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ABF E-Buzz: September 2012
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ABF E-Buzz — September 2012

In This Issue:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

September is like no other,
Its days change color and weather.
No other month can say quite the same,
For every day, I can feel the change.
Its cool breezes start out warm,
Changing to cold throughout every storm.
The leaves change and fall,
As the summer leaves and autumn kisses us all.  Jessica Millsaps

 

 


Welcome back and I hope that you find your time here well spent again. It would be wonderful if you share ABF E-Buzz with your friends and beekeeping family. It seems that beekeepers are always busy and there's so much going on for all of us right now, as the fall is such an important time for preparing our bees for next year. I've always said that the success of this year depends upon what we did the previous August and September. We need to have a healthy queen laying lots of eggs to get those winter bees that will maintain the hive through the winter months and get the hive off to a good start next spring. In addition to extracting, it's time to be monitoring the health of your hives and treating those that are in need for mites.

There's also a lot of things to do to make plans for next year in regard to expansion and replacement of equipment, which is just an ongoing part of beekeeping. I sometimes tell people when they ask me what I do with the statement that I am a "box manager." It seems like I spend far more time repairing, painting and building boxes, which is endless. You just never get caught up on this process, as I seem to always have a few pallets stacked up eight boxes high with those needing attention or new wax put into the frames. It is our biggest job it seems and pales in comparison to other bee-related work at certain times of the year. Many small beekeepers think they only need the two deeps and two honey supers per hive to keep things going, but I always recommend that one have extra boxes to use for storing frames and planning on repair. It's a good idea to have a few extras of each size you use for expansion possibilities or so that you can swap out equipment that is needing paint or repair. You never know when that swarm call is going to come when spring arrives. This past year we saw some in March!  
 
October and November are two of my favorites, as the days are beginning to cool and you can turn off the air conditioner. You might even be able to get through the day without changing clothes two or three times! This summer was another tough one, but I am in hopes that it is over. This week, on the 27th of September, we had a 98 degree reading on the thermometer. That's 18 degrees over average, but it appears if the weather forecasters are correct we are going to be closer to normal for the coming 10 days. The only thing bad about these two months is that I have to return to suiting up to work bees, as they will become more defensive of their winter stores and will have less work to keep them occupied.
 
Once again we have some great information in this month's edition of ABF E-Buzz. Anna Kettlewell is back with a great report on the activities of Queen Alyssa and Princess Danielle and their efforts to promote honey bees and honey. We have a new book review on the book, If You Should Hear a Honey Guide, by April Pulley Sayre, and there's an article about our beekeeper of the month, Henry Piechowski. There's lots of new news in the "Buzzmakers," a tasty new recipe for using honey and Peter Teal has another edition of "Science Buzz." Lots and lots of other valuable information and a new puzzler that I have made up myself, so it may be more difficult than some of those we've had to solve.

So, once again, we hope that you enjoy this edition and if you have a contribution you would like to make, please let me know by e-mailing me at tuckerb@hit.net. Have a great October and we will be back soon!


The Buzz on the Hill: ABF September Legislative Update

by Fran Boyd, Meyers & Associates

Congress headed home last week to campaign and will not return to Washington, D.C., until November 13, 2012, following the elections. Congress left town without completing a new farm bill, passing an extension of the current bill or extending the expired disaster programs.  When asked last week by reporters about the farm bill situation, House Speaker Boehner responded, "We will deal with it when we return."

At the end of this month, the current agriculture programs authorized in the 2008 farm bill will expire, but the SNAP program (food stamps) and the majority of commodity programs will not be affected imediately. However, if Congress fails to either complete a new farm bill or pass some form of extension, the 1949 act will go into effect, bringing with it severe planting restrictions and huge increases in government support payments. Most commodity organizations oppose any long-term extension of the farm bill and the American Farm Bureau's position is that any extension of the current farm bill during the lame-duck session should expire by next March when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is scheduled to revise the data it uses in estimating the cost of farm programs.

Due to the severe drought and other factors, the price of corn and other commodities have gone up. Therefore, when these new prices are used in the calculation by CBO the estimated cost of the new farm bill programs will be much higher in any farm bill done after March. Farm organizations and commodity groups are still doing all they can to urge Congress to pass a new farm bill in the lame-duck session, but the feeling is building that passing a farm bill in the House, conferencing with the Senate, passing a conference report in both bodies and getting the president to sign it in such a short time will be difficult at best.


