The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is hosting the state’s first ever Bee Research Symposium, on July 15 and 16 at the Austin Cary Memorial Forest Conference Center in Gainesville. Symposium organizers are looking for research papers to discuss.

The meeting will bring together bee researchers and enthusiasts from across the region to discuss topics related to the study of bees, including honey bee colony losses, Africanized honey bees, pollination and native bee contributions to Florida agriculture.

“We hope this symposium will be a venue for sharing ideas, building collaborations and discussing the latest research conducted in the region on bees,” said Jamie Ellis, associate professor of entomology with UF’s Department of Entomology and Nematology.  “Most importantly, we hope the meeting is attended by beekeepers and bee aficionados with any level of interest in bees.”

Maintaining a healthy bee population is critical to human health. Notably, a worldwide honey bee die-off began to be reported around the U.S. in 2006. Scientists report yearly national losses of managed honey bee colonies around 30 percent and researchers have been working to pin down a cause.

Native bee populations may be suffering as well. Bee pollination is critical for much of the food we eat, and some estimates suggest the U.S. bee industry is responsible for pollinating as much as $15 billion worth of crops every year.

Ellis runs the UF/IFAS Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab, designed to improve the health and productivity of honey bee colonies both in Florida and globally by investing in research projects focusing on honey bee husbandry, ecology, behavior and conservation.

Attendees can come as presenters and/or observers. Presenters must register online, submit an abstract paper and indicate whether they want the presentation to be delivered orally or via poster. Abstracts are due by 10 a.m., July 1.

Individuals submitting abstracts must represent a governmental agency, academic institution, industry, formal association, or other similar organization. All abstracts will be reviewed for scientific merit, and abstract acceptance into the program is not guaranteed. Authors for all abstracts will be notified of abstract acceptance and the type of presentation invited to deliver.

Alternatively, attendees may choose to attend the meeting as an observer. Individuals choosing to attend the meeting this way will be privy to all meeting activities.

The two day event will be split between Apis (honey bee) and non-Apis bees topics.

To register for the event, visit: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-florida-bee-research-symposium-tickets-9680194723. All information about submitting abstracts can be found on the abstract submission form, which will be received in the confirmation email after ordering a ticket. Any questions about abstract submission should be directed to Brandi Simmons at bsimmons711@ufl.edu.