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ABF E-Buzz: June 2016
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ABF E-Buzz — June 2016

In This Issue:





Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


June has the days

The first days of summer.

Sometimes so hot

I don't know how the bees

keep working as hard

As they do.


There are days now that

I have to just quit by two o'clock

Or so....in the afternoon

But they just keep flying

And working purposefully

As they do.


Well, believe it or not another month has passed! With all of our spring rains, the blooming plants are doing very well at producing copious amounts of nectar, which is keeping the bees working hard. It's always amazing to me how fast bees can fill a deep super with nectar and curing honey that will soon be ready for pulling. I am in hopes that we will have the best honey flow we have had in many years if we can just get another rain here in the next week to keep the flow going. Not sure what your temperatures have been running, but our summer has finally arrived and the humidity has been running in the 90% and above range, which is great for honey production. It just makes it very difficult to work, so be careful out there and don't overdo! Always remember to take plenty of water with you when out working your bees and remember the signs of heat stroke. From WebMD:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Lack of sweating despite the heat
  • Red, hot and dry skin
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat, which may be either strong or weak
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Behavioral changes such as confusion, disorientation, or staggering
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

Once you actually get to the third stage you should stop working immediately and attempt to get some relief. I overdid it and went into the nausea stage about ten years ago and when you get there, it's not fun and you can have recurring problems every time you get hot for years to come. So take care and if you ever stop perspiring …cool off! Do so by getting into a moving air stream from a fan or air conditioner while applying wet towels or ice packs to your neck and arm pits and between the thighs if possible. I try to take a cooler with ice to wrap in a towel and put on the back of my head and neck when I get too hot. It really helps to get cooled down as quickly as possible if you are experiencing advanced signs of a heat stroke. If symptoms continue to progress, get to an emergency room! And have someone drive you there or call an ambulance as it's not safe to drive when having a heat stroke!

We have been talking about marketing your honey at events that you can become involved with in your local area, giving you a hands up on competitors and helping you sell more. One of the things I can tell you that almost doubles our sales figures at our farmer's market is the lemonade and limeade and honey sweet tea that we offer our customers each weekend. It goes over really great during the summer months when honey sales tend to drop a little. We make a syrup of 6 lbs. of honey with 20 oz. of lemon juice mixed with hot water to make a gallon. We then pump three to four pumps into a glass of ice and add water to make up our lemonades. It's very simple, and we also squeeze a fresh lemon into the glass before mixing to add a bit of juice and pulp to make it really fresh. We also make it with sugar as most people really don't have a taste yet for honey lemonade so you have to be prepared unless you are a total purist and that's OK. Anyways, I hope this gives you an idea as to how to increase your honey sales during the summer heat and helps you cool off as well. There are lots of recipes for honey lemonade on the internet and you can try a few and see what you like best. They all just involve honey, lemon juice and water, so give it a go!

This month we have some great input from our President Gene Brandi again and his reports on recent meetings in D.C. and efforts we always have underway to advance our causes at the EPA. There is much work to do there, and as always Gene's report will keep you up to speed on the legislative efforts here at ABF. We also have another great report from Anna Kettlewell on what our honey queens are up to. If you have Facebook please friend them and keep up with their activities on a daily basis.  These gals are always up to something! Bee beards and cooking demonstrations all over the country. I don't know how they keep up with the schedule! Sarah Red-Laird also has an update on the Kids and Bees activities at the upcoming July three-day “Beekeeping Academy” hosted by the Sweet Virginia Foundation and its efforts to expand the kids’ familiarity with the greatest little creature on earth: the honey bee!

We also have some great new buzzmakers and another clue to the riddle, which was not answered last month, so get your thinking caps on and maybe this additional hint will help. Again, if there's anything you want to see added to the E-Buzz or just have an article that you think is helpful, please send it to me at tuckerb@hit.net and we will get it in. Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you are having a difficult time keeping up and adding enough honey supers!!!!

