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ABF E-Buzz: December 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — December 2014

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


Over the river and thru the wood,

To grandfather's house we go;

The horse knows the way

To carry the sleigh,

Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!

Over the river and thru the wood,

Oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes,

And bites the nose,

As over the ground we go.

Welcome back!

Here we are at the end of yet another year. I hope it was a productive one and your experiences were positive. It is always this time of year when we sit and do an accounting of how well or poorly we did at certain projects and if we actually ever did most of those resolutions that we had set out last year. I'm not sure where I'm at on most of my list. It just went by so fast.  

This is the fourth year of publishing ABF E-Buzz and it's been a real treat to have so many people respond to the effort. We hope that you are planning to be with us in Anaheim, California, January 6-10 and that you are bringing the kids to Disneyland. I've never been, so I am hoping to meet Mickey and Goofy and have a wonderful time. It looks to be a full agenda and the conference program is packed with the best speakers from around the country so you won't want to miss out on this adventure. With many different tracks for each individual interest, there's no doubt you will find what you are looking for when it comes to education and personal growth. Our goal is to educate and inform the modern beekeeper and help you succeed in your efforts.

Our webinar program this year was exceptional and unparalleled in the industry and ended with a six part Comprehensive Introduction to Beekeeping from Blake Shook as the facilitator and a lot of work behind the scenes from Chappie McChesney. This is a wonderful tool for beginners and gives a thorough look at the beekeeping experience. I would like to thank both of them for their great work on this series. Our archived sessions are a resource for all beekeepers across the entire spectrum of experience. We hope that you enjoy utilizing this great storehouse of information.

I hope that you will take some time to visit our American Beekeeping Federation's Facebook page, which has lots and lots of information on bees. Visit and “Like” us and enjoy all of the many sources of information on bees. We currently have 5,566 “Likes” and we would love to see 6,000 by the beginning of the New Year. There was a recent story we posted on the great singer Lionel Ritchie whose daughter Nicole introduced him to beekeeping. Nicole does a television show titled Candidly Nicole and for one episode she blindfolded her dad and took him out to reveal two new hives that had been placed in his garden behind his home. With the help of Danny the Beekeeper, the bees were installed and placed in advance so that Lionel could be surprised at the idea of being a beekeeper. “Bees are dying... without bees, we cannot bee here. You're going to have free honey, your garden is going to be better, and you're going to be saving lives,” Nicole said. You can see all the great pictures on the ABF Facebook page. You can find all your beekeeping news on this page and we hope you visit often.

 Well, again there's some great information in this edition of ABF E-Buzz with a great article from Peter Teal in Science Buzz. There are updates from our 2014 American Honey Queen and Princess, and Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl, has an update on our Kids and Bees program at the conference. We hope you also visit the Kids and Bees and American Honey Queen Program Facebook pages and Like these as well. Thanks again for stopping by and spending time with us. We're looking forward to another great year in 2015 and sharing all of the events that are happening as they happen at the ABF!


BEE Our Guest: 


Why should you attend the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow? 

We’ve got just a few reasons:

10. Anaheim is a “magical” place to visit as it is the home of the first ever Disney park, Disneyland. There’s lots to explore and see in Anaheim, so during your free time, BEE sure to take in all the sites.

9. Participate in Silent and Live Auctions featuring great items that all beekeepers will love.

8. Opportunity to meet the 2015 Honey Queen candidates and attend the Honey Queen and Princess Coronation.

7. Gain valuable knowledge from the many educational sessions offered, including general session presentation, SIG meetings and track sessions specific to your level of beekeeping.

6. Attend the 2015 Honey Show and purchase some award-winning Honey.

5. Socialize with members of AHPA as well as ABF and participate in a tour of Sioux Honey Packing Facility in Anaheim. Then enjoy a medieval dinner show and cheer on your favorite knight (separate registration required).

4. Meet with over 45+ vendors with amazing products and services to support your beekeeping efforts.

3. Select from a variety of interactive workshops designed to provide hands-on involvement or provide opportunities for you to get answers to your most perplexing beekeeping questions.

