What’s New

All a-flutter for Pollinator Week (6/20/2022) by UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore - June 20-26 is National Pollinator Week, a celebration to raise awareness about pollinator health. Pollinators are the bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles, moths, wasps, and flies that aid in plant reproduction, and they’re incredibly important to life on Earth. Did you know that we owe one-third of the world’s food supply to plants that rely… more
IFAS Extension Bookstore News 6/13-6/19 (6/13/2022) by UF/IFAS Extension Bookstore - Summer Hours June 20-Aug 26: 8 am – 4 pm The IFAS Extension Bookstore will be closed Wednesday, June 29 through Monday, July 4 for inventory and the Independence Day holiday. Orders received after noon 6/28 will process and start shipping on 7/5. New at IFASBOOKS Common Native Bees of the Eastern United States Heather… more
Better with Butterflies: Painted Ladies (5/31/2022) by Wayne Hobbs - Better with Butterflies: Painted Ladies Written by Carin Ashman, UF/IFAS Extension Clay County Master Gardener Volunteer This month I want to address the spiritual aspects or symbolism of butterflies across world cultures. Because of their unique lifecycle from humble crawly eating machine into a many colored, graceful flying insect, butterflies symbolize transformation, rebirth, hope and… 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
Yellow wild flowers with monarch butterfly. June Monthly Program Pollinator Gardening (5/26/2022) by Julio Perez - Good pollination is an essential step in our food system.  Pollinators are instrumental in ensuring that we have a good harvest of fruit and vegetables.  However, as more development happens, habitat and food sources for pollinators decrease.  You can help our pollinators by providing flowering plants to provide food, puddling stations for water, and a… more
Yellow giant swallowtail butterfly on pink phlox Pollinator Plants, Plant Clinic & Farmer’s Market (5/16/2022) by llw5479 - If you are interested in learning about pollinators and how to attract them to your garden and/or need help diagnosing a lawn, landscape or garden problem and want to purchase locally grown produce, we have two upcoming events for you. First, on Wednesday, May 18 at 10 a.m., join us for a seminar titled Native… more
Florida’s Native Flora & Fauna: Red Buckeye and Ruby-throated Hummingbird (5/13/2022) by Alicia Lamborn - Featuring some of Florida’s native flora (plant life) and fauna (animal life) so you can learn to recognize, appreciate, and protect native species.                                                             Aesculus pavia,… 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
Better with Butterflies The Cloudless Sulphur (4/21/2022) by Wayne Hobbs - Welcome back to our monthly blog in which we discuss a few interesting facts about butterflies in general and a specific type of butterfly. This month I want to talk about how and what butterflies eat. With very few exceptions butterflies feed on nectar. Nectar is a sugary liquid excreted by flowers to attract pollinators.… 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
Purple rain, purple rain. All hail the Queen’s Wreath! (3/28/2022) by Hannah Wooten - The Queen is dripping. The waterfall of purple flowers cascading over trellises and featured in spring selfies is known as Queen’s Wreath. This tropical vine commands attention. Wrapping and twining up a supporting structure, these sandpapery leaves remain evergreen until the flowers compete for the spotlight. Queen’s Wreath is known scientifically as Petrea volubilis and… 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
Zumbido Con Abejas 4-H (Buzzing with Bees 4-H ) (3/9/2022) by Shreemoyee Ghosh - La apicultura, es la práctica de mantener colonias de abejas para lograr objetivos deseados. Las abejas de miel son las especies domesticadas más comunes. Estos insectos tienen un comportamiento social creando grandes colonias las cuales contienen una sola abeja reina adulta y miles de abejas obreras, cuyo número cambia con las estaciones del año, según… more
Swarming: The Natural Reproductive Process of a Honey Bee Colony (3/9/2022) by Anthony Rodriguez - One of the world's most prolific species of pollinators, the honey bee, is arguably the most important insect species known to mankind​. However, despite their immeasurable importance in the role of food production, they often have a negative connotation in the minds of many homeowners and the general public due to their "swarming" behavior around… more
