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  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    6,797

    Default Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    I have been tasked to implement a program to “certify” beekeepers in Hillsborough County. The Board of Commissioners is implementing an ordinance to allow beekeeping on non-agricultural properties. They want prospective beekeepers to go through a practical and written course to ensure they can be responsible. The Commissioners thought the Florida Master Beekeeper program would satisfy the requirement, however a prerequisite is to be a registered beekeeper for one year.
    The practical will be modeled after the Florida Master Beekeeper tests. The candidate will inspect a hive from start to finish and tell the tester what they are doing and looking for. The second part is a written test.
    I am looking for the 50 most important questions for the written exam. It should include hive placement and how to be a good bee neighbor, disease control, best management practices, and enough knowledge to correctly answer questions from neighbors or the media. What do you think are the 50 top questions? Thank you.

    If the ordinance is implemented it will protect beekeepers and allow beekeeping in the city similar to the state initiative. Hillsborough County has the most new beekeepers per year, over 100, in the state of Florida for the past few years. This could easily become the model for other municipalities.
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
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    203

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    I think it's great that Hillsborough is doing that!

    How about an essay question, how to define a swarm to someone who is unfamiliar with bees? I tend to find myself explaining that one a lot. Most people don't know what a swarm truly is.

    I would really love to see the exam when you get it finalized.
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Wow very progressive. Good ideas for home owners will help down the road. Not so much with the beekeeper but, with the non bee keepers who in a city don't understand farm life. For the person that thinks that milk comes from a carton or honey comes from a bear or Maple Syrup comes from a jug. There is a lot of ignorance out there and sounds like this exam will help teach the bee keeper what to say and what the rules are so he is always in the right with Joe Law. The shades of grey is where the trouble is.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Kenosha,WI
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    187

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    This is not good for individuals. Just one more brick in the wall. Every day we are watching another freedom removed and replaced with control by government.

    "Let me see your papers!"

  5. #5
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    Apr 2009
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    I disagree. Government's job is to control. So do away with the government is the best thing. I think government is bad. (this is a discussion that gets posts deleted). So to stay on topic. If you cant beat them, you can't. Lets educate them. I think that the only weapon we have against ignorance and government and that runs hand in hand is education so you can show them that they need to leave you alone.

    The problem is the guy in the 1/4 acre neighborhood who thinks he can have 50 hives and has a neighbor or two that don't like it. I have a 100 and I live in the country outside of the city and I only keep 50 here so they don't take over the neighbors fountain to much. When his daughter got married I took them away for the day so they would not enhance his family video's. It is all about being a good neighbor.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-12-2011 at 11:15 AM. Reason: quoting

  6. #6
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    Jun 2011
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    Kenosha,WI
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    187

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Moderator,
    Please remove my prior post as "off topic"

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    It is not off topic. It is right on. We cant beat big government. It is in their charter to take our liberties away and take our money to waste on things that justify taking our money away. Like camera on every street corner. I did not give that extra tax dollars so they can have a fancy camera system to catch more people breaking the law to make more money. But, they did it anyway. It is a self consuming machine. The mayor builds a bigger city staff so he is a bigger cheese at the mayors convention. (you touched a nerve, No worries though)

    So education and sympathy is our best weapon against it. Teach them that bee's are good and they will starve if they die off. Things wont get pollinated and you will die!!!! If we educate the city dwellers that us county dwellers is what allows them to have the filter for their polluted air and our bee's pollinate the crops they need to eat since the apartment dwellers have no land to grow anything on. Open a booth up at the farmers market and bring an observation hive with you and you will have a magnet. It will be the busiest booth at the market. Educate Educate Educate will help.
    Last edited by Barry; 09-12-2011 at 11:16 AM. Reason: quoting

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    San Francisco, CA
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    2,337

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Questions I can think of off the top of my head are:

    1. What are the colony symptoms normally associated with Varroa mite infestation?
    2. What are the colony symptoms normally associated with Nosema?
    3. What are the colony symptoms normally associated with Small Hive Beetle infestation.

    Of course you would ask in earlier questions what the definition of each of the above is. And then subsequent questions on how to treat each of these problems, etc.

