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Doug Corbin of Pensacola, Florida spent 22 years in the Navy and was stationed in Bermuda, Argentina, Panama City, Panama, Spain, Sicily, Gibraltar, Suda Bay, Crete, Lajes, Azores, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Philippines. Upon retiring from the armed forces, Corbin stared beekeeping and was eventually hired by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Division of Plant and Apiary Inspection to maintain bait hives for monitoring the possible introduction of Africanized Honey Bee, registering beekeepers and inspecting their hives on an annual basis for diseases and pest in bee hives. In 1998 Corbin worked for the Alabama Department of Agriculture as an Apiary Inspector. Shortly thereafter, Corbin returned to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Division of Plant and Apiary Inspection in 1999 and became a Carrier Service Apiary Inspector.
VALUE-ADDED PRODUCTS OF BEEKEEPING
The Jamaica Federation of Commercial Apiculturist Ltd (JFCA) is a producer's organization which is owned, controlled, and managed by bee farmers. The primary object of the organization is to facilitate the growth, expansion, and development of apiculture in Jamaica through large scale commercial bee farming enterprises. The organization is in the process of expanding into other value added products of honey like creamed honey and beeswax. In order to help facilitate this transition, JFCA requested the assistance of FAVACA to provide volunteers who could train members on how to create these specific products. Along with the creation, assistance was needed in order to learn how to label and market these honey products locally, regionally, and internationally. With alternate types of honey products available to sell, the profits and market of the beekeepers would exponentially rise thus creating more opportunities for beekeeping in Jamaica.
The two volunteers selected were Doug Corbin and Rob Horsburgh. Both men have extensive experience in beekeeping and honey production. While in Jamaica, Corbin and Horsburgh participated in a number of different instructional opportunities with local beekeepers along with presenting at a training seminar titled "Selected Value-Added Products of Beekeeping: Usage, Possibilities and Accessing the USA and Other Developed Markets." On Monday, June 18, Corbin and Horsburgh traveled to St. Andrew to visit Royale Honey Enterprises at a factory and bottling operation in order to give instructional assistance. The same day they also visited a small urban home beekeeping business, along with a mead production operation. The following day the volunteers gave assistance to other beekeeping enterprises such as Queenbee Honey Products, the Tabra Apiary-Culture Enterprise, and Higgins' Bee Products.
On Wednesday, June 20th the team visited more local beekeepers such as Armstrong bees, Thomas&Sons Family Bees, and Vincent Edwards' Bees. On Thursday, June 21st, Corbin and Horsburgh presented at a training and sensitization seminar at the Medallion Hall Hotel in which value-added products were discussed and instruction was made available to those who attended. Friday meetings were held with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss recommendations that the volunteers felt need to be implemented in order to further advance the beekeeping industry. Jamaica has the potential to really grow the value added products industry and will need help from the Ministry of Agriculture on making extension agents available to help with regulations for these new products.
Over the course of the trip to Jamaica, a high number of local beekeepers were able to interact with Horsburgh and Corbin with hands-on instruction and mentoring. Not only were the volunteers able to visit a multitude of local beekeepers and their enterprises, but they were also able to present at a training seminar detailing specific ways to add and expand added value products.
BEEKEEPING CONGRESS ESTABLISHES RESEARCH CENTER IN GRENADA
The sixth annual Caribbean Beekeeping Congress took place in Grenada May 23-27, 2011 bringing together beekeepers from the Caribbean and Latin America to discuss the progress of beekeeping across the region. A variety of technical papers were presented during the conference by leading experts in the field of beekeeping. Topics included: the Secure and Sustainable Biology of Honeybees; International Beekeeping Development Issues; Strengthening, Securing and Sustaining Caribbean Beekeeping; Honeybee Nutrition; How the Caribbean Adapted to the African Honeybee and Disease; and Beekeeping in Haiti. Three FAVACA volunteers were in attendance at the conference and provided several of the technical lectures. Doug Corbin, Pensacola, and David Westervelt, Tavares, both from the Florida Department of Agriculture's Division of Plant Industry's Apiary Inspection Section along with Bo Sterk, St. Augustine, traveled to the conference, May 22-28, 2011. In addition to providing technical papers, the FAVACA volunteers were able to work with local beekeepers on pest management issues, beekeeping operations, and hive maintenance. As a result of the Congress, the Eastern Caribbean Honeybee Research Center was established at the St. George University to serve as a beekeeping outreach center to farmers and the agricultural sector in Grenada and the Caribbean.
