Beekeeper groups push for UF bee research facility

Bee - Tropicbeehoney

The University of Florida Build The Bee Lab is an organization that is raised about 350,000 of the million-dollar goal and it expects to raise the rest by years end. After years of fighting the Florida state legislature for funds, the University of Florida is now on its way to building a new facility on campus. It will be the state of the art bee lab. It will feature research, extension and instruction facility and is designed to become the hub for beekeepers.

The Florida state Beekeepers Association is a group of beekeeping representatives from around the state with over 4000 registered beekeepers. Florida needed a facility to aid bee research. There is a need to keep bee populations thriving. Honeybee colonies are crucial to agricultural settings and pollinate most of the fruit and vegetable crops that humans consume each day. Beekeepers lost 44% of their bees between April 2015 and 2016. These significant losses cause concern. To pioneer the research relating to bee decline is the goal of this new lab work, as Florida is the third-largest honey producing state in the nation.

It is taken some time for the organization's dream to become a reality. For two years, funding requests for the facility were met with vetoes. But the organizers have not given up without a fight. On the third attempt, a deal was struck with lawmakers. State legislators would put up $2 million if the beekeepers group chipped in 200,000 and the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences put in 500,000. That was enough to move ahead with the research portion of the facilities where the scientists will work. The teaching and the extension wing still needs money however. So the beekeepers group has a huge fundraising task ahead. There is still a need to raise the last million dollars to complete the facility. The goal is to have construction on the research wing underway by the beginning of 2017, and have the rest completed soon after.

There've been a few large contributions. They are even working on a honeybee pollinator Florida license plate to sell and gain profit. The organization is raised about three and $50,000 of that one million-dollar goal and expects to raise the rest by years end. There is no limit to the research possibilities. Students at the University learn how to help keep honeybees healthy and cared for. With the new lab built members will be among the first to learn the latest beekeeping techniques. The lab will be a unique, tailored space to allow us to meet the needs of our extension clients and our students.

Because honeybee populations have been suffering, there is significant need to learn to develop unique facilities in the teaching and extension wing, like a honey extraction facility to teach beekeepers to make their products more valuable. Within two years our efforts will be in addressing the sustainability of beekeeping in general. With determination, this new facility is a great endeavor.