Hello Reddit! My name is Jamie Ellis, and I’m a professor of entomology at the University of Florida and lead the Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory. I’ve been a beekeeper since I was kid and a bee scientist for decades.

Over the years at UF, I created the UF, South Florida and Caribbean Bee Colleges, which are two-day training events for beekeepers of all experience levels to learn about honey bees and beekeeping from the state's experts. In efforts to improve honey bee health and the sustainability of beekeeping globally, I also created the UF Master Beekeeper Program to enable participants to learn and adopt research-based beekeeping best management practices and tools to educate the non-beekeeping public. I supervise PhD and master’s students and offer online courses in many areas related to honey bee research, extension and instruction.

At the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research Extension Lab, we work to advance our understanding of honey bees and wild bees in Florida, the U.S. and globally. We conduct field projects of honey bee husbandry, conservation and ecology and integrated crop pollination.

I’m here to answer any questions you have about honey bees.  

Proof!

Here’s a bit more about me:

I received a Ph.D. in Entomology from the Rhodes University (2004) and a BS in Biology from the University of Georgia (2000). In 2006, I joined the University of Florida.

UPDATE: Thanks for asking me questions during the reddit AMA! Don't forget to visit my lab's website at www.ufhoneybee.com and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @UFhoneybeelab.

Comments: 155 • Responses: 53  • Date: 

axolotl4life17 karma

Hi Jamie!! Congrats on your kick ass profession!!

Serious question: why did the bee get married?

ufexplore30 karma

He bee-lieved he found his honey.

Imendale11 karma

I went to UF's Bee College this year and I'm planning to get two hives in the Spring! I have a few questions, and I'd appreciate an answer to any of them even if you can't get to them all. Thank you!

  • If I do a mesh-bottom hive, will I need to close it up in the winter to help my bees stay warm? Cover/insulate the hive in another way? I live in the Gainesville area for context.
  • I know about how to monitor for varroa mites, hive beetles, and wax moths, but I don't actually know how to treat if I find them. Do you have any good references/resources that I could look at? I'm open to books, websites, or something else.
  • Speaking of educational resources, I'm interested in top-bar hives, but beekeeper education is very focused on Langstroths. If you know of anywhere I can find information on how hive management differs, I'd love to see it. I see things on removing supers at different times and it doesn't seem to apply to top bars.
  • I try to be kind to wild bees and have a bee house in my yard. What can I do to make sure my honeybee hives don't drive away the wild bees other than planting more food sources?

Thank you for doing this AMA and thanks for all you've done to increase beekeeper education. I've been interested in beekeeping for years but didn't have the confidence to take steps towards actually doing it until I learned about and attended Bee College.

ufexplore13 karma

1) No need to close up the mesh bottom hive. It should be no problem in FL. I leave mine on and open year round.

2) For Varroa, see: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/beekeeper-resources/pests-and-diseases/varroa/ and especially: https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroa/ . For beetles, see: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/beekeeper-resources/pests-and-diseases/small-hive-beetle/ . For wax moths, see: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/beekeeper-resources/pests-and-diseases/wax-moths/ . For others, see: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/beekeeper-resources/pests-and-diseases/

3) For top-bars, Wyatt Mangum wrote a great book on them: https://www.tbhsbywam.com/

4) You should try providing nesting habitat for wild bees. There are a number of great resources online.

HabibGaming19 karma

why are people generally scared of bees to the point of wanting to neutralize them? they're helping the ecosystem but people care too much about that spike on their back. has this got any reasoning behind it?

ufexplore11 karma

Yes. Bee stings hurt. So, people have associated bees (and wasps and ants for that matter) with pain.

However, as you note, education helps people put these fears behind them, especially when they being to realize the importance of bees.

Journo6248 karma

I've heard that bees are responsible for a huge percentage of the food we eat. Is there something bees put on our tables that would surprise us?

ufexplore17 karma

The estimates out there regarding the contributions of honey bees to the food we eat usually range from 20 - 30%. Most people think of the direct contribution made by honey bees (pollination of blueberries, watermelons, etc.). However, most people do not think about the indirect contributions bees make to our food. For example, honey bees are major pollinators of clover, an important cattle fodder crop. Thus, they can even contribute to bees, dairy, etc. production by pollinating the things cows (and other livestock for that matter) eat! I always use the McDonald's cheeseburger example.

