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ABF E-Buzz: March 2016
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ABF E-Buzz — March 2016

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

"All Nature seems at work.  Slugs leave their lair

The bees are stirring, birds are on the wing,

And Winter slumbering in the open air,

Wears on his smiling face a dream of spring."

-   Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Welcome back! I hope your March is one that holds promise for a good year. I've been talking to beekeepers around the Midwest these past few weeks, and the overwintering seems to be a total mixed bag from some reports of beekeepers with a few hives loosing no bees over the winter to those with 90% losses.  Here with my own bees, our losses since last June are looking to be around 55%, which I guess could have been worse. There's so much going on right now in the field of bee research in order to discover just what is causing the heavy yearly losses that beekeepers are experiencing, and while there's more evidence that pesticides play a role, it's a multivariable situation with nutrition, mites, viruses and even climate change all being contributing factors -- and your location determines what is affecting you most. 

I had a great time at the Kansas Honey Producers meeting two weeks ago where Dr. Diana Sammataro was speaking on her work studying the flora in the bees’ gut.  One of the things they have found is that honey bees all over the world have the same yeasts, beneficial bacteria and fungi. If they are similar everywhere, it means they have evolved with the bee and are beneficial to the bees’ survival. In looking at bees today versus what we saw twenty years ago, there's no doubt that today’s bees are just not healthy. It could be that an improper diet, antibiotics or viruses and pesticides are all affecting the levels of gut flora that help the bee deal with all of these environmental challenges. I know that when I take antibiotics, my gut flora gets completely wiped out and I am not a healthy camper. It's something that needs better investigation and a bit more science.  

It appears that theft of colonies has been an issue again in the almond groves with as many as 1700 colonies being reported as stolen. Apparently 70 hives were stolen from Olivarez Honey Bees in the Chico area; however, they were recovered when a beekeeper noticed that some of the marked hives were in an orchard farther south than where the company normally rents colonies.  So the offender was eventually caught, and it's important that growers and beekeepers keep an eye out for simple things like this beekeeper noticed. Some growers are actually hiring security to protect the hives in their groves, which is critically important because colonies are worth over $200.00 each in most cases at current levels of pollination prices. 

I had a great time at the Arkansas Beekeepers meeting this past weekend and shared the agenda with David Westervelt. It's always fun meeting new beekeeping folk around the country and helping novice beekeepers get started on the right foot.  Driving back through the hills of Arkansas, it was nice to see mountains and a diversity of habitats that I am sure are much more conducive to a diverse diet for their bees down there. Of course there are lots of agricultural areas of Arkansas with cotton, corn and soybeans being produced along the delta areas and the river bottoms, but the areas in the north and northwest parts of the state are beautiful and are a boon for those wanting to live in the mountains and among the trees. 

Once again, we thank you all for stopping by and taking time to be with us here at the ABF E-Buzz.  We have some great news from our Honey Queen and Princess, who have been having a great time starting their year with some bee beards and lots of radio and television interviews. There's also an update on the Kids and Bees program from Sarah Red-Laird, a fantastic new recipe, lots of buzzmakers, up-to-date news on bees and a new riddle.  We also hope that you stay tuned to our Facebook page for the American Beekeeping Federation, Kids and Bees and the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. Please visit them all and stay up to date on a daily basis with what's happening with the bees. 

Till next month, have a great time, and we hope your bees are healthy.

Legislative Buzz

by Gene Brandi, ABF President 

MP3 Symposium: 

ABF Board members Joan Gunter, Bob Sears, Past President George Hansen, and I attended a symposium in Washington D.C. on March 10-11 to discuss the development of Managed Pollinator Protection Plans (MP3s). The meeting, which was sponsored by EPA, USDA, NASDA (National Association of State Departments of Agriculture), and the Honey Bee Health Coalition was designed to provide the tools, insights and relationships necessary for state, tribal, and other stakeholders to pursue the development of MP3 plans effectively and efficiently. MP3 plans, as discussed at the symposium, are voluntary and proposed as a means of opening lines of communication between beekeepers and growers and/or pesticide applicators. Increased communication can be beneficial, but it is only the first step in helping to improve the situation, as communication alone will not necessarily decrease the impact of pesticide exposure to bees and other pollinators.  The ABF position, which I stressed, is that clear, enforceable pesticide label language is the best means of protecting bees from pesticides. 

