Honey Bee Lab

Subscribe to the Melitto Files blog (4/19/2017) by Mary Bammer - The Melitto Files blog is hosted by the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory. It features blog posts written by the HBREL staff, Florida apiary inspectors, and Master Beekeepers on topics including research and event updates from the lab, changes in the Florida beekeeping industry, pest profiles, monthly management recommendations, and more.… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: June 2022 (5/31/2022) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your apiary in June: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the plants… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: May 2022 (5/5/2022) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your apiary in May: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the plants… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: April 2022 (3/31/2022) by Amy Vu - This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the plants blooming in your area can help… more
Call for Submissions: 2022 UF IFAS 4-H Honey Bee Essay Competition (3/16/2022) by Amy Vu - Attention, UF IFAS 4-H'ers! The UF IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (UF HBREL) is currently accepting submissions in response to the 2022 American Beekeeping Federation Foundation 4-H competition call for entries. Since national submissions are due on May 15, 2022, UF IFAS state submissions will be due 11:59pm (midnight) on Sunday, May 1,… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: March 2022 (2/28/2022) by Amy Vu - This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the plants blooming in your area can help… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: January 2022 (1/1/2022) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your Florida apiary in January 2022: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding… more
Research Update: Thymol shows promise as a potential control for greater wax moths (12/9/2021) by Amy Vu - Members of the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted a research project that led to a publication on the use of essential oils for the control of greater wax moths in honey bee colonies. Below is a summary of that research as well as a link to the full publication. Background: The greater… more
Research Update: Determining the Dose of Oxalic Acid Applied via Vaporization Needed for the Control of the Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Pest Varroa destructor (12/9/2021) by Amy Vu - Members of the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted a research project that led to a publication on determining the effective dose for oxalic acid (OA) vaporization in honey bee colonies. Below is a summary of the research as well as a link to the full publication. Background: Varroa destructor is a dangerous pest of the western… more
Beekeeping Management Calendar: December 2021 (12/1/2021) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your apiary in December 2021: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the… more
Research Update: Detection of Lotmaria passim, Crithidia mellificae and Replicative Forms of Deformed Wing Virus and Kashmir Bee Virus in the Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida) (11/24/2021) by Amy Vu - Members of the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted a research project that led to a publication on small hive beetles and their ability to transmit honey bee pathogens. Below is a summary of the research as well as a link to the full publication. Background Small hive beetles (SHBs) are an invasive… more
Research Update: A comparison of Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae) collection methods and survivability in in vitro rearing systems (11/17/2021) by Amy Vu - Members of the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted a research project that led to a publication on Varroa destructor survival in in vitro (in the lab) rearing systems. Below is a summary of the research as well as a link to the full publication. Background: Varroa destructor is a major stressor of… more
Beekeeping Management Calendar: November (10/28/2021) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your apiary in November: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the plants… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: October 2021 (10/4/2021) by Amy Vu - Management practices for your apiary in October: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: September 2021 (8/31/2021) by Amy Vu - Management practices for your apiary in September: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding the… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: August 2021 (8/2/2021) by Amy Vu - Honey beekeeping management practices for your Florida apiary in August: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the… more
Research Update: Following Pollen Substitute Patties in a Honey Bee Colony (7/13/2021) by Amy Vu - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted a research project that led to a publication on pollen substitutes. Below is a summary of the research as well as a link to the full publication. Purpose: The purpose of this research project was to evaluate how honey bees distribute pollen substitute patties throughout their… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: July 2021 (6/30/2021) by Amy Vu - Management practices for your apiary in July:   This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) Bottling, Labeling, and Selling Honey in Florida Originally published July, 2017. Revised and republished July, 2021. more