From top to bottom, a McDonald's cheeseburger is bun, pickle, onions, ketchup, mustard, cheese, meat, bun.

Only the bun would be there without bees.......

trekcycler8 karma

I have trapped several wild colonies but all but one died or absconded/swarmed. I feed them and give them old honey frames. Any tips?

ufexplore5 karma

I would consider adding a frame of brood to the new colony. This often stabilizes them (that, in addition to feeding them). It also helps to hive them on pulled combs.

mookiesurfs7 karma

Your article and recommendation of nucs as support colonies has been an amazing success for us. The question: How do you combine bees from different colonies? How often is there conflict? The newspaper method did not work for us; everybee was content to stay on their own side. I've begun to just smoke them and combine them. Is that ok? I have not seen any ill effects.

PS: I dare say the 5 frame nuc stack may be a better fit for bee temperament than the 10 frame deep.

ufexplore4 karma

Are you referring to this article: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/in869 ?

In it, I describe how you combine a nuc with a full-size colony. You would combine two colonies the same way.

I'd give them a week the way you did it, and then you should be able to move frames between boxes in the hive. Honestly, most commercial beekeepers just combine hives directly (go straight to mixing frames, with no problems). You just want to make sure both hives do not have queens.

-crumpet-7 karma

I have lavender in my front garden and it attracts so many bees! Why?

ufexplore7 karma

Bees are attracted to flowers for three principle reasons.

1) Plants have nectar (a sugar water type substance that "powers" the bee and that honey bees convert to honey).

2) Plants have pollen (bees collect this as their protein, vitamin, mineral, etc. source).

3) Plants produce resin that honey bees use as "propolis" in the hive.

Lavender is providing some combination of these to the bees.

Journo6247 karma

I know beekeeping in Florida is on the rise, but what percentage of colonies are commercial vs. private or hobby hives? Where are the commercial colonies that are trucked out of state headed?

ufexplore6 karma

Backyard - 84% of beekeepers, 5% of colonies

Sideline - 5% of beekeepers, 3% of colonies

Commercial - 11% of beekeepers, 92% of colonies

The commercial colonies head out of Florida going all over the country to pollinate various crops (almonds, blueberries, melons, etc.) and to collect honey (clover, sourwood, etc.).

BufferTheOverflow7 karma

Hi Dr. Ellis. I’ve been beekeeping for a year or so on the nature coast (love it) and now I’m a baby gator here at UF. I would love to learn more, especially from someone like yourself, so I was wondering if there are any beekeeping/honey bee programs for freshman/undergrads? I struggled to find any information online. Thanks in advance. I look forward to meeting you one day!

ufexplore8 karma

Lucky you.....

We have a GREAT new lecturer in the bee lab: Cameron Jack - https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/about-us/people/ .

Cameron teaches what is essentially a "beekeeping 101" course every semester (entirely online - anyone on the AMA can take it!), a practical beekeeping course, and a course teaching science using bees. He is also developing a beekeeping 102-ish course, and a study abroad course in Asian Apiculture that is next summer (2020). Thus, there are plenty of chances to get involved.....in addition to joining the undergraduate honey bee club on campus (yes, there is one:)).

Daintyoaktree7 karma

I've recently been told we shouldn't actually be freaking out about colony collapse, what do you think about it?

ufexplore19 karma

Great question. It's a tricky answer. A couple of points:

1) We (the beekeeping community) are experiencing 40% gross loss rates of managed colonies yearly. So, if you have 100 colonies, you can expect to lose 40 of those during the year....if your loss rates mirror those of the national average.

2) Despite "1", the National Agricultural Statistics Services (NASS) shows that we have experienced a ~1% net increase in the number of managed colonies yearly.

Even with all the bee hysteria happening, we've average a net increase of colonies yearly the last decade.

