Q: What are the benefits of membership?
A: While we welcome everyone to attend the regular meetings and participate in the hands-on educational/teaching apiary workdays on the SPC campus, there are benefits reserved exclusively for members:
- Opportunity for listing on website for bee removal services
- Opportunity for listing on website for selling honey
- Access to the club’s 6-frame honey extractor with a deposit
- Opportunity to rent space at the club’s members Great Bay Apiary * Ideal for those who cannot keep bees on their own property
- Opportunity to attend business meetings
- Access to a “members only” section of the website.
Q: I don’t have bees right now, but I want to get started – what do I need to buy to start?
A: Costs can vary but plan on spending $300-$500 to get started – you can come to the monthly meetings and attend the “new-bee” session at the beginning of the meeting and ask questions about types of equipment, best places to buy, pros and cons of different items
Essentials for a new beekeeper:
- Protective gear (beekeeping veil, jacket, or suit, and gloves)
- Hive tool & Bee brush
- Smoker & fuel for the smoker
- Hive (including bottom board, outer cover or lid) *In our region, it is not recommended to use an “inner cover” that many kits come with, and it is recommended that a screened bottom board be used.
- Hives come unassembled or assembled – a “nuc” or nucleus box is smaller (5 frames) than a full body hive (8 or 10 frame hive)
- It is recommended to have at least 2 full hive bodies and one nuc.
- Later on, you will need to purchase “supers” for honey production
- Frames and foundation for inside the hive
- Bees! (you can either purchase a package or nuk of bees, capture a swarm or do a removal and re-queen).
Q: Can I “try-out” beekeeping before investing all that money?
A: The club has educational days at the Apiary located on the SPC Seminole campus once a month. This is an opportunity for a “hands-on” experience. It is usually hot, so bring water! The club can loan out veils and gloves for the educational session on a first-come/first-serve basis, and it is recommended you dress appropriately (long pants, socks, boots, long-sleeve shirts). You will have to sign waivers of liability for the club and SPC campus before you are permitted to enter the apiary. If you do not know if you are allergic to bee stings, it is recommended you come prepared and provide your own EPiPen.
Q: What are the State of Florida regulations on beekeeping?
A: Florida has laws and regulations related to beekeeping. You will must register your bees, and have them inspected on a yearly basis. For more information about these laws, regulations, and to register. http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Plant-Industry/Business-Services/Registrations-and-Certifications/Beekeeper-Registration
Q: How much honey can I get from one hive?
A: The amount of honey harvested from one hive can vary greatly based on the health and strength of the colony, weather patterns, and what is in season/blooming. In this area, as of the last few years, with a strong hive and favorable conditions, you can expect to harvest about 25 to 30 lbs. of honey from each super placed on a hive 1-2 times a year. Again, this is a rough estimate, as there are a number of variables to contend with.
Q: I heard there are problems with bee populations – are they endangered?
A: If you read stories about bees being added to the Endangered Species List, these bees are typically wild bumblebee species, not European Honeybees (which are the species used by beekeepers for honey production).
However, many beekeepers of European Honeybees have reported losses due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). For more information about CCD, how to recognize it, potential causes and effects, please visit http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/hot_topics/agriculture/colony_collapse_disorder.shtml
Q: I want to have a beekeeper come to talk to my class/group – how to I arrange for this?
A: Feel free to contact PBA to arrange for a speaker for your group. Speakers often can bring a “demonstration hive” with live bees (sealed, so no bees escape). Please note we have a limited number of speakers that volunteer their time, so we may not be able to accommodate your request depending on time or location. Typically, the club is inundated with requests around the Great American Teach-in and Earth Day, so get your request in early.