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ABF E-Buzz: June 2015
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ABF E-Buzz — June 2015

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF President

Clover tall and blooming here, And there amongst it's sisters,

Echinacea, bee balm and milkweed in ditches.

Fly fast little bee, increase your riches.

For gone, gone, gone. Gone is fickle May.

These four weeks will bring the summer,

When trumpet vines sing To the fast flying hummer.

Drink me, share me. This sunny June day.

Savor the sweet, sweet Smell of fresh hay.

For June will be history and past us like May.

- Tim Tucker

Welcome back! It's the month we have awaited for many long months now. I hope your honey supers are stacked high and filling up. This spring in the Midwest we have seen record rains in some areas. Our total for May was almost 13 inches and the lakes and rivers here are full to overflowing. Our lake that sits south of us is almost 20 feet over normal pool levels. I wish we could pipe some of this to California where they are in their fourth year of drought and things are getting serious, with their lake levels being in some cases only 5% to 7% of normal pool. Terrible!

As ABF Vice President Gene Brandi says in his government relations report, we had a great trip to D.C. last week and it was time well spent. Gene and I had a chance to visit the vegetable gardens around the USDA building. The entire building is surrounded by plantings of squash, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and greens replacing just blooming flowers. It really changes the looks of things.

We also visited with Melinda Cep and we were surprised to hear that part of the USDA plan to improve habitat for pollinators was a 35-corridor development that would run the entire length of I-35 from Texas to Minnesota. I actually have driven almost all of this highway, except for a few miles in southern Texas. This is a main route that centers in the path of Monarch migration. Working to improve habitat along these main arteries across the country can be a good step in the direction of improving habitat and restoring populations of all pollinators. No, it's not the cure-all, but it is a turn in the direction we need to be headed.

There are over 20 million acres of rights of way along our nation’s highways, and if these areas were allowed to produce season-long forage for bees, we could find areas near these highways on neighboring farms where bees could have access to this forage. We could also move as the bloom moves, starting out at the bottom of I-35 and ending up in the northern areas. There are also lots of other highways in the Midwest that if left to bloom would be beneficial.

For the past several years we have pushed for the Bee Highways Act, which was legislation pointed at doing this, but there was never any good non-partisan support for the bill. It would have advised states on how to maintain their roads and U.S. highways to best provide for season long nectar production, and at the same time reduce maintenance costs for the states while still achieving their goals of vegetation management.

I will soon be meeting with our county officials who have been killing all of our wildflowers along our country roads here for the past few years. The recent one has eliminated almost every clover plant for miles and miles. To blanket-spray broadleaf weed killers when they are targeting a few plants of Russian thistle here and there is really a waste of herbicide and works against programs we are attempting to implement across the country. I find it unimaginable that we are talking about spending tens of millions of dollars to improve habitat and at the same time destroying it.

I hope that we can work with the states in improving how we are managing nectar producing plants and protecting our honey bees and all pollinators. There is so much to do and it's all going to take time but I do hope that we can cut our bee losses by 50%, which is the goal of the Presidential Task Force. I am always encouraged that there are so many people working to help us.

Well, again I hope you find your time here well spent. There's much for you to peruse in your spare time between working bees, maintaining your garden and mowing the grass of course! We have some great articles, including a membership and donation challenge to you all from the Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association. There's also another brand new recipe and riddle for you to ponder. Thanks for sharing ABF E-Buzz with your friends, and check out the daily news updates on our American Beekeeping Facebook page. We are hoping to get to 8,000 likes this month. Till July, have a bee-utiful summer!

Legislative Buzz

by ABF Vice President Gene Brandi 

ABF President Tim Tucker and I spent time in Washington D.C. earlier this month meeting with various individuals and agencies to discuss the recent release of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. While we continue to develop the full ABF response to this federal strategy, it was important to meet with some of the individuals who were instrumental in developing this extensive report. Fran Boyd, of Meyers and Associates, accompanied us to all of the meetings, and representatives of the American Honey Producers Association attended the USDA and Minor Crop Farmer Alliance meetings as well.

