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America Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Cooperative Extension!

logoThe Florida Cooperative Extension Service is a partnership of local county government, the state land grant university that is the University of Florida, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, authorized by the Smith Lever Act of 1914. The primary purpose of the Cooperative Extension Service is to disseminate and encourage the application of research-generated knowledge and leadership skills to individuals, families, and communities. The Cooperative Extension System:

  1. is an integrated partnership with federal/state/county levels of government, research, and the private sector.
  2. is educational in program content and methodology, not regulatory or financial.
  3. provides informal, noncredit education conducted primarily beyond the formal classroom for all ages.
  4. is practical, problem-centered and situation-based. Cooperative Extension education begins with helping people to identify and understand their needs and problems and to use new technology or information in solving them.
  5. features the objective presentation and analysis of factual information for decision-making by the people themselves. Cooperative Extension is research-based with a free flow of communication among research, Extension and resident-teaching functions of the state university system, and also with the resources of the United States Department of Agriculture and other departments or agencies, public and private.
  6. functions as a nationwide educational network and resource through local offices that are accessible to and by local citizens.
  7. Involves/requires cooperative sharing of financial support among federal, state, and county or local levels..
  8. involves administrative relationships that permit educational programs directed at broad national purposes, yet serving specific local needs with priorities determined locally.
  9. is a professional function staffed by college-trained personnel specifically qualified for their positions.

On April 17, 2014 we’ll celebrate 100 years of Cooperative Extension programs,
helping people find solutions for the next 100 years.
For more information call the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service
Master Gardener Volunteer Hotline at 561-233-1750. M-F 9-4.

Building Your Own Farm's Food Safety Manual
Friday ~ May 2 ~ 8:00am-5:00pm
Click here for brochure and flyer.

Bee Cautious and Bee Proactive!
Keep them out!


Spring is in the air and plants are beginning to bloom.  This means honey bees are working hard and making honey.  Honey bees also tend to swarm in the spring time.   The Africanized honey bees are known to swarm year round in South Florida.  These swarms will be looking for a suitable home.  Unless you are a professional bee keeper, you don’t want a colony of bees on your property.

Inspect your property.
 Look for any small hole that a honeybee can enter.  Look for any place where bees will be protected from rain and exposure.  Look from below ground up to the top of your house.  Bees have been found regularly in water meters, under exposed concrete, under mobile homes, in wall voids, soffits, attics, and about any where you can imagine.  You should be looking for any hole or crack larger than 1/8 inch that leads to a protected area, bees can occupy.  Pay special attention to damaged soffit, attic, and crawlspace vents.   Barbecue grills, pipes, empty jugs, hollow frames in equipment, under or in old equipment, and numerous other items in a yard can provide suitable shelter for bees.

Once an opening is found, plug the entrance the best way possible.  Caulking will work in some instances.  Screen vents with hardware cloth, soffit screening or replacement vents.   In other places you may have to use filler strips and then caulk any small crack.  If you are worried that bees may colonize old items in the yard, you may decide to discard those items.

If you have had bees and had the colony removed, you need to make sure any entrance to that area is plugged.  Bees can smell/sense where wax and honey once were and will return to those areas.  Make sure you remove all wax, bees, and honey from the old colony.  Leaving any of these can cause you more trouble from melting wax, rotting bees, small hive beetle larvae, wax moths, ants, cockroaches.  Once clean, repair the area in a timely manner and make sure it is plugged. See the publication “Bee-Proofing for Florida Citizens” found on the EDIS website at:

Stay vigilant.  New cracks can appear, your plug may fall out, or you may have missed a spot.   All new holes or cracks should be plugged as you find them.