How Can a “Bee Box” Help Protect a Beehive? (6/24/2021) by Amy Vu - The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that when used according to the label, pesticides “Do not cause an unreasonable risk of harm to people or the environment”. All too often it is believed that pollinators (particularly honey bees) and pesticides do not mix. However, we have the EPA saying that if used according… more
Chinese tallow What Is Happening With the Proposal for the Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera) Insect Release? (2/16/2021) by Amy Vu - Currently, a proposal developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), Pests, Pathogens, and Biocontrol Permits (PPBP) is being reviewed to issue permits to release two insects, Bikasha collaris and Gadirtha fusca. These insects would be used as a biological control to manage… more
Chinese tallow What Is Happening With the Proposal for the Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera) Insect Release? (2/16/2021) by Tennille Herron - Currently, a proposal developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), Pests, Pathogens, and Biocontrol Permits (PPBP) is being reviewed to issue permits to release two insects, Bikasha collaris and Gadirtha fusca. These insects would be used as a biological control to manage… more
virtual bee college 2021 Spring Virtual Bee College Registration is OPEN! (2/5/2021) by Amy Vu - Join the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory for the 2021 Spring Virtual UF/IFAS Bee College! Image Credit: Suzy Rodriguez, Department of Entomology and Nematology Description Join the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory for the 2021 Spring Virtual UF/IFAS Bee College! Imagine FOUR… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: February 2022 (2/1/2021) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your Florida apiary in February 2022: This beekeeping calendar is a tool for all beekeepers in Florida, small scale to commercial operations. This calendar is meant to be a reference point for beekeeping management and is not comprehensive. The check-list can be used to identify management issues or concerns in the apiary. Understanding… more
A New and Revised Resource: World Honey Bee Health.com (1/29/2021) by Amy Vu - The Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory at the University of Florida (HBREL) is announcing the completion of a website and manuscript update of the global distribution of western honey bee (Apis mellifera) pathogens and pests. The health of managed colonies of honey bees is a topic of international concern given the importance of honey… more
Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: January 2021 (1/6/2021) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your Florida apiary in January 2021: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in Honey Bee Colony Preserving Woodenware in Beekeeping… more
Beekeeping Management Calendar: December 2020 (12/1/2020) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your apiary in December 2020: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) Bottling, Labeling, and Selling Honey in Florida The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848 Originally published December, 2016. Revised and… more
Thanksgiving feast Why We Should All Thank the Bees on Thanksgiving Day (11/23/2020) by Amy Vu - As temperatures drop and the leaves begin to fall, we are reminded that the holiday season is upon us yet again. From casseroles and salads, to side dishes and desserts, we have a lot on our heaping plates that we owe to honey bee pollination. Apis mellifera, the western honey bee, along with hundreds of… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: September 2020 (9/1/2020) by Amy Vu - Management practices for your apiary in September: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. A yearly beekeeping management calendar can be found here Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) Small Hive Beetle, Aethina tumida Murray (Insecta: Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) more
Research Update: Anatolian & Arabian Honey Bees (7/17/2020) by Amy Vu - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Laboratory has collaborated on research that led to two 2020 publications on different honey bee subspecies. Below are summaries of the research and links to the full publications. Apis mellifera anatoliaca - the Anatolian honey bee Key Finding: The research team showed that the Anatolian honey bee, Apis mellifera anatoliaca, is… more
Research update: Varroa Control (6/12/2020) by Tennille Herron - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted research projects that led to two 2020 publications on Varroa destructor. Below are summaries of the research as well as links to the full publications. Rearing Varroa destructor in the laboratory Purpose: The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the efficacy of different methods… more
Research update: Varroa Control (6/12/2020) by Amy Vu - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory conducted research projects that led to two 2020 publications on Varroa destructor. Below are summaries of the research as well as links to the full publications. Rearing Varroa destructor in the laboratory Purpose: The purpose of this research project was to evaluate the efficacy of different methods… more
