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ABF E-Buzz: July 2016
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ABF E-Buzz — July 2016

In This Issue:





Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


Oh my
I can't believe
That half
This year is over
Only a short
Time left to
Get the rest
Of things done
So the bees
Will be ready
Ready for 
Another winter.
Coming before
We know it.   
– TT 2016


Welcome back!  I hope you are busy getting your honey ready to pull if you are in the lower half of the country. I hear varying reports of really good crops coming in, in the honey belt again and in Canada, and then reports of little or no honey in the parts of the northwest. I hope that your bees are doing well and that you are getting ready to pull some honey, if you haven't already.

I came home the other day and I felt as if I had been under attack by the insect world. I had ticks all over me, chiggers around my ankles, I had been stung by a red wasp and also stung on the finger by a scorpion that had been on a dead out box that I picked up to take back to the home storage for reworking. I don't remember when I have had a day quite like it!!! Anyway I thought the next time I go out, I am going to have to take some precautions as ticks are really problematic and wasps love to build nests in bee boxes. The bee boxes provide just the amount of protection that is optimal for building nests. We always have a problem storing boxes outside without wasps finding them and taking advantage. I normally carry a can of wasp spray, which I used that day so I could eliminate the nest that had taken up residency in a feeder box we hadn't been using for quite some time. The wasps had found a hole in the lid to gain entrance. When I opened the lid, the first one hit me on the cheek.  It didn't take long for me to dispatch of the rest of the nest very quickly, since I had the can of Wasp spray in the truck. So it's not a bad idea to have this on your list of necessity items when heading to the bee yards.


Ticks also are a huge issue in that they do carry Lyme disease, of course, and we don't want to be coming down with that. It can be very difficult to detect initially and is a problem if contracted. I don't usually spray my clothing as I don't think the bees like the odor of some of the sprays like Off. I have used Neem oil and it does do well at repelling deer ticks, but is not as effective for the brown dog tick. It has been found to work in a 1% solution which is 10 ml of Neem oil in a 1 liter bottle of water. It also helps to add a bit of liquid detergent or dish soap to help dissolve the oil. This can be put into a spray bottle and sprayed around your boots and pants bottoms. I have found that where I am in yards where there are lots of ticks, I will put on my rubber boots and put my pant legs in the boots for as long as I can stand to wear them. It's usually an effective way to keep ticks off especially if you spray your boots. With chiggers, I usually wash my ankles with alcohol or a cheap cologne, which smells nice, to kill the chiggers when I get back from the bee yard. This kills the chiggers before they have a chance to bite and cause irritation sometimes.  Some areas of the country don't have these little critters, so be thankful for that if they don't exist in your area. They really cause a lot of itching but don't transmit any known disease. Some people can be very sensitive to their bite, however, and can become nauseous from too many bites. While I'm not sure what we can do about preventing random issues with scorpions, rattle snakes and venomous spiders, it helps to take a bit of protection for some remedy when you spot them, so carry some bug spray and tick repellent when you have to be out in the wilds.   

This month we have some great articles from our contributing editors, and there's some great information in our Buzzmakers that will help keep you up to speed on what's going on in the world of bees today. We also want to remind you that if you are not currently a member of the ABF, we are offering complimentary memberships through the end of this year so you can take advantage of using the information available on the abfnet.org website. Our archived webinars are a tremendous resource for all aspects of beekeeping, so sign up today and become a member or tell your friends to take advantage of this one-time offer to get acquainted with the great advantages to being involved as an ABF member.

Our president, Gene Brandi, has a great article on providing water for your bees. It's vitally important this time of year with the hot temperatures! Sarah Red-Laird has an update on Kids and Bees and the upcoming program she is presenting at EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society). She's also asking for input into a resource pack and, if you have any ideas, she would greatly appreciate your ideas for building the program. Again, the Queen and Princess have been busy buzzing around the country and Anna Kettlewell has an update on their recent activities marketing honey and the industry. We also have new contributor this month, Roger Hoopingarner, that I'm sure you will appreciate, and a great new recipe as well. So enjoy your time spent here in our monthly E-Buzz. I hope it will add some great information to your database. Feel free to send us any ideas you have for future discussion. I can always be reached at tuckerb@hit.net if you have an article you would like to see reproduced here in E-Buzz. Till August ... have a great time with the bees and we hope your extractors are running fast and hard. 


