In general, honeybees are on the decline. Troubling numbers come out every year that suggest dangerous trends for honeybees. However, in Florida, honeybees are doing well in comparison to the population at large. Florida is one of the top 6 states for honeybee populations with more than 4,000 registered beekeepers, and even a state agency that has the authority to inspect hives. Unfortunately, honeybees face many challenges from beetles to pesticides, so it is important to continue this growth and educate the public on just how important honeybees are.
Though many factors have contributed to the decline of the bee population, from harsh winters causing increased rates of die-off to the destruction of natural habitats. Above all else, it is human factors that contribute to the decline of honeybee populations. Dangerous pesticides that are popular in commercial growing, lawn care, and gardening are decimating the honeybee populations.
Local beekeeping is essential for improving and growing the honeybee population. Quite simply, as people have become busier and less engaged with the outdoors, interest in beekeeping has declined right along with it. By supporting local beekeepers, you are helping to ensure that these essential pollinators come back from this decline stronger than ever.
Beekeeping can seem intimidating at first. Being responsible for a queen and her thousands of stinging, buzzing workers and drones seems like a huge challenge. As things turn out, it’s not quite as complicated as all that. The best place to start is by reaching out to a local beekeeper and getting some first-hand experience tending to a hive. Having someone you can call while you gather equipment, order your bees, and introduce the bees to their new home will make all the difference. You can meet all kinds of people to help you on your beekeeping journey at the Escarosa Beekeepers Association.
Every month is different but the one thing that remains the same is the dedicated group of bee lovers that come together to form our community. You can expect anything from educational discussions, workshops with experts, as well as some time to talk with other local beekeepers. Our meetings are always buzzing.
There are plenty of ways to participate and help out. You can attend our meetings and spread the information you learn there, partner with a local beekeeper and see if you can help them out, or support local beekeepers by purchasing their honey. Donating to charities that support efforts to save the bees is a great way to help out as well.
As with any activity, beekeeping is perfectly safe as long as you have the right gear. Make sure you and your child have the proper veil and gloves on when handling the hive. In fact, it will be incredibly beneficial to your child to show them that bees are good for the world and not dangerous. Make sure to get your child tested for a bee sting allergy, just in case, so you have the proper equipment on hand. As for pets, dogs and cats get along perfectly well with bees. Again, it is dangerous if your animal has a bee sting allergy. The only other exception is if your animal has an outdoor kennel. If the beehive is dramatically disturbed or knocked over, the bees will swarm and sting the nearest person or thing. This is not too bad if you can run away, but spells danger for an animal trapped in a kennel.
First and foremost, stop using pesticides that are not honeybee safe. A simple internet search will turn up plenty of pesticides that stop the weeds, without killing the bees. In order to make your yard honey bee-friendly, you can also plant things for them to pollinate. Sunflowers, purple coneflowers, and honeysuckle are just a few of the honeybee’s favorite flowers. Not only will bees be happily buzzing in your yard, but these pollinating flowers will also attract butterflies and create a beautiful and colorful garden.
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