honey bee toxicology research Research Update: Honey Bees and Pesticides (5/15/2020) by Amy Vu - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (HBREL) collaborated on research that led to two 2019 publications on honey bees and pesticides. Below are summaries of the research as well as links to the full publications. More publications from the HBREL can be found at: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honey-bee/research/honey-bee-husbandry/publications-by-year/ Toxicity to Honey Bees Key Finding: The treatment… more
Apis mellifera 5 Beekeeping Things To Do While Stuck At Home During Coronavirus (COVID-19) (3/23/2020) by Amy Vu - 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… more
Bees UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab Workshops: Spring 2020 (12/17/2019) by Amy Vu - Still looking for a great gift for the holiday season? How about the gift of education and beekeeping experience? With all the opportunities the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab has to offer, we decided to make it easy and break it down for you! (Please note: these are our Spring 2020 workshops) UF/IFAS… more
Bee Bread Banner Research update: Honey Bee Nutrition (11/15/2019) by Amy Vu - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab has collaborated on research that has led to two publications related to honey bee nutrition in 2019. Below are summaries of the research and the links to their full publications. More publications from the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab can be found at: http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honey-bee/research/honey-bee-husbandry/publications-by-year/ Effects of supplemental pollen feeding Key finding:… more
Beekeeping Management Calendar: November (11/1/2019) by Amy Vu - Recommendations for your apiary in November: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848 Originally published November, 2016. Revised and republished November, 2020. more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: October 2019 (10/1/2019) by Amy Vu - Management practices for your apiary in October:   This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. A yearly beekeeping management calendar can be found here Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony Small… more
Honey bees at entrance What’s new with Nosema treatment? (9/23/2019) by Amy Vu - Nosema disease is believed by some to be a significant stressor of honey bees. Nosema is contracted by honey bees by ingesting the spore through trophallaxis (food sharing) or by ingesting waste from an infected nest mate. Once ingested, the Nosema replicates inside the midgut (stomach) cells and essentially hijacks nutrition from the honey bee.… more
Brazilian Peppertree What is happening with the Brazilian Peppertree (Schinus terebinthifolia) Insect Release? (9/11/2019) by Amy Vu - Local, state, and federal agencies came together to release dozens of vials containing thrips (Pseudophilothrips ichini) insects in Saint Lucie, Collier, and Broward counties, Florida on July 16, 2019. These thrips are native to South America and are being used as a biological control to manage the growth and spread of Brazilian Peppertree, a highly… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: September (9/2/2019) by Mary Bammer - Management practices for your apiary in September: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony   Originally published September 2016. Revised and republished September 2019. more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: August (8/1/2019) by Mary Bammer - Management practices for your apiary in August: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) Foulbrood in Honey Bee Colonies   Originally published August 2017. Revised and republished August 2019. more
Swarm management basics (7/15/2019) by Susan Harris - A honey bee colony has two main goals for the year: 1) survive (i.e. build up the number of bees working to find and store enough honey and pollen to live through the next winter) and 2) reproduce (i.e. produce another colony). Spring is the time of the year when the honey flow starts and… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: July (7/5/2019) by Mary Bammer - Management practices for your apiary in July: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) Bottling, Labeling, and Selling Honey in Florida   Originally published July, 2017. Revised and republished July, 2019. more
Ground nesting bee on ground Research update: Ground-nesting and orchid pollinators (6/17/2019) by Mary Bammer - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab has collaborated on research that led to two 2019 publications on wild pollinators. Below are summaries of the research as well as links to the full publications. Native orchid pollination This research was conducted through the collaborative efforts of UF/IFAS (Entomology and Nematology Department, Environmental Horticulture Department, and Florida Museum… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: June (6/3/2019) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in June: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) Bottling, Labeling, and Selling Honey in Florida   Originally published June, 2017. Revised and republished June, 2019. more
