Do you love the bees but hate the sting? This is how to keep the relationship amicable

Who would ever imagine putting themselves in a situation that intentionally elicits the flight or fight response typically therapeutically associated with an unexpected encounter with bees? If you have ever experienced the unwelcome and undesirable presence of bees in or around your surroundings, you know the terrifying feeling firsthand. In May 2020, Half Mad Honey was founded with the express intention of using their honeybees for psychotherapy. Beekeeping Therapy, considered the first of its kind at Half Mad Honey, uses their hives to help people practice both mindfulness and stress tolerance as possible. For most of us, a challenge enough without the presence of bees, but a honey-sweet option nonetheless.

Farmed honeybee colonies are an important part of Florida’s agriculture. They produce unique varieties of Florida honey, pollinate many crops that produce fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and support the livelihood of Florida beekeepers. The Sunshine State is home to over 300 species of bees that help pollinate agricultural commodities and support the overall health of the ecosystem. The pollinator that best represents the problems of all pollinators in our state is the honey bee (Apis meliffera). The European (or Western) honey bee was brought to America by early European settlers and has been a part of the natural environment here ever since.

Unlike native species, the honey bee can be manipulated to encourage the pollination needs of certain crops. Honey bees make a significant contribution to our food supply. Crops like blueberries, watermelons, cucumbers, and onions would produce little to no fruit without the honeybee in Florida. Honey bees, also known as the “angels of agriculture”, are arguably the strongest link in the chain between food producers and consumers. Nationwide statistics show that there are over 100 popular fruits and vegetables that ensure fertile harvests through pollination.

The honey industry in Florida is consistently ranked in the top 5 in the country, valued at $ 27 million annually. Additionally, Florida’s honey bee industry benefits our state’s fruit and vegetable industry by providing an estimated $ 65 million in increased production generated by managed pollination services that are not otherwise available. Seventeen million pounds of honey are produced in Florida each year and enjoyed all over the world. A healthy and safe honey bee industry in Florida is indeed valuable to all.

It is not uncommon in Florida for honey bees to be found in the environment and not managed by a beekeeper. Wild bees, or rather wild honey bees, have the potential to be a nuisance on private or commercial property, either in a swarm state or as an established colony. Honey bees can quickly become a nuisance if they are in cavities near places where people are, such as a stinging threat to people and animals nearby. When a property owner encounters a swarm or an established colony, they have two options: remove it alive or have it exterminated.

Over the past decade, increasing attention has been paid to a variety of stressors that negatively affect bees. These stressors include: pressure from monoculture farming, risk of pesticide exposure, pests and parasites, feed, nutrition (both in feed and natural availability) and management.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and representatives from a variety of stakeholders have worked to gather resources to help all parties advance the importance of bees, their health, and their services support in the state of Florida.

In some cases, depending on the size, location and temperament of an established bee colony, a registered beekeeper in Florida can remove an established bee colony and all of its components (bees, honeycomb, brood, honey) and safely relocate it to a beekeeping facility. Having a certified pest controller exterminate a colony is often a choice when the colony nests in a location that cannot be safely removed, cannot thrive, or poses a stinging threat to humans.

FDACS maintains a list of registered beekeepers and certified pest controllers who provide bee removal and / or extermination services. It is important to note that how a colony is removed is up to the individual property owner to decide. When a company or person is hired to remove or eradicate a colony on your property, FDACS suggests the following:

Ask for their beekeeping registration number or pest control license number (required to perform eradication or removal in the state of Florida). License numbers for legal operators begin with the prefix “JB”.

Ask if the beekeeper or pest controller has liability insurance.

Ask about their plan to remove any honeycombs and honey that may attract nearby bees.

Ask about the removal or eradication method they will use and where the bees will be relocated.

Ask about their plan to repair, replace, or otherwise completely seal the site after the colony is removed.

After the colonies are removed or exterminated, check for further bee activity at the site and contact the hired company / person if necessary.

The local beekeeper Bob van der Herchen advises on his website “Search for activity. If you see a bee in your home, it likely shot over the designated runway and landed inside. All they need is a small opening and they will start building a beehive. ”Should you need further help, advice, moving, moving, or any other beekeeping service, you can contact Bob at (941) 474-549.

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