How does this happen? If a beekeeper managing 100 colonies loses 40 of them (national average), he/she will split the 60 that remain or purchase more to make up 41 colonies (net change). So, with 100 colonies, experiencing a gross loss rate of 40%, you end up with 101 colonies.

Long story short, we have experienced a net increase in colonies for over a decade, but largely due to the heroic efforts of beekeepers across the U.S. working to keep their bees growing.

Frogski6 karma

Are bees ok with their honey being jacked on a regular basis?

ufexplore10 karma

With beekeeping, beekeepers manage their bees to make more honey than the bees would otherwise need to survive. So, the honey beekeepers take is the surplus, while leaving enough for the bees.

Aceisking126 karma

My school club got bees over the summer and few if any of us have experience. I binge watch YouTube but that's the limit of my info.

We had a hive that might have swarmed, they had a ton of queen cells but none started laying a month later. We took a frame with eggs from another colony and they made a few queen cells on it, now they have a mated queen but a small population and I see a handful of drone cappings mixed in with the worker brood. Does this mean she mated with a drone from the hive we got eggs from? (Assuming they survive through winter, which I'm not too sure on) Is this a problem? If so how do we fix it without running into the same problem again? How do queen breeders prevent inbreeding?

ufexplore5 karma

This is tricky. It is possible that your queen did not mate adequately. (i.e. she may be laying a disproportionate number of drones) If this is the case, the colony likely will not do well over winter. However, new queens can have strange patterns for a few weeks post-mating. I would wait to see what happens for a few weeks. We are getting late in the year. So, I think it would be very helpful for you to network with a local beekeeper in your area who possibly could pay a visit to your hive. Most states in the U.S. have state bee clubs that you can use to find local bee clubs near you. I strongly recommend you bring in a local beekeeper and let them have a look. If the queen truly is the problem, it may be difficult to remedy it this late in the season.

mookiesurfs6 karma

Do you feel that wild or feral Apis Mellifera may be surviving by having developed effective strategies to deal with Varroa? I've read Dr. Seeley's "The Lives of Bees", and while I would love to believe his hypothesis of perpetually healthy feral colonies, I had a lot of questions that went unanswered by the book. What do you think?

ufexplore5 karma

I believe it is possible that feral colonies can develop tolerance to Varroa on their own. However, I feel that this will take some time. I also struggle with it, mainly from the point that it just takes time for this to happen.

Think about it from an evolutionary perspective....how long does it take traits like this to develop? That's the benefit of breeding programs. It takes selection (something that may otherwise be somewhat slow) and speeds it up. The downside is that breeding is often uni-directional (only goes after one or a few traits).

So, I want to believe that we have these feral populations getting tolerant to Varroa, but I need more data. Also, just because something is tolerant does not mean it will tick other boxes (productive? resistant to other problems? gentle?). I think more work needs to be done.

Ghana_Mafia6 karma

So the stereotype is that bees have a chronic sweet tooth and they only eat nectar from flowers/fruits.

Besides flower nectar and fruits, what else do bees eat that would be surprising or shocking to most ppl?

ufexplore5 karma

Honestly, they go to about any sweet liquid (sodas, soda fountains, M&M factories (no kidding), etc.).

They also go to extra-floral nectaries. These are places on a plant away from flowers that secrete nectar.

Ghana_Mafia5 karma

How do bees tolerate such high amounts of glucose and sugar? If bees don't get diabetes, then what is a common disease of bees?

ufexplore5 karma

Honey is bee fuel. So, they "burn" it for energy. Their gut bacteria help them break down the sugars.

Bees get LOTS of diseases (bacterial, viral, fungal, etc.).

mameola6 karma

I recently lost a hive, in the last inspection I found some worker bees, no stored pollen, no honey, no brood, and no queen. How should I start this hive back up? Should I wait until the Spring to do so?

ufexplore5 karma

If the colony is weak, I would wait to restart in spring. If it is otherwise very strong, you might be able to purchase a mated queen and try to restart it. However, it is getting late in the season. Good luck.

iechyd_da6 karma

What can I do in my Northern European garden to help bees?

ufexplore5 karma

Plant pollinator-friendly plants.

Provide nesting habitat for bees (especially solitary bees).

Use pesticides responsibly and according to label.

