A beekeeper handling a bee hive during a demonstration at the Bee College.

A beekeeper handling a bee hive during a demonstration at the Bee College. 

Experienced beekeepers, aspiring novices and people simply curious about honey bees will all find plenty of sweet educational opportunities at the 2019 University of Florida Bee College, coming August 5-6 and 8-9.

Bee College is Florida’s premier beekeeping education event, said Jamie Ellis, director of the university’s honey bee program and a professor with the UF entomology and nematology department, part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

“We’ve literally trained thousands of beekeepers in this program over the years,” Ellis said. “The entire Bee College event is geared toward making beekeeping more enjoyable, bee colonies healthier and the beekeeping industry more sustainable.”

In response to demand, the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is offering two sessions of the college in the same week, both sessions featuring a similar two-day roster of classes. The first session happens Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 5-6; the second is Thursday and Friday, Aug.

8-9. Each day’s events run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and registration is available at https://bit.ly/2JPAUlB.

The college takes place at the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Laboratory, on the grounds of Steinmetz Hall, home of the UF/IFAS entomology and nematology department.

Classes offered at the 2019 Bee College cover a range of topics, from practical instruction on hive management issues to beekeeping history to bee photography, said Shelby Howell, a UF/IFAS Extension technician with the Honey Bee Laboratory.

“We’ll also have a few classes that deal with native pollinators and creating pollinator-friendly gardens,” Howell said.

The Aug. 8-9 session will include a traditional honey show, where beekeepers display their home-produced honey, as well as bee-related artwork and crafts made with bee products, such as wax. Honey samples will be judged by a panel of experts, and the winners will be announced at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, as part of a Night at the Museum event at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“This is the first time Bee College has had a nighttime event, and it will be geared toward fun and socializing more than education,” Howell said. “We’ll have desserts, coffee, trivia, a scavenger hunt and more.”

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