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2015 Call for Research Papers

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Research Committee has developed a program to support small research projects conducted by beekeepers and members of the beekeeping industry. Resources from the ABF’s “Friends of the Bee” fund have been earmarked for this purpose. The amount for the small research project(s) will not exceed $1500. The submissions will be accepted from March 1, 2015 through April 13, 2015. The winner(s) will be contact by May 15, 2015. If you have any questions, please contact Regina K. Robuck at or 404.760.2887. 
Scope of Research: Proposals for funding should focus on issues of concern to the beekeeping industry as a whole and to members of the ABF. Projects need to result in a product, solution or method that directly benefits the apiculture industry. For more information, please go to the Call for Research Papers

New Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinars and Archived Sessions Available

It is a new year and the ABF Education Committee has been hard at work developing new ways to keep its members engaged and informed in between ABF annual conferences each year. To this end, the ABF is pleased to offer new sessions with many more to come.

Honey Bee Removals, The Ins and Outs
Thursday, February 26
8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Darren Jewell, Honey Bee Removal Specialist

Presentation will cover the definition and distinction of different types of honey bee removals.  We will then focus on Cutouts and try to give enough information on how cutouts are done so that anyone participating in the webinar would feel confident enough to perform a cutout on their own.  Lastly information will be presented regarding the practice of exterminating honey bees with persistent pesticides and make a case for the superiority of a live removal vs an extermination.

About the presenter: 
Darren Jewell is a beekeeper specializing in honey bee removals since 1987.  He currently run a Honey Bee removal business, with his wife Lan, in Albuquerque New Mexico. He exclusively does live removals and donate most of the rescued hives to armature beekeepers in the local community. Darren is active in the local beekeeping community and currently developing "Best Practices" for honey bee removal.


Effective Varroa Management Through IPM
Thursday, March 5, 2015
8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Lance Wilson, Certified Master Beekeeper from University of Georgia and Young Harris College
Learn  effective Varroa management techniques through the use of Integrated Pest Management. We will discuss Varroa destructor’s distribution, life history and population dynamics. You will learn how to recognize the symptoms of infection, a common technique to monitor mite levels and the importance of economic thresholds.  We will follow with effective cultural ,biotechnical and organic bipesticidal controls. 


About the presenter: 

Lance is a certified Master Beekeeper from the University of Georgia and Young Harris College.  He is a small scale beekeeper managing hives in Llano and Travis counties in central Texas. He  promotes natural beekeeping practices and personally avoids synthetic chemicals and antibiotics. He advocates Integrated Pest Management, including organic biopesticides. Lance is a co-organizer of the Austin Area Beekeepers Association . He has presented lectures on honey bee biology, management, behavior, nutrition, Africanized honey bees and Varroa and brood disease management to The Texas Beekeepers Association’s annual convention and clinic, annually at the North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow and at local beekeeping clubs all over  Texas. Lance serves on the new Texas Master Beekeeping Program board and was recently appointed advisor to the Board of the Texas Beekeeper’s Association.


Balancing Pesticide Risk and Forage Production to Conserve Bees In and Near Cropland
Thursday, March 26, 2015
8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Dr. Jonathan Lundgren, Insect Ecologist and Research Entomologist, USDA-ARS Lab

The simplification of agroecosystems resulting has had numerous unintended consequences, including reduced bee forage for honeybees and other pollinators. Pesticide exposures, with particular reference to neonicotinoids, are a main concern and our group is researching the need and consequences of the widespread adoption of these insecticides on non-target species and communities in general. There are numerous ways that producers can reverse this simplification in their own operations. Within cropland, diversifying crop rotations by planting fields with bee-friendly crops, using flowering cover crops during fallow periods, planting smaller fields of more crop species are all agronomically sound and economically viable solutions to diversify farmland. Outside of crop fields, field margins can be planted to bee-friendly conservation strips, and practices such as mowing, haying, or spraying field margins should be avoided. Within a landscape, the amount of cropland is positively correlated with honeybee nutritional stress, and efforts that coordinate regional set asides across a landscape will be necessary for maximum benefits of forage enhancement to be realized. It is also important to realize that diversifying agroecosystems will have important, positive effects on other ecosystem services that should be considered when evaluating the benefits of these conservation efforts.

About the presenter: 

Dr. Lundgren is an insect ecologist and Research Entomologist at the USDA-ARS laboratory in Brookings, South Dakota. He received his PhD in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 2004. Lundgren received the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (the highest honor given to young scientists by the Office of the President), the Rothbart Early Career Scientist for USDA-ARS, and received the Early Career Innovation Award from the Entomological Society of America. Lundgren has served as Panel Manager for NIFA’s Biotechnology Risk Assessment Grants Program for two years and on the EPA’s and EFSA’s scientific advisory panels to assess the safety of RNAi-based pesticides. Lundgren is actively involved in the Entomological Society of America, and is the current President for the International Organization for Biological Control (Nearctic Regional Section). He is an editor for Environmental Entomology, and formally for Arthropod-Plant Interactions, and has reviewed manuscripts for more than 50 scientific journals.  He was a visiting scientist at CABI in Delemont Switzerland, and with CIAT in Cali Colombia. Lundgren has written 95 peer-review journal articles, authored the book “Relationships of Natural Enemies and Non-prey Foods” (Springer Publishers), co-edited the Biological Control special issue “Trophic Ecology of the Coccinellidae”, and has received more than $3.4 million in extramural grant funds. One of his priorities is to make science applicable to end-users, and he regularly interacts with the public and farmers regarding pest management and insect biology. Lundgren’s research program focuses on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing sustainable, long-term solutions for managing pests in cropland. His ecological research focuses heavily on conserving healthy biological communities within agroecosystems by reducing disturbance and increasing biodiversity within cropland. 

