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National Honey Bee Day Celebration and Plant Sale at Edison and Ford Winter Estates

By Staff | Jul 31, 2021

B. Keith Councell, President of the Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida examines Honey Bee hives at Edison and Ford Winter Estates. PHOTO PROVIDED

In celebration of National Honey Bee Day on Aug. 21, the public is invited to learn about Honey Bees at Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The day’s itinerary will include demonstrations and lectures, and a hands-on demonstration on bee keeping for kids. Plus, multiple vendors will be on site for a plant fair and sale with food trucks and live music. The event is free (does not include tours, museum or lab admission) and will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Beekeepers Association of Southwest Florida will give lectures on Honey Bee ecology and plant pollination, and demonstrations on an open hive, honey extraction and bottling, and bee wax and candle making. They will also have an observation hive, information table, and honey available for sale and tasting. In addition, the Florida Native Plant Society will have an information table and will be available to answer questions about Florida native plants. 

Several food and beverage vendors will be on site, including the Foodology Food Truck, Daddy Dee’s Ice Cream Parlor, and Vibes and Spices will have beer and other beverages available for sale. David Rojas will perform live music, and pollinator plants will be available for purchase in the Garden Shoppe.

More than a dozen Honey Bee hives are managed by professional beekeepers at the Estates. Historically, bees were critical to the site for pollination. As early as 1886, Edison instructed his caretaker to obtain bee hives to pollinate flowers and other plants on his property.

Approximately one third of the food that humans consume each day requires pollination, including fruits, vegetables, nuts and other crops. Bees are also the primary pollinator for many beautiful flowers that grow in the wild or are cultivated for use in landscaping.

In addition to Honey Bees, there are more than 4,000 native bee species in North America; more than 300 of those are found in Florida, and of those, 29 are endemic (found only in Florida). Due to pesticide use, disease and parasites, bee populations have decreased considerably. Across the United States, some native bee species have been added to the endangered list, such as the rusty-patched bumblebee, Bombus affinis, and seven species of the Hawaiian yellow-faced bees.

“This is an opportunity for local residents to learn about the important role bees play in our environment and how everyone can help protect Honey Bees and the many Florida native bees in their own home gardens,” said Debbie Hughes, Horticulture Director.

Visitors will also be able to see the beginnings of a new Florida native wildflower demonstration garden, which is being installed around the Honey Bee apiary. Wildflowers will provide nectar and pollen for the Honey Bees and other pollinators. Future garden talks, children’s programming and interpretive signs will provide more opportunities for visitors to learn about pollinators and the benefits of utilizing native plants.

For more information, visit the website at www.edisonford.org or call 239-334-7419.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates is at 2350 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.