President's Greeting

by Gene Brandi, ABF President 

Now that summer is in full swing with its longer days and shorter nights, our bees are working long hours in maximum production mode -- providing that adequate forage resources are available. This is the time of year to make hay (actually honey!) while the sun shines. In addition to collecting the nectar and pollen they can find, our bees need more water this time of year, and proficient beekeepers should make sure that an adequate supply of clean water is available for their thirsty bees. In some parts of the country this is not a problem, but for those of us in drier areas where summer rains are uncommon it can be a major factor in the health of our colonies.

Occasionally beekeepers need to transport water to some of their bee yards if there is no water available for the bees. I actually have one yard this year that I have been supplying with water as the nearest natural water source is about two miles away. Some very experienced beekeepers have told me that bees prefer water with a slight amount of chlorine in it (a half cup of Clorox in a 55-gallon drum) and that a water source very near the bee yard chlorinated in such a manner will be preferred by the bees. I have had mixed results using this method myself, but you may wish to try this if you need to supply water to an apiary where no other fresh water is available on site and you don’t want your bees to bother any neighboring water sources. There are no guarantees that this will work, but it might be worth a try.

Bees gathering water in places where they are not welcome has been a source of friction between beekeepers and some of their neighbors for as long as bees have been kept. Bees at the dripping faucet, dog dish, cattle or horse trough, swimming pool, etc., are generally not welcomed by neighbors. Even small scale beekeepers with a hive or two in the back yard are wise to make sure that a clean water source is available for their bees on their own property. It is important that the water be available from the time the bees are first placed in a location, as once the bees find a source to their liking, they will likely stick with it in spite of efforts to encourage them to use other sources. Any container of water or other source that is being used to supply water for bees should have some sort of flotation device upon which the bees can land and drink, so they will not drown. Blocks of wood, styrofoam or anything else that will float can serve as a landing perch from which the bees can drink. In very hot areas it is helpful to provide shade over the water source in order to help keep the water from getting too hot.

The general public has never been more bee friendly in my opinion, but even bee-friendly folks can become agitated when they believe their space has been invaded by unwelcome thirsty bees. Do your best to keep your bees from being a problem for neighbors. It will be good for you and for your fellow beekeepers throughout the country!

Bee Educated: Don't Miss ABF's 2016 Webinar Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" 

New sessions are coming up and newly-archived sessions are available!

Basic Queen Rearing

Thursday, July 28, 2016
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 / 2:00 p.m. HST
Blake Shook, ABF Board Member; Owner, Desert Creek Honey
Learn more and register!  

Making Lip Balm from Beeswax

Thursday, August 11, 2016
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 / 2:00 p.m. HST
Niki Backes, Owner, Red Headed Honey
Learn more and register!  


To view archived webinar sessions

The ABF webinars are recorded and available for members to view online, usually within 24 hours after the live presentation. Just visit the ABF website page, Conversation With A Beekeeper Series, and scroll down to see the Archived Sessions.


Kids and Bees

Kids and Bees Wants Your Advice!


by Sarah Red-Laird, a.k.a Bee Girl, ABF Kids and Bees Program Director


Nearly every day, I receive an email from a beekeeper looking for pointers and advice on how to teach kids about bees. So far, the American Beekeeping Federation’s “Kids and Bees” program has been orchestrated from a series of to-do lists and creative lightbulbs from myself and Kim Lehman. We have heard your call and are here to help! Thanks to generous support from the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, the “Kids and Bees” program will be publishing a “resource pack” to help you help us help the bees through educating and inspiring kids. 


I’ll be spending the rest of the year exploring children’s beekeeping program methods and materials across the United States and the United Kingdom. If you have a program that works well, we’d love it if you would share it with me for inclusion! If you have an idea for a program, please share that as well, and I’ll try it out. I will be reaching out to our partners, seeking the sage advice of former Kids and Bees Director, Kim Lehman, and picking the brains and hearts of every bee-education hero that I can find.