    Having said that, I have to add my two cents in and agree with Roger. I live in one of the most regulated cities in the world. Sometimes you feel you can't even breath. Beekeeping here in legal and unregulated. There are roof top hives on some of the most prestigious restaurants in the city as well as community apiaries without one single regulation. The police call our bee club to rescue swarms and they love us. It's been like that for years without one single incident due to an irresponsible beekeeper. Why do you need to regulate it?
    President, San Francisco Beekeepers Association
    www.habitatforhoneybees.org

  9. #9
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    Issaquah,WA,USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    [QUOTE=Charlie B;708312} Why do you need to regulate it?[/QUOTE]

    Not sure if my message was clear. I do not want regulation at all for anything. But, Government means more rules and with a cert program you might get more leeway in the long run then without when they go off half cropped (could not use the word I wanted but this one seems to work). I wish we could license parents, since we seemed to have taken out the survival of the fittest out of the equation. Stupid people used to starve and that gene was low. Nowadays it seems to have reared its ugly little head. You cant fix stupid.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Weeki Wachee, Florida,USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Questions based on behavior and flight path.
    How to set hives so that their flight path keeps them out of trouble.

    Sorry I have to say it:
    More mindless regulation Hillsbough county had a regulation banning beekeeping and now they have set more regulations allowing beekeeping. Will they need a tax to pay for this program?
    How about 3% of all honey sold in the county that might cover it. They will then need to hire people to ensure tax is being paid. Raise the tax a little! How many "outlaw" beekeepers do you have? How many problems? Down the road maybe they can fine beekeepers that can't prove they didn't re queen every year or treat for mites or gave uninspected honey away or ???

    The test should at the most test your knowledge with being a good neighbor!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Hillsborough, Florida, USA
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    72

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    I would hope that anyone communicating with the commissioners or staff would ask what public interest this requirement is protecting or serving. My suspicion is that the education/certification requirement is a bone tossed to those who objected to the relaxation of the land development code allowing beekeeping in urban areas. I am a liberal, progressive and not normally opposed to government regulation at all, but I'm hard-pressed to find any real justification for this certification requirement. It should be opposed if those proposing it can't articulate a clear public benefit.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Maybe questions on apiary placement. That might promote responsible placement that is in everyone's interest. They could use this link with every registered beekeepers name and home adress. http://www.freshfromflorida.com/pi/p...d-apiaries.pdf
    Their phone # is listed as well.

    A liberal that identifies himself as progressive finds the law suspicious?? Nothing personal Pilgarlic I'm just saying!!

    Am beek please don't take everyone's criticism personal . We have given you some ideas for your program. I'm thinking your a good guy and a valuable resource here.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hillsborough, Florida, USA
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    72

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Not criticizing AmericasBeekeeper. I've attended his seminars at USF and have the highest regard for him.

    I would like for someone to make a good, clear argument that this county certification program would meet any reasonable cost/benefit threshold. We have an annual Dept of Ag inspection. Box quantity/placement/screening requirements will be in the proposed regulation. Given the negligible, if any, negative impact that our bees have on our suburban neighbors, what benefit is this certification program expected to deliver? This is not a rhetorical question. I'd sincerely like to know. If it's being proposed just so that the commissioners can appease objectors, it's too high a price.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    Northern Virginia
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    I h
    I am looking for the 50 most important questions for the written exam. .
    Virginia has started this program. The links below can lead you to the program overview and the question guides for 2 levels- qualified and certified.
    The problem, which I think other States have had as well, is who administers and keeps this going?


    http://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/si...%20Program.pdf

    http://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/node/135

    http://www.virginiabeekeepers.org/si..._Certified.pdf
    karla

  15. #15
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    Feb 2010
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    Fort Myers, Florida, USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericasBeekeeper View Post
    If the ordinance is implemented it will protect beekeepers and allow beekeeping in the city similar to the state initiative.
    Quoted because it seems that a lot of you missed this particular line. We have a lot of issues here in Florida and although the State is trying to change things for the good, we need all the help we can get, especially urban beeks.