Conserving Honey Bees by Sharing the Love with the Littlest Community Members
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Sarah Red-Laird, founder and executive director of the Bee Girl Organization

Sparking an interest for our honey bees in the “next generation” is imperative in the survival of our industry. Sarah Red-Laird, the Bee Girl and ABF’s Kids and Bees director, has developed an open source strategy for engaging preschool through college-aged youth. Join this entertaining webinar to hear about her adventures in the US and beyond, garner some tips for your own kids’ program, or maybe get inspired to launch your own program to conserve our favorite charismatic minifauna.

About the presenter: 

Sarah Red-Laird is the founder and Executive Director of the Bee Girl organization with a mission to inspire and empower communities to conserve bees and their habitat. Her love of bees and their honey began in Southern Oregon, on a little farm at the end of a country road. There resided two hives of honey bees near her aunt's cabin. She was fascinated with the colonies, the beekeeper, and the honeycomb they produced. After high school, she traveled throughout the West. Her adventurous spirit landed her jobs on fishing boats, helicopters, sea kayaks, ski mountains, fire engines, and even a gold rush era saloon. She finally brought her affinity for beekeeping to fruition at the University of Montana, Missoula. She chose honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder as her Davidson Honors College research thesis, and her relationship with the bees picked up right where it left off. Sarah is also the US Ambassador of the International Bee Research Association's (IBRA) BEEWORLD project, the Kids and Bees Director for the American Beekeeping Federation, a New York Bee Sanctuary Advisory Board Member, a mentor in the Oregon State Master Beekeepers Program, Apiary Manager for Southern Oregon University's Center for Sustainability, and the Oregon Outreach Coordinator for the Bee Friendly Farming Initiative. When she is not tirelessly working with bees, beekeepers, kids, farmers, land managers, and policy makers, Sarah heads for the hills with a camera, large backpack, fishing rod, bike or snowboard, and her best friend, Sophie the Yellow Lab.

The sessions will be conducted via the GoToWebinar online meetings platform, which means the presenter will have a visual presentation, as well as an audio presentation. Upon entering the session online, you may choose whether to listen to the presentation through your computer's speakers or through your phone.
Reserve your spot today by going to our Education & Events Page/Conversation with A Beekeeper Webinar Series. You must log into your ABF membership account to register. Registration will close 24 business hours before the scheduled session. Twenty-four hours before the session the registered participant will receive an e-mail confirming participation, along with the necessary information to join the session. If an e-mail address is not provided, the ABF will call the participant with the information. 
If you are unable to make the session, don't fear! Each session will be recorded and available on the ABF Web site for ABF member-only access.
Have you missed out on any or all of the great webinars we have hosted over the past year?  Good news!  All of the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinars are archived on the ABF website and you can easily access them at your convenience.
You will need to log into your account to access the sessions.  If you don't remember your username or password, please contact Valerie Lake at

 Have you missed out on any or all of the great webinars we have hosted over the past year?  Good news!  All of the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinars are archived on the ABF website and you can easily access them at your convenience.  You can catch up on the following sessions: 

  • Dr. Marion Ellis – Diseases of Honey Bee Part Two
  • Dr. Roger Hoopingarner – Beekeeping 101 Series
  • Blake Shook – Beginning Beekeeper Six part Series
  • Environmental Protection Agency Series

Most sessions are uploaded to the website within the next day or two after the live presentation, so the page is updated at least one a month with new sessions.  Click here to access the sessions.  Scroll down to the "Archived Sessions" section and choose the session you would like to listen to.  


USDA News & Notes

USDA to Launch New Farm Bill Program to Help Provide Relief to Farmers Affected by Severe Weather

WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the implementation of a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought. The Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, available nationwide for farmers of select crops starting next spring, allows eligible producers who have been hit with severe weather to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program. Spring crops eligible for APH Yield Exclusion include corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, barley, canola, sunflowers, peanuts, and popcorn. Nearly three-fourths of all acres and liability in the federal crop insurance program will be covered under APH Yield Exclusion.The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency staff worked hard to implement several 2014 Farm Bill programs ahead of schedule, such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage, the Price Loss Coverage, Supplemental Coverage Option and Stacked Income Protection Plan. USDA is now able to leverage data from the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage to extract the information needed to implement APH Yield Exclusion earlier than expected. Read More

Beekeepers Speak Up at the Forage and Nutrition Summit

The Honey Bee Forage and Nutrition Summit, sponsored by USDA, was held October 20-21, in Alexandria, VA.  The Summit was postured to seek input from stakeholder groups on issues concerning the interaction of nutrition and available forage on honey bee health.  The Summit was organized and hosted by a true friend of the honey bee, Dr. David Epstein of USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy. Day 1 consisted of a series of presentations aimed at honey bee forage and nutrition, and to provide background for Day 2, when participants provided input by participating in one of four assigned work groups. Zac Browning, American Beekeeping Federation and Project Apis m board member, provided a dire view of honey bee habitat in the US. The impact of habitat loss is seen in decreased honey production, with US honey crops the lowest in history.  Browning emphasized bees require 200 lb of honey and 40 lb of pollen per colony per year just to survive and factors such as increased soy and corn acreage, the decreased quantity and quality of Conservation Reserve Programs (CRP) lands, increased herbicide use, more efficient farming practices, and limitations imposed by pesticide use, all serve to decrease available flowers and forage for honey bees.  Honey bees, the very backbone of agriculture, are in trouble.  The unique delivery system for bees to agricultural crops - the beekeeper - is also in trouble. Read More




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