Bee Proactive: FDA Requires Food Facilities to Register

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

One of the most important things to remember for those in our business is that we are producing something that people consume. This is a process that requires some commitment to providing the highest quality of product that we can to those who have entrusted us with their food. The latest news, which isn't really new news, is that it is now necessary for us to respond to the requirements of the Food Safety Act (FSA) of 2003 in one way or another. The FSA requires that all domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for human or animal consumption in the U.S. are mandated to register with the FDA (http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/FSMA/ucm314178.htm). Based on this statement, it appears that everyone who packs or holds food for human consumption, like honey, is required to register with the FDA.

That mandate is inclusive of facilities that hold food for human consumption, which can be read to involve all beekeepers who extract, store honey (hold) and sell it. This law also brings in the aspect of farmers who produce any product that goes into their animals that they sell to consumers, which is another story.

In April of 2010, Jon Tester (D-Montana) introduced an amendment to the FSA that exempts food processor handlers and packers from parts of the bill if they are under $500,000 in sales and sell more than 50 percent of their product directly to consumers, restaurants and institutions within 275 miles of their residence. This exemption is only from requirements that they provide food tracking data and a food safety plan. It exempts them from articles A through G of subsection H of the act. But, here's the kicker, to be legally exempted you have to provide the following to the Secretary of Agriculture:

  • Three years of comprehensive financial records indicating less than $500K in gross sales (Pg. 4, Line 11).
  • Documentation that the owner, operator or agent of the facility has identified potential hazards associated with the food being processed, is implementing preventative controls to address those hazards, and is monitoring the preventative controls to ensure that such controls are effective (Pg. 5, Line 20).
  • Documentation (which may include licenses, inspection reports, certificates, permits, credentials, certification by an appropriate agency, such as the State Department of Agriculture, or other evidence of oversight) as specified by the Secretary that the facility is in compliance with state, local, county, or other non-federal food safety law.

In other words, you have to communicate with your state and meet all state requirements, register with the FDA and request the exemption from the Secretary of Agriculture. This is the way it would appear, but the best advice that we can give beekeepers at this time is to have each state or local organization contact their State Department of Agriculture and local USDA representatives. They will likely give different opinions.

We have received through Darren Cox an opinion from the Utah State Program Specialist that they didn't feel the law would pertain to honey since it is not specifically listed. Your state may respond similarly. If your state interprets the situation to be that and if you have that in writing then you may be able to get by for a time that the EPA allows the situation to continue. The main thing is to have a plan and that is to contact your state authorities and get an opinion "in writing." That may relieve you from any potential for fines or problems down the road. It is a good idea to contact your local USDA authorities, such as your county extension agents, to begin the process. For those of you who are already registered, you must re-register during the sign-up period of October 1 through December 31, 2012. They will be assigning new numbers for your account.  


Bee There: 2013 ABF Annual Conference General Session Agenda to Feature Top Industry Experts

The 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow at the Hershey® Lodge in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is quickly approaching. With just three months to go, we hope you have made your plans to attend. The Conference Committee is pleased to announce that the General Session agenda has now been posted to the conference website. Please take a few minutes to review the agenda and see all the great topics and presenters we have lined up for you.

In addition to the General Session agenda, we will soon be posting agendas for the SIG meetings, the Serious Sideliner Symposium and the Saturday workshops. Please be sure to check the conference website often as we are continually adding new information.

As a reminder, the early registration deadline is Wednesday, October 3, 2012. That gives you just a few more days to register and SAVE! So mark your calendars and make sure you don't miss this important deadline. Or, better yet, register today and mark this task off your to-do list!

And while you're registering for the conference, don't forget to make your hotel arrangements. Reservations can be made directly with the Hershey® Lodge by calling 800.533.3131 or 717.533.3311 and requesting the group rate (of $119.00+ tax) for the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference or online by visiting the following link: https://resweb.passkey.com/go/ABF2013.

The deadline to make your hotel reservation and receive the group rate is Monday, December 17, 2012, or until the group block is full, whichever comes first. As we anticipate filling our block early, we encourage you to make your reservations as soon as possible.