What’s new with Varroa? (5/13/2019) by Mary Bammer - The UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab has collaborated on research that led to two recent Varroa-related publications. Below are summaries of that research as well as links to the full publications. Varroa feeding This research was conducted through the collaborative efforts of the University of Maryland (lead institution), the USDA, the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Lab, and… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: May (5/1/2019) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in May: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. For more information, check out this resources: Swarm Control for Managed Beehives   Originally published May, 2017. Revised and republished May, 2019. more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: April (4/15/2019) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in April: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. For more information, check out these resources: Florida Beekeeping Management Calendar: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848 Swarm Control for Managed Beehives: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in970 Florida Honey Bee Plants: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1223   Originally published April, 2017. Revised and republished April, 2019. more
10 tips for teaching kids about bees (4/2/2019) by Mary Bammer - This post was written by Master Beekeeper, Meghan Orman   Bees are fascinating; there's just no getting around it. If we don't share our fascination with the young people around us, bees' future maybe in peril. Children are the next generation of beekeepers, gardeners, and earth stewards. Thus, part of our mission as beekeepers ought… more
Florida Beekeeping Calendar: March (3/19/2019) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in March: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony Varroa Mite, Varroa destructor Anderson and Trueman (Arachnida: Acari:Varroidae) Tools for Varroa Management (Honey Bee Health Coalition) Using Medically Important… more
New Beekeeper Resources from the Honey Bee Health Coalition (2/22/2019) by Mary Bammer - Since 2015, the Tools for Varroa Management Guide published by the Honey Bee Health Coalition (HBHC) has been a go-to beekeeper resource on Varroa. The guide includes information about the mites, tips on how to select a control method, and additional resources to keep your hive healthy. Recently, the HBHC released two new resources to… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: February (2/1/2019) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in February: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. Additional resources: The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony Using Medically Important Antimicrobials in Bees - Questions and Answers   Have something… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: January (1/3/2019) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in January: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848   Originally published January, 2017. Revised and republished January, 2019. more
A century old tale of ‘Beekeeping in the South’ (12/15/2018) by Mary Bammer - In 1920 the American Bee Journal published a book called "Beekeeping In The South; A Handbook on Seasons, Methods and Honey Flora of the Fifteen Southern States". Written by Kennith Hawkins, a Beekeeping Specialist and "Former Special Agent in Bee Culture", this book paints a nostalgic picture of what it took to keep honey bees… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: December (12/1/2018) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in December: his calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848   Originally published December, 2016. Revised and republished December, 2018. more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: November (11/1/2018) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in November: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848   Originally published November, 2016. Revised and republished November, 2018. more
Immediate Hurricane Relief for Beekeepers (10/17/2018) by Mary Bammer - Hurricane Michael significantly impacted the beekeeping industry in the Florida Panhandle. This area is home to about 500 registered beekeepers and nearly 50,000 colonies, which amounts to more than 1.2 billion bees. These colonies are vital to Florida agriculture because the bees provide pollination services to many of the state’s crops. Beekeepers in the Florida… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: October (10/2/2018) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in October: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848   Additional resources: Tools for Varroa Management Varroa Sampling Methods (video) How to Quantify Nosema Spores Infection Rate in a Honey Bee Colony Small… more
Apiary hurricane preparedness (9/12/2018) by Mary Bammer - As always during hurricane season, your safety, and that of your family and neighbors is the top priority as a pending storm approaches. As long as you are otherwise safe and prepared, however, take a few minutes to consider preparing your apiary as well. Below are some recommendations that may help your colonies weather the… more
