With an increase in the number of beekeepers across Florida, UF’s Bee College event announced changes to meet new demands.
Mary Bammer, the extension coordinator for UF’s Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab, said Bee College, an educational event for people interested in beekeeping, has been held in St. Augustine for the last decade, but the event has outgrown the space.
The main location will now move to Gainesville, where there is space for more participants, she said. Bammer said having the main event, which takes place in August, in Gainesville also helps with poor weather.
She said it will likely take place in UF’s new Honey Bee Research & Extension Lab, due to open in June 2018.
“It (would be) a shame not to use it for our biggest event,” Bammer said.
Bammer said she’s unsure what Bee College will cost in Gainesville because details are being worked out. Generally, she said attendees pay $120 to $180, and hosting costs between $25,000 to $35,000.
Susan Harris, a certified master craftsman through the UF Master Beekeeper Program, said she’s attended the Bee College program eight times.
Harris wrote in an email that working with bees in person is the best way to learn.
“You can read about beekeeping, but that’s not the same as staring into a beehive with 30,000 bees looking back at you,” she wrote.