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Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab

Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab

History of the Apiculture Program at the University of Florida


The University of Florida beekeeping (apiculture) program goes back to 1929, when Dr. Wilmon Newell, the first Plant Commissioner for the Florida State Plant Board subsequently appointed to direct the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture as well as its Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Newell held the title of Provost of Agriculture from 1938 until his death in October 1943 and his research areas included control methods or the cotton boll weevil, Argentine ant, and American foul brood in honey bees. The Florida State Plant Board later became the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which now administers Florida's honey bee inspection program. This regulatory activity continues to have a close relationship with both the University's apicultural research and teaching efforts and lobbying initiatives by the Florida State Beekeepers Association.

"Hum of the Hive" was taken up by Dr. Danny R. Minnick in September 1971. He and Dr. Freddie Johnson sporadically authored the newsletter, along with Professor Frank Robinson, until July 1981. The following month's newsletter issue was written by Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford, who published it as the "Apis Newsletter" continuously until retiring as Professor Emeritus in 2001. In August 2006, Dr. Jamie Ellis joined the faculty as Florida's next extension specialist/researcher in apiculture. This hiring was again based on cooperation between the University of Florida, the Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection and the Florida State Beekeepers Association. A current effort to expand the facilities of the apicultural program, now known as the Honey Bee Extension and Research Laboratory (HBREL), is underway as beekeeping education and research continue to be an increasingly important part of Florida agriculture.

Historical overview provided by Dr. Malcolm Sanford

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