A Reasonable Argument in Support of the Chinese Tallow Flea Beetle (8/31/2018) by Mary Bammer - A note on the Chinese Tallow Flea Beetle from Dr. William Kern, UF/IFAS Associate professor: I hope to offer a reasonable argument why Florida Beekeepers should support the release of the Chinese tallow flea beetle, Bikasha collaris (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). The Chinese Tallow tree, Triadica sebifera formerly Sapium sebiferum (Family Euphorbiaceae), is known as tallowwood, popcorn… more
Industry Updates for Florida Beekeepers (5/7/2018) by Mary Bammer - The Florida Administrative Code (FAC) associated with honey bees and beekeepers (Rule 5B-54) has undergone some changes that will have an effect on beekeeping operations in Florida. This post will summarize the changes and what they mean for you and your bees. Defining the Industry Definitions within codes, laws, and statutes allows for the proper… more
Lithium Chloride for Varroa Control? (4/18/2018) by Mary Bammer - At the end of 2017, German bee researchers published a journal article detailing work that they had completed which looked at the compound lithium chloride (LiCl) as a new potential option for Varroa control (Ziegelmann et al., 2017). In today's Melitto Files post, we will discuss the conclusions of that research as well as an… more
Understanding Integrated Crop Pollination (2/20/2018) by Mary Bammer - As the world's dependence on pollinators increases, researchers from around the country work to develop practical strategies to ensure that our nation's crops are adequately pollinated. In a collaboration between nearly a dozen universities and institutions, including the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, research on the newly-coined concept of "Integrated Crop… more
A Fond Farewell (2/8/2018) by Ashley Mortensen - Hello Florida Beekeepers! I wanted to extent a heart-felt thank you for your support and encouragement over the past few years. After six plus years as a graduate student in the UF Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory, I have completed my doctorate and taken a position as a honey bee researcher in New Zealand.… more
Varroa Biology and Management: An Overview (12/1/2017) by Susan Harris - Varroa destructor is the Number One pest of our Western Honey Bee, Apis mellifera. This pest (commonly called Varroa or Varroa mite) is a parasite that feeds on a bee’s hemolymph, causing honey bee stress and eventually the death of developing and adult honey bees. A reduction in worker bee population affects a colony’s ability… more
Changes are coming to Bee College (11/9/2017) by Mary Bammer - The UF Honey Bee Lab is constantly striving to improve our extension programs in an effort to be more effective and approachable to beekeepers across Florida. Because of this, we are making some significant changes to where and when we hold our Bee College events. The overall framework of each Bee College will remain the… more
Mosquito control and Florida beekeepers (9/22/2017) by Mary Bammer - As Florida continues to recover from the effects of Hurricane Irma, many mosquito control districts in the state are temporarily stepping up their spray programs. It is important to realize how and why this is an important response to strong storms that bring rain and flooding. According to UF urban entomologist Dr. William H. Kern,… more
Award-Winning Student (8/24/2017) by Brandi Simmons - Congratulations Ashley Mortensen! Ashley has been awarded the 2017 Southeastern Branch John Henry Comstock Award given by the Entomological Society of America’s National Office. Ashley Mortensen is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory studying honey bee behavior. She will be receiving an all-expenses-paid trip to the ESA… more
Water sources for bees, not mosquitoes (7/6/2017) by Mary Bammer - This summer, keep your bees' water source from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Best Management Requirements for beekeepers requires that managed honey bee colonies have access to a convenient source of water. For many beekeepers, especially those in urban and suburban areas, this water source… more
Subscribe to the Melitto Files blog (4/19/2017) by Mary Bammer - The Melitto Files blog is hosted by the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory. It features blog posts written by the HBREL staff, Florida apiary inspectors, and Master Beekeepers on topics including research and event updates from the lab, changes in the Florida beekeeping industry, pest profiles, monthly management recommendations, and more.… more
Veterinarians’ guide to honey bee antibiotics: Webinar (3/28/2017) by Mary Bammer - A new FDA ruling means that many beekeepers will need a prescription from a veterinarian to use certain honey bee antibiotics. The UF Honey Bee Lab hosted a webinar on February 22, 2017 to help veterinarians understand honey bees, beekeeping, and bacterial diseases of honey bees. This webinar looked at: a summary of the FDA… more
Looking out for Nosema in spring colonies (3/23/2017) by Ashley Mortensen - A guide to quantifying the honey bee pathogen, Nosema, in colonies Regular subscribers to this blog may have noticed multiple mentions of Nosema in recent posts of the Beekeeping Management Calendar. These recommendations have highlighted the importance of monitoring and treating for Nosema in honey bee colonies from late winter through early spring when the… more