Our first meeting was with Melinda Cep, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, and Bruce Rodan, from the Office of Science and Technology of the Executive Office of the President. We discussed the USDA portion of the Task Force recommendations, including USDA-ARS honey bee research and how the bee industry can best work with numerous federal agencies to improve honey bee forage opportunities. There was also a discussion of the advantages of developing Memoranda of Understanding with various federal agencies, such as FSA, NRCS, EPA, and the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist, among others. We firmly believe that the future of the beekeeping industry can be brighter if the federal agencies involved in this “all hands on deck” effort will do their part to legitimately improve pollinator health.

We met with representatives of the House and Senate committees on agriculture to discuss the Task Force report and the ABF plans to work with the federal agencies to maximize their contributions to this effort. There are indications that there will be additional Congressional hearings later this year to hear testimony on the progress of the efforts proposed in the Task Force report.

A meeting with the Minor Crop Farmer Alliance filled most of one afternoon as we discussed pesticide issues and how we view the best opportunities to move forward in the effort to better protect pollinators from pesticides. This group consisted of several agricultural/chemical industry representatives as well as representatives from the American Farm Bureau Federation. We plan to continue discussions with this group as we endeavor to educate the agricultural industry about the pesticide issues which impact our bees in many parts of the country and how we believe the situation can be improved.

Several EPA officials met with Tim Tucker, Fran Boyd and I to discuss their portion of the Task Force report, as well as the recent release of EPA’s Proposal to Mitigate Exposure to Bees from Acutely Toxic Pesticide Products. This latest proposal is relatively narrow in scope, as it only suggests that certain toxic pesticides be prohibited from foliar applications on blooming crops that bees are pollinating under contract pollination services. There are many uncertainties and questions about this proposal, one of which is the EPA definition of a contract, since many agreements with beekeepers and growers are merely a handshake and not in writing.

We expressed our concerns that pesticide exposure from crops (or any blooming plants) other than those which bees pollinate under contract are a major source of pesticide problems for bees, and that systemic applications of pesticides are an issue as well as foliar applications. The ABF plans to submit formal written comments on this proposal, in conjunction with the AHPA. The EPA recently announced that it has extended the comment period on the proposal an additional 30 days, ending July 29. If you wish to comment personally, please visit the regulatory docket for the proposal to protect bees from acutely toxic pesticides, EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0818, to read the plan and submit comments.

Bee Educated: ABF's 2015 Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinars Continue in June

This is an ABF member benefit. Please visit our ABF website for more information and to sign up.

Protecting Beekeepers with Mapping Systems

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST

David Westervelt, Assistant Chief, Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection.



This will cover the process of developing mapping systems to track bee yards and protect beekeepers. Citrus production, honey production and pollination services continue to be important and valued industries within Florida’s agricultural community, creating jobs and contributing significantly to Florida’s economy. Today, citrus growers and beekeepers are facing serious challenges that threaten their economic viability. Growers are combating the spread of a devastating disease, citrus greening, which is vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid. The citrus industry is searching for long term solutions such as the development of disease-tolerant citrus cultivars and other options, but until such solutions can be implemented, growers must rely on critical applications of insecticides to control the psyllid. Meanwhile, beekeepers in Florida and beyond continue to grapple with colony declines which are thought to be caused by multiple stressors, such as parasitic Varroa mites that also carry pathogens, bee forage of limited quality, and environmental contaminants.

To promote the coexistence of these two iconic agricultural industries in Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) has consulted with citrus growers, beekeepers, University of Florida –Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF-IFAS) and other interested stakeholders to identify voluntary measures aimed at mitigating insecticide risks to honeybees while allowing citrus growers to continue insecticide application practices that are needed to combat citrus greening.

This application has been provided to support this program's goals by offering a method to bolster communication between these two industries.

