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Yes, we have a Calendar!  So, whether you are looking for our next meeting information or looking for other beekeeping events in our area, check our Beekeeping Event Calendar.

Don't see an event or would like to add a beekeeping event to our local calendar?, then contact our Calendar Master or email our secretary.

Click to View Achives and Recent Events

We meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month unless otherwise noted.  All meetings for remainder of 2017 will be at locations announced via e-mail notification to current membership, via  Facebook, or as otherwise noted below:

Our next meeting will be:

 Wednesday, February 8, 2017 Regular Meeting, 6:30 PM

Lee County Emergency Operations Center
2675 Ortiz Avenue
Fort Myers, FL 33905

Upon turning into the driveway, turn to the right and proceed through the gate to the parking lot.

map & directions | agenda

6:30 pm - 7:00 pm Beekeeper Helpline: New and Experienced beekeepers
helping each other with questions, quandaries, and other beekeeping related challenges... followed by our

Regular Meeting: 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm (may end earlier depending on agenda)

"Topic & Speaker":  Dr. Jamie Ellis

Meeting is open to anyone wishing to learn more about bees, and those that are interested in becoming members

Past and Present Raffle Items:
 2016:  April | May | June | July (none) | August | Sept (none Echo) | October (none Apiary BBQ) | November | December
2017:  January

This Month's (January 2017) Raffle Items

Some of this month's (January) meeting raffle items:  White Rubber-Coated Large Gloves, Leather Gloves, 6-oz pkg of Hive Staples (approx. 49 staples), Red Hive Tool, Clear Plastic Queen Catcher,

Entrance Management Dial, Bottom Board with Entrance Reducer, Fume Board, Queen Excluder, Boot/Ankle Straps, Triangular Bee Escape Board, wall decor, etc.

MEMBERS ONLY Area | Download Consent & Release Form | | Minutes | Treasurer's Report | Membership ListingOur E-MAIL Address
Intro to Beekeeping Course 2016 | Bee College 2016 | Pollinator-Pesticide Awareness Survey | Florida Farm Bureau Recruitment | Observation Hive Fact Sheet & Plans | Pollination Agreement/Contract | Join FSBA


The UF/IFAS Lee County Extension, in collaboration with the Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida (BASF) offers a 4-week introductory beekeeping class this summer.

Classes begin on
 Saturday March 4, 2017.

Space is limited to 25 students. Students receive a basic kit including bee veil, smoker, hive tool, resource book, and one-year membership to BASF.

Bees are NOT provided
as part of this package!

Cost of the course is $135.

Pre-registration is necessary for inclusion in the class.

Morning classroom sessions are at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center. Afternoon practical sessions are at the BASF apiary.

For more information, view and/or download FLYER and COURSE OUTLINE.

Cane "Bufo" Toads have Invaded South Florida... they're here!

It was reported by member, Otto tonight (June 10, 2015),that not only are Cane toads "Bufo" showing up in Southwest Florida, but that he actually saw one first hand.  These toads are causing beekeeping management problems, because the huge toads reside near hives and consume large quantities of bees, plus they are so toxic that they should not be handled and can easily and quickly kill dogs and pets.

The "Bufo" Marine Cane Toad                 UF Wildlife Bufo Cane Toad

A quick search of the web reveals information that these toads are active at night and can eat 200 to 300 bees.  They eat the guard bees at the entrance and other bees come out to replace these bees and the toad uses his sticky tongue to keep eating the bees. These toads cannot jump very high; however, beekeepers should elevate their hives (at least 15 inches) to prevent cane toads from feasting on their bees. WARNING!:  Do not handle these toads as they secrete toxins.  The toxins can easily and quickly kill a dog.  They like to stay under elevated hives and eat dead bees that are dropped out.  If you find them you can wear plastic gloves and put them in a bag and dispose of them (some say they freeze them).  Australia has been dealing with fighting the battle against this toad invasion for awhile... read more about their problem which is or soon may be our own problem, here in Southwest Florida.