    Down here in Southwest Florida, we have Africanized colonies. This breeds fear in those that are not knowledgable about bees. It is a cross we all have to bear, and I feel that AmBee's program is going to make a difference. I have seen people here get into beekeeping because it seems cool, and they see honey dollar signs and really have no idea what they are doing. I have to have my dogs licensed, I have no issue whatsoever being a registered or, possibly in the future, licensed beekeeper.

    Just last month a representative for Lee County made a blanket statement that beekeeping is illegal in residential areas in Lee County. There is nothing in the municipal codes against beekeeping. This statement was made, however, in reference to 80 hives behind a vacant house on less than 2 acres in a residential area, which I feel is irresponsible urban beekeeping. It made the news and caused an uproar in our local association. Programs such as the one that AmBee is spearheading may very well benefit us in ways that we don't yet see.
    I started out as an opportunistic beekeeper. Now the bees keep me...

  16. #16
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    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Port Richey Fl USA
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    238

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Another Big Brother program to control and obstruct peoples lives and freedoms.

    What next, poultry keeper certification program? canary keeper certification? dog keeper certification, the list goes on and on.

    Isn't it enough that state requires yearly inspection, fees etc, to keep bees?

    They never have enough!

    Lets join the tea party, fight and get excess cancerous, oppressive and intrusive government out of our backs and lives.

  17. #17
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    May 2009
    Location
    Garland, Bladen County, NC, USA
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    2,911

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Have there been serious problems already as a result of "Unlicensed Beekeepers"?

    Several towns in the center of this state changed ordinances to allow beekeeping, last year. They all seem to "Offer" some kind of beekeeping course. I know this because we had a bumper crop of nuc purchasers last year and they were all bubbling about what they had learned. Seems like all these new beekeepers took some kind of course.

    I suspect if the training is voluntary it will be more effective.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Hillsborough, Florida, USA
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    AmericasBeekeeper isn't proposing this. The County is relaxing the Land Development Code to allow urban beekeeping. As a bone to objectors, the Commission is PROPOSING to test and certify urban beekeepers. AmericasBeekeeper is the expert the county has turned to, presumably as a contractor, to design and, probably, to implement the program.

    I simply want the County to carefully evaluate WHY they are proposing certification. As we all know, it's very, very easy for elected officials and government staffers to adopt a program and, once it's adopted it is unlikely to be questioned. I want it questioned BEFORE implementation. I want to know what the program is intended to accomplish before the burden is undertaken. I won't deny that I'm predisposed to believe that it's not warranted, but isn't that the skepticism with which we should approach ANY new program today?

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Oshawa, Ontario
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    200

    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    I guess the question (for me) would be: If I get certified and my neighbour complains, would I be protected by my certification, or could the city tell me to get rid of my bees based solely on complaints?
    I'm sure they'd retain that right.
    Sounds like another cash grab.

    If they started this here, I'd go underground.

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    Alachua County, FL, USA
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    Default Re: Beekeeper Certification Hillsborough County FL

    Thank you and Florida also has a Master Beekeeper program - http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/honeybee/e...eekeeper.shtml
    All the political rants, anti-government rhetoric, and disdain for rules (usually caused by people without common sense or good judgement) are misplaced. The change is to allow beekeeping that is currently illegal. The Florida Department of Agriculture and I, hope this spreads to other municipalities where beekeeping is currently illegal or severly restricted. This will never effect commercial beeks or agricultural enterprises. The current drive is to support the hundreds of beekeepers in urban neighborhoods.
    The question remains what are the top 50 questions? There are hundreds of valid questions from the various Master Beekeeper Programs and on-line training, but what does a novice need to know to keep from making the (bad) news?
    hive placement is good
    barriers to make the bees fly over neighbors heads is good
    providing water so they stay out of the neighbor's is good (rarely works when pools are involved but we tried)
    genetic differences and temperment are good
    best management practices to control AHB is excellent
    knowing behaviors that excite or cause the bees to get defensive is good
    knowledge of diseases, pests and parasites is fine but the County does not care
    americasbeekeeper.com
    beekeeper@americasbeekeeper.com

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