Q: I’m thinking about getting into beekeeping. What do I need to know to get started?
Answer: Beekeeping is a prime topic right now, with more and more people interested in getting started in this fast-growing hobby.
There are a significant number of local and Internet resources available. You can check out the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension lab website at www.UFhoneybee.com. The Tampa Bay Bee Association and other groups in surrounding counties hold monthly meetings and/or offer seminars on beekeeping. The University of South Florida Botanical Garden has an apiary program.
I recently attended a University of Florida one-day program on “Getting Started in Beekeeping.” The information provided included titles of good periodicals and reference books, history of beekeeping, equipment needed, biology of the honey bee, differing roles of bees, swarms, hive maintenance, diseases, honey extraction and much more. There are more than 20 beekeeping publications at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_beekeeping.
My suggestions on how to proceed are:
♦ Read publications at the previously mentioned websites.
♦ Attend a local beekeeping seminar or meeting.
♦ Check the library or Internet for beginner beekeeping books, periodicals and reference books, or consider shadowing a beekeeper.
♦ Think about where you would locate your apiary, because there are several things you need to consider, such as wind breaks, maintenance, fences, neighbors, proximity of a water source, etc.
All managed honey bee colonies have to be registered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Lynn Barber is the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods agent at Hillsborough Extension.. Reach her at BarberL@hillsboroughcounty.org.