Hosted by Robin Sussingham with Dalia Colón
WUSF Public Media and The Zest collaborated together to learn about the lives of honey bees and how critical they are to Florida’s environment and food supply. The Zest recorded a Live event in Tampa at the Sweetwater Organic Farm.
Understanding the plight and value of the honey bee has been an important topic for The Zest and WUSF News. Florida is one of the top sources of honey production and pollinated food crops are being impacted by colony collapse and the work of beekeepers.
During this special LIVE taping at Sweetwater Organic Farm in Tampa, Florida, Robin Sussingham was joined by Becky Dineen, who is an Apiary Inspector for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Josh Harris, owner of the Queen & Colony Bee Company. Becky explained how honey bees were first brought to the United States to make wax for candles in the early 1900’s. The Florida Agriculture Apiary division was developed in 1919 in part to help control American Fowlbrood, a spore that spreads through hives and causes damage. Hives that are infected must be burnt to stop the spread. Now, the fowlbrood is fairly rare, but unfortunately mites are a huge threat to bees.
Josh, who owns a bee-centric company that provides many services including beekeeping in the city, honey production, bee removal services, and beekeeping education, is an advocate for relocating instead of bee extermation. Trying to rehome colonies can be a challenge and businesses with ample rooftop space or acreage are part of the solution.
After the interview, the audience participated in a Q&A session. Some great questions were asked of the panel, and both guests shared some interesting facts about how to keep honey bees and harvest honey. Plus, good tips on what to do when a bee stings you, info about hosting beehives, using bee products to support beekeepers, and bee colleges.
After the taping, audience members were able to taste a variety of honeys, and representatives from the Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association and A Bee’s Place explained how flora changes the color and flavors of the honey.
Brian Wing from Green Bench Mead & Cider and his wife provided two samples of mead – a passionfruit and a golden apple – that tasted drastically different because of the honey.
Guests also went home with a variety of samples courtesy of our sponsor, Seitenbacher.
“You’re entering a whole different world when you open up that hive. And then you start to get to know what’s going on, and after doing it for a while — just by the way the bees are releasing pheromones — you can smell what’s going on, you can hear what’s going on, you can feel what’s going on.”,”
– Josh Harris, urban beekeeperQueen & Colony Bee Company