Make a Bee Line Saturday

USF Botanical Gardens hosts monthly classes, beginning Saturday, with Advanced Master Beekeeper Gary van Cleef.


USF Botanical Garden member Gene Petys, from the Tampa Bay Beekeepers Assoc., assists a student with populating a hive at beekeeping class last year.


USF Botanical Garden member Gene Petys, from the Tampa Bay Beekeepers Association, assisting a student with populating a hive at a beekeeping class last spring.


By Barbara Melendez

USF News


Tampa, Fla. (Jan. 18, 2012) – Making friends with bees and becoming a beekeeper can be as easy as taking a series of classes at USF’s Botanical Gardens.


The first class is this Saturday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m. and they continue on the third Saturday of every month through December. The first session of the year focuses on pollination, bee friendly gardening, bee stings and facts about bee hives. There’s a charge of $10 for each class. The gardens are located at 12210 USF Pine Drive near the southwest corner of the Tampa campus.


The class is led by the garden’s own Advanced Master Bee Keeper Gary van Cleef. Topics include the basics - bee biology, hive building, diseases and best management practices as well as honey extraction.  The course also serves as preparation for the state’s Bee College and exams. 


“Beekeeping is something that is quite doable and it’s quite a fascinating hobby or vocation,” said Botanical Gardens Director Laurie Walker. “There’s a state-wide beekeepers’ association and plenty of support for this activity. It’s definitely worth looking into if you’ve ever thought about what it would be like to work with our most important pollinators.”


Registration is preferred.  Call (813) 974-2329 to register and for more information. 


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.