President's Greeting and Legislative Buzz

by Gene Brandi, ABF President 

It has been two years since President Obama signed the memorandum that culminated in the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators, released in May of 2015. The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) continues to work with many of the federal agencies involved in this “all hands on deck” effort to help insure that the goals spelled out in the federal strategy may be realized. For honey bees these goals include reducing the annual winter losses to 15% or less within the next ten years, and restoring or enhancing seven million acres of land for pollinators over the next five years through federal actions and public/private partnerships. We were encouraged when these goals were announced last year as we anticipated a robust response from all the federal agencies.

During my recent trips over past couple of months to Washington, D.C., with ABF Vice President, Tim May, and ABF Past President, Tim Tucker, we have seen some very positive results of the national strategy, but some federal agencies still need additional encouragement to adopt policies and take actions that will genuinely help pollinators.  

We are encouraged by the fact that USDA-ARS (Agricultural Research Service) honey bee research facilities continue to be funded at levels that allow them to conduct and expand meaningful research. We anxiously anticipate the opening of the new USDA-ARS honey bee research facility in California at UC Davis. It is our understanding that longitudinal (long-term) studies on the health of honey bee colonies will be a major focus of research at this facility, and this research can play a major role in improving the health of honey bees.

Reports from some beekeepers indicating that they either have lost or are scheduled to lose long-held apiary sites on federal lands is very disappointing, however, given the National Strategy’s goal of increasing forage for bees on federal lands. We continue to encourage the various land management agencies to follow the recommendations, as outlined in the strategy, to increase the availability of bee forage on federal lands. Access to safe locations, away from pesticide exposure, will be a critical component of any effort to improve the health of the nation’s honey bees. 

The ABF has communicated to EPA that their actions and proposals to reduce the impact of pesticide exposure on bees need to be revised if they are to have a significant impact. EPA’s new pesticide label language, the proposal to mitigate exposure to bees from acutely toxic pesticides and the reliance on state-managed pollinator protection plans are not the best means of improving pollinator protection. Our message continues to be that clear, enforceable pesticide labels (developed through comprehensive risk assessment) are the best means of protecting honey bees from the negative impacts of pesticide exposure.

All that a being said, honey bees are receiving more attention in Washington and throughout the nation than ever before. The Congressional Pollinator Caucus, led by Congressmen Denham (CA) and Hastings (FL) have been supportive of pollinator issues for the past several years. We continue to remind caucus staff and others of the fact that honey bee colony losses are still occurring at unsustainable levels. The recent reports of annual losses in excess of 44% are an indication that things are still not well with honey bees in this country.

National Pollinator Week began Monday, June 20. There are activities scheduled in Washington, D.C., throughout the week including a panel to discuss pollinator health issues on Thursday, June 23, at 10:30 a.m. in the Rayburn Building, and USDA’s Pollinator Week Festival on Friday, June 24, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., outside USDA Headquarters. We understand there will be honey sticks (supplied by ABF), pollinator seed mix packets and other promotional items available for attendees at this event.

It is our belief that we must continue our concerted efforts to encourage meaningful actions from as many federal agencies as possible in order to genuinely improve pollinator health so the goals of the National Strategy can be realized. We are working to see that this federal effort not only becomes a more effective means of improving the health of honey bees and other pollinators, but that it continues into the next presidential administration and beyond. 

Summer solstice is upon us, providing our bees with the longest days in which to collect pollen and nectar. May your bees do well and be healthy this summer! 

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!

Click here to register!

Primetime with Honey bees: Beekeeping, Honey Bees and More!

Tuesday, June 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 / 3:00 p.m. HST
Tim Tucker, ABF Board Member; Owner, Tuckerbees Honey

From Small Scale to Sideliner to Commercial Beekeeper

Monday, July 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 / 3:00 p.m. HST
Blake Shook, ABF Board Member; Owner, Desert Creek Honey


Kids and Bees

Life is Sweet This Summer for Kids and Bees 


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




This July, Kids and Bees will be teaming up with The Sweet Virginia Foundation to host a three-day “Beekeeping Academy” for kids who love bees. The academy is a three-day camp for up to twelve kids going into grades four through six. Students will spend their days in a fun and educational immersion into the world of the bee. We will take an in-depth look into bee anatomy, biology, sociology and their vital role in our food system. We will also spend time up close and personal with honey bee hives and native bee observations. Campers will taste honey fresh from the hive, create their own native bee habitat to take home and take home seeds to start their own “bee garden.” Throughout the camp, students will learn about present challenges bees face and how they can be part of the solution in the bees’ survival. 

