditionally has provided honey for home consumption and general enjoyment for those who practice the craft.

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Keeping honey bees requires responsible management so that the bees do not become a nuisance. Additionally, the presence of Africanized honey bees in Florida places more pressure on beekeepers to maintain their colonies properly (for information about Africanized honey bees, see: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg113, http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in790, and http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in738).

People keeping bees (any number of colonies) in Florida are required by law to register with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry (FDACS-DPI – http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Bureaus-and-Services/Bureau-of-Plant-and-Apiary-Inspection/Apiary-Inspection). Renewal forms are sent annually to previously registered beekeepers for return to the FDACS-Division of Plant Industry (DPI) along with the appropriate annual fee specified in the fee schedule. Beekeepers who change addresses are requested to notify the Department. For more information on registering bee colonies in Florida, see: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Business-Services/Registrations-and-Certifications/Beekeeper-Registration.

Where can I learn how to be a beekeeper?
There are two organizations in the Tampa Bay area that can provide information about beekeeping:
The Pinellas Beekeepers meets the fourth Thursday of the month at the EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. N, Largo. www.pinellasbeekeepers.org.
The Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association meets the second Thursday of the month at the Hillsborough County Extension Office, 5339 County Road 579 S, Seffner. www.tampabaybeekeepers.com

Resources:
Best Management Practices for Siting Honey Bee Colonies: Good Neighbor Guidelines http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa137
Beekeeping https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_beekeeping
Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honeybee/extension/