2. A completely packed agenda full of fascinating topics from top industry leaders.

1. Opportunity to meet and mingle with 700+ of your closest beekeeping friends.

We’re sure you will agree, this is one conference you won’t want to miss. So be sure to make your plans to attend, if you haven’t already, and be part of one of the largest beekeeping conferences in the U.S.

Government Relations Update

by Gene Brandi, ABF Vice President 

The House and Senate recently passed the omnibus bill which will keep the government funded through the end of the 2015 fiscal year. This measure still needs the President’s signature but it appears that beekeeping research was one of the few areas that actually received a slight increase in this budget bill.

The ABF has been working, along with Farm Bureau, for more than a year in an attempt to obtain a waiver/exemption for bee haulers from the additional half hour rest period that has been required of all truck drivers since mid-2013. Livestock haulers obtained a waiver/exemption from this rule and we have been stressing that loads of bees should be considered livestock. They can get overheated and sustain damage, or even death, if stopped for an extended length of time in warm weather, just like livestock. Little progress has been achieved with the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on this issue to date. However, it now appears that all truckers (not only bee haulers) will get a reprieve from this regulation as a result of language introduced into the omnibus bill, by Senator Collins of Maine. This action was not without controversy, but opponents would be accused of shutting down the government if they opposed the bill. 

Beekeepers that use H2-A foreign labor are well aware of the burdensome nature of the program which requires reams of paperwork, extensive records, and considers beekeepers farm labor contractors. Beekeepers, custom harvesters, and open range sheep and cattle ranchers have operated under “special procedures” which allow their workers to move from state to state given the migratory nature of their businesses. Discussions have recently begun in an attempt to modify these special procedures and perhaps allow beekeepers to use H2-A labor without being classified as farm labor contractors. 

The ABF and AHPA have been working with the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Farm Services Agency to develop a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The purpose of this MOU is to establish a framework of cooperation among NRCS, FSA, AHPA and ABF to maintain and enhance the productivity of honey bees on private and public lands. Such activities include, but are not limited to, honey bee  and other pollinator habitat conservation projects, habitat restoration, technical assistance, delivery of information and educational materials, collaboration on habitat and pollinator research, and development of habitat restoration and enhancement techniques. It is our hope that a closer relationship with these agencies will result in a better environment for honey bees throughout the nation.

Bee Thoughful: Think Outside the Bee Box This Holiday Season! 

Do you have a hard -to-buy for beekeeper on your Christmas list? Do you have a friend or family member who loves bees and honey? Might we suggest making a donation in their name to the ABF Friends of the Bees fund? For as little as $25, your loved one will have their name published in the ABF Newsletter and receive an FOB bumper sticker. Mention you saw this announcement in the ABF E-Buzz and receive a second sticker free! Please call our office at 404.760.2875 or e-mail us at info@abfnet.org to make your donation today. 

Science Buzz

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

Last month I wrote about the negative effects of combinations of pesticides on bee health and I focused on coumaphos and fluvalinate, the two most prevalent pesticides found in hives. I want to extend the discussion this month to a recent study which explored the effects of pesticides and diet on honey bee physiology. Let’s go over what we know about the effects of prolonged exposure of sub-lethal amounts of pesticides. Obvious problems among workers include reduced learning, orientation and memory, along with altered ability to move and feed. Among drones there is reduced weight and longevity, and sperm are not as viable. In queens there is reduced weight, coupled with reductions in amount of sperm stored, and the number of eggs laid and ovary activation are also affected. All of these factors, along with everything to do with bee biology, come back to changes in the expression of genes, those pieces of DNA that are critical to all life.

 So what can happen to these genes when a bee has a chronic exposure to sub-lethal amounts of pesticides? Well, genes can be turned on or turned off (become active or sleep) and the expression patterns of the genes can be tracked using some high powered instruments and techniques that I can’t  even begin to explain. So basically, if egg laying is reduced, then we would expect to see a set of genes (genes always act in groups to cause a physiological change) responsible for this not being expressed as much as in bees that were not exposed.  

