Did you know that honeybees aren’t native to the Americas? Their history is like that of many Americans–they are immigrants from Europe. It is not known when bees made it to Florida, but they have been an integral part of our agriculture for many years. Florida’s bees are highly sought-after throughout the United States According the Mr. Laurence Cutts, Florida beekeeping has now become almost totally migratory. Most bees in the state are moved from two to six times annually, either interstate or intrastate, to pollinate crops grown by U.S. farmers. About half of Florida’s bees are moved to northern states in the summer for pollination or honey production. They pollinate everything from watermelons in Florida, to blueberries in Maine, to almonds in California. Florida’s Orange Blossom honey and Tupelo honey are famous worldwide.
The art of Beekeeping is alive and strong here in Escambia County. We have online resources and occasional courses to help you in your beekeeping endeavors, but there are also three vibrant beekeeping groups in our region: the EscaRosa Beekeepers Association; North Escambia Bee Association; and Northwest Florida Gulf Coast Beekeeping Association. Follow this link to learn more about these associations.
Beekeeping is so important to our food systems that the University of Florida has its own Honey Bee Research and Extension Center. As well as doing research on bees, the Center focuses on outreach in three major areas: Beekeeper Extension; African Bee Extension; and general Honey Bee Extension. Please visit the Honey Bee website to learn more through videos, newsletters, timely articles, and Extension publications.