Be aware of your surroundings.  Look and listen before you move items that could possibly have bees in them.  If you hear a humming or buzzing sound, or see bees coming and going, try to see where the bees are and leave the area.  Warn others to stay away and contact a Pest Control Operator to remove or kill the colony.  Call your local extension agent for a list of Pest Control Operators trained in honey bee colony eradication and removal.
Before you start loud equipment i.e. mower, edger, leaf blower, look around for bees every time.   Bees can move into ‘their’ new home in just a few minutes.  They may not be defensive right at first, but once they start building honey comb and the queen lays eggs, they will protect ‘their’ home. Some information on Africanized honey bees can be found on the EDIS website at:



wanted poster

Every drop of water that exits your landscape eventually moves on, and may take with it residues resulting from landscaping practices. Water that runs off of your property makes its way to our ground and surface waters, including the Lake Worth Lagoon, the Everglades and the Atlantic Ocean. Click here to view our newest brochure, Protect Palm Beach County’s Water and Environment, which explains how you can use Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ principles to achieve a beautiful, low-maintenance landscape while protecting and preserving our precious environment, ground, and surface waters.

Palm Beach County Landscape professionals know that beginning in January of 2014, anyone who applies fertilizers commercially will be required to hold a Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer (often called the “fertilizer license”) issued by the Bureau of Entomology and Pest Control.  A new UF / IFAS  Palm Beach County Extension fact sheet addresses some of the most common questions related to obtaining your GI-BMP certification and fertilizer license, such as: How Do I Request a Duplicate GI-BMP Certificate, and How Do I Apply for the Fertilizer License once I receive my GI-BMP certificate? 

View the fact sheet for answers:  Frequently Asked Questions: Understanding and Obtaining the GI-BMP Certification and Limited Certification for Urban Landscape Commercial Fertilizer License.  

Join the Revolution of Responsibility

grg logo

Are You A
Grandparent Raising Grandchildren?
2013 Educational Program Series

Learn about: legal issues, guiding children’s behavior & discipline, computers,
resources, support, managing stress and much more.
Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service
University of Florida/IFAS
559 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach
Call 561-233-1742 to sign up and for more information.

As a reminder to all green industry professionals
Beginning on January 1, 2014, all commercial fertilizer applicators will be required to hold a Limited Certification for Urban Fertilizer Applicators. The prerequisite of this license is the successful completion of the Green Industry Best Management Practices, or GI-BMP program. GI-BMPs teach safe landscaping practices that protect the environment, including our ground and surface waters. The University of Florida IFAS Florida Friendly Landscaping™ program presents GI-BMP programs throughout the state. In 2013, the GI-BMP program will be offered by Palm Beach County on the following dates:

  • January 8, Wednesday
  • January 22, Wednesday
  • February 4, Tuesday
  • February 14, Friday *en español
  • February 18, Tuesday
  • March 18, Tuesday
  • April 10, Thursday
  • April 15, Tuesday
  • May 15, Thursday
  • May 16, Friday *en español
  • July 18, Friday *en español
  • July 24, Thursday
  • August 5, Tuesday
  • September 16, Tuesday
  • September 19, Friday *en español
  • October 16, Thursday
  • November 4, Tuesday
  • December 11, Thursday

To attend classes or learn more, see the 2014 GI-BMP Brochure . GI-BMP training is also available online. More information is available on the Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ website. Call 561.233.1759 with any questions.

Article Archives

Attracting our Feathered Friends
Cloning Your Fruit Trees
Cold Protection
Home Composting
Easy Houseplants
Edible Landscapes
Flooded Landscapes
Florida Friendly Irrigation Tips
Fragrant Plants
Garden Gifts
Ground Covers
Growing Bananas
Grow Your Own Backyard Veggies
Healthy Palm Pointers from the University of Florida
Herb Gardening in Southern Florida
Holiday Plant Care
Hurricanes Have Taught Us a Lesson
Gardening to Attract Hummingbirds
Non-Aggressive Rooted Trees
Patio Fruit Trees
Pineapple Growing in the Home Landscape
Selecting the Perfect Holiday Tree
Shade Your House, Save Money
Scary Spiders in Mounts Botanical Garden
Spring Flowering Vines
Spring Tree Maintenance
Summer Lovin’ Flowers
Summer Roses
Tomatoes in the Florida Garden
Trees With Benefits- Selecting a Small Tree for the Home Landscape
Tropical Flowering Bulbs for South Florida
Tropical Vegetables for the South Florida Garden
Why is it so important to plant native species?
Cactus and Succulent Container Gardens



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559 North Military Trail
West Palm Beach
Florida 33415

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