Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides

photo of a bee hovering near a cluster of a citrus flowers, blue sky in the background

To safely solve a pest problem, growers and pesticide applicators must be aware of the potential impacts of some pest-control strategies on bees, other pollinators, and beneficial arthropods. This 14-page fact sheet written by J. D. Ellis, J. Klopchin, E. Buss, and others and published by the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department explains the issue and provides strategies to protect honey bees and other beneficial insects from pesticides.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1027

Using Nucs in Beekeeping Operations

An apiary full of nucs for sale. Photo by Jamie Ellis.
This 9-page illustrated fact sheet by James D. Ellis discusses the merits of using nucleus colonies, or nucs, which are smaller versions of full-sized Langstroth hives. The publication explains how to create and manage nucs and how to use them to control swarming, strengthen production colonies, re-queen hives, hive swarms, produce queens to sell to other beekeepers, and in general strengthen and expand a beekeeping operation. Published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in869

Living with the African Honey Bee

queen and ladies in waiting Credit: Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS

African honey bees and European honey bees are the same species of honey bee, but the two are classified as different subspecies or races of honey bee. African honey bee x European honey bee hybrids present an unpredictable combination of both subspecies‹ behavioral traits. This 4-page fact sheet written by J. D. Ellis and M. Bammer and published by the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology explains how to “bee-proof” your house and yard and develop a bee safety plan as well as what you can do if you encounter a swarm or a colony of bees and how to treat a bee sting.
edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1205

African Honey Bee: What You Need to Know

Figure 1. Exposed African bee nest on a tree limb

African honey bees entered the United States in the early 1990s and have since spread throughout the Southwest and Southeast, including parts of Florida. Compared to European bees, African bees are highly aggressive when disturbed and are more likely to sting humans and animals.  This 6-page fact sheet covers the history and distribution of African honey bees in the Americas and explains how beekeepers and residents can manage their interactions with these bees. Written by H. Glenn Hall, Catherine Zettel-Nalen and James D. Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, December 2014. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg113

How to Dissect Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.) to Detect Tracheal Mites (Acarapis woodi Rennie)

Figure 10. Five tracheal mites visible in a dissected honey bee trachea

Tracheal mites are parasites of the western honey bee and negatively impact the health and productivity of an infested colony. This 6-page fact sheet details the method of dissecting honey bees in order to diagnose tracheal mites. Written by John Bonkowski, Ashley N. Mortensen, and James D Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, January 2015.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1072

Observation Bee Hives

two people looking at a demonstration beehive at Bee College
The use of observation bee hives continues to interest a variety of people. This is not surprising. The observation hive is one of the primary research and educational tools in apiculture. It is both educational and entertaining. Observation bee hives can be used to enhance public relations and marketing programs. But a great deal of time and energy is needed to set up a hive and keep it going. Maintenance can be expensive and time consuming, especially if the hive is to be used as a permanent display for the general public. This 3-page fact sheet provides sources for building observation hives and tips for maintenance. Written by David Hall, James D. Ellis, and Malcolm Sanford, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2015. (UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg320

Sample Pollination Agreement

bee pollinating citrus flowerThe key to a prospering pollination service is proper promotion, honest, quality service, and a written contract. This contract would detail the expectations of both the beekeeper and the grower. This 4-page fact sheet provides a suggested pollination agreement. Written by Malcolm T. Sanford, Jeanette Klopchin, and James Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2015. (UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa169

Zombie Fly (suggested common name) Apocephalus borealis Brues (Insecta: Diptera: Phoridae)

Figure 4. Adult female Apocephalus borealis.The zombie fly is primarily a parasitoid of bumble bees and wasps in North America. In 2012, Dr. John Hafernik and his colleagus at San Francisco State University discovered that Apocephalus borealis also parasitizes honey bees. Parasitized honey bees show zombie-like behavior by leaving their hives at night and are often attracted to nearby lights where they show disoriented behavior and die in a few hours. This 5-page fact sheet was written by Nicole A. Casuso, Ashley N. Mortensen, and James D. Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2014. (Photo: Jessica Andrieux, CC SA-BY 2.5)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1063