If you do not yet have a program, or even a developed idea, but would really like to share a “wish list” of what you would like to see in this resource pack, please let me know! The best way to contact me is by email, sarah@beegirl.org. Thank you in advance!


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

Sweet News for Honey as Consumption Rising in United States

USDA Estimates Annual Consumption of Nearly One Pound of Honey Per Person  

According to latest data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), honey consumption continues to rise in the country with an average of nearly one pound (0.9 pound) of honey being consumed per person compared to 0.5 pounds consumed per person in 1990.

“It is exciting to see more Americans continuing to add honey to their daily diet,” said Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board.  She added, “While our industry continues to struggle with hive loss, we have been successful in reaching consumers with our message that honey is a pure natural sweetener which clearly appeals to consumers at a time when they are searching for authentic foods.  In addition, when consumers purchase honey, they are not only helping to support the beekeeper, but they are also contributing to the welfare and survival of the honey bees.”

The USDA report found that consumption of all caloric sweeteners has been falling for the last 15 years while per capita consumption of honey has been increasing over the same time period. Domestic net production of honey was once at an annual average of 167.9 million pounds in the early 1990s but has now fallen to an average of 106.7 million pounds over the last seven years.  Honey bees are critically important to agriculture as pollinators contributing over $14 billion to the value of U.S. crop production.

The increased popularity of honey is due to the fact that people are finding pure honey to be irresistible.  In fact, similar to wine and olive oil, honey tastings are now being held at farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores to showcase the more than 300 unique kinds of honey produced in the United States ranging from diverse floral sources as Clover, Eucalyptus and Orange Blossoms.  There are lighter colored honeys which are mild in flavor, while darker honeys are usually more robust in flavor.  In addition, honey is in high demand in the growing artisan food category for use in a range of diverse items such as pastries, ice creams, cheese and craft cocktails.  It has also become wildly popular with beverage manufactures including craft brewers and ready-to-drink beverages.

“Since honey is slightly sweeter than sugar many people prefer using it to achieve the same level of sweetness with less volume and honey can easily be substituted for other sweeteners in recipes,” said Lombard. She added, “To learn more, visit our website, www.honey.com.”  

About the National Honey Board:

The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs.


Enter the 2017 Good Food Awards

The 2017 Good Food Awards entry period is open through July 31

Honey Criteria:

In order to be eligible for a Good Food Award, honey entries must meet the following criteria:

 Be the bona fide product of the entrant’s own bees.
• Harvested between August 2015 and August 2016.
• Extracted with minimal heat (100°) and, after extraction, not exposed to heat greater than 120°.
 Strained and/or filtered to leave in pollen.
 Produced in the USA.
 If made with inclusions (such as fruit and herbs):

 That grow domestically, inclusions are locally sourced wherever possible; traceable; and grown without synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides or fertilizers.
 That are not grown domestically on a commercial scale, they are farm-direct, certified organic or Fair Trade certified.

By beekeepers who owned and/or managed the bees locally and extracted the honey, and:

 Practice good animal husbandry, including:

 Not locating hives within a five-mile radius of crops that receive heavy usage of agrochemicals.
• Not regularly relocating the hives major distances for pollination services.
 Management of hives using minimal chemical interventions (miteicides, antibiotics, etc.), and following prescribed application guidelines.
• Feeding balanced nutrition when needed, with no high fructose corn syrup.

 Practice social responsibility, including:

• Engaging the community in education.
• If staff is employed in tending the hives and harvesting the honey, they are treated respectfully and given fair compensation.

Additionally, honey entries must fit within one of the following subcategories:
• Liquid & Naturally Crystallized
• Creamed
• Infused

Does this sound like you? Enter your honey in the 2017 Good Food Awards from now until July 31, 2016. (Please note that entries will not be eligible if they won a Good Food Award in 2016.*)      

*In order to pave the way for new products and entry-level producers, beginning this year there will be a one-year wait period on re-entering a Good Food Award winning product starting this year. We encourage our 2016 winners to submit something different for the 2017 awards, and we’ll see some of those familiar champions back for submission in 2018.


