Beekeeping class | Cape Coral, FL

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Thank you Rob Hartman for teaching this 4-week beekeeping class with eight alternating classroom and hands-on sessions sponsored by UF/IFAS and The Bees Choice. Thanks for all the great beekeeping equipment too! We were all fully stocked by the end of class – books, hives, frames, wax foundation, hive tools, smokers, beekeeping veil/hat and gloves, queen cages, and beetle barns.IMG_4606

We all received and built a Langstrom hive with 10-frames and learned a lot about the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) and why its soooo important that we all become active beekeepers (and it’s not just for the purest of honey).

The African Honey Bee (Apis mellifera scutellata)  has been imported into the lower US from cargo ships and is infiltrating our local bee populations causing them to have Africanized bee traits, in particular, when hives are under poor management and/or neglected. This also can include natural, unmanaged populations. The more beekeepers we have that follow best management practices, the more we can dilute the africanized traits of the local bee populations.

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Now we get to the good part, the Honey…not all honey is created equally. Honey quality is determined by what the bees eat. If bees are feed sugar water, the quality of the honey is not as good as when they are allowed to gather nectar from the wild. Many imported honeys are cut with high fructose corn syrup. So Buy your honey from a local beekeeper and make sure to ask questions as to their beekeeping practices. Since honey bees forage a three mile radius, it is important to know what is around the hives for them to eat. This determines what kind of honey you are buying and what was blooming at the time of the honey harvest. Wildflower honey is a mix different blooms. Honeys with specific plant names were harvested when those plants were in bloom and all have slightly different taste. There is no organic honey, but there are organic practices, which include not treating the hive with pesticides, fungicides and antibiotics. If there is a lot of herbicide, pesticide or other chemical applications in the area, the bee hive and it’s population may not survive. There is a lot of speculation about colony collapse disorder; however, there is indications that some may be due to pesticide residues from our nations overuse. Help us save the Honey Bee populations by discontinuing the use of pesticides, in particular, when the flowers are blooming.

Thank you to Roy Beckford for all the community awareness and new beekeepers you are helping in our SW Florida area.IMG_4653

Learning how to smoke a hive and how to start your smoker the correct way.

Hive management and hands-on frame inspections.

Building 10 frames with a frame jigIMG_2438

Built 2 new hives and ready for action!

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