Taking advantage of honey bees’ natural behaviors (2/3/2017) by Susan Harris - Honey bees are an insect with a complicated life history and social organization. The honey bee that we use in the United States, Apis mellifera, is a cavity dwelling insect that flies to flowers to collect nectar and pollen for its food. Honey bees secrete and then mold wax into comb with hexagonal cells. They… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: January (1/10/2017) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in January: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management, and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848 Additional Resources For information on colony nutrition see "The Benefits of Pollen to Honey Bees". For information on monitoring Nosema in colonies, see "How… more
New Year, new rule: A look at the FDA ruling on prescriptions for honey bees (12/23/2016) by Mary Bammer - Starting January 1st, 2017, if you choose to use antibiotics for the prevention or treatment of the bacterial diseases American foulbrood (AFB) and European foulbrood (EFB) in honey bee colonies, you will need a prescription or Veterinary Feed Directive* from a licensed veterinarian. Since December 2013 the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has… more
Beekeeper Management Calendar: December (12/2/2016) by Mary Bammer - Recommendations for your apiary in December: This calendar is meant to be a reference point for management, and is not comprehensive. The year-round Beekeeping Management Calendar can be found here: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in848 Have something to say? Join the discussion on our Facebook Page. more
Pollinator protection that starts in the lab (10/27/2016) by Mary Bammer - In vitro literally means “in glass” in Latin. More broadly in vitro describes a process occuring outside of its biologically normal setting, generally in a laboratory. The idea summons up images of scientists in white lab coats with bubbling beakers and Bunsen burners in the background. The reality is perhaps less fantastical than this, but… more
Field study of a new pesticide (9/15/2016) by Josh Campbell - Pesticides in Agriculture Pesticides are an important tool for farmers to control unwanted insect pests. In recent years many commonly used pesticides have been shown to be dangerous to bees that they come into contact with. Honey bees and other beneficial insects can unintentionally be affected by pesticides, particularly if they are used improperly. It… more
Zika and Florida Beekeepers (9/9/2016) by Mary Bammer - A letter from the Florida Chief of Apiary Inspection, David Westervelt: The Southeastern United States is in a triple threat situation for mosquito proliferation and control. Listed below are conditions making it favorable for the breeding and spread of viruses in mosquitoes: It is the season. The weather is perfect to be a mosquito and… more
Reducing African honey bees using managed European colonies (8/15/2016) by Ashley Mortensen - At the UF HBREL we love when our science has practical applications for Florida beekeepers. Below is a summary of one such study with African and European honey bee colonies. Hypothesis: The presence of managed European honey bees can decrease the number of nearby African colonies. As you can imagine it is extremely difficult to… more
Value of Bees to Blueberry Fruit Set (8/1/2016) by Josh Campbell - Florida Blueberry Industry Blueberry growers in central and south Florida mostly utilize the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum). It does not require many chill hours (the necessary number of hours where temperatures fall between 32 and 45 degrees F during which the plants are dormant) and it produces fruit in late winter/early spring. This production early… more
A Tale of Two Subspecies: Genetics studies of South African honey bees (7/8/2016) by amineimanifar - There are two factors that play an integral role in distinguishing between populations within a species. First, an organism’s geography restricts its ability to disperse. Individuals in adjacent populations migrate between one another at a higher rate than do individuals in more isolated populations. This leads to high gene flow between geographically close populations; the… more
There’s a new Bee College in town, and it’s better than ever. (6/24/2016) by heltone - Mark August 12th and 13th on your calendar folks. South Florida and Caribbean Bee College is right around the corner! Yes, you read that correctly. The UF Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab is combining the 4th annual South Florida Bee College and the 4th annual Caribbean Bee College into one super event this year… more
Varroa: the honey bee destructor (6/14/2016) by cjack - Varroa destructor Background: Varroa is the most devastating pest of the western honey bee. It is responsible for the death of honey bee colonies world-wide, resulting in millions of dollars of damages. The mites are thought to feed on the honey bee hemolymph, and thus, effectively vector a wide variety of viruses. The mites reproduce… more
Melitto Files gets a new look (6/14/2016) by tbustamante - The Melitto Files has hit the web in a whole new way! We are transitioning from a newsletter format to an online blog. This will be the new source of information about the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory (HBREL) and Florida beekeeping. What Has Changed? More Frequent Publishing Schedule – Instead of waiting months… more

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