Honey Queen Buzz  

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

July is the Honey Queen Program’s unofficial kickoff to the very busy fair and festival season, and July 2016 was no different! Queen Kim and Princess Tabitha packed their bags for the beginning of an exciting and busy summer promotional season in July, with stops in Arizona, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, New Jersey and Ohio.

Our representatives reached the Northern Wisconsin State Fair, the Ohio State Fair and the Warren County Farmers’ Fair in New Jersey throughout July. These fairs kept the queens busy with honey sales, cooking demonstrations (to more effectively sell the honey!), teaching fairgoers about the inner workings of the beehive and the importance of expanding honey bee habitat, and many special events. I thank all our beekeeping organization partners for continuing to invite the program to assist with their events. The Queens reach tremendous numbers of people in these few days at fairs and help create a buzz around the beekeeping booths!

Summer beekeeping conferences are abuzz in July. Queen Kim participated in the first joint Minnesota Honey Producers Association-Wisconsin Honey Producers Association summer convention in Minneapolis. Princess Tabitha is a participant at the Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Both had the opportunity to speak to ABF and non-ABF members about our organization and its programs including the Queen Program. Tabitha is also assisting with ABF’s traveling Kids and Bees program, a staple at the EAS conference. 

Tabitha had the opportunity to work with ABF Board member (and former American Honey Queen) Emily Brown in Arizona for a week in July. From a garden show to media interviews, our former American Honey Queen made sure our current American Honey Princess’s experience was chock full of excellent opportunities for our industry as a whole.  

In addition to these busy events and several others in their home states, Kim and Tabitha recently uploaded new video content to the American Honey Queen Program’s YouTube channel (AmericanHoneyQueen). Check out their latest creations and please use these videos as you give educational programs in your area! Each Queen created two videos that they will share with students and consumers throughout the rest of 2016 and beyond!

We are still taking fall promotion requests. Contact me if you have an event at which you’d like the Queen or Princess to speak.  Happy promoting!


Queen Kim, hanging out with L.L. Langstroth at the Pollinator Palooza in Columbus, Ohio, for national pollinator week.

Princess Tabitha with the Ohio State Beekeepers at Celebrate Ohio Pollinators in Cleveland, Ohio, in June.


International Bee Research Association: A new method for observing honey bee behavior


Observation hives have been used to study the behavior of honey bees since the pioneering studies of François Huber in the 18th century. Observation hives generally consist of glass walled hives containing a small number of combs and bees. A frequent objection to their use is that they are usually housed and observed in daylight or artificial light, in contrast to the darkness of a natural bee nest. It has therefore been a criticism that results obtained using observation hives may not always represent normal behavior. In a new study published in the Journal of Apicultural Research, Kaspar Bienefeld and colleagues from the Institute for Bee Research, Hohen Neuendorf, Germany, outline a new method for the long term undisturbed observation of bee behavior under infra-red light, which minimizes these problems.

Their novel setup comprises a glass walled observation unit consisting of a single comb containing a queen bee, workers and brood, together with an infra-red camera unit, and a supporting unit consisting of many combs of bees which is contiguous with the observation unit via a wire gauze. The supporting unit provides the normal temperature and humidity conditions of a complete colony, ensuring that conditions remain as normal as possible. 

As an example of the use of this technique, the authors studied so called “hygienic behavior,” whereby bees genetically disposed to being hygienic, remove diseased pupae from the hive, in this instance due to infestation by the parasitic mite varroa. Although it has previously been clearly demonstrated that hygienic bees will remove pupae infested with varroa, the mechanisms whereby the bees identify that the cells are infested have remained unclear.

As described in the paper, the results of this study provide support for the hypothesis that bees are using foreign odours to detect the varroa mites and remove them from the hive.

IBRA Science Director Norman Carreck says: “This new technique will allow researchers to study undisturbed honey bee behavior, and will have many uses in bee research.”


Born to Be A Beekeeper

Arizona Beekeeper's Love for the Craft Began in Elementary School 

By Mary and Bill Weaver; Reprinted from American Bee Journal 

Emily Anderson Brown, of Scottsdale, AZ, (formerly of PA and MD) has figured out how to requeen Africanized hives successfully. This is a highly useful skill to have in Arizona, as she does bee removals and relocations and deals with Africanized takeovers of her own hives.