Of course the pesticide label language must be based upon accurate, comprehensive risk assessment of the pesticide products. EPA’s suggestion that MP3’s can provide notification to beekeepers so that bees can be removed from areas where pesticides will be applied, is not a practical solution to mitigate the issues honey bees and other pollinators encounter with pesticide exposure.  One government speaker dispelled this concept when he stated that MP3 plans are not a “get out of jail free” card for pesticide applicators!  Clearly, continuous moving of honey bees away from areas where pesticides are applied is neither a practical nor sustainable means of protecting them on a broad scale, given the relative ubiquity of pesticide applications in many parts of the country. It was mentioned that there are several managed pollinators besides honey bees including leaf cutter bees, alkali bees, blue orchard bees, bumblebees, and others.  A number of attendees stressed the fact that all pollinators need protection from pesticide exposure and most of them cannot be moved. It was evident that many attendees did not have an understanding or appreciation of the problems bees and other pollinators face with exposure to pesticides.  One state representative told me that beekeepers surveyed in his state place pesticides at the bottom of their list of problems.  Knowing that particular state and its pesticide problems, I wonder which beekeepers participated in the survey. 

Even though this symposium was convened in order to specifically discuss protecting bees from pesticides, frequent mentions of varroa, bee management issues, and comments that beekeepers just need more education were prevalent amongst some speakers and others with whom I spoke in the hallways between sessions. I stressed that beekeepers are just like farmers in many ways, since we must contend with a multitude of issues as we endeavor to maintain the health of our bees, but certainly exposure to pesticides is one of the most serious issues we face. There are many challenges to the possible success of MP3 plans, not the least of which is that voluntary programs are impossible to enforce.   The fact that a group of more than 150 people gathered to discuss protecting bees from pesticides is positive, irrespective of the fact that some tried to deflect the issue.  I truly hope that symposium attendees were enlightened by the beekeepers in attendance who have been dealing with pesticide issues for many, many years.

 EPA Imidacloprid Comments: 

The comment period for EPA’s Preliminary Pollinator Risk Assessment for Imidacloprid has been extended until April 14.  The ABF continues to develop comments which we will submit jointly with the American Honey Producers Association. EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to review the risk assessment and related documents, and submit comments to the docket at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844.  According to EPA, all comments submitted to the docket will be considered in the final risk assessment.

GMO Labeling: 

Genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) have been in the news lately as  the Vermont law, which requires that products containing genetically engineered ingredients be labeled, is scheduled to become effective on July 1, 2016.  In an effort to negate this law and prevent other states from enacting similar legislation, a bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate which would have called for voluntary disclosure of GMO ingredients nationally, while prohibiting states from enacting their own GMO labeling requirements.  This bill failed to garner support and died in the Senate.  Discussions surrounding the possibility of another Senate bill which could head off the implementation of the Vermont law, before July 1 are ongoing.  It is clear that the majority of consumers want to know whether or not the foods they buy contain genetically engineered ingredients.  The debate continues as to whether or not GMO labeling of foods will be required nationally or allowed on a state by state basis. The good news is that according to the European Union, Australia, several other countries, and the state of Vermont, honey is a non-GMO food as defined by their adopted standards. 

Bee Educated: ABF's 2016 Webinar Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" 

New sessions are coming up and new archived sessions are now available!

Click here to register!

The 15 Most Important Things To Know In Beekeeping

Monday, March 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

Blake Shook, owner of Desert Creek Honey and ABF board member



Have you ever wondered what some of the most important things to know about are in all of beekeeping, no matter how many hives you have? Join us for a discussion about what is most relevant in keeping your bees healthy and alive, marketing honey, and helping you be the most successful beekeeper possible.

Nutrition Management for Robust Populations
Tuesday, April 19, 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
Lance Wilson, certified Master Beekeeper from University of Georgia and Young Harris College GMBP

We will look at what bees eat and the impacts of nutrition on colony health. Protein flow dynamics in the superorganism will be examined along with management and timing strategies that promote large populations. We will finish with how to identify nectar and pollen flows, stored resources and feeding strategies to avoid nutritional stress.


2016 Almond Bloom Spray Issues Survey

Recent reports indicate that many beekeepers have noticed significant loss of brood in their colonies about two weeks after fungicides and/or fungicide/IGR combinations were applied to blooming almonds.  In many cases the hive entrances have been clogged with dead young fuzzy bees and pupae that failed to hatch.  All beekeepers who experience such losses are encouraged to file a report of loss with the agricultural commissioner’s office in the county where the loss took place.  If no report is filed, there is a rebuttable presumption that no loss occurred

If you experienced such brood losses in your colonies that pollinated almonds, please fill out and send in the following survey.  

Kids and Bees at EAS

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


Located just 10 minutes west of Atlantic City, this year’s Eastern Apicultural Society (EAS) conference, July 25-29, is coming together as one of the best EAS events ever.  Presenters include James Frazier and Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Jeff Pettis and Medhat Nasr, Maryann Fraizier, David Tarpy and myself.  I will be teaching each day this year, and there are two opportunities to participate with Kids and Bees!   


