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The Honeybee

Most people like the taste of honey.  That sweet gooey substance that is good in teas or on toast.  Honey is made by the honeybee.

Although many people have a good healthy fear of any bee due to the sting, honeybees are important to the Florida agricultural industry.  Even if you do not eat honey, it is estimated that one of out of every three bites of food can be attributed to the effects of honeybee pollination.

There is a common misconception that all honeybees are always wild.  This is not true.  There are many honeybee keepers in the state of Florida, geographically located to perform the best service for Florida’s farmers. These bee keepers are registered and their practices are managed by the state.

This doesn’t mean wild honeybees don’t play a part in pollination, because they absolutely do.  But having registered hives also means there is some control over pollination activities and over the health of the hive.

The disappearance of bees

When it comes to honeybees, one of the biggest issues in the US is the Colony Collapse disorder.  Honeybees are simply dying off.  In order to help combat the issue, Florida has allowed for the adoption of wild hives in order to help safeguard the numbers.  Florida officials have also allowed for the creation of back-yard hives by hobby beekeepers, which have helped increase the numbers.

Although many people attribute colony collapse to the overuse of pesticides, scientists state that while it is true pesticide use may contribute to the problem, it is certainly not the only issue.  Other contributing factors include loss of natural habitat, invasive predators, the practice single-crop planting, diseases, and extreme weather.

Africanized honeybee

It’s important to realize that the regular honeybee is not the same thing as the dreaded Africanized honeybee.  The Africanized honeybee is a very dangerous pest simply because they are super aggressive and will swarm and sting pets, animals and humans.  Florida does have programs designed to eradicate the Africanized honeybee.

Finding a nest

If you find a nest of honeybees on your property, it is recommended that you contact either a beekeeper or a professional in order to properly identify the bee and assess the situation.  If it’s an Africanized honeybee, the danger can be great and requires specialized equipment and knowledge for safe removal.

If it’s a regular honeybee hive and it’s in an area where it won’t disturb anyone, sometimes the best recommendation is simply letting it be.  Bees do perform a vital service when it comes to pollinating local crops and providing honey.

If you don’t want to leave the colony alone or if you have children or pets that might be in danger, a bee keeper may voluntarily agree to adopt the hive and move it off your property.  If this doesn’t work, professionals or a different bee keeper may agree to eradicate the colony for you.

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