“First, she explained, I break down the larger hive or swarm of maybe 50,000 bees into three or four small nucs, and immediately move those nucs to different yards. Small Africanized nucs are much more likely to accept a European queen.

Second- and this requires a lot of ‘babysitting’- she waits longer than usual to release the new queen. “It definitely takes more time. I had to learn to understand the mentality of the bees in the hive. I have a process I use to determine when I can safely release the queen and the bees will be ready to accept her.” Emily, a beekeeper since her teens, is a careful observer. 

Third, your choice of a queen source can make a difference in acceptance of the queen by small, Africanized nucs, Emily has found. “Queens from Kona in Hawaii or Koehnen in California will often work with Africanized bees.” In addition, queens from certain breeders tend to work better under Arizona desert conditions. Queens from Weavers in Texas fall into that category, in addition to Kona and Koehnen, as well as queens from several other California breeders.

“A big problem has been being able to get small quantities of queens when I need them. If I would raise my own queens here, there’s a good chance they would be Africanized. I’m trying to find breeders who cater to the sideliner and might have small quantities available when I need them. I may need only 25 queens at a time.

“My biggest problem in keeping hives going in this environment is losing queens and getting laying workers. Recently, winters here have only had a few nights below freezing, so summer heat is the hardest time of year on the bees. From June to October, daytime temperatures every day rise to at least 100 to 105 degrees, and in late July and August, temperatures spike to 115 degrees.” This would not be fun for the bees or the beekeeper! Read more.


Bee Thinking

No one guessed last month's riddle correctly! A few people had partial answers. They were on the right track! We've added another stanza to the clues. See if you can come up with the complete answer this time. The first to e-mail Susan Reu at susanreu@abfnet.org will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

I can show you
All the colors
Of a Rainbow
A split second
Frozen in time.

I work hard
With no regard
for myself or you
I would not ever
Commit a crime.  

My work, my efforts

Will benefit all
The yield is so
Tasty and
Always sublime.  

Take a bunch or

A few of me
Today or tomorrow
I promise a memory
Won't cost a dime.

Once I'm here
You can hold
Me dear and so
I'll never change
This little rhyme.  


Buzzmakers: Latest Beekeeping Industry News

  • The Honey Bee Whisperer. Read More.
  • 10,000 bees die mysteriously in NC county within 24 hoursRead more.
  • Honey harvested in Harding: Library's beehives yield 23 sticky poundsRead More.
  • Catch The Buzz: California Almond Forecast IncreasesRead More.
  • Emerging strain of honeybee virus proves even more deadly. Read More.
  • Humans and bees share the same sociability genes. Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members - June 2016

  • Benjamin Badon
  • Beth Ann Cord
  • Jack Wickerd

Recipe of the Month: Savory Honey Scones 


1-1/4 tsp. finely chopped rosemary, divided

1-1/3 C. flour

1-1/3 C. semolina

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt

5-1/2 oz. chilled soft goat cheese, cut into bits

1/4 C. HONEY

1/3 C. + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream, divided

1 egg



In bowl, thoroughly mix 1 teaspoon rosemary with remaining 5 dry ingredients. Cut goat cheese into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse corn meal; reserve. Whisk together HONEY, 1/3 cup cream and egg. Stir into reserved dry mixture until a soft dough forms; gather dough into a ball. Turn out onto a well-floured board; pat into a round about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges. Arrange separately on a waxed paper or parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with remaining 2 Tablespoons cream; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon rosemary. Bake at 425°F until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes. 

Source: 2016 American Honey Queen Brochure, from the National Honey Board, www.honey.com   

  • Honey harvested in Harding: Library's beehives yield 23 sticky pounds. Read More.
  • Honey harvested in Harding: Library's beehives yield 23 sticky pounds. Read More.
  • Keepers study impact of honey bees' struggle against parasite. Read More.
  • Keepers study impact of honey bees' struggle against parasite. Read More.
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