2013 Florida Folk Heritage Award
Born in 1935, Laurence Cutts is a third-generation beekeeper who has lived most of his life in Chipley, Florida. Mr. Cutts first worked in the family bee yard as a small child; by sixteen, he was raising queen bees on his own and had a profitable business from producing honey and providing bees for crop pollination throughout Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. In 1985, he began his tenure as the State of Florida's Chief Apiary Inspector. During his career, Mr. Cutts was instrumental in the statewide effort to reduce significant beehive losses caused by varroa mites and small-hive beetles. In addition, he has served in leadership roles for multiple professional beekeeping associations, and has been recognized numerous times for his contributions to Florida's agriculture, including his induction into the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2012. Though he retired in 2003, Mr. Cutts continues to keep bees, give workshops, teach seminars, and tirelessly promote beekeeping worldwide. He recently invented the Beetle Blaster, an improved trap for the small-hive beetle. Through his work as the state’s Chief Apiary Inspector, his educational outreach programs that teach people about the importance of bees for agriculture, and his decades-long business breeding and selling queen bees, Mr. Cutts has provided an invaluable contribution to the beekeeping culture of Florida.