We are excited to see you in Hershey and can't wait to share this conference with you!


Bee Informed: Register Today for ABF's Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar Beekeeping 101: Internal Organs and Glands That Make Bees Function

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
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. Roger Hoopingarner, professor emeritus, Michigan State University

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 announce a special nine-part series within the "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinar series. This series will be titled "Beekeeping 101" and will feature Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, professor emeritus at Michigan State University. Whether you are brand new to the world of beekeeping or you just need to have a refresher course, this "Beekeeping 101" series will be a great educational experience with many topics focused on the biology and management of honey bees.

The third session within this series is titled "Internal Organs and Glands That Make Bees Function" and it will be held on Tuesday, October 9, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. ET. More details on Dr. Hoopingarner's presentation can be found below.

There will be nine sessions within the "Beekeeping 101" series. Other topics will include: winter biology, flight dynamics, population growth and pollination. Most sessions will take place on the second Tuesday of each month at 8:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to keep an eye on future issues of ABF E-Buzz, as well as the ABF website at www.abfnet.org, for more information and registration details for each session.

SESSION DETAILS

Dr. Roger Hoopingarner

Join us for a discussion, with diagrams, of the internal structures that allow bees to collect nectar, digest food and maintain other vital functions.

Dr. Roger Hoopingarner got his start in beekeeping as a boy scout 65 years ago. With that interest he went on to receive his B.S. degree from Michigan State University in Entomology and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His doctoral research was on the genetics and environmental factors in queen rearing. 

After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University's Entomology Department where he remained doing research, teaching and extension in insect physiology and apiculture for 38 years.  His research interests involved fruit pollination, disease transmission, population dynamics and insecticide interactions with insects and animals.

IMPORTANT SESSION FORMAT / REGISTRATION INFORMATION

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 e-mailing Grayson Daniels, ABF membership coordinator, at graysondaniels@abfnet.org or by calling the ABF offices at 404.760.2875. Registration will close 48 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. Questions for the speaker must be submitted 48 business hours in advance to Grayson Daniels.

If you are unable to make the session, don't fear! Each session will be recorded and available on the ABF Web site for member-only access.

THE "BEEKEEPING 101" SERIES IS SPONSORED BY: Nozevit A Member of the CompleteBee.com Family

Nozevit is an all-natural plant polyphenol honey bee food supplement that is added to sugar syrup feed. Nozevit is produced from certified organic substances according to a decades old traditional European recipe. Healthy bee colonies build brood faster in the spring, and will winter extremely well when their intestinal integrity is intact. Exceptional colonies can be built using all-natural Nozevit as a food supplement for intestinal cleansing, thereby reducing the need of chemical treatments for internal ailments.


Science Buzz

by Peter Teal, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS

Wow, have we had a cool couple of weeks! But, I'm kind of weird because I'm really into losing hives to things like hive beetles. So, how many of you have encountered something like the picture to the left? If you're in the south it's probably happened to you at one time or another. Here is what we know.  We have two observation hives we use to monitor bees. One is still happy, and the other is a dead out (the picture is of the dead out), separated by 2 feet.  On September 12 & 13, the technician observed "swarming" behavior at the entrance to the bad hive and the queen was not visible in the hive. We don't know if she was in the cluster at the hive entrance. On, Monday September 17, there were only a small number of bees in the hive, no queen and no small hive beetle adults or larvae were observable. By Wednesday, there were only a couple of adult bees in the hive, but there were large numbers of small hive beetle larvae of all stages (sizes) and a number of adult beetles (pictures left and below).  All the brood, capped and otherwise, were consumed (picture below right).  We also observed that a large number of larvae were exiting the hive through the passway to the outside of the building.
 
The developmental biology for the hive beetle in our laboratory rearing system is: 1) it takes 2-3 days for eggs to hatch after being laid and 2) 10-16 days for larvae to enter the wandering stage (when they search to find sites for pupation in the soil). This means that large numbers of hive beetle eggs were laid at least two weeks before the colony collapsed and, at that time, we observed no tell tale signs of a problem.  So, what might account for the infestation in one hive and not in the other, given that both were treated in the same way? Well, this hive had been the more docile of the two hives and readily accepted addition of newly enclosed adults during summer experiments. The other hive did not accept new bees readily. Was the hive that crashed weaker and stressed? We believe it was and know that small hive beetles are attracted to stressed colonies that give off alarm pheromones.