You might also consider getting into beekeeping.

iechyd_da5 karma

Is there a direction, for example north facing, to position nesting boxes for bees? I had no idea, by the way, that bees would be solitary!

ufexplore6 karma

For honey bees, the consensus is to point their hives south.

For the other bees, there is no good consensus considering the vast number of species of bees that exist. However, I am aware of information that says their nests should be elevated 4 - 5 feet off the ground and pointing southeast.

https://pollinators.msu.edu/publications/building-and-managing-bee-hotels-for-wild-bees/

Shleppindeckle6 karma

Hi Dr. Ellis,

What would you suggest if a hive stops using a lower super, but seems to be crowding in a higher super (or perhaps on one side of a super)?

Thanks so much for doing this!

ufexplore4 karma

I suggest switching supers. I like to keep the population centered toward the bottom of the hive.

If crowded on one side, I center the frames in the super, especially this time of year as we head into winter.

AllosauRUSS5 karma

First off, go Gators!! Graduated in 2014

Secondly, what is a way that bees are used that isnt widely known? I recently learned about how essential to our food supply bee based pollination is and how hives are trucked all over America to facilitate this.

ufexplore4 karma

Some scientists have experimented using honey bees to find land mines. Honey bees have a great sense of smell and can be trained to find explosives.

AllosauRUSS3 karma

That's amazing! Has anyone ever sent bees to space?

eatingsolids5 karma

We are considering a hive for our yard. Flow hives look cool but the information I've found online is a bit contradictory. Do you have any thoughts on them?

ufexplore6 karma

I would go with the standard Langstroth hive and then graduate to the flow hive once you have some experience. We have one at the lab and hope to set it up next spring. I'll have some first hand experience with it at that time. Good luck!

LeighNeige5 karma

Hi! My 7th grade entomology student asks why do bees have hair and why are they colored the way they are? Why are the queens so much larger than the rest?

ufexplore8 karma

Great questions:

Color - Bees have aposematic (warning) coloration. Many stinging insects have this, likely as a "leave me alone or I will hurt you" sign.

Queens - they eat more food than the other bees do while they are developing. Large amounts of high quality diet = bigger bee.

LeighNeige6 karma

Thank you! Why were bees so invasive when they were brought to the new world, to trade honey? Are some species more invasive than others?

ufexplore8 karma

We do not use the word "invasive" when we talk about honey bees. We use the word "naturalized". They adapted to our N. American environment quickly because we are largely (though not entirely) in a temperate region. The honey bees brought into the U.S. were from temperate regions in Europe. So, we have many climate similarities.

-castle-bravo-5 karma

what can the average person do right now that will be most effective in helping save the bee population?

ufexplore5 karma

Consider planting pollinator-friendly landscapes.

Consider becoming a beekeeper.

Support bee research/Extension/instruction efforts.

atabeysdragonette5 karma

Good morning! Does Florida have any native honey bees? I don't want to start a colony of invasive European honey bees if I can have endemic ones!

ufexplore11 karma

We have no native honey bees in FL. Honey bees are not native to North America. There are nine species of honey bees. Eight are native to Asia. The other one (Apis mellifera) is native to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The "European honey bee" to which you refer has been in North America since the early 1600s.

slothpenguin115 karma

Hello Dr. Jamie Ellis! I just graduated from USF with a B.S. in biology and recently became very interested in studying bees. However, I don't have any experience with entomology or beekeeping and field work is tough because I don't do well in the Florida heat. I do have 3 years of lab experience and enjoy being in the lab, so my question is: is it possible to study bees without having to be in the field? I do understand there is probably no way around NEVER going in the field, but just a lesser amount. Also, are there any books you recommend for learning more about bees?

ufexplore6 karma

It is very possible to study bees without doing any field work. There are wonderful opportunities in honey bee toxicology, microbiology, genetics, extension and education...among other options. There is a sub-discipline of bee work for you! Good luck.

ufexplore5 karma

Books:

I like:

Honey bees and beekeeping, a year in the life of an apiary (Keith Delaplane)

For biology:

Honey bee democracy (Tom Seeley)

The Spirit of the Hive (Rob Page)

The buzz about bees (Jurgen Tautz)

And all of UF/IFAS's info on bees: https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/beekeeper-resources/

Shleppindeckle5 karma

Is there any reason to not use Apivar with honey present if you don’t intend to harvest that honey? Will the honey that is exposed to the Apivar harm the bees? I had two honey supers, harvested one and left one for them, then applied treatment.

