Many of us are transitioning to being at home during the Coronavirus. Social distancing is more important than ever. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep yourself busy! Maybe you’re looking for a new hobby and wanting to learn something new with your new found time. Why not start searching for the honey beekeeping resources you’ve been meaning to look into? Here are five activities we, the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (HBREL), recommend to get you started on (or advance) your beekeeping journey.
1. Join the Online UF/IFAS Apprentice/Advanced Master Beekeeper Program (MBP)
Apprentice Level (level 1): $250
Advanced Level (level 2): $300
Start Date: Anytime- learn at your own pace!
The UF/IFAS Master Beekeeper Program online course will introduce you to the goals of the UF/IFAS MBP, explore the early decisions that beekeepers have to make regarding equipment, stocks of bees, and apiary location, specifically relate honey bee biology to the management practices of beekeepers, discuss beekeeping basics like requeening and splitting, and introduce you to the yearly stressors that typically impact honey bee colonies. You are encouraged to begin the Apprentice Level before you ever start beekeeping and to participate in the course throughout your first year in beekeeping (although this is not necessary). All levels of beekeeping experience are welcome, but everyone who wants to join the MBP must start at the Apprentice level. This course should prepare you to obtain and begin to care for your first few hives of bees.
To sign up and for more information, see the “MBP Online” section of this page: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/events-and-activities/master-beekeeper-program/
2. Listen to “Two Bees in a Podcast” on Your Podcast App
Finally cleaning out that closet you’ve been putting off? Doing other chores around the house? Driving to pick up some toilet paper at the grocery store? The UF/IFAS HBREL has released ten episodes on the newest honey bee podcast out there—“Two Bees in a Podcast”. With almost 10,000 plays from around the world, and an estimated audience size of 800+, there is something for everyone to listen to. It is our intention to advance the understanding of honey bees and beekeeping, grow the beekeeping community, and improve the health of honey bees everywhere, so give it a try (plus, we think we’re really funny)! To listen, open up the podcast app and search “Two Bees in a Podcast” on your computer/tablet/phone or visit: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honey-bee/podcast/
3. Take a Virtual Matterport Tour of the UF/IFAS HBREL Facility
Although our facility is closed, you can visit and tour from the comfort of your own home! Now is the best time for the lab tour you’ve always wanted to attend. “Walk” around a portion of our facility with just a click of your mouse and see a “dollhouse” or “floor plan” view of the facility. To take a virtual tour of our state-of-the-art facility, visit:
*Please note: this virtual tour is still under construction and there is much that needs to be added/revised.
4. Browse the UF/IFAS HBREL Website
Interested in learning what the UF/IFAS HBREL has to offer? Our website is meant to be a “one-stop shop” for honey bee resources. Browse the “FAQ” and “Resources” sections and learn about the Extension, Research, and Instruction activities the UF/IFAS HBREL provides. Can’t find something you’re looking for? Send us an e-mail at: email@example.com
5. Check Your Own Bees/Virtually Facetime With Your Mentor
Self-isolation and quarantine does not mean you have to stay inside (keep in mind, we recommend practicing social distancing and only leaving the house for any non-essential purposes). This is a great time to check on your own honey bees (while distancing yourself from others, of course). Don’t keep honey bees yet? Contact your local beekeeping association to see if you can find a mentor that will Facetime/Skype/Zoom (whatever video calling platform you prefer!) with you as they check their hives. Don’t forget to snap a photo and tag @UFHoneyBeeLab on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share your honey beekeeping experience with us.
We hope this list provides you a few things to do while you’re self-isolating. Stay safe out there, and happy beekeeping!