bees

Founder and president of Brevard Backyard Beekeepers Clifton Best one of his personal beehives.

BREVARD COUNTY — Honey bees are one of the most important insects in the Florida ecosystem, especially with the diversity of the local flora.

The Brevard Backyard Beekeepers will celebrate all things honey bee for the “National Honey Bee Day Festival” with a super sweet event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17 at the UF/IFAS Brevard County Extension, 3695 Lake Drive, Cocoa.

This free event will feature honey samples, music, food and games for every age. Local expert beekeepers and master gardeners will provide demonstrations and lectures to spread awareness about the global importance of honey bees.

Although the honey bee is not an endangered species, pesticides, herbicides, lack of nutrition due to land development and monoculture are some of the factors that contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder, according to Clifton Best, president and founder of Brevard Backyard Beekeepers.

“Foremost, the No. 1 killer of honey bees in the world, Verroa Destructor, is a flesh eating, blood sucking phoretic mite that vectors off pathogens and viruses that weaken colonies,” Mr. Best explained. “Then other nest invaders take over and finish them off.”

The honey bee event will demonstrate honey extraction, and attendees can learn of the holistic benefits from honey and hive products.

Attendees are encouraged to come to the event dressed as a bee, and children can participate in a spelling bee for prizes.

The Brevard Zoo will also be in attendance to spread the word about its conservation programs, among other local vendors.

The Brevard Backyard Beekeepers first celebrated National Honey Bee Day in 2015, although it began as a national event in 2010.

“In 2009, a group of backyard beekeepers started the event for beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations, to get together to celebrate honey bees and recognize their contribution to agriculture, horticulture, and society in general,” Mr. Best said. “Subsequently, in 2010, the USDA was petitioned to proclaim it as an annual national event.”

The Brevard Backyard Beekeepers meets monthly on the first Thursday of each month at 6:15 p.m. at the UF/IFAS Brevard County Extension Office.

For more information, call (321) 759-5111 or visit www.brevardbackyardbeekeepers.com.

Associate Managing Editor

I have been a Viera resident for 15 years and a writer my whole life. I love to travel when the opportunity presents itself, as well as try new things.

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