Florida's biggest educational event for honey bee hobbyists, professionals and anyone interested in honey bees -- Bee College -- is back for a sixth year, University of Florida officials announced.

UF’s Honey Bee Research and Extension Laboratory has organized and hosted the event since 2008. This year’s event will be held at the UF Whitney Marine Laboratory in Marineland, Fla., March 8-9.

The two-day event offers classes for beekeepers of all ages and experience levels, gardeners, naturalists, county agents and others interested in the topic. The course lineup has been improved and should still appeal to past attendees, organizers said.

Every year, organizers work to take the course offerings up a notch, and this year is no different. This year’s chock-full schedule includes more than 50 classes, and nearly half of the course material is new, event organizer Jeannette Klopchin said. Another change this year: the Bee College Honey Show includes new entry classes (check http://www.ufhoneybee.com/ for rules). It is the state’s largest honey competition, and a best of show winner will be chosen from more than a dozen classes.

Special guest speakers include Wyatt Mangum, a lifelong beekeeper, columnist for the American Bee Journal and scientist known for his work on top-bar hives, and Randy Oliver, a California-based beekeeper, who runs about 500 bee colonies and hosts http://www.scientificbeekeeping.com/.  

The Junior Bee College event also returns, and will be held March 9. Children ages 6 through 16, teachers and parents may attend. 

Attendees have their choice of a minimum of five class options at any given time of the day. Courses cover everything from basics, such as setting up an apiary to more complicated topics, such as making beekeeping a business. Many classes are hands on and take participants into lab settings, for example, learning to detect honeybee diseases, while another might teach participants the laws that govern honey bottling, labeling and sales in Florida.

Participants must register by March 4 at http://beecollege.eventbrite.com/. For all other details about the event, please visit http://www.ufhoneybee.com/.

The cost is $125 per person to attend for one day or $185 for two days. Family and other discount rates are offered.