I visited The Sweet Virginia Foundation (SVF) Founder & CEO, Dan Price, and Education Director, Louise Edsall, in 2015 and felt a sweet connection between their work and the mission of Kids and Bees instantly. The vision of SVF is for every elementary school student they can reach to have at least one hands-on lesson about honey bees, taught by a beekeeper/educator with a passion for honey bees.  They aim to use honey bees as a simple, understandable vehicle to showcase the interconnectedness and unity of life. While sitting in white rocking chairs on the wrap-around porch of Dan’s yellow pre-Civil War farm house, overlooking the hives, flower beds and barn/classroom, I got the sense we could all do great things together for bees. Talented and passionate EAS beekeeper dynamic duo Carla Eisen and George Wilson met me at the Eastern Apicultural Society conference in Ontario last summer, thought the same thing, and facilitated the meeting. The five of us have been tossing around ideas since then, and I am so happy that we settled on this co-adventure to utilize the amazing SVF landscape and facilities to bring Virginia-area kids closer to understanding beekeeping and farming, and closer to loving bees.

For more on the work and mission of SVA, check out the video National Geographic made here.


The camp will run Wednesday, July 13th to Friday July 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Nokesville at Sweet Virginia. More information and registration. 



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

Recently the National Honey Board (NHB) exhibited at the annual Craft Brewers Conference in Philadelphia, talking to brewers about how to incorporate honey into a variety of ales, lagers, stouts and saisons. This year’s conference was the biggest ever in terms of attendees, with more than 13,600 attending the three-day conference and exposition.

The NHB’s booth was buzzing with brewers, each excited about our honey tasting. Visitors to our booth got to try four distinctly different varietals, including Florida Tupelo, Orange Blossom, Northwestern Meadowfoam and Buckwheat.

Most brewers that stopped by for the tastings were surprised to find that there are more than 300 varieties of honey in the United States alone.

In addition to the tastings, we also talked to attendees about the technical science behind brewing with honey. Our recently-completed brewing with honey research was handed out, and we collected more than 200 names of brewers that wanted us to send them further information and research as completed. The NHB also launched a fun new honey brewing t-shirt that was very popular at the event.

Once again, the Craft Brewers Conference proved beneficial in promoting honey to an audience of interested brewers ready to create new honey brews. We look forward to seeing what these attendees brew up!




Pollinators and Pollinator Habitat Seminar Series

The Chicago Botanic Garden and Pheasants Forever, Inc. are presenting a new series of seminars on pollinators that will be of interest to master gardeners, beekeepers, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone interested in learning more about pollinators, monarch butterflies and their critical habitat needs.  

Seminar 1: The Value of Pollinators

Learn about the important role pollinators play as indicators of our environmental health to agricultural success, the role of honey bees in commercial pollination, impacts on our economy, and how their habitat requirements match those of many wildlife species. The Midwestern landscape has experienced many changes in the last decade which have had impacts on a wide range of wildlife including Monarch butterflies, native pollinators, grassland songbirds, pheasants, and quail. Learn about the inter-related roles of pollinator habitat and environmental health. 

Friday, July 29th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden Linnaeus Room, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. ~ $37 nonmember, members receive 20% discount. 

Seminar 2: How to Establish and Manage the Best Pollinator Habitat

The importance of having access to high quality habitat that offers nutritious forage for the health and success of pollinators cannot be overstated! This class will provide specific information about how to select important plant species to include in pollinator plantings, establishment techniques, management of pollinator habitat, and other key considerations for producing successful habitat projects. This presentation will provide valuable information on how to provide nutritious forage for honey bees, monarch butterflies, native bees and the best possible habitat for grassland songbirds and upland wildlife.