Source: Recommendations to Improve Beekeeper and Citrus Grower Cooperation and to Enhance Bee Health and Citrus Production About the presenter: David Westervelt of Umatilla, Florida, started keeping bees when he was 6 years old and later founded D & J Apiary with his father, John. He has worked with bees for over 46 years, including during his time in the military, in a variety of locations, including Florida, North Dakota, New York, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Costa Rica and Peru. After the military, David began working for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, first as a Bee Inspector, and later as Environmental Specialist I, Researcher, Protection Specialist Supervisor of region I and Assistant Chief of Apiary Inspection Section. His research has focused on Varroa mites, tracheal mites, American foulbrood, small hive beetles and Nosema.

About the presenter: 

David Westervelt of Umatilla, Florida, started keeping bees when he was 6 years old and later founded D & J Apiary with his father, John. He has worked with bees for over 46 years, including during his time in the military, in a variety of locations, including Florida, North Dakota, New York, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Costa Rica and Peru. After the military, David began working for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, first as a Bee Inspector, and later as Environmental Specialist I, Researcher, Protection Specialist Supervisor of region I and Assistant Chief of Apiary Inspection Section. His research has focused on Varroa mites, tracheal mites, American foulbrood, small hive beetles and Nosema.

Call for Presentations for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow 


Theme: Palm Trees and Healthy Bees

Mark your calendars and save the date for the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. ABF is pleased to announce that the call for presentations is now open. If you have important beekeeping research to share, a best practice in beekeeping or a proven track record with keeping the hives alive, we want to hear from you.

Please complete the call for presentations submission form and return to Tara Zeravsky no later than July 8th. The conference committee will review all submissions to put together the most informative conference agenda. You will be notified of your participation in early September. As a reminder, all presenters receive complimentary registration to the conference. All other expenses are the responsibility of the presenter.

Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association Challenge

by John Talbert


The Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association (CCHBA), located in McKinney, Texas, recognizes the leadership and focus of the American Beekeeping Federation toward representing the honey and beekeeping industry. In support of that effort, CCHBA is providing $1.00 per CCHBA family ($250 total) as an ABF association membership fee, $1.00 per CCHBA family ($250 total) as a donation to the legislative fund, and $2.00 per CCHBA family ($500 total) as a contribution to the effort to bring the world beekeeping congress Apimondia to the United States in 2019.

As a local association focusing on providing a monthly forum for the education and fellowship of beekeepers, we recognize that our individual impact might be small on a national or international level, but when united with others we speak with a much louder and more powerful voice. There is a distinct need for beekeepers to be heard at all levels of government and ABF is providing that voice. Beekeepers also need to know more about what is happening in the rest of the world and bringing Apimondia to our shores will go a long ways toward filling that need.

We therefore challenge all the other local associations to match or exceed our contributions toward keeping ABF a recognized and effective voice of the industry. Together we can make great things happen!!  

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


National Honey Board Accepting Bee Research Pre-Proposals

Firestone, Colo., June 15, 2015 –The National Honey Board (NHB) is currently requesting research pre-proposals for projects focused on honey bee colony production. The NHB is open to projects that find new methods of maintaining honey bee health, and those that combine current methods to increase efficacy rates.

For 2016 funding, the NHB is specifically looking for the following types of pre-proposals:

1. Research leading to a practical control of varroa mite in commercial beekeeping operations.

2. Follow-up research on a project which demonstrated a potential for practical application, but further study is advised. Special consideration will be given to research projects the NHB previously funded.

3. An innovative research project that might not fit the vogue or current thinking, and therefore might not be considered for regular funding.

4. Other projects will be considered and research outside the U.S. is possible.

Please submit a one page outline for the research project you are proposing to the NHB by July 24, 2015. This one page outline should include: the project title and principal researcher, objective or problem to be solved, proposed methodology, timeline and budget requirements. You will be notified by August 14, 2015 if your pre-proposal is approved by the NHB for further consideration. Then, you will be given an additional eight weeks to submit an in-depth research proposal.

The timeframe for projects being funded should generally not exceed 12 months. However, the NHB is open to larger, multi-year projects with the understanding that funding for subsequent years would be contingent on funding availability. The amount of funds available for a particular proposal will depend on the number and merit of proposals accepted. The NHB is anticipating approximately $350,000 in funding will be available for approved projects in 2016. Pre-proposals must be received at the National Honey Board office by 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time, July 24, 2015. Pre-proposals received after the deadline will not be considered. Instructions on how to submit a research proposal may be found on the NHB website.