Plants and Pollinators (3/8/2022) by Carolyn Saft - Having A Variety of Flowering Plants Increases Pollinators in Your Garden The spring-like temperatures bring us hope and excitement of new planting opportunities. Wandering around my yard yesterday, I saw bees buzzing around my azaleas, camellias and red salvias. The pollinators were working hard since there is a variety of flowers for them to choose… more
Buzzing with Bees 4-H Day Camp (3/7/2022) by Shreemoyee Ghosh - Beekeeping, also known as apiculture, is the practice of maintaining bee colonies to achieve desired objectives. Honeybees are the most common domesticated bee species. They are social insects that live in large colonies which include a single adult queen bee and thousands of female worker bees, whose numbers change with the seasons, according to the U.S. Food… 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’s Native Flora & Fauna: Eastern Redbud & Leafcutting Bees (2/24/2022) by Alicia Lamborn - Featuring some of Florida’s native flora (plant life) and fauna (animal life) so you can learn to recognize, appreciate, and protect native species. more
Plagas de las fincas de Florida: Ácaros Varroa (2/17/2022) by Luis Rodriguez Rosado - Existen múltiples problemas que pueden afectar negativamente a las abejas de miel occidentales. Estos problemas pueden incluir la falta de recursos como las flores, condiciones climáticas adversas, enfermedades, uso inadecuado de pesticidas e infestaciones de plagas como los pequeños escarabajos de la colmena (“Small Hive Beetles”), polillas de cera (“Wax Moths”) y ácaros Varroa. De… more
Florida Farm Pests: Varroa Mites (2/17/2022) by Luis Rodriguez Rosado - There are multiples problems that can harm the Western Honeybees. These problems can include a lack of resources such as flowers, harsh weather conditions, diseases, inadequate used of pesticides, and pest infestations such as Small Hive Beetles, Wax Moths, and Varroa Mites. Out of all these problems, Varroa Mites (Varroa Destructor) is the world's most… more
Thoughts on Change: A Look at Old Miami from the Eyes of One of Its Newest Residents (2/16/2022) by Dalton Goolsby - Change—whether evolutionary or man-made—is a vital process that is woven into the fabric of nature, one that has shaped the world to how we see it today. On a small scale, change has the potential to better one’s life, like a New Year's Resolution to maintain a healthier diet. On a larger scale, it has… more
Herb Stories: Basil in Winter (2/11/2022) by Wayne Hobbs - In my January herb blog, I wrote about my pineapple sage which was putting on quite a show. The recent frost didn’t bother her in the least and she’s still going strong. In the raised bed to the left of her, I planted four types of basil last summer: Genovese, Thai, African blue, and holy… more
Save the Date ! 9th Annual Beekeeping in the Panhandle Conference on Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th (2/2/2022) by Matthew Orwat - SAVE THE DATE ! The University of Florida IFAS Extension and the Beekeeping in the Panhandle Working Group has once again teamed up to offer the 9th Annual Beekeeping in the Panhandle Conference on Friday May 6th and Saturday May 7th 2022 at the Washington County Ag Center Auditorium Location: 1424 Jackson Avenue, Chipley, FL… more
Bees on a hive frame The Bees are Coming. (1/28/2022) by David Austin - Bringing the bees Mid to late February in Highlands County is the beginning of the orange blossom bloom. It's January when beekeepers from all over Florida and many other states look for spots to leave their honey bees, as close to the orange groves as they can. Hopeful that their bees will gather coveted nectar… more
Florida-Friendly Wildflowers 3-part Educational Series (9/16/2021) by Tia Silvasy - Why Wildflowers? Loss of biodiversity is one of the major threats to the world. Pollen nectar provides food for insects, which helps to pollinate our food crops, eat pests, and provide food for other wildlife. You can be part of the solution and join our workshop to receive and plant wildflowers to attract pollinators. Plant… more
