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Planning, Implementing and Evaluating the Florida Panhandle Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow

Extension Education

Ray Bodrey
Agent II-(CED)
UF/IFAS Extension Gulf County


Objectives: Florida has a rich history of honey production. The Florida Panhandle is well known for its impressive production of gallberry, wildflower, clover and Tupelo honey. There are nearly 5,000 registered beekeepers in the state managing over 650,000 colonies (Bustamante, Ellis & Bammer 2022). These figures include both commercial beekeepers and Florida’s robust backyard, hobby beekeeping industry as well. With such a large amount of operating apiaries come a need to continually educate beekeepers on the latest University research and assist beginner beekeepers in getting their hives off to a healthy start. Due to the lack of beekeeping extension education in northwest Florida, beekeepers and advisory groups asked Northwest District Extension Agents to devise an annual conference and tradeshow to educate beekeepers on the latest techniques in honey production, queen rearing and hive production.

Methods: This annual event was designed to engage beginner and advanced level beekeepers through presentation tracks at different levels of experience.  All tracks highlight the latest research-based beekeeping management practices. As an added practical learning activity, hands-on open hive experiences were also available for participants. Examples of the learning objectives were honey extraction, splitting hives, hive construction, smoker lighting and safety, pollination, honey sources, and integrated pest management. There were also a honey tasting contest, door prizes and tradeshow with regional vendors.

Results: There were 149 attendees completing the post survey over the last two conference years. A sample of the survey results concluded that 84% of respondents could identifying healthy hives through visual observation, 82% gained knowledge on virus impact on bee health, 82% indicated a greater confidence in managing their own hives according to UF/IFAS practices, 76% indicated they will expand the hives operation, and 88% indicated gaining knowledge in queen biology.

Conclusion:  This annual conference and tradeshow provides a learning experience for backyard and commercial beekeepers with valuable continuing education. This educational event is the forum of the latest techniques that can improve skill set and the informed decision-making process a beekeeper needs to sustain and grow their footprint on Florida Agriculture.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted only for display at AM/PIC. Poster is not to be judged, but the abstract will be published in the proceedings.

A poster file has not been provided

Authors: Matthew Orwat, Ray Bodrey, Daniel Leonard, Evan Anderson, Ashley Stonecipher
  1. Orwat, M. Extension Agent I, UF/IFAS Extension Washington County, Florida, 32428
  2. Bodrey, R. County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Extension Gulf County, Florida, 32465
  3. Leonard, D. County Extension Director, UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County, Florida, 32424
  4. Anderson, E. Extension Agent I, UF/IFAS Extension Walton County, Florida, 32433
  5. Stonecipher, A. Extension Agent I, UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County, Florida, 32724