The National Honey Board (NHB) 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.

Honey Education Events 2015

The National Honey Board hit the road last month to share with consumers the many reasons why we’re so passionate about honey, in our 2015 Honey Educational Events.

Three cities were chosen to host our Honey Education Events, including Seattle, WA, Washington, DC and Austin, TX. The events were created to teach consumers about the versatility of honey as more than just a culinary ingredient. While honey adds sweetness to your favorite sauces and glazes, it also has a multitude of functional benefits, including extending the shelf life of baked products, and attracting and retaining moisture, just to name a few. Honey is also great as a cough suppressant and natural energy booster, and can even be added to your beauty routine!

The event was broken into four key learning stations for guest to visit, each showcasing a unique aspect of honey’s versatility. The first station was all about the honey bees and how honey is made. We even had a demonstration hive for attendees to check out. The next station was all about how honey can soothe the irritation caused by a cough. We featured our Honey Lemon Coughsicles recipe, which can be found on our website. Our third station led attendees through a honey tasting, showcasing the different varietals of honey and how each can effect a multitude of dishes based on their flavor profile and color. Finally, our last learning station led our guests though the process of creating their very own DIY Honey Grapefruit Salt Scrub, touting honey’s ability to hold and retain moisture, which makes honey an excellent ingredient for beauty treatments.

If all the learning stations weren’t enough, we also provided guests with a wide variety of honey-inspired foods, like Baby Back Ribs with Chipotle Honey Barbecue Sauce and Velvety Honey-Chocolate Pudding, recipes courtesy of Marie Simmons. We also featured the delicious Backyard NOLA Swingers, recipe courtesy of our spokesperson Chef David Guas.

The events were very well received and attendees raved about how much they learned, as well as how much fun they had. It’s always a pleasure being in the company of other honey-lovers!

Honey Queen Buzz 

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Gabrielle at a Women's Club Meeting

June brings us into prime beekeeping business and activities. It also traditionally provides the Queens a bit of a breather from busy travel, making time for local promotions. That’s just what it did this year for Queen Gabrielle and Princess Hayden.

They both participated in several events in their home states of Iowa and Texas respectively. Their events included state beekeeping meetings, Pollinator Awareness Week activities at festivals and farmers’ markets, civic group meetings, and elected body meetings.

Princess Hayden was a guest speaker at two local Rotary clubs and a local library. One of Hayden’s goals this year is to reach adults and children through a variety of civic and related organizations. These include Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Kiwanis Clubs, Jaycees, and other adult organizations that meet on a regular basis. Please consider scheduling her to speak to one of your local organizations when she visits your area. Other presentation options include local libraries and after school programs, such as the Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H and FFA groups. Even if you aren’t a member of such an organization, they are often pleased to have a free, vibrant speaker who can share some interesting information.

Princess Hayden at a Rotary Club Meeting

Gabrielle made presentations in club and senior center settings, and was a guest speaker at both her city council and county board this month. She had the tremendous opportunity to reach out to government leaders to encourage bee-friendly policies, such as creating natural, high quality forage for honey bees in urban and rural settings. Local governing bodies may allow a guest speaker at their meetings, particularly if your organization is coordinating a proclamation with them as part of your event. Consider having your local area proclaim a honey day, week, or month during the Queen or Princess’s visit to your area, and coordinate them to receive the proclamation and speak on your organization’s behalf to encourage bee-friendly policies!

Pollinator Week is a great opportunity for special promotions. We’d love to have the Queen and Princess participate in your part of the country next year! Thank you to those organizations that coordinated promotions for Gabrielle and Hayden this year! Happy Promoting!

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle was:

"Thinner than a pencil lead am I, Not often tall enough to look you in the eye. Long when you need me long, Short when you like, Never wise to cross me, Better take a hike! Working both day and night I am always on the guard. Love to bee working, Around your bee yard." Robert and Linda Lamonthe got the correct answer: "An electric fence"! 

Here is another one for you to ponder. Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Valerie Lake at valerielake@abfnet.org will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

Yell at me, talk to me, I don't care.

