The Honey Bee – An Important Part of Florida Agriculture

April 15, 2011

Honey bees are the creator’s of man’s first sweetener. Primitive beekeepers were actually hunters, raiding beehives for honey. Honey was prized because of its unique taste and unusual sweetness. Today, this important Florida product has an annual worth of $15 to $20 million. Florida’s climate and abundant flowering plants make it a perfect place to keep honey bees, and the beekeeping industry has tremendously grown. Florida is consistently ranked among the nation’s leaders in honey production, with approximately 17 million pounds of honey produced each year. Orange, tupelo, gallberry and palmetto honeys are just a few of the special varieties.

Florida Honey Bee Industry Facts

  • Crops pollinated by honey bees have a $3.3 million economic impact in Florida, and produce $192 million in tax revenues.
  • For every dollar of honey produced in Florida, approximately $150 is generated in honey bee pollination services.
  • Without honey bee pollination, the food we eat could decrease by a third.
  • FDACS established an apiary (honey bee) inspection program within DPI in 1923.
  • Florida has about 1,000 registered beekeepers and 200,000 managed colonies.

 DPI State Apiary Inspectors…

  • Advise Florida beekeepers on the identification and treatment of honey bee pests
  • Certify honey bees for shipment to other states for honey production and pollination
  • Maintain 500 bait traps around the state and monitor Florida ports, the interstate highway system and other vulnerable areas to identify unusual activity that might indicate the introduction or spread of unwanted honey bee species, like the Africanized honey bee
  • Provide education and outreach to the apiary industry and public.

 The Gainesville Sun published an interesting article on GatorSports.com about beekeeping and Colony Collapse Disorder. Check out the article online.

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