Thanks so much!

ufexplore4 karma

The only concern is that you do not mistakenly extract honey from any of these frames later.....if you forget which super housed them, etc. It is not otherwise a problem for the bees.

Bee-wildered4 karma

When wanting a new queens, have been having great success with OTS, what would you recommend for turning this into queen raising? How do you encourage mating these queens besides providing a cozy lit meal of comb, mead and Al Green

ufexplore3 karma

I think that it will be a little tricky to use OTS commercially. However, I feel that this is a reasonable way to requeen a few colonies. If you want to use OTS to make queens for other colonies, you could cut out the cells individually and put them into mating nucs. Don't let the sound of that scare you. You can make three mating nucs from one medium super. You can put three frames and a divider, three more frames and a second divider. This will turn one medium super into three mating nucs. You can orient each nuc's entrance a different way, and then put a queen cell you created using the OTS method into each nuc.

rhino1484 karma

Do you feel that the recent popularity in bee keeping will help maintain, if not increase bee populations permanently?

ufexplore4 karma

I feel it has helped in the last few years. However, the vast majority of bee colonies are owned by commercial beekeepers and the vast majority of new beekeepers are hobbyists. So, I suspect that the big driver of colony increases has more to do with increased need for pollination services.

But to your question specifically....I can't help but feel that our managed honey bee population will increase slowly over time as we have to grow more and more food for the growing population.

mookiesurfs4 karma

So, I don't want to clog up your AMA, but hopefully some of these questions help others also. My last one for now concerns the two competing models of CCD, or at least the two commonly written about for lay persons like myself. One is the very catchy "Varroa bomb" model that has an infected hive infecting all the other hives around it. The second model has the colony gradually declining as infected bees self-sacrifice and remove themselves from the colony and perish outside. These two popular models of what happens to a Varroa infected colony seem mutually exclusive. Which model do you favor, or what are your thoughts on how Varroa loaded colonies decline?

ufexplore5 karma

My gut tells me both happen. I have seen colonies go down remarkably fast, get robbed in the process, and contribute to the "Varroa bomb" idea that is super popular today.

On the other hand, I have also seen colonies (including my own) go down gradually, with high rates of self-sacrifice. My guess is that it has a lot to do with the original condition of the colony and other factors.

At the end of the day, I believe Varroa and the pathogens they carry are collectively "public enemy #1".

bluecirc4 karma

Hi Dr Ellis! I've heard you speak regarding bees and pesticides, and took away that you're not overly concerned with the immediate effects on bees, which is reassuring. However, what are your thoughts on bees long term exposure to pesticides? We know that toxins build up in beeswax over time, and as such, beekeepers regularly discard old frames and replace them with new. What are your thoughts on toxin build up in wild beehives?

ufexplore6 karma

Thanks for the question. This is often a topic of concern for beekeepers. I do believe that pesticides contribute to bee losses every year. Thus, they are not entirely innocuous. However, I do believe that other stressors impact colonies more (Varroa, nutrition, queen issues, etc.).

Yes, there is documented evidence of pesticide accumulation in beeswax. We are starting to investigate this topic (we just completed a study a few months ago on this). In general, though, just because something is there doesn't mean it is a problem. Many of the pesticides that accumulate in wax are lipophilic (wax loving). So, the question that needs to be asked is if these compounds would leave an environment "they love" and move into bee food or the bees themselves. People are beginning to work on this.

So, I do not want to suggest that pesticides play no role in bee losses, I just want to place their contributions in proper context.