 A recent paper in Journal of Insect Physiology entitled “Genomic analysis of the interaction between pesticide exposure and nutrition in honey bees (Apis mellifera)” (December 2014, volume 71, pages 177-190) by Dan Schmehl and cooperators has shed some new light of the effects of sub-lethal  exposure of bees to fluvalinate and coumaphos and the effects of chlorpyrifos and diet on gene expression. They found that exposure to the pesticides resulted in changes in gene expression for – get this – 1118 gene transcripts! These included genes known to impact detoxification, which we would  expect because they degrade pesticides, and not so obvious functions like behavioral maturation, immunity and nutrition. We can perhaps explain the changes in expression of behavioral maturation genes (those affecting for example shifts from nurse to forager) by the fact that longevity is affected.  Indeed, they found that the newly described hormone, methyl farnesoate, was reduced by 2/3 in bees treated with the pesticides. What about immunity? Well, the data suggest that exposure to the pesticides compromised the immune system, so bees would be less likely to fight off infection. But the authors did not see increased amounts of common pathogens so the verdict is out here.

Finally, nutrition: this is likely shown by the fact that both queens and drones weigh less among the exposed bees. Could this be due to an inability to process the food into energy? This brings up a really important part of the study in which the authors looked at gene transcript levels in both pesticide treated bees and bees fed a protein rich diet (pollen). What they found was that there was a lot of overlap in gene responses to the two treatments and that feeding bees a pollen based diet reduces the workers sensitivity of the pesticides. The take home message is that feeding bees a diet high in protein will likely improve the resistance to pesticides. HAPPY HOLIDAYS and hope to see you at the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in January!  

Bee Updated: Latest and Greatest News from the National Honey Board 

We’re currently in the midst of the holiday season and the spirit of giving is in the air. The National Honey Board had the opportunity to take part in a toy drive recently to benefits children at the Montebello Academy, LA Children's Hospital and children in Casa Emanuel Tijuana, MX.

The NHB has worked with Master Mixologist and Tequillier Marco Antonio Ramos this past year and each year, Marco in involved with a toy drive. The event was held at the Mayahuel Restaurant in San Diego, and for every toy attendees brought to the event, the NHB provided them a honey-inspired drink.

We’re excited to share that the Holiday Toy Drive was a great success! For the event, we served our special Honey Margaritas and Smoky Bees to attendees who brought in toys, and in total, over 60 toys and even some articles of clothing were donated.

Attendees informed Marco that they really enjoyed both the Honey Margaritas and the Smoky Bee, and they loved learning about honey’s benefits and its use as a natural sweetener. They were excited to learn more about honey and were impressed by the NHB’s involvement with sponsoring this event.

Happy Holidays from your friends at the National Honey Board. 

 Honey Queen Buzz: Thanks for Another Great Year!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Quilt to be raffled off at the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow

December is a busy time for everyone – holidays, parties, moving bees, preparing for pollination, and promoting honey! 



Ameican Honey Queen and Princess together. 


Queen Susannah and Princess Elena continued their fabulous work for the ABF in December and are eager to share their experiences with you in January. 

December continued to be another month of educational visits for the Queens.

Prior to a working session in Wisconsin to prepare for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, the Queen and Princess visited a suburban Chicago high school to teach culinary arts students about the versatility of honey and the many ways it can be used in recipes. They were also interviewed by a local newspaper, so their messages about honey extended beyond the 150 students they reached in a few short hours.

We send a special thank you to Sunny Hill Honey of Harvard, IL for supplying the honey needed for recipe demonstrations. Several other opportunities for educational appearances occurred throughout December for the Queen and Princess. As in previous years, I’d like to give our American Honey Queen and Princess the opportunity to send you a message in their own words in the last ABF E-Buzz of 2014!

From American Honey Queen Susannah Austin

This past year has been an amazing learning experience for me. I have really enjoyed my time with the American Honey Queen Program and will always be grateful for the new friends and new experiences this year has brought me. I was very honored to serve as your 2014 American Honey Queen and want to thank the American Honey Queen Program Committee as well as all of the members of the American Beekeeping Federation for making 2014 such a fantastic year of honey bee promotions. I look forward to seeing you all around the beekeeping world!  

