The first Wednesday of every month, the Seminole County Beekeepers Association meets at the UF/IFAS Extension Seminole County Auditorium. The group shares lessons, stories, techniques, successes, struggles, and immense passion for keeping bees. Dennis Langlois, the Association founder and President, even hosts monthly apiary inspections for members to learn!
This was the biggest turn out for any UF/IFAS Extension event in our auditorium with 94 residents swarming to learn about “What is killing our bees, and what we can do about it!”
Dr. Jamie Ellis is a professor at the University of Florida doing incredible work teaching students and residents alike. He hosts the twice annual “Bee College” to teach the latest science and sampling techniques to maintain a healthy hive. There is a lot of good news in the world of honeybees! All of the gloom and doom associated with honeybees has increased the number of people keeping honeybee colonies resulting in a net increase of honeybees by 1.3%. Dr. Ellis has some big take home messages because there is still a science to overcoming the issues thwarting our honeybees.
The dreaded varroa mite is responsible for a variety of stresses on our bees. There is a science to sampling and maintaining healthy hives. Sample about 100 bees per month to monitor varroa mite levels. Dr. Ellis says the do something at 3 per 100 bees sampled. More on the specifics can be found HERE.
University of Maryland PhD. Student, Samuel Ramsey, also presented on his groundbreaking research on the varroa mite. He is fearlessly redefining the science that researchers have accepted since 1972! Sammy has challenged and proven that varroa mites are feasting on fat, not hemolymph, as previously accepted. His research is changing the game and could contribute to better control mechanisms for the destructive mite.
Central Florida maintains a healthy colony of beekeepers as demonstrated by last night’s record attendance. All across Florida, beekeepers are prioritizing science and research to tackle these big picture issues. The beekeepers are also responsible for “Building the Bee Lab”, a state of the art bee research facility at the University of Florida in Gainesville. This is a testament to the work of our beekeepers relentlessly pushing for more research about their honies.