Buzz Is On for Broward's Only Community Apiary
The community hives, which were started about six months ago, are cared for by the association. The $50 annual membership fee includes a T-shirt, a book on beginning beekeeping, access to necessary extraction tools, and mentorship. Members must purchase their own hives or nucs, short for nucleus colonies. Although the association has more than 60 members, the community apiary currently houses hives for only eight of them.
CandaceWest.com Dr. Leo Gosser looks for his queen bee.
According to Gosser, "The idea is to give beekeepers a place to keep bees where they wouldn't normally have the option."
Reid found the association a year ago while looking for raw honey. As a native of Jamaica, he said something just didn't seem to match up between the honey he found there and the products he found in the United States. After stumbling upon a Broward Beekeepers Association meeting, he decided to start his own hives.
"I thought [beekeeping] was interesting," Reid said. "Next to humans, bees are the most studied creatures. They're organized; they pretty much do everything for themselves. We just provide the food and water."
Novak joined the association three years after removing a hive from a customer's home. Rather than exterminate, he decided to take it home. He now keeps hives at his home in Coral Springs and at the community property. Since starting his hives, he's been working on attaining certification with the University of Florida's Master Beekeeper Program; he's currently waiting for the advanced test to be offered in the area. Novak also mentors the novices in the club.
As a pest-control specialist, Novak has long been aware of the value of bees to the environment; however, since joining the association, he has learned about the pressures facing bee populations as well.
Since 2006, U.S. commercial beekeepers have been experiencing losses of 30 to 90 percent of the hive populations in a phenomenon referred to as colony collapse disorder. Throughout the 1990s, losses had been stable, at 17 to 20 percent. According to Gosser, a major contributing factor to the growing problem is a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.