I will bring our “Kids and Bees” interactive exhibit to the EAS Conference on July 27, 2016.  Kids and their families are invited to campus for a brief and entertaining honey bee lesson, followed by hands-on exhibits.  The exhibit session will consist of activities including beeswax foundation candle rolling; honey, pollen and propolis tasting; a microscope station with bee body parts and pollen; a bee/human nutrition station where kids learn about the importance of planting for honey bees and also their connection to our food; a bee finger puppet making station, an observational beehive; and a display with hive parts, educational frames, and beekeeping equipment.  


The program will begin at 2 pm and closes at 3 pm.  The Kids and Bees EAS Fly In Program is limited to 30 kids, and is best suited for grades K-5.


Registration: http://eas2016flyin.eventbrite.com

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1036960646326797 


This is a dual purpose program in which EAS invites local kids to join us for an hour-long program and EAS attendees will have a chance to volunteer for the program and also to get ideas and an outline to take home and develop, or build on, their own Kids and Bees program. The first 30 minutes will be a “train the trainer” briefing, then we’ll invite the kids’ group in for an hour where attendees will observe and participate in the program. The last 20 minutes will be a debrief and Q&A session, and you will leave with an education pack full of ideas and resources. Please pre-register here for this course so we can send additional details prior to the session.


Registration: http://easkidsandbeesworkshop.eventbrite.com

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1025098790860563


We are also offering The Kids and Bees EAS Beekeeping Academy for the third year in a row.  This is a one-day camp for up to twelve kids going into grades 4 through 6. Students will spend their day in a fun and educational immersion in the world of the bee. During the morning hours, we will take an in-depth look into bee anatomy, biology, and sociology, and their vital role in our food system. The afternoon will be spent up close and personal with honey bee hives and native bee observations. Throughout the day, students will learn about present challenges bees face and how they can be part of the solution in the bees’ survival.

Exact drop-off and pick-up location will be sent to students the week before the academy.

The camp will run on Thursday, July 28, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Stockton University in New Jersey. Students can register at www.easbeeacademy2016.eventbrite.com. The 2016 Bee Academy is a collaboration between the Eastern Apicultural Society, the Foundation for the Preservation of Bees, Stockton University, and Bee Girl.


Registration: http://www.easbeeacademy2016.eventbrite.com

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1525520034417682


If you would like more information on how to register for EAS, visit: http://www.easternapiculture.org

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


National Honey Board Launches New Online Catalog

The National Honey Board (NHB) has launched an online catalog for members of the honey industry. In a continued effort to provide materials to help promote honey, the NHB has made available to all industry members various materials that can be used to educate the public about the story and benefits of honey. These materials are available at little to no cost and can be displayed in storefronts as well as at farmer’s markets and other community events.


The new online tool, found at www.nhbcatalog.com, brings the NHB into the digital age and simplifies the ordering process. This new catalog offers honey industry members clear product descriptions and photos of available materials. Some of the items available include educational brochures, promotional items and even a newly redesigned freebie. The online catalog has streamlined the ordering process.


While previous freebies and favorite items are still available, the NHB started off 2016 with the creation of the completely redesigned Sweet Honey Recipes for the Everyday Cook. This vibrant, accordion-style brochure features eight delicious recipes that showcase the many functions of honey in the kitchen, in a sleek new design. Sweet Honey Recipes for the Everyday Cook is available in limited quantities to industry members at no cost.


In addition to educational materials and recipe brochures, the NHB’s numerous promotional items, great for farmer’s markets and festivals, are available for purchase online. These items include the NHB’s exclusive honey vanilla lip balms, honey bee stickers, spatulas, tumblers and honey tote bags. Also available for the first time are the NHB’s honey bear mascot costumes. These limited-edition bears were created for the NHB in 2015 and are top of the line in mascot design. Each unit includes a battery-operated fan in the headpiece, as well as underarm vents for keeping cool and comfortable.


The catalog will be updated as products sell out and new products become available. For ordering assistance, please contact Andrea Brening, the NHB’s fulfillment coordinator, at 303-776-2337. 

Honey Queen Buzz  

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

2016 Honey Queen Kim Kester of Wisconsin talks to a student group in Houston. 

March definitely rolled in like a lion in the Midwest, and here’s hoping that it goes out like a lamb.  Our spokespersons roared into March with many exciting stops this year! 

