Amidst Challenges, Florida Citrus Growers, Beekeepers Partner

Partnership Includes Recommendations for Long-term Coexistence

Tallahassee, FL – Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam announced today a series of recommendations for the long-term coexistence of Florida's citrus growers and beekeepers. Recently, Florida's citrus and honey production industries have encountered serious challenges. Because the future success of both industries are uniquely linked, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services brought together representatives from each industry to help develop recommendations to avoid unnecessary and unintended negative impacts on the other.

“Citrus production, honey production and pollination services are all important sectors of Florida's $108 billion agriculture industry,” said Commissioner Putnam. “Florida's citrus growers and beekeepers have worked together for decades, and I'm confident these two vital industries will continue their partnership. The future of Florida agriculture is, in part, dependent upon the success of this partnership.”

In a series of public meetings, the department consulted with citrus growers, beekeepers, University of Florida –Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and other interested stakeholders to identify how to lower risks to honeybees while allowing citrus growers to continue important practices to combat citrus greening.  

The following is a partial list of voluntary recommendations for beekeepers developed with input from the joint meetings:

  • Develop and maintain one-on-one communications with citrus growers who have groves in which you would like to work your bees;
  • Work with growers to reach written agreements providing permission to place hives in groves; and
  • Keep the grower informed of hive locations, status, concerns and be willing to remove hives promptly if the need arises.

The following is a partial list of voluntary recommendations for citrus growers developed with input from the joint meetings:

  • Consult the department's online tool to identify beekeepers with hives in your area;
  • When allowing apiaries on your grove, develop a formal agreement with the beekeeper detailing the responsibilities and liabilities of each party; and
  • Develop a pest management plan that considers the likelihood of bees foraging during bloom.

To view the full list of recommendations, or to keep informed about new developments on pollinator protection and citrus, please visit our website, www.FloridaBeeProtection.org

For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit www.FreshFromFlorida.com.