As it turns out, a clue to the collapse lay in the "swarming" behavior we observed. The swarming behavior was not associated with colony division due to crowding. Additionally, no new queen cells were found in the collapsed hive. This suggests that pheromone cues associated with inhibition of queen cell formation by workers were present. When I searched the literature I found very little on the reasons why bees might abscond when attacked by hive beetles, but there was an interesting paper by Ellis and colleagues (Ellis and others, The effects of adult small hive beetles, Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae), on nests and flight activity of Cape and European honey bees (Apis melliphera) Apidologie; volume 34, pages 399-408, 2003, available to download from journal site).

They conducted a study in which they looked at the effects of adult small hive beetle on absconding behavior in European and African bees. They artificially infested colonies with 100 adult beetles/day for 15 days and monitored the day that bees absconded and when bees absconded, they looked at the number of adult beetles present among other things. What they found was that European bees absconded from hives to which beetles were added 7.5 days after the beginning of the experiment, but the average day for absconding by the untreated colonies (no beetles) was 17 days. Additionally, while only 10 percent of the untreated colonies absconded, 60 percent of the colonies to which beetles were added absconded. They also observed that the treated colonies engaged in brood abortion and cannibalism, a feature of absconding behavior.

From their observations, they conclude that there is a threshold of numbers of adult beetles that a colony can withstand before it absconds. So, the question is how do the bees know the beetles are a problem? After thinking about this, I think that it is likely that the bees perceive a problem because there is a change in larval odors in hives that have too many beetles for the bees to effectively control. The beetles that are not corralled would be free to lay eggs in cells containing brood and the beetle larvae would attack the bee larvae. We know that bee larvae use pheromones to signal their needs, so they probably change their pheromone to indicate distress. Too much distress pheromone may cause worker bees to discard all brood irrationally, resulting in complete loss of brood and a signal to the colony that it needs to find a new home. This is certainly an area that needs to be critically evaluated and one that we will look into.

Until we find out what is going on, there is something that you can do. First, make sure you have strong healthy hives. We know that beetles are attracted to weakened hives. Next, look at your hives. Have you noticed a large number of larvae and pupae that have been discarded? Do you see clustering and swarm-like behavior at the hive entrance? Can you see adult hive beetles running around in the hive? Are there fewer bees in the hive than there should be? If you see these things then be vigilant and prepare to collect the swarm before it gets away. If they swarm, then put the swarm on new equipment - do not use frames from the hive that has crashed, as they contain small hive beetle adults and innumerable larvae! Freeze or soak the old frames in soapy water and clean them completely, discarding the wax and bee components in sealed garbage bags, so that if beetle larvae have survived, they are not to be a problem in the future.


Bee Proud: Call for Entries for the 2013 American Honey Show

by Robin Lane, ABF Executive Director

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) invites you to enter the 2013 American Honey Show, which will be held during the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  This is a prime opportunity to showcase your bees' abilities to produce the purest honey, the best wax and the most goodies.

The Honey Show will showcase the best examples of honey and beeswax. It includes 12 classes for honey, four for beeswax and the gift basket class.  Also, the Honey Show Committee has announced that the theme for the Honey Gift Basket class this year will be "Winter Wonderland."

After the entries are judged, they will be auctioned to benefit the American Honey Queen Program.

Click here for the official show rules/regulations and entry form. NOTE: The entry form and appropriate fees must arrive at the ABF offices by Friday, December 14, 2012.

Questions? Contact the ABF office at 404.760.2875 or via e-mail at info@abfnet.org.  You can also download some helpful Honey Show hints and tips by clicking here.  Good luck!


Beekeeper of the Month: Henry's Honey Farm

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

Henry's Honey Farm has been keeping Wisconsin supplied with honey for quite a few years now, going back almost a century.  The gentleman who started the business with two hives in 1928 was Henry Piechowski of Redgranite, Wisconsin. He very quickly increased his numbers of colonies and began producing large yields that hit 300 pounds during the depression years of 1929 to 1931. It was common to produce these staggering yields back then and it's another testament as to how things have changed in the beekeeping industry.