Queen Kim and Princess Tabitha had one more opportunity to collaborate and work together during the Florida Bee College outside Jacksonville in early February.  I extend a special thanks to Dr. Jamie Ellis and his staff for making the Queens’ visit possible, allowing them to further their honey bee education. The Queens also spoke about the program and ABF membership while taking in a lot of extensive information about beekeeping in southern climates. This course is a perfect complement to the course they recently took in Minnesota in February.  Queen Kim also had a wonderful opportunity to learn about beekeeping in the mountain west with a stop at the Wyoming Bee College, and Princess Tabitha furthered her beekeeping knowledge at the Bluegrass Beekeeping School in Kentucky.




Princess Tabitha at Froggy 101 WVKY-FM in Frankfort, KY.

Significant travel poured down during the remaining weeks of March.  Princess Tabitha participated in a variety of events in the Frankfort, Kentucky, and Hartford, Connecticut, regions during March.  These unique events included activities ranging from school presentations to media interviews, community honey promotions, and legislative activities.  She had direct, one-on-one promotional contact with state legislators in both states and even had time to speak with Kentucky’s new governor. Queen Kim also took part in legislative activities at Wisconsin’s Ag Day at the Capitol in mid-March, talking about the importance of honeybee habitat with state legislators.  

Queen Kim also traveled to Texas to participate in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with the Harris County Beekeepers Association.  In addition to working at the organization’s expansive honeybee education exhibit at the Show, she had the opportunity to speak in area schools.  Kim even had the chance to stop in her hometown in Wisconsin to give presentations to high school students in family and consumer sciences, teaching the students how versatile and diverse honey can be in recipes and daily use. 

Our national spokespersons will continue with local educational visits in April, along with a couple of exciting stops in other states.  Please contact me as soon as possible to arrange a visit to your state, as our summer calendar is filling rapidly!  Happy promoting!

Bee Thinking


Here is another riddle to ponder. 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'm not any good

till I'm inside out.

I'll travel in a bunch

as I move about. 

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Texas Beekeepers Association will be hosting its annual TBA Summer Clinic, June 18, in Conroe, Texas. This year, we are proud to be featuring as our Keynote Speaker, Ross Conrad! For More information contact the Texas Beekeepers Association.
  • The Beekeeper's Role: Ensuring Honey Bee Health on Working Agricultural Lands from Honey Bee Health Coalition. Read more.
  • The Grower's Role: Ensuring Honey Bee Health on Working Agricultural Lands from Honey Bee Health Coalition.  Learn More.
  • France Moves Towards Full Ban on Pesticides Blamed for Harming Bees.  Read More.
  • U.S. Agencies Need Better Data to Protect Bees, Watchdog Says. Learn More.
  • USDA Announces $260 Million Available for Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Read More. 
  • What's In A Starbucks Caramelized Honey Latte? This Sweet Treat Is The Perfect Transition Into Springtime. Learn More. 
  • Bees Bring a Hive of Possibilities to Magnolia Gardens. Read More. 

ABF Welcomes New Members -February 2016

  • Hailemarian Adugna 
  • Janice Andrews
  • Alyssa Asteya
  • Bob Baker
  • Jody Blankenship
  • William Castelli
  • Michael Chiarelli
  • Peggy Clemons
  • James Craig
  • Gail Dean
  • Keith Dibble
  • James Dove
  • Randy Erickson
  • Doug Ferguson
  • Michael Frady
  • Christie Griffin
  • Aaron Hicks
  • Dan Johnson
  • Shairon Kerlin
  • Mary Lacksen
  • Josh Langston
  • Scott Macdonald
  • Ken Matley
  • Kris McInnes


  • Mike McIver
  • Rob Meeks
  • Myla Meier
  • Richard Meyer
  • JD MoodyBill
  • Billie Murdoch
  • Todd Nelson
  • Karyn Palanzo
  • Janelle Perez
  • Joel Price
  • Bexaida Ramirez
  • Dan Rank
  • John Rintoul
  • Jeannie Saum
  • Steve Schwertfeger
  • Janet Shagam
  • Judy Steigert
  • Jennifer Svare
  • Patricia Thearle
  • Samuel Torres
  • Darren Upfield
  • Jeff Warren
  • Harry Watkins
  • Ken Weeks
  • John Wilcox



 Recipe of the Month: Safari Honey-Butter-Cinnamon Popcorn

Source: National Honey Board


2 tablespoons - honey

1/2 cup- corn kernels, popped to yield approximately six cups of popcorn

2 tablespoons - butter

1/4 teaspoon - cinnamon

Pinch of sea salt



Air pop or microwave the corn kernels and transfer to a large bowl. 

In a small microwave safe dish, add butter, honey, cinnamon and salt. Place in microwave for 20-30 seconds until butter is melted.

Using a fork, combine the honey-butter mixture. Pour over popcorn and toss until the mixture is distributed throughout. 


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