Did you know the Florida citrus industry and beekeepers industry are uniquely linked? Both are facing serious challenges. Some of the resolutions for citrus growers to combat the tremendous greening problem adversely affect the honey industry. Beekeepers traditionally place hives in citrus groves so the bees produce citrus-flavored honey, one of the most popular flavors of honey. However, the pesticides used to prevent and treat citrus greening are endangering the bees.
Growers used to spray groves once or twice per year, but with the current greening issue in Florida, growers are now spraying as much as monthly. One grower was accused of spraying the crops every four days. The situation has been described as a growing war between the two industries.
Department of Agriculture Commission Adam Putnam, had recruited parties from both sides of the issue to join in an effort to remedy the situation and find a way to work together.
“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.”
The department is holding meetings to consult with citrus growers, beekeepers, University of Florida –Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and others to identify how to lower risks to honeybees while allowing citrus growers to continue important practices to combat citrus greening. The meetings have produced mandatory recommendations and voluntary recommendations.
It’s interesting to see the interrelations of our agriculture industry and nice to see parties coming together to make it work.