From American Honey Princess Elena Hoffman

This year has been both a really exciting experience and a great learning experience. I have really enjoyed teaching throughout the country and have to thank both the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Queen Committee for this opportunity. Thank you for all your hard work and support to make this year both possible and enjoyable!

Queen Susannah, Princess Elena, and the entire American Honey Queen Committee look forward to seeing you at the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Anaheim, California. Attendees will have the opportunity to support the American Honey Queen Program through a variety of methods and the privilege to meet our 2015 candidates! We look forward to sharing the extensive work of our current promoters and are excited to welcome our newest spokespersons to the ABF family. If you have an event at which you would like the 2015 American Honey Queen or Princess to promote, please contact me now to discuss options! Happy promoting!


Kids N' Bees: Conference Program Highlights 

by Sara Red-Laird, Bee Girl 

BEE Our Guest at the Kids and Bees event this year! On Friday, January 9th from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, elementary-aged children are welcomed to the Mark Twain room of the Disneyland Hotel to participate in the Kids and Bees program. This is an awesome opportunity to come by and take in the enthusiasm of kids experiencing the world of bees and beekeeping! Our doors are open to you to bring ideas home to your own educational programs, meet other beekeepers interested in education, meet local families, and see the Honey Queen candidates in action! If you would like the ultimate Kids and Bees experience, volunteer!! 


This no-charge event has been a tradition with the ABF Conference for over 20 years, and is a “don’t miss” opportunity for school groups, home schooled kids, scouts, and clubs. Kids and their teachers or parents can expect a room full of hands-on activities under the themes of, “The Art of Beekeeping,”  “The Science of Beekeeping,” “The World of Beekeeping,” and “The Future of Bees: It’s Up to You!”  Favorites such as beeswax candle rolling, bee finger puppet making, and hive displays will be there. The highlights this year will be face painting, a photo booth with costumes, and an ultraviolet “Bee View” demonstration. Students will make their way through each station, engaging with beekeepers and Honey Queens from around the US, and activities that will harness their senses and imaginations. This program is generously supported by the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. 


To register your kids for this event, or to volunteer, please send an email to sarah@beegirl.org, or call 541-708-1127.   

 In Memoriam: Robert D Koehnen

A memorial celebration was held to honor lifelong Ord Bend beekeeper and farmer, Bob Koehnen, on Wednesday, December 10, 2014.Bob was born August 2, 1934 in Chico, CA to Carl and Anna Koehnen, the youngest of three children. He passed away peacefully Saturday, November 22, 2014 in the company of his wife and family after a full and successful life.

Bob went to Ord Grammar School and after graduation from Hamilton City High School he attended University of California, Davis, studying pomology. He took fall semester classes, because he was needed at home in the springtime for the busy bee season. He was active in SAE fraternity at Davis. 

At age 16, Bob became a legal partner of Koehnen Apiaries, with his dad and older brother Bill.  It was the beginning of a family beekeeping business that produced package bees and queens and honey, and later supplied beehives for pollination. Today the business, C.F. Koehnen & Sons, Inc. has expanded into almond and walnut orchards and includes his brother’s son Mike plus both of Bob’s sons Kalin and Kamron. And now the fourth generation is also being brought into the operation. Bob was generous about sharing his expertise one-on-one or with the beekeeping industry at large. He always made time to explain any aspect of the procedures used by the Koehnen operation and layout the reasoning behind the practice.

In 1957 Bob was drafted into the Army for two years and spent his time in Alabama. In 1962 he married Yvonne Millar of Glenn, and together raised their two sons, Kalin and Kamron. Yvonne was always supportive of Bob’s endeavors.

Bob was passionately dedicated to beekeeping, which his father had branched to Ord Bend in 1925. He was a quiet and respected member of the agricultural community, in which he was an innovator in many aspects of both.