Trap and Eliminate Bufo Toads | Humane Disposal of Cane Toads | Tampa Dog Poisoned by Bufo Toad | Major Threat to Dogs in South Florida

Simple Plans for Observation Bee Hive

Observation Bee Hives

The use of observation bee hives continues to interest a variety of people. This is not surprising. The observation hive is one of the primary research and educational tools in apiculture. It is both educational and entertaining.

Observation bee hives can be used to enhance public relations and marketing programs. But a great deal of time and energy is needed to set up a hive and keep it going. Maintenance can be expensive and time consuming, especially if the hive is to be used as a permanent display for the general public. This 3-page fact sheet provides sources for building observation hives and tips for maintenance. Written by David Hall, James D. Ellis, and Malcolm Sanford, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2015. (UF/IFAS photo by Tyler Jones) http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg320


Sample Pollination Agreement

The key to a prospering pollination service is proper promotion, honest, quality service, and a written contract.

This contract would detail the expectations of both the beekeeper and the grower

This 4-page fact sheet provides a suggested pollination agreement.

Written by Malcolm T. Sanford, Jeanette Klopchin, and James Ellis, and published by the UF Department of Entomology and Nematology, March 2015. (UF/IFAS Photo: Thomas Wright)

A Million Hits in the last 12 months

Website Statistics: Some inquiring minds want to know, just how popular is our local association's website.  For those geeks and nerds, I have compiled a 12-moth report on the website's performance... and it exceeds all expectations with over 5000 visitors to our site every month.  These are actual visitors, not just hits.  If you are interested in hits, then for example in April of 2015 we had about 80,000 hits (about a million hits in the last 12 months).

However, "unique visitors" is far more important than the hits.  Unique means new visitors actually looking at our website.  In April of 2015 we had 4,542 "unique" visitors to our website that month.

Some of most popular pages after the main page, were our blog, links page, honey plants "what's blooming page, and our downloads page.  While our blog was inactive it is still bringing in about half of our visitor traffic.  Even though our Archive and past events page may contain history and old information, the information was viewed almost 300 times in April.... read more

Need more convincing of the effectiveness of our website?.. Goggle Search these 4 keywords::  beekeeping events florida 2015  and see where we stand among all the websites in the entire world for current beekeeping events in Florida.

USDA National Honey Report, Number XXXIV - #12, January 16, 2015
Excerpt from the report regarding Florida, based on commercial beekeeper reporting:


FLORIDA: The weather for the month was a little warmer than normal with precipitation slightly higher than normal. There was still not very much rain, as December is typically a dry month in Florida. Bee health was considered to be very good. Beekeepers were splitting hives and treating for mites in preparation for the annual trip to California for almond pollination with many hives being relocated shortly after the middle of next month. There were few sources of food, except for scattered wild flowers and some maple. The maple bloom appeared to be about a week earlier than normal. Citrus greening was causing some early premature orange bloom, but no honey was being produced from that source. The next source of food for honey production will be citrus, primarily orange blossom, in March. There was essentially no honey being produced for sale and practically no stored honey available for sale. Demand remains good with supplies very light and prices remaining at or near record levels.

The entire report can be found here: http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvmhoney.pdf

Consent and Release Form

 As previously explained at meetings, is so our club has permission to use your provided information for such things as:  Creation of an membership listing/directory shared with our members to allow them to more easily stay in contact with each other by having phone numbers, contact information, etc. available, also for displaying your photos taken at website activities, etc. on our website for public viewing... or so we can contact you about upcoming special meetings, events, sales, etc.; however, please do not abuse the club directory by sending mass e-mails to complain to the membership about your club dislikes or problems with the leadership, to send junk to our members, for spamming, for hate e-mails, etc... as this is not the purpose of a club directory.

Login Information (username & password) is e-mailed to "paid-up" members on a monthly basis.  Please allow up to two months for monthly information about club, website, etc. to begin.  If you just cannot wait and need access to membership and/or other members area items (minutes, treasurer's report, membership list, etc.), you may attend a meeting and request the login information from our treasurer if she is able to ascertain your current membership status as "paid-up" Active.  All previous login information has expired as of September 31, 2014.  Login information may change more than once a year, so please keep up with the e-mailed monthly announcements (sorry, it may require that you actually open your e-mail and read something).