Robbing Behavior in Honey Bees

Figure 1. The colonies in this apiary are being equalized (i.e. populations are being made uniform). Having many colonies open at the same time caused the bees from the colonies to initiate a robbing frenzy.Western honey bee workers can invade and steal honey/nectar from other colonies or sugar/corn syrup from feeders used to deliver syrup to other colonies. This is called “robbing” behavior. Robbing behavior typically involves the collection of nectar and honey, but not pollen or brood. Some beekeepers report that robbing bees may steal wax or propolis from other hives, but there is not much data available on this occurrence. Robbing behavior can escalate quickly from just a few bees robbing other colonies to a massive frenzy of bees robbing many colonies in an apiary. This 3-page fact sheet was written by Ryan Willingham, Jeanette Klopchin, and James Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, February 2015. (Photo Credit: UF/HBREL)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1064

Wedge-Shaped Beetles (suggested common name) Ripiphorus spp. (Insecta: Coleoptera: Ripiphoridae)

Figure 1. Adult specimen of Macrosiagon HentzRipiphoridae are a family of unusual parasitic beetles that are thought to be related to tumbling flower beetles and blister beetles. They parasitize bees and wasps, roaches, and wood-boring beetles, but specific hosts for many ripiphorid species are unknown. Their secretive life cycle makes an assessment of their economic and ecological impact very difficult. Additional research is necessary to determine the abundance and impact of Ripiphorus species. This 4-page fact sheet was written by David Owens, Ashley N. Mortensen, Jeanette Klopchin, William Kern, and Jamie D. Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, December 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1069

What to do about African Honey Bees: A Consumer Guide

Figure 1. African honey bee queens, such as one at the center of the photo, appear nearly identical to European honey bee queens. Credit: Scott Bauer, USDA/ARSThe general public can take several steps to avoid encountering honey bee swarms or colonies. The first and most important step is for citizens to educate themselves and their families about the AHB. This 3-page fact sheet provides links to valuable resources, definitions of key terms, and touches on general precautions and bee-proofing. Written by M. K. O’Malley, J. D. Ellis and A. S. Neal, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2014. (Photo: Scott Bauer, USDA/ARS)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in739

Best Management Practices for Siting Honey Bee Colonies: Good Neighbor Guidelines

Figure 1. Backyard beekeeping set-up using hives with movable frames. Beekeeper has not exceeded the number of hives on this parcel. Hives are facing the fence, which acts as a flyway barrier.Keeping honey bees requires responsible management so that the bees do not become a nuisance. Additionally, the presence of Africanized honey bees in Florida places more pressure on beekeepers to maintain their colonies properly. This 3-page fact sheet is a reference for honey bee management in Florida, with emphasis on siting apiaries in sensitive locations, in order to promote harmonious cooperation between beekeepers, neighbors, and landowners. Written by Jamie Ellis, Jerry Hayes, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, November 2014. (Photo by Thien Gretchen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), via Flickr)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa137

Frequently Asked Questions about the Africanized Honey Bee in Florida

Figure 1. An Africanized honey bee (left) and a European honey bee on honeycomb. Despite color differences between these two individuals, mostly they can't be identified by eye.The African honey bee, Apis mellifera scutellata, was introduced into South America from the central and southern part of Africa in 1957. Since its introduction into South America, the African bee has migrated into the southwestern United States and Florida. Apis mellifera scutellata is the African bee subspecies referred to in this 3-page fact sheet, which answers commonly asked questions about these bees and their behavior. Written by M. K. O’Malley, J. D. Ellis and A. S. Neal, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, November 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in738

Tropilaelaps mite Tropilaelaps spp. Delfinado & Baker (Arachnida: Mesostigmata: Laelapidae)

Figure 1. Adult female Tropilaelaps.Honey bees throughout the world are exposed to numerous pests, parasites, and pathogens. One such parasite is Tropilaelaps spp. Delfinado & Baker, an ectoparasitic mite that feeds on the hemolymph of developing honey bees. Four species of Tropilaelaps have been identified and characterized. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Ashley N. Mortensen, Sarah Burleson, Gunasegaran Chelliah, Ken Johnson, Daniel R. Schmehl, and Jamie D. Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2014. (Photo credit: Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org)
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1061

