Noise about beekeeping | Lifestyles

Beehive frame full of bees. The frame holds the hive inside the hive box.

Beekeeping for the Hing Family in Naples began with Kylene Hing discovering new ways to be a fun and educational experience for her two homeschooled children, Kiana and Gabriel. Kylene found a 4-H Beekeeping and Gardening Club for kids, and after the whole family attended their first beekeeping class at the University of Florida-IFAS extension office, they were “buzzing!

What started as a humble beekeeping hobby, Hing Family Apiary has grown into a family business with over 100 hives spread over several locations. The apiary sells honey, provides removal and relocation of hives, and offers a pollination service for food products that need honey bees to pollinate.

The biggest challenge for them is working in the heat during the peak season and dealing with the honey bee decline. A hobbyist with fewer hives may face fewer problems.

For those interested in backyard beekeeping, Hing suggests doing a lot of research, joining local beekeeping clubs, connecting with experienced beekeepers and finding a mentor.

According to the University of Florida, Florida’s honey industry ranks among the top five in the nation with nearly 5,000 registered beekeepers operating nearly 650,000 colonies producing more than 10 million pounds of honey in 2018 (USDA 2018). Nationwide, honeybees contribute nearly $20 billion to the crop industry by providing pollination services across the United States.

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Sourcing raw honey from a local farmer’s market. Remember, these bees flew 55,000 miles to visit two million flowers to get just one pound of honey, or one jar.

According to researchers at the University of Florida, pollinators are often responsible for one out of every three meals we eat, but honey bees have been declining in the United States for more than three decades due to a variety of factors. An alarming decline in 2006. Research at Auburn University’s College of Agriculture found that beekeepers in the United States have lost about 45% of their colonies, and if we continue to lose these critical pollinators, we could lose some of our favorite foods.

How many different kinds of bees are there? According to the Florida Department of Agriculture, there are more than 4,000 species of bees living in the United States, and Florida is home to more than 300 of these species that help pollinate agricultural crops. And 29 species are found in Florida alone.

This article will talk about the European honey bee (Apis mellifera), which was brought to America by the early Europeans. Honeybees contribute significantly to the food supply of Florida’s strawberries, blueberries, watermelons, cucumbers, onions, and citrus fruits. Without them, there would be little or no fruit on our table.

My yard is a honey bee haven and I find myself in awe as the bees forage from flower to flower. They love native purple passionflowers, compete for lilac nectar and go absolutely wild for orange jasmine flowers. During my morning runs, I always listen to the hum of honeybees high up in the palm trees, and depending on the season, they may be Saw Palmetto, Royal or Queen Palms. Honey bees are attracted to large fragrant spikes called inflorescences.

According to the University of Florida/IFAS, it takes a female bee flying 55,000 miles and visiting more than two million flowers to make one pound of honey.

Why do bees make honey? Honey is bee food. An average hive contains about 60,000 bees, and it takes a lot of food to feed the colony. Flowers aren’t always available year-round, so bees will have to collect a lot of nectar and store enough honey to feed the entire colony.

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A honeybee foraging on a purple passionflower.

To enjoy the fruits of the bees’ labor, I always stock up on jars of raw honey from local farmer’s markets because they offer varieties native to Florida. According to Kylene Hing, seasonal flavors are determined by local nectar sources that change from season to season.

How can you help your local bee population? Kylene Hing suggests checking out educational resources like the Florida Native Plant Society, Florida Wildflower Foundation and University of Florida/IFAS Gardening Solutions to find out which pollinators grow best in your area. Even a potted vegetable garden planted in the fall will attract pollinators.


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