David Austin

David Austin

Extension Agent at University of Florida

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Location:
2015 N. Jefferson St., Jacksonville, Florida, United States
HQ Phone:
(904) 588-1800

General Information

Experience

Residential Horticulture Agent  - the Highlands County Extension Office

Education

Lake Placid High School

South Florida Community College

bachelor's degree  - horticulture , University of Florida

horticulture degree  - University of Florida

Affiliations

Owner  - Greenscape Nursery

Recent News  

SEBRING The truth, according to David Austin, is that no one really knows whats causing colony collapse, or if bee colonies are really collapsing.
The 2015 survey by Bee Health says Florida lost 54.5 percent of bee colonies. Austin, the University of Florida extension agent for Highlands County, doesnt know whether to believe those numbers. The numbers have been going down since the 1940s, said Austin, who also keeps 10 of his own hives. In Highlands County, there is a lot more moving of hives, Austin said. Its putting a lot of stress on the bees. Some beekeepers are following the harvest, from Michigan blueberries to California cucumbers to Florida citrus and strawberries to Maine apples. A hive may contain 30,000 to 50,000 workers, Austin said, and 20 percent are forgers. The queen lays an average of 2,000 eggs a day. And the average lifespan of a bee is 45 days. Out of necessity, perhaps, beekeepers are splitting their hives, inserting new queens, and submitting their own numbers to surveys. So theres no way to tell, Austin said. Add to that the differing surveys. The numbers are really hard to read. Its convoluted. One factor is certain though: people may be the bees biggest problem, and people can help, too. If you spray your back yard in the morning, youre putting the pollinators at risk, Austin said. Spray at night, he recommended. Find chemicals that arent as harsh and long lasting. Plant flowers that attract pollinators, not manicured lawns. Most pollinators which includes butterflies, flies, wasps, bumblebees work in daylight. Only moths and a few other pollinators work at night. We have healthy wild beehives in Highlands County, Austin said.

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DAVID AUSTIN
David Austin is the UF/IFAS extension residential horticulture agent for Highlands County.

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