 Beekeepers Calendar - SWFL Edition, View or Download

Look "REAL CLOSE" and Magnify Your Knowledge

Florida Melitto Files
Newsletter for Bee Lovers
with Florida Beekeeper Management Calendar

January - March 2016
October - December 2015
July - September 2015
April - June 2015

Suggested speaking topics and/or educational discussions Q&A for March:  How to know if it is time to add supers (7/10 Rule), use an excluder or not user excluder advice and reasoning; how to know if you have a mite or beetle problem and methods to correct; should I look for swarm cells (differences between swarm and supercedure cells) and should I bother removing swarm cells... and what do I do if anything when I find them?  Is it a good time to harvest and what are the best ways to harvest for small-scale operation.  Should I be purchasing queens, packages, buying nucs, now, etc.?  Just a few of the things I hear beekeepers asking.  Do you have ideas or questions that aren't answered in beekeeping calendar or Melitto Files... or just need to know how?.. if so e-mail them to info@swfbees.com

2013: January  <--- Yes, this is the most current issue of newsletter, there are no 2014 or 2015 issues, enjoy what is here, thanks!

2012 Back Issues: December | November | October | September | July/August | June | February | January
2011 Back Issues: October | September  | August | June July | MayJune | April | MarchFebruary | January
2010 Back Issues: December | November | October | August | July | June | May | April

Reminder to registered beekeepers from Freddie Howard, local apiary inspector:
If you have not already done so, please call Freddie and schedule your yearly inspection

FAQ (Frequently Asked Question):

  QUESTION:  Where can I get package bees, queens, and equipment?
Click HERE or on LINKS in menu above.

BEES ON MY PROPERTY!... What Should I do?  CLICK HERE before doing anything!

Thank you for caring about bees and wanting to know about bee removal options.  Due to liability issues we cannot remove bees from private or commercial structures, nor recommend beekeepers that do so.  However, you may be able to find a registered beekeeper who uses non-lethal methods and who has received Africanized honeybee Training (AHB) on a list provided by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Agricultural Environmental Services:

Bee Removal List (Excel Spreadsheet) Download | More information about this list 

Still not finding somebody to remove, rescue, and relocate your live bees?... then another method which has proven successful is to use GOOGLE with the following KEYWORDS which narrow down the results to somebody in your area who may not exterminate your bees:  Try searching for  live bee removal relocation rescue fort myers florida  However, substitute your city (i.e, live bee removal relocation rescue alva florida or live bee removal relocation rescue lehigh florida and you should get applicable results.  Also, don't be fooled by the results at the top of the search results nor the ones along the right side of the search results marked "Ad" or "Ads" for those are paid results which are not always applicable.  Look for top results immediately below the "Ad" (these are known as "organic" search results) and which are more likely to provide the service for which you searched instead of paid results.  Do NOT include the word "free" in your search which often leads you to many removers which are not really free and could result in a sad removal experience.

NOTE:  BEE REMOVAL SERVICES ARE NOT FREE!... there is a charge for live bee removal services!

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Click to join our Yahoo Group FREE (swfbees)

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Not a beekeeper, but wish to support our efforts and show your support for our cause, then please consider donating.  You may use the convenient "Donate" button to donate online (securely and safely) using your credit card... or you may mail your donations to our treasurer. 

Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida can use your help.  Please DONATE to support our group's efforts.
 We are a now a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization and your donations are tax deductible!:

 Notice:  You do NOT have to be a member of PayPal (or sign up) to use your credit card to donate, simply look during the donation process for the section "Don't have a PayPal account? and click continue.

This document was created on 1/09/08, rev. 01/18/17

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How do I join Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida (BASF)?  Attend one of our meetings and pay applicable dues to our Treasurer, or you can DOWNLOAD Membership Application. Consent/Release Form, and mail it to our treasurer along with applicable dues.  Currently $10 for current year.  If you are not already a member of FSBA then please join FSBA as well; however, we do not collect dues or fees for the Florida State Beekeepers Association (FSBA), you must pay FSBA directly.