Ed BrittaIn of Cocoa suits up and uses a smoker to avoid being stung when checking on his hives.
IF YOU’RE INTERESTED …
Here are the bee clubs
in Brevard County
Brevard Backyard Beekeepers
FALL 2021: 63
Clifton Best, 321.759.5111
South Brevard Beekeepers Club,
uses a smoker when tending them. “It keeps the
Twice a year Ellis holds a bee college at the UF
campus in Gainesville. Dozens of beekeeping
enthusiasts gather for the latest on how to
start, grow and maintain their backyard hives.
Sorensen,who attended the college, says, “I’m
not an expert, but I know enough.”
According to Ellis, most backyard beekeepers
start out with one or two hives. Typical hobbyists
have three to five colonies, and commercial
beekeepers may have 100 hives or more.
HIVES ON THE MOVE
Many commercial hives are migratory. Some
professional beekeepers move hives around to
different states and locations to pollinate plants
before the growing season. One month they may
be in Florida, then to South Carolina and even as
far as California.
There has been a lot made of Africanized
honeybees in recent years. They originally came
from Africa, and now are common in Cuba and
South Florida. Every now and then some of them
occasionally end up in Brevard County, but they
are not considered a threat in the area.
But a serious threat to backyard bees is the use
of pesticides. When sprayed on flowers and other
pollinating plants, pesticides can be fatal to bees
and the whole hive. Bees can forage up to five
miles, according to Best. That’s a lot of territory
to become exposed.
How to get started? Best encourages people to
join a local bee club and learn how to maintain
a healthy hive. According to him, 80% of the
backyard colonies are lost in the first year.
“If you don’t know how to manage
them, they’re going to die.”
He says diseases spread by ticks and
mites are the main cause of hives
According to Ellis, many people find
backyard beekeeping a wonderful
hobby and several hundred
beekeepers in Brevard County agree