In feral hives - my concern with feral hives is that we really know ever little about their health. This is a concern to me. My guess is that feral hives experience many of the same stressors that managed ones do. But, it's just a guess until someone looks at it.

cliffhanger4u4 karma

Hi Jamie,

Are you planning any new on line videos? For your future ie: the ones on varroa destructor, EFB

ufexplore4 karma

My team and I definitely want to make new (and better) online videos. First, new information is available and we need to get that info to beekeepers. Second, I've aged and no longer look like I did in the earlier videos:).

Thanks for the suggestions for topics.

mookiesurfs4 karma

Dr. Ellis, when setting up a bait hive for swarms, do you install frames with foundation or leave it empty?

ufexplore3 karma

It's probably best to leave empty given wax moths could move in and eat the comb.

mookiesurfs4 karma

We missed Bee College this year at UF, but prior to having to cancel we had five questions prepared. Should I ask them all at once or in individual comments? Some of them are easy, but have implications, like: "Do queens get varroa?".

ufexplore2 karma

Ask away, perhaps one per comment.

CompostThisPost3 karma

What is the best honey type for mead?

ufexplore4 karma

Honestly, it's up to taste. I have seen beekeepers make mead with all types of honey. All contribute unique flavors to mead. I suggest experimenting to determine what you enjoy most.

mookiesurfs3 karma

Is it possible that a queen-less colony with laying workers is a last ditch attempt to preserve the colony genetics? The colony is doomed, but if they can get some drones on the wing, then at least some of the colony genetics will be preserved. Also, it seems that even in a queen right colony, it would make more sense if drone eggs came from laying workers, and nurse bees then selected drone or worker eggs to rear. Can a queen really choose to lay a fertilized egg vs an unfertilized egg? Has this been researched, or just assumed?

ufexplore3 karma

You're exactly right. The prevailing idea is that laying workers develop as a last ditch attempt to get the colony's genetics out before it dies. Good comment.

Queens can really choose to lay fertilized or unfertilized eggs.

Journo6243 karma

While Florida has no native honeybees, Florida does have native bees. What are they, and what role do they play in pollination?

ufexplore3 karma

There are 20,000 bee species in the world.

There are 4,500 bee species in N. America.

There are about 320 bee species in Florida.

So, it might take me a while to name them all:). However, most bees (including the ones in FL) collect pollen and this helps many plants (ag and natural ones).

mookiesurfs3 karma

Another one: Why do non-emerged queens pipe, when it just gets them killed?

ufexplore2 karma

We are not completely sure. Some scientists believe that it alerts the workers that they are about to emerge. As you note, though, it can be used against them by the existing queen, who uses the sound to find and kill her competitors.

ufexplore3 karma

Question from Facebook: "Hey Jamie, hope I'm correct on this, heard there is some research on sunflowers and Nosema. Any update to date? Are you researching one strain of sunflower?

Answer: I believe the questioner may be referring to this article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-32681-y

That's not a research project my team and I conducted. However, I suggest contacting the lead author for this work. It looks very interesting. Thanks for making me aware of this work!

There is also a popular article written by that author team that may help explain their findings:

https://phys.org/news/2018-09-sunflower-pollen-medicinal-effects-bees.html.

cliffhanger4u3 karma

Thanks for the reply

Love your (interesting) work, see you again when you visit Ireland

ufexplore2 karma

Can't wait. I'll be speaking in Northern Ireland next October (2020).

toxikmatt3 karma

Took intro to beekeeping with you a couple summers back, now working in the environmental science field, what sort graduate programs would you recommend to get back into the entomology/wildlife sciences field?

Honestly one of my favorite courses and professors at UF!

ufexplore4 karma

You are lucky to ask.....as our UF Ento/Nema department has an incredible graduate student program. See http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/academics-directory/graduate-studies/ .

Many of our courses are online, so you can take them remotely.

Furthermore, we have a number of certificate programs we offer.

Honestly, we offer a lot of courses that would benefit you in your current profession.

toxikmatt3 karma

Great thanks for the info! Do you mean courses specific to the entomology department or in general at UF that could help in the environmental science field?

ufexplore3 karma

Both, but I was talking about our ento courses mainly.