Henry and his wife, Esther, had seven sons and five daughters, and all of them worked in the business until they finished school and moved on to other careers. Several of the boys continued to help run the 3,000-5,000 hives that the business kept for honey production and for pollination of cranberries, apples, cucumbers and other crops. There's no doubt there was lots of help to keep things buzzing around the honey farm. They also ran a dairy and beef production business on the family farm near Redgranite.

The family has been actively involved in the ABF for over 50 years and first took a Wisconsin Honey Queen to a Federation conference in 1957. Esther was active in the Honey Queen Program and served as chairman of the Honey Queen Committee. While four sons were active in the business for years, it was John and his wife, Marilyn, who went on to purchase the company in 1985. John has also been an active member of the ABF along with his son, Dan (and his wife, Gina), who now runs Henry's and still produces honey and provides pollination services in Wisconsin, for producers in Washington and for almonds in California.

Dan Piechowski and
Derald Kettlewell

While John and Dan have maintained the primary business, almost all of the other 11 children have kept bees and several are still very active. Dan and his wife have two daughters, Jalyn and Larissa. Dan keeps many of the hives on trailers today so they can quickly be moved from one pollination field to another. With several thousand acres of cucumbers to pollinate through the entire growing season, things get moved around a lot and Dan can be ready to move into another field with short notice. Dan has been buying mobile home trailers and modifying them to a 30-foot length for moving around pallets of bees.

John's brother, George, owns the original family farm and runs about 250 hives. Their sister, Mary Kettlewell, and her husband, Derald, along with their daughter, Anna, run Badger State Apiaries in Greenfield, Wisconsin. They sell honey to several restaurants and stores in the Milwaukee area and are very active in the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association.  Mary and Derald have been active in the ABF since the late 1980s and help to manage the American Honey Show each year, making sure that everything gets judged and prizes awarded for all of the many categories. Anna has been the chairperson of the Honey Queen Committee for the past few years and she has provided our updates on the Honey Queen and Princess each month for the ABF E-Buzz. So, the involvement in the Honey Queen Program has come around to the family again with Anna's commitment to providing the ABF with good direction and supervision for our young women who work so hard to represent our industry. Thanks to the Piechowski family for their involvement!


Bee Educated: Learn How to Grow Your Knowledge and Understanding of Bees and Beekeeping

by Robin Lane, ABF Executive Director

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE BEES PROGRAM COUPON ABF MEMBERS ONLY

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is pleased to announce a new online educational program available at a discounted rate for all ABF members the Beekeeper Education & Engagement System (BEES).  Under the direction of Dr. David Tarpy, associate professor and extension apiculturist, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, the BEES network is an online resource for beekeepers at all levels.

The system is Internet based and promotes an online learning community among beekeepers.  The structure of the BEES network is broken into three levels of complexity (Beginner, Advanced and Ambassador) and three areas of content (honey bee biology, honey bee management and the honey bee industry). New courses and content areas are also in development and will be introduced soon. More information can be found at http://entomology.ncsu.edu/apiculture/BEES.html.

Through the end of the year, ABF members will be given the opportunity to participate in the program at a 20-percent discount (click here for coupon; coupon must be presented at time of registration). Dr. Tarpy also recently conducted an "ABF Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinar, where he introduced, in detail, the BEES Program. Click here to access the session.  Log on and learn more about this outstanding educational program today!


Honey Queen Buzz: National Honey Month Promotions Keep Queen and Princess Buzzing!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Never underestimate the promotion power of a Honey Queen in a bee beard!

I hope everyone had productive National Honey Month promotions in September! Your American Honey Queen and Princess were busy buzzing across America during the month.

Princess Danielle proudly
wears her bee beard.

Fair travel continued in September with the Minnesota State Fair, Kansas State Fair, Puyallup Fair (Washington) and Central Washington Fair.  Each fair offered the Queen and Princess the opportunity to interact with the public, be it at observation hives, educational exhibits, honey sales booths or with demonstrations.  If you have a fall fair, consider booking the Honey Queen or Princess to attend.  Given that school is in session in the fall, she could also visit local schools or give presentations at the fair to school groups that come through the fair on field trips.  These presentations can help you obtain more media coverage for your fair exhibit and increase your honey sales!