Bob served on the board of directors of the California State Beekeepers Association, and helped initiate a reward program in 1977 for the arrest and conviction of persons involved with theft or vandalism of beehives. He was involved in the California Bee Breeders Association and was nearly a 50 year member of the American Beekeeping Federation, the national professional organization. In the past he also served on the California Farm Bureau Federation’s bee advisory committee, representing beekeepers in Glenn County. 

Bob was named 1981 Beekeeper of the Year by the California State Beekeepers Association; the award is given annually to an outstanding beekeeper. Later, in 1999, he was presented with the prestigious Lifetime Honorary Beekeeper award, recognizing his dedication and contributions to beekeeping over the years.

Bob is survived by his wife of 52 years, Yvonne; son Kalin (Lisa) and grandchild Alexa; son Kamron (Julie) and grandchildren Reed and Kelly; brother Bill (Pat) all of Ord Bend; sister Cleone (Bill) Wiley of Maryland; and numerous nieces and nephews. He enjoyed all the good times spent with family.

To honor Bob, donations in his memory may be made toward the building of the Beekeeping Museum, which will be constructed on the grounds of the Patrick Ranch Museum in rural Chico, or to the Ord Bend Volunteer Fire Department. Either may be sent in care of Brusie Funeral Home, 626 Broadway, Chico, CA  95928. 

Bee Thinking

Last Month's Riddle is being continued since no one answered it.


The waves are my voice

So sing and rejoice.

On a long road together

We're birds of a feather.

Memories we share

While floating in air.

Now you'll have a song

All the day long.

I am both big and small, 

you can  listen to all, 

With high treble or bass, 

I can scream in your face, 

Or dance all arounds, 

With soft and sweet sounds.

Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.  

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • The Ohio Environmental Education Fund (OEEF) has awarded a grant “Beekeepers Collaborating to Create Pollinator Habitats” to beekeeping groupsRead More 
  • Though concerns over the widespread use of pesticides across Ontario and Quebec have been making headlines, Statistics Canada released new numbers Tuesday that illustrate an overall increase in the beekeeping  industry. However, there’s more to the numbers, said the Ontario Beekeepers’ Association. Learn More
  • Specialists at a Maine conference agree there are no easy answers for curing colony collapse disorder and other threats. Read More
  • From fun flavor trends and brand marketing campaigns to more serious issues, 40 percent of Americans rated news related to the food we eat as more important than other news in 2014, according to the Hunter Public Relations' 12th annual Food News Study.  The shrinking bee population and the War on Sugar came in second and third, respectivelyLearn More 

ABF Welcomes New Members —November 2014

George K Barr, Maryland      
Eric Herzik, Nevada
Larry Baumgart, Washington Brent Hodgeman, Minnesota
Martina Broeker, Tennessee  Lee Loeffler, Michigan
Lindsey Button Steven Manzke, Illinois 
Lewis Cauble, North Carolina Jason Moyers, California
Sue Conlyn, Georgia  Brad Niemcek, Wisconsin
Eyad Daboul, Syria Frederic Selby, California
Steven Daniels, Utah Joga Singh, India
Lee Dunham, Ohio Michael Skeels, Montana
Reza Ebrahimi Asl, Iran John Tyson, North Carolina
Tim Gallagher, Minnesota  


Recipe of the Month: Holiday Honey Caramels

Yields 30 Caramels 


1 cup- butter (no substitutions)

2 cups - honey

2 cups - whipping cream

1 cup - brown sugar

1 teaspoon - vanilla extract

finely chopped almonds, optional 



Line bottom and sides of 9-inch square pan with plastic wrap; set aside. Melt butter in medium-sized heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add honey, cream and brown sugar; mix well. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture comes to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium and continue boiling, stirring frequently, until candy thermometer registers 250°F to 255°F, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; pour into prepared pan. Let cool completely in refrigerator before cutting into individual caramels with very sharp knife. Roll in chopped nuts or coconut, if desired, and wrap each individually in clear plastic wrap. Store, tightly wrapped in refrigerator up to 1 month. Caramels will be soft at room temperature and firm if kept chilled. Drop one into a cup of hot coffee or tea or enjoy this delicious treat on its own! 

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