Bears and Bees in the Sunshine State

Compared to viruses, Varroa mites, Nosema, pesticide damage, and the myriad of other problems we are facing, bears (Florida black bears of course) are one of the more (if not the most) straightforward problems beekeepers have in terms of keeping their bees alive. On most occasions a good electric fence will do the trick, but for some reason bears seem to have been more of a problem in Florida than usual. Yards that have never had a problem will be completely destroyed overnight even with a fence. I personally had one of my yards demolished with an electric fence within a fenced pasture. They came…

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“Winter” Beekeeping in Florida

It’s cold outside. All 50 states experienced freezing temperatures at the same time this past week for the first time since 1976. While these surprisingly low fall temperatures maybe old hat for the rest of the country, it’s a little on the cool side for those of us in Florida. At 20°F, Jacksonville, FL experienced the coldest temperatures on record for the month of November. It usually doesn’t get cold (at least Florida’s version of it) until January. So what does this mean for FL beekeepers? The last of the Spanish needle, primrose willow, and marsh marigold will be gone shortly, and queens will start…

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Beekeeping Equipment: Excluders!

The options for beekeeping equipment are seemingly endless. Lids, hive tools, suits, smokers, pallets or bottom boards; even backyard beekeepers need a lot of stuff. But how much of this equipment is really necessary? The answer is probably not much, but it definitely makes certain aspects of beekeeping easier. Today I want to look at one piece of equipment in particular, the excluder. Over the years I’ve heard many views on whether or not they are necessary, financially worth it or good for a hive (and of course the only thing beekeepers have more of than equipment is opinions). Called honey excluders or queen excluders…

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Trouble in Paradise: Pesticide Damage in Florida Citrus Groves

It was a tough spring in the citrus groves in Florida this year. We had a warm winter and cold spring which extended the bloom period an extra several weeks. With the devastating spread of Huanglongbing (HLB) a.k.a. citrus greening which is carried by the Asian citrus psyllid, many grove owners chose to spray certain insecticides (namely imidicloprid, a neonicotinoid class insecticide) during the bloom which is a violation of pesticide labeling. Many beekeepers (myself included) suffered extensive damage to our colonies resulting in colony death as well as a very poor honey harvest. Relationships between beekeepers and citrus grove owners in Florida have been…

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South Florida Bee College

Hi everybody, My name is Liana Teigen and I recently joined BIP to be a part of the FL/GA tech team. I am based out of the Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab (HBREL) at the University of Florida in Gainesville where I’ve had the pleasure to work with Jamie Ellis for the past several years on everything bees from Varroa research to native bee conservation.  For the most part I’ve worked on sustaining native bee populations for crop pollination and while I run my own bees on the side, I am thrilled to get back to honey bees full time!  HBREL is primarily an extension…

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