Being National Honey Month, the month wouldn't be complete without honey festivals.  Alyssa and Danielle made stops at four honey festivals in September, including the Palo Cedro Honeybee Festival (California), Lithopolis Honeyfest (Ohio), Arizona Honey Festival and the Oregon Ridge Nature Center Honey Harvest Festival (Maryland). The Arizona Honey Festival was a new event for us this year and was particularly special for the program because the trip organizer was Emily (Anderson) Brown, our 1997 American Honey Queen.  Emily has continued her beekeeping business, as she and her family moved from the New England region to Arizona, and we were delighted to promote again with a fellow American Honey Queen alumna and are eager to do more promotions like this in the future!

The Queen Program is gearing up for a busy fall and early winter promotional schedule, and Alyssa and Danielle have events scheduled through the ABF conference in Hershey! We are also beginning to fill in dates on the 2013 calendar, so be sure to contact me (414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com) if you want to secure dates for your event or discuss possible promotions in your area.  Continue to receive live updates on Alyssa and Danielle's travels through their Facebook site and their blog the rest of summer and early fall. Happy promoting!


Bee Entertained: Book Review of If You Should Hear a Honey Guide

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

April Pulley Sayre is an award-winning author of over 55 natural history books for children and adults. Her read-aloud nonfiction books, known for their lyricism and scientific precision, have been translated into French, Dutch, Japanese and Korean. She is best known for pioneering literary ways to immerse young readers in natural events via creative storytelling and unusual perspectives and her narrative in If You Should Hear a Honey Guide is no exception.

There is an East African bird, the honey guide, that loves honeycombs but sometimes cannot reach them. So, the honey guide calls to a person or a honey badger and leads them to a bee nest. The writer's powerful voice takes readers on a journey through beautifully and evocatively painted African landscapes. Carrying a burning stick (its smoke will subdue the angry bees), we move cautiously past a herd of elephants, a hidden snake, a sleeping lion and hungry crocodiles - until, at last, we and the bird reach the honey. A remarkable relationship between people in East Africa and a species of bird is the basis of this compelling picture book.

"...when the honey guide lands on a distant bush, rock or tree, follow where she leads. When she flies to the top of a hill overlooking a herd of elephants, follow. Carefully carry your lighted stick. Do not drop embers where they may burn."

Reciprocity is important when it comes to the birds and the bees. Some people say, "Oh person of wings with a heart of honey — take and eat." The legend is that if one does not reward the bird, it will lead the selfish person to a lion's den in the future.

This bird guides people to hives (Isack & Reyer 1989). Guiding is unpredictable and is more common among the young and females than adult males. A guiding bird attracts a person's attention with wavering, chattering "tya" notes compounded with peeps or pipes (Short and Horne 2002a), sounds it also gives in aggression. The guiding bird flies toward an occupied hive (greater honey guides know the sites of many hives in their territories) and then stops and calls again. As in other situations, it spreads its tail, showing the white spots, and has a "bounding, upward flight to a perch," which make it conspicuous. If the followers are native honey hunters, when they reach the hive they incapacitate the adult bees with smoke and open the hive with axes or pangas (machetes).

After they take the honey, the honey guide eats whatever is left (Short, Horne, and Diamond 2003). One study found that use of honey guides by the Boran people of East Africa reduces their search time for honey by approximately two-thirds. Because of this benefit, the Boran use a specific loud whistle, known as the fuulido, when a search for honey is about to begin. The fuulido doubles the encounter rate with honey guides (Isack and Reyer 1989). The tradition of the Bushmen and most other tribes says that the honey guide must be thanked with a gift of honey; if not, it may lead its follower to a lion, bull elephant or venomous snake as punishment. However, "others maintain that honeycomb spoils the bird, and leave it to find its own bits of comb" (Short, Horne, and Diamond 2003). Near cities, where Africans increasingly buy sugar rather than hunting for wild honey, guiding behavior is disappearing. Ultimately it may disappear everywhere (Short, Horne, and Diamond 2003).

Many tribes in Africa have this traditional relationship. Click here for a BBC video with David Attenborough narrating about the Masai in Kenya. Attenborough has covered this more than once. Click here for an older video where he is on the ground following the bird and eating wild honey.


Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle was solved by ABF member Chappie McChesney, who seems to be a wizard at these problems. We are having to institute a new rule and that is if you have solved a puzzle and won the prize this month, you have to take three months off. That will give a few more some chances to win as well.  Below is the answer:

Riddle:  I am thinking of three secret words; they are all related and are in common use. You can find the secret words by solving the following.  Several words are given below (the secret words are NOT given). Your challenge is to determine in which one of three groups the given words belong. Each secret word is the basis for one group. Solve the groups, find the secret words!

adopt, darkest, eleventh, fiddle, fifteen, guess, happy, maid, nature, rice, rush, split, steak, wind, witching

Bonus: Name one body part that belongs in all three groups.


Answer:  The secret words are hour, minute, second.

  • Hour group: darkest hour (before the dawn); eleventh hour (almost too late); happy hour (discounted drinks); rush hour (traffic); witching hour (midnight)
  • Minute group: adopt minutes (of a meeting); fifteen minutes (of fame); Minute Maid (brand name); minute rice (brand name); minute steak (similar to cube steak)
  • Second group: second fiddle (supporting role); second guess (try to predict); second nature (natural habit); split second (quickly); second wind (during running)
  • Bonus: hand (hour hand, minute hand, second hand — parts of a clock)

So, here's another riddle for you to wrestle with.  Think you know the answer?  The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

I am not defined by size or color, many claim to be my mother. I'm bent or formed by light and fire, and always close when you perspire. If you leave me you'll not see first one then two, or maybe three. To push and pull you can depend, trusted and true like a best friend. What will I be or what am I, the answer is not apple pie.


Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News


ABF Welcomes New Members — August 2012

Learn more at www.pendellapiaries.com
  • Vicki Blakley, Texas
  • Jerry S. Brown, Texas
  • Steve Cherry, Texas
  • Dave Christian, Pennsylvania
  • Tim A. Collins, Louisiana
  • Katia S. Crabb, Texas
  • Jon C. Curtis, Michigan
  • Jack D. Davidson, Texas
  • Jesse Davis, Florida
  • James E. Doten, Minnesota
  • Brandon Ferrigno, California
  • Vanessa Gagne, Texas
  • Heather A. Gamper, Florida
  • Kenneth Hintz, Connecticut
  • Richard Hunter, Missouri
  • Mark Kohn, Wisconsin
  • Lisa R. Lazarus, Florida
  • Jim Lohmeyer, Texas
  • Michael Joseph Pearson, Texas
  • Chris Reuter, Missouri
  • Ryan M. Smith, California
  • Stephan Waldoch, Florida
  •  Tim Welsh, Pennsylvania
     

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Recipe of the Month: Cornmeal Sausage Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. brown and serve sausages
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup bran
  • 2¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
     

 

     

     

     


Directions:


Slice sausage into half-inch pieces and brown in skillet. Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl, beat the milk, eggs, oil and honey until well blended. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix well. Cover the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan with a coating of non-stick spray or some of the grease from cooking the sausage. Add in the sausage and spread evenly. Cover the sausage with cornmeal mixture and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.


Bee-friend the Honey Bee: Support the ABF "Friends of the Bee" Fund

Looking for the perfect way to honor a friend or family member while helping to protect and preserve one of nature's finest?  Why not make a donation in his or her name to the Friends of the Bee fund?

The honey bee today faces its largest challenge in its long history — its continued survival. Factors fighting against the honey bee include:

  • Parasitic varroa mites that not only affect colony numbers, but vector over a dozen viruses that affect honey bee health.
  • Continued loss of habitat due to urban expansion and the even larger problem of monocultural practices of modern agriculture.
  • Challenging weather extremes that can affect honey bee health due to drought and floral degradation.
  • Increased use of pesticides affecting all beneficial insects.

With your generous donation you can help protect the honey bee habitat, aid in the fight against Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), encourage government-sponsored research, assist in the battle against adulterated honey in the marketplace and help ensure the continued role of the honey bee in pollinating 1/3 of our food supply.

Support the world's most beneficial insect and become a friend of the bee with your donation of $25, $50 or $100. Donate today and receive a stylish Friends of the Bee bumper sticker…and help us tip the balance back in favor of the honey bee.  Click here to download the donation form or contact the ABF at 404.760.2875 for assistance.

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Phone: 404-760-2875    E-mail: info@abfnet.org
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