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The Buzz On Florida's Honey Bees

This week on Florida Matters we learn about how the state's honey bee population is faring.
This week on Florida Matters we learn about how the state's honey bee population is faring. UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Florida is one of the nation's largest producers of honey and is a hub for beekeeping, both commercially and as a hobby.

In a special reporting collaboration, WUSF News and the Zest Podcast are taking a closer look at honey bees over the next few weeks.

LISTEN:

The Buzz On Florida's Honey Bees
Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham talks with entomologist Jamie Ellis about honey bees in our state.

This week on Florida Matters, we talk with Jamie Ellis, Professor of Entomology and director of honey bee research at the University of Florida.

Jamie Ellis directs honey bee research at the University of Florida.
Jamie Ellis directs honey bee research at the University of Florida. TYLER JONES/UF/IFAS

Ellis and his team conduct research projects in the fields of honey bee husbandry, conservation and ecology, and integrated crop pollination. And he created UF's Master Beekeeper Program.

There's been good news and bad news about bees in the news, and it's hard to know how they're doing, exactly.

We talk with Ellis about how honey bee populations are faring, and why beekeepers are having to work harder to maintain healthy colonies.

Tupelo honey is produced with the nectar of tupelo trees found in the swamps of the Florida Panhandle and is known for its distinctive flavor.
Tupelo honey is produced with the nectar of tupelo trees found in the swamps of the Florida Panhandle and is known for its distinctive flavor. UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

We learn why Florida has some of the best honey in the nation and what goes into producing it.

And we talk about some threats to bee populations, including varroa mites and improper use of pesticides.

You can hear an extended conversation with Ellis on the Zest Podcast, which drops Thursday.  

Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters,WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.
Robin is Senior Editor at WUSF, spearheading the station's podcasting initiatives and helping to guide the vision for special reporting projects and creative storytelling. She created The Zest, the station's podcast that's all about food, which she continues to host and serve as senior producer.
Christy Oshana is the Producer for Florida Matters, WUSF Public Media’s public affairs show.