Minimizing Honey Bee Exposure to Pesticides

Figure 1. The western honey bee, Apis mellifera, collecting nectar from a flower.Protecting honey bees and other pollinators from pesticide impacts is important to the sustainability of agriculture. Consequently, pesticide applicators must determine if there is a clear hazard to managed or wild populations of bees. Potential exposure of bees to pesticides can vary greatly depending on the type of pesticide, formulation, application method, label restrictions, and other factors. The goal in using a pesticide is to achieve maximum benefit (success) with minimum negative impact, and these factors should always be considered in pesticide selection. This publication is written (1) to help assure the sustainability of both bees and agriculture by informing beekeepers, pesticide users, and the general public about the often complex relationship between pollinators (specifically bees) and pesticides, (2) to offer guidance for improved communication between beekeepers and pesticide users, (3) to offer pollinator risk-reducing strategies for growers and other applicators when using pesticides, and (4) to provide clarity in laws, labeling, and associated definitions. This 14-page fact sheet was written by J. D. Ellis, J. Klopchin, E. Buss, F. M. Fishel, W. H. Kern, C. Mannion, E. McAvoy, L. S. Osborne, M. Rogers, M. Sanford, H. Smith, P. Stansly, L. Stelinski, and S. Webb, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2014.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1027

Florida Master Beekeeper Program Requirements

Master Beekeeper Program logoThe Master Beekeeper Program (MBP) is a five-year (minimum) beekeeper training and certification program provided by the University of Florida. One must already be a beekeeper to enter the program. This 22-page fact sheet was written by James Ellis, Jerry Hayes, Catherine Zettel Nalen, William H. Kern, Ray Zerba, Brad Burbaugh, and Jeanette Klopchin, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, October 2013.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in847

Overwintering Honey Bee Colonies in Northern Climates

Figure 1.  Hives getting supplemental sugar syrup through top feeders. Other feeders also can be used to deliver sugar or high fructose corn syrup to colonies. One of the many challenges beekeepers face is minimizing honey bee colony losses during winter. This can be especially challenging to beekeepers in extreme northerly climates. Special preparations must be made during the fall to ensure that colonies survive the winter months with minimal loss. This 3-page fact sheet was written by James D. Ellis and Katherine Hammons, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, September 2013.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in1006

Infant Botulism and Honey (ENY128/AA142)

bottle of honeySince honey is a potential and avoidable source of Clostridium botulinum spores, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatricsm and the National Honey Board recommend that honey not be given to infants younger than 12 months of age. Honey should not be added to water, food, or formula fed to infants under 12 months of age. This 2-page fact sheet was written by Malcolm T. Sanford, Eddie Atkinson, Jeanette Klopchin, and Jamie Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, June 2013.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa142

Blue Orchard Bee, Osmia lignaria Say (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Megachilidae) (EENY549/IN982)

Figure 1.  Male Osmia lignaria visiting a crocus flower in early spring in Ontario, Canada.The blue orchard bee, Osmia lignaria Say (Fig. 1), is a solitary mason bee native to the west coast of the United States and Canada. It is of great interest for use as a native pollinator of fruit trees and blueberries, and is easily managed due to its favorable biological characteristics. Blue orchard bees can be purchased online for pollination, and they are shipped as pupae ready to emerge in the spring. This 4-page fact sheet was written by Alden Estep, Catherine Zettel-Nalen, and James Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2013.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in982

Swarm Control for Managed Beehives (ENY160/IN970)

Figure 1. A swarm of bees has clustered on playground equipment. Honey bee swarms are a normal sign of a productive and strong honey bee colony. The population of honey bees in the environment grows and genes are exchanged as the new queen in the parent colony mates with drones from other colonies in the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, this activity often conflicts with the goals of the beekeeper, so good colony management includes swarm prevention. During the swarm season, hive owners should undertake proactive beekeeping practices to alter colonies in response to potential swarming behavior. In this way, the beekeeper maintains strong colonies with greater honey production and the potential to split and increase the total number of colonies, all of which makes beekeeping much more profitable for hive owners. This 6-page fact sheet was written by Sara DeBerry, John Crowley, and James D. Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, November 2012.
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in970