Sky Blue Cluster Vine – A South Florida Beauty (8/26/2021) by Donna Corbelli Castro - Rare Blue Beauty I have grown, sold and worked with Florida native plants for over 30 years. During that time, I have discovered some of the real stand outs. Sky Blue Cluster Vine, or Jacquemontia pentanthos, is one of these. Jacquemontia has many wonderful attributes. Here is a list of my favorite ones: It is… more
Bees on a hive frame Beekeeping, a Worthy Endeavor (8/23/2021) by David Austin - Protecting the bees Everyone is worried about the bees. Since colony collapse started being recognized as an issue in 2007, the word is out that bees may be in trouble. Yet, and maybe because of, there are more beekeepers than ever. Florida has over 5,000 registered beekeepers. That has steadily increased over the last few… more
Pollinator week header Celebrate Pollinators: A Sample Plant List! (7/21/2021) by polkmg - The following list is a companion blog to the “Celebrate Pollinators” blog. The plants listed are only a few of the hundreds of plants that support our native pollinators. The list provides suggestions for nectar plants, as well as some butterfly host plants. In choosing plants for your pollinators, avoid plants that have been treated… more
Summer is the Time that Sphex Wasps Appear (6/30/2021) by Karen Stauderman - 'Heads down' for the Sphex wasp in your landscape. According to Biological Scientist, Lyle Buss, UF/IFAS Insect Identification laboratory at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL, he identified them as a type of sphecid wasp in the genus Sphex. Lyle explains, “There are 5 or 6 species of Sphex in Florida, and color is… more
Bright red clusters of Penta flowers Planting for Pollinators (6/29/2021) by David Austin - Greener is not always better Yards with only green grass and green hedges in them can seem a boring place. Especially when they don't have anything blooming. There actually is a lot more to it than how it looks to you or visitors.  Your yard can be a complicated place with a whole lot of… more
What’s the Buzz on Bees? (6/24/2021) by Dr. Brett Bultemeier - Florida is known for many of its “Fresh from Florida” commodities such as citrus, tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, watermelons, beans, and sweet corn, but what role do honey bees play in the production of these crops? Did you know that honey bees are responsible for a majority of our fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables, and… more
Pollinator week header Celebrate Pollinator Week June 21-27 (6/21/2021) by polkmg - Calling all gardeners (and all who want to be gardeners)! Would you like to learn how to help our natural environment and add beauty to your yard? Join in this year’s annual international celebration of Pollinator Week! This event brings to the forefront the importance of our native pollinators (including bees, butterflies, birds, moths and… more
beneficial insects The Ways Insects Benefit Our Yards (6/4/2021) by Michelle Leonard-Mularz - When we think about insects in our yards and gardens, our first thought is probably not about all the many good things they do. But make no mistake, there are far more good bugs than bad bugs which benefit our yards in numerous ways; just that simple understanding can make our lives easier as gardeners.… more
Virtual farm tour 2021 logo with bees in the background 2021 Virtual Farm Tour Day 6: Pollination, beekeeping, and more! (4/19/2021) by Morgan Pinkerton - 2021 Virtual Farm Tour Video: Day 6 2021 Virtual Farm Tour Day 6: Dennis the Bee Guy What is pollination? Pollination starts with the flower. There are female flowers, male flowers or flowers that have both female and male parts. Male flowers produce pollen. Female flowers have ovaries that require fertilization from a male flower.… more
Topic Tuesday: Bee Communication (4/6/2021) by Sylvia Willis - Communication is the key to success of any team and honey bees are no exception. These social insects interact using smell, taste, sound, and touch. They communicate about food resources or even about potential nearby danger. These developed senses are quite interesting from antennae, which are the main sensory organ, to their eyes and body… more
Topic Tuesday: Bee Biology (3/2/2021) by Sylvia Willis - Now that we know what pollinators are and types of bees found here in Florida, let's take a closer look at bee biology. Bees belong to the order of Hymenoptera, with ants and wasps. Bees can look like wasps but have more hair and thicker body types, along with specialized organs to collect pollen. The… more