BEEKEEPING INSPECTION SYSTEM SOUGHT IN HAITI
Beekeeping and honey production in Haiti has always been a small market enterprise but in the past several years, beekeeping is quickly becoming a major industry where selling honey and wax products are increasing revenues for families. Beekeepers in Haiti have no inspection criteria or way to categorize hives to help them with the identification and treatment of disease and pests. Makouti Agro-Enterprise's long term goal is to create an inspection system which will be available and utilized in all major honey production centers throughout Haiti. To help institute an inspection system, FAVACA in collaboration with Partners of the Americas, recruited first time volunteer Rob Horsburgh, Gainesville, and Doug Corbin, Pensacola, both of whom work for the Florida Department of Agriculture's Division of Plant Industry's Apiary Inspection Section to work with local beekeepers in beginning to categorize hives. Horsburgh and Corbin traveled to Haiti May 7-22, 2011 to work with a variety of beekeepers across Haiti to begin inspecting hives for disease and pests and to show how beekeepers could begin categorizing hives. While a national inspection unit in Haiti may still take some time to institute, both volunteers were able to provide beekeepers with a good foundation on how to inspect hives for disease and pests. Horsburgh and Corbin both recommended that beekeepers needed to begin using extractors to harvest honey. The current method of crushing the combs to remove honey reduces production since honeybees have to rebuild the combs. An extractor keeps the combs intact allowing beekeepers to simply place the comb back into the hive for the bees to refill the holes in the combs. Corbin had been in Haiti two years prior and remarked at how the industry had grown since the time of his last visit. Much of the improvements made can be attributed to the FAVACA and Partners of the Americas' trainings provided over the years according to the beekeepers.
CREATING A BUZZ ABOUT BEEKEEPING IN DOMINICA
Beekeeping in the Caribbean has suffered great setbacks in the past several decades due to the introduction of Africanized bees, the Vero mite, and habitat loss due to man-made and natural disasters. One island that has been relatively protected from many of the setbacks in beekeeping is Dominica, however; due to the lack of training in key aspects of the profession, many beekeepers are unable to increase the number, quality, and health of hives. In order to help beekeepers obtain the necessary skills to maintain and increase beekeeping on the island, Pure Blossom Hives contacted FAVACA to provide experts in beekeeping to teach about queen rearing, royal jelly extraction, and pollen collecting. Veteran FAVACA volunteers from the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection, Doug Corbin, Pensacola, and David Westervelt, Umatilla, traveled to Roseau, Dominica July 4-26, 2009. The volunteers provided training on a variety of aspects important in keeping a healthy hive, how to increase the bee population through queen rearing, and how to collect pollen which could lead to new commercial enterprises. Field visits and lectures were conducted across the country from Portsmouth and Colihauat in the North to Marigot and Riviere Cyrique in the East to Roseau in the South including the communities of Londonderry Farms, Stork Farm, and Roseau Central. Participants included members of the Dominican Organic Agriculture Movement and staff from the Ministry of Agriculture. The volunteers taught beekeeping to women and youth at the Dominica State College and several participants from the Carib Indians. The FAVACA volunteers also held a workshop for the beekeepers on how they could produce hive woodenware from local woods; they worked alongside Home Industries, a local hardware store, in the manufacturing of woodenware, hive bodies, supers, frames, lids, bottom boards, aluminum lid covers, queen cell molding tools and pollen traps. Previously, bee hives and tools were imported to the island but this workshop established a valuable source of bee woodenware in Dominica manufactured by local labor and resources. The last result from the training entails the participants working with educational institutions across the island to create both a primary school program for beginning beekeeping and to create a college level course for experienced beekeepers based on the Florida Bee College and Florida Master Beekeeping program.
FLORIDA BEEKEEPER CREATING A BUZZ IN HAITI
Benito Jasmin, Field Officer for the Farmer to Farmer program in Haiti, requested assistance from FAVACA in order to help local beekeepers in the Department of the Northeast to strengthen the health of their hives while also increasing the production of honey. First time volunteer Doug Corbin, Panama City, Florida and longtime inspector for the State of Florida's Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection, volunteered from April 12-28, 2008 in order to work with local farmers in helping to identify harmful diseases and pests such as the varroa mite and the wax moth. Diseases and pests can create havoc on the health of a hive and Corbin provided hands on training on how to identify these disease and pests and how to treat a hive that is infected and how to take preventative measures so that hives continue to remain healthy. In addition to helping to identify harmful diseases and pests, Corbin was able to participate in a beekeepers seminar where participants from throughout the country received training on creating new hives out of recycled materials, tools for evaluating the hive food supply, and they learned how to better manage their colonies using the nectar flow.