Friday, July 29th from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Chicago Botanic Garden Linnaeus Room, 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. ~ $37 nonmember, members receive 20% discount. 

Seminar Presenter: Peter Berthelsen, Pheasants Forever Director of Habitat Partnerships is a wildlife biologist of 33 years with experience working with landowners to deliver high quality habitat projects. He has received many awards for his work. Join him in this new seminar series as we discuss a wide range of topics related to pollinators and wildlife in the Midwest and Great Plains.

For more information or to register for the seminars, please contact:

https://register.chicagobotanic.org/ (The seminars are listed in the ‘Horticulture’ section).

Or call 847-835-5440.

Pre-registration is required for the seminars.  

Honey Queen Buzz  

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

June is the time to really focus on our bees. Many of Queen Kim’s and Princess Tabitha’s appearances in June were designed to help consumers focus on bees and their importance in society!

Each of our representatives participated in several promotions in their local areas in June, including an elementary school presentation, a speech before a city council, an appearance at a local bee club meeting, a dairy breakfast highlighting honey and a pasture walk highlighting bees’ importance in pollination.

Queen Kim spent a week in Connecticut at a variety of events and venues where she promoted the importance of honey bees in pollination. Her events ranged from museum presentations, local park events, presentations at pick-your-own fruit venues and media interviews. She was also a guest presenter at the Connecticut Beekeepers Association’s 125th anniversary convention.

Both Queen Kim and Princess Tabitha worked with the Pollinator Stewardship Council and the Ohio State Beekeepers Association in June. Over the course of two weeks, the Queens promoted in venues in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, stressing the importance of protecting our pollinators during National Pollinator week. The Honey Queen Program was pleased to team up with organizations working to protect pollinators! Our representatives gave speeches throughout the events and worked at numerous exhibits set up by the various beekeeping groups in the areas. Special thanks to Michele Colopy for arranging their visits.

Pollinator Week is a great time to promote honey, beekeeping and the work of our industry for all consumers. There are great events that happen throughout the country with which the Queen program would love to partner in coming years. Contact me to discuss your event for next June! Happy promoting!

Queen Kim visited Lyman Orchards for story time, rolling beeswax candles, answering questions at the observation hive and demonstrating her favorite recipe– honey blondies! (That recipe was featured in the May 2016 issue of E-Buzz.)

Princess Tabitha with City Council members in her hometown, Nevada, TX, where they officially declared July 7, 2016, as "Tabitha Mansker Day.”


ABF Research Grant Recipient Announced


Congratulations to Vyacheslav Strogolov, winner of the ABF Research Grant for his project entitled "Role of commensal microbes in honey bee health and defense from infections." Vyacheslav will receive a small grant to continue the project. 


Bee Thinking

No one guessed last month's riddle correctly! We've added a stanza to the clues. 

Think you know the answer? 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.       

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

  • 7 Ways You Can Keep ‘Buzzy’ to Help Bees – Even if You Live in The City. Read More.
  • Changes in Goldenrod, a Key Source of Honey Bee NutritionRead more.
  • New Insights on How Bees Battle Deadly Varroa Mite by Grooming. Read More.
  • How Honeybees Make Our Beer Even More DeliciousRead More.
  • Keepers study impact of honey bees' struggle against parasiteRead More.
  • How do honey bees reproduce without males? Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members - May 2016

  • Jennifer McBee
  • Paul Snapp

Recipe of the Month: Peaches & Cream Breakfast Smoothie

In most states, peak peach season is in July. You’ll have this recipe in plenty of time! 


1 C. milk (can use unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk)

1 large peach

½ C. nonfat vanilla yogurt

1 Tbsp. HONEY

Dash of cinnamon

Ice cubes



Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.


Source: 2016 American Honey Queen Brochure, from www.willcookforsmiles.com

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