plant florida friendly Florida Friendly Demonstration Garden at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County (2/23/2021) by Anne Yasalonis - Have you visited the Florida-Friendly Landscaping (FFL) Demonstration Gardens at UF/IFAS Extension Polk County in Bartow? These gardens feature the nine principles of FFL and received a state award in 2019. The gardens are open to the public every day, and feature a variety of plants, mulches, and types of irrigation. There are sun gardens,… more
Chinese tallow What Is Happening With the Proposal for the Chinese Tallow Tree (Triadica sebifera) Insect Release? (2/16/2021) by Barbara L. Edmonds - 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
Looking to grow heart-healthy dragon fruit? UF/IFAS scientists offer latest insights on pests, beneficial insects (2/10/2021) by Lourdes Mederos - Dragon fruit, a fruit of choice for its health benefits, has burgeoned in popularity over recent years. The exotic crop has caught the eyes of farmers and consumers alike for its low maintenance and vibrant flowering qualities. Scientists are fueling the information needs of dragon fruit aficionados with a fact sheet that gives specific details… 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
Foreground flowering plants in landscape bed with green lawn in background (2/3/2021) by llw5479 - Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE! returns; New topics, same virtual format February 1, 2021 By: Kirsten Romaguera, 352-294-3313, kromaguera@ufl.edu Long-time and aspiring green thumbs can ask the experts their gardening questions when “Gardening in the Panhandle LIVE!” returns starting Feb. 4. The monthly series is presented virtually, hosted by UF/IFAS experts in each topic, and… more
Topic Tuesday: Types of Bees (2/2/2021) by Sylvia Willis - Last blog, I talked about pollination and pollinator impact on crops grown throughout Florida. This blog, I am highlighting types of bees seen throughout Florida, both native and non-native. There are approximately 20,000 species of bees. There are more than 315 species of bees here in Florida, all of which play an important role in… 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 Samantha Murray - 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-Friendly Gardening Therapy (1/27/2021) by Jennifer Hagen - For a while, I was OK with COVID. Not happy, but you could say “average.” After almost a year of this pandemic, like most folks, COVID fatigue has set in for me. When the pandemic struck, I needed to find something I could control. With the stay-at-home order in place, like many of you, my… more
Topic Tuesday: Pollination (1/5/2021) by Sylvia Willis - Just like humans, plants require important things to grow and produce fruit. Many crops grown in Florida require sun, water, and nutrients to grow, but one thing many people forget about is pollination! Did you know that around one-third of our diet in the United States results directly from pollinators? What is pollen?   Before… more
plant florida friendly Monarchs get all the love: How to increase butterfly diversity in your yard (1/4/2021) by polkmg - When it comes to butterfly gardening, monarch butterflies seem to get all the love. Monarchs are the butterfly “homecoming queens”! They are drama queens, too, as they lead fascinating lives of intrigue, participating each year in a miraculous-seeming migration across North and Central America. In recent years numerous studies have shown a horrific decline in… more
Can I touch a Wooly Bear Caterpillar? (12/15/2020) by Carolyn Saft - Woolly Bear Caterpillar For the last two weeks while teaching youth about the game of disc golf, we came across big black fuzzy looking caterpillar approximately 3" long. Of course, the kids wanted to know what it was and could they touch it? After a quick explanation about how some "fuzzy or hairy" looking caterpillars… more
bee on blueberry flower In story of blueberries and bees, scientists play matchmaker (12/10/2020) by Samantha Murray - Chew on this the next time you eat a blueberry: [inlinetweet prefix="" tweeter="" suffix=""]Every single blueberry is the result of a flower that was pollinated by a bee.[/inlinetweet] In other words: No buzz, no berry. With that in mind, it’s no wonder blueberry growers bring in hives of honey bees or bumble bees when their… 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

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