PolrVortex3 karma

Hi Dr Ellis, my daughter (4) has been obsessed with bugs for the last 1.5 years. We thought it was a phase but it’s lasted a long time. “Entomologist” is the longest word she knows and it’s because she wants to be one. What are some things I can do as a parent to foster the interest and grow it? Her birthday is coming up and she’ll be receiving her first hissing cockroach which, hopefully, is a pretty good step 1.

ufexplore5 karma

My parents allowed me to follow my dreams. In fact, they made it possible. So, I suggest getting her a bug net, magnifying glass, etc. and help her catch and ID insects. Also, many county extension offices around the country offer some type of insect camps for young folks. Furthermore, if in FL, our UF Ento/Nema Department actually offers entomology camps. Finally, get that kid into 4-H where there is a suite of entomology-themed literature, programs, etc.

Hope this helps!

original_sh4rpie3 karma

Is Jerry Seinfeld well respected in your field due to his outstanding documentary on entomology titled, "The Bee Movie"?

ufexplore4 karma

Not so much:).

He's respected for his comedic prowess, but not for his knowledge of bee biology:)

BluishLemur3 karma

What companies should we avoid that harm honeybees and contribute to the new crisis?

What can I do to help assist the bee crisis in my daily life? And life changes I should make?

ufexplore4 karma

I'm not aware of any companies out to get honey bee specifically (though, I am sure that my comment may get people chatting). I assume, though, that you might be referring to companies that produce pesticides. If so, my comment is that one should always follow the label when using pesticides. When done, it should minimize the risk to bees and other pollinators.

Regarding what to do to assist: I've made a few comments about this in some other questions. Have a look and let me know if you have additional thoughts. Thanks!

moar_DATA_please3 karma

When are you going to update your youtube videos? Would like expanded content and updated content. Maybe get a go pro and go through your yard or look at how other people have their yards structured. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WfmADoInDdc

ufexplore3 karma

You are very correct. We definitely need to update these. We have no plans at the moment, but plan, instead, to invest in shorter videos AND a new podcast that we will be releasing soon.

That said, we do have plans to expand how we release educational content related to bees. You can stay up-to-date with that by following my lab at Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram: @UFhoneybeelab.

Bee-wildered3 karma

If one see queen cells in a thriving colony should they be destroyed or left as the bees know better than I?

ufexplore3 karma

If in a "thriving colony" (and by this I assume brood, bees, queen, and food resources are present), I would remove them or use them to requeen another queenless hive.

mookiesurfs3 karma

We have a 3 frame observation hive, which is the most educational thing ever, but I have to assume there are Varroa present. How does UF treat its observation hives for Varroa? Any suggestions on how to treat ours?

ufexplore2 karma

We don't usually treat OBS hives. If we needed to, we likely would switch out frames (i.e. put the obs hive frames into a nuc and treat them there, while switching new combs/queen/etc. into the hive).

mookiesurfs3 karma

Wow Jamie, you're working your way through these pretty quick! Well done. So, do queens get varroa?

ufexplore3 karma

I am not aware of work showing Varroa on queens. I know they can get on adult queens (but I have never seen this). They are very unlikely to go into queen cells given they would not have enough time to reproduce in a queen cell.

That said, I believe it's entirely possible.

Bee-wildered3 karma

I am new to bee keeping, hive doing extremely well lots of brood, capped cells, pollen, larva various stages. Queen is a beauty laying fantastic all spring started seeing Queen cells so I pinched them off with hive tool.... good idea or should I have left them alone as the bees know better than I?

ufexplore2 karma

I remove queen cells myself when the queen is present and everything otherwise looks OK.

mameola3 karma

I recently treated my hives for Varroa mites with Apivar. How soon after taking out the Apivar should I test again for mites? Should I test all my hives? Should I use Apivar again right away if I find mites?

ufexplore3 karma

I would check for mites immediately upon conclusion of the treatment. You want to see if your treatment worked.

If you have fewer than 15 or so colonies, I'd check 5 - 10. If you have 100+ colonies, you should sample 10 - 20%.

If you find 3+mites/100 adult bees, you should treat again, but with a different treatment. For more on Varroa treatments, see: https://honeybeehealthcoalition.org/varroa/ and https://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/honey-bee/extension/beekeeper-resources/pests-and-diseases/varroa/ .