I'll still go with you 'bout anywhere.

I can get you to Bangor, Maine,

Charlotte, Buffalo, Cleveland or maybe even Spain.

There's absolutely nothing I can't do,

I'll even sing a song, or take you to the zoo.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • The FMCSA has granted interstate bee haulers an exemption of the 30-minute break requirement in the hours of service regulations, originally requested by bee farmers in January. Learn More.
  • Parasitic Mites Invade Hives By Copying Bees' 'Chemical Stink.' Read more.
  • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has just released a new report: Literature Review: Pollinator Habitat Enhancement and Best Management Practices in Highway Rights-of-Way. Learn more.
  • Nosema ceranae can infect honey bee larvae and reduces subsequent adult longevity. Read more.
  • EPA is seeking comment on a proposal to adopt mandatory pesticide label restrictions to protect managed bees under contract pollination services from foliar application of pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees on a contact exposure basis.  Learn more.
  • Asheville hotel attracts 70,000 new lodgers ---honey bees. Read more.
  • Bills to protect and promote NJ’s beekeeping industry continue advancing. Learn more.
  • Michelle Obama says it's important to help bees, butterflies and other creatures that spread the pollen that helps food grow. Read more.
  • Ontario is moving to take the sting out of pesticides that are killing bees. On July 1, the province will become the first jurisdiction in North America to begin reducing the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-coated corn and soybean seeds. Learn more.

ABF Welcomes New Members — May 2015

  • Regina Blakeslee, New York 
  • Victoria Brown, North Carolina
  • Naomi Champagne, Rhode Island
  • Melissa Chelminiak, Minnesota
  • Laura Haggarty, Kentucky
  • Corey Kertson, Idaho
  • Steve Kistner, South Dakota
  • Robin Millman, Florida
  • Stephanie Owens, Texas
  • Greg Patton, Oklahoma
  • Jane Quattlebaum, Georgia
  • Sarah Rondeau, Connecticut
  • Steve Southwick
  • Margaret Stueart, Arkansas
  • Shari Tourlitis, North Carolina


Recipe of the Month: Lavender Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting   

Source: https://hotandgold.wordpress.com/

Cupcake Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp blue and 1/2 tsp red food coloring

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

2 1/2 tbsp dried lavender buds

2/3 cup cold milk

Frosting Ingredients: 

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese, softened

4 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp HONEY, plus extra for drizzling


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, adding one egg at a time. Add vanilla extract and food coloring. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and lavender buds. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients slowly, then add milk and stir thoroughly. Pour into pre-lined cupcake pan. Bake 15-17 minutes. Let cupcakes cool, then frost those bad boys! Honey and any leftover lavender buds make a great garnish. (Makes 12 cupcakes) 

Science Buzz 

by Stephen Cutts and Dave Westervelt

With the feral population of honey bees in the southwestern states and Florida growing more and more Africanized, and the increasing number of “Backyard Beekeepers” wanting to manage European colonies, there is a need for African Honey Bee (AHB) education and preparedness. Education and preparedness are the key to proper response to potential stinging incidents, whether these incidents involve honey bees or other native pollinators easily found in Florida. There is also the increasing potential for vehicular accidents involving trucks or a semi loaded with honey bee colonies. For over a decade Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and UF/IFAS have been striving to educate consumers about AHB and the importance of training First Responders.

May 8, 2015: Judy Ludlow, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County, the County’s ESF17 Coordinator, has arranged for First Responder Training in the panhandle to be held at UF/IFAS Extension Washington County at 1424 Jackson Avenue, Chipley, FL 32428. University of Florida IFAS Extension Beekeeping Specialist Dr. William (Bill) Kern, who has trained first responders throughout the southeast, will be teaching: Africanized Honeybee Biology and Behavior; Threat Triage, Personal Protective Equipment; Rescue Tactics, and Situation Outcomes; Field Demonstrations Using PPE and Foam-Equipped Engines.

This Event is Free, but Please Call to Register:

UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County - 850-674-8323, or

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County - 850-638-6180

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