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ABF E-Buzz: September 2015
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ABF E-Buzz — September 2015

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF President

"The air is different today,

the wind sings with a new tone,

sighing of changes coming.

The harvest gathered,

a flower, a nut, some mead, and bread,

a candle and a prayer,

returning the fruits

in thanksgiving to the grove

and receiving it's blessing again."

- Rhawk, Alban Elfed

Welcome back! September is almost gone now, with the equinox nearly a week gone by, and the sun is creeping farther and farther back on the porches length. There is little time left now for gathering what we will before the fall nights bring the frost. I hope again that your honey supers are full and that you are either extracting or perhaps even finished with that chore. We did have a pretty good year compared to some of the past ten or so, but still nothing that we would write home about. I have heard, however, that some are getting very good crops and that honey will be in good supply, and as a result, honey prices have fallen about 30 to 40 cents per pound off of their highs of last year.

I just arrived home from Korea and I can tell you I thoroughly enjoyed the trip with our Apimondia 2019 Bid committee and our guests Terry and Hilda Brown. It was the trip of a lifetime. Given the opportunity, I would go there again even though it is a 13 hour flight from Detroit. Upon arriving, I met up with Racheal Bryson, and we had a good trip by train to the host city of Daejeon, which was about a two hour ride. The bus and rail system there is really phenomenal and the trains run very much on time, to the minute. If they are ahead of schedule, the train will almost coast for the last several miles to get into the station perfectly upon arrival time. We got to our hotels after ten o’clock after being up for more than 30 hours and we were 14 hours ahead of our time zones. Things were a bit sketchy to say the least. We really lost most of our day Monday, and by the time we got to the booth, Debbie and Mike Seib had set up, things were already ready to go.

I will have to say our booth was very well done and the set up was very conducive to talking with people around the format of the space. At one time, I counted fourteen people in our booth talking with members of the committee. Everyone did a great job meeting and greeting people, talking about Minneapolis and why Apimondia should come to America in 2019. I want to thank all of our committee members for going as everyone paid their own expenses, and for some it was a sizeable investment. Throughout the week, I was so impressed by everyone and their ability to reach out to everyone passing the booth. We gave out thousands of packets of Craisins, California Almonds, honey stix and pens. Everyone really loved the almonds and some kept coming back for seconds and thirds.

Both of our presentations went very well and I have to thank Nathan Hermiston and Alicia Schindle for their help in making the movies so incredibly powerful. It just couldn't have been any better. Unfortunately, we were not destined to bring home the gold this time. There were lots of things at play that didn't involve just providing the best booth, the best contact and outreach and the best presentation. It goes deeper than that and we now have a good understanding of just how things are done. It will however be a long time before we can do this again and with the bid going to Montreal it may be twenty years before Apimondia would consider coming back to the North American continent.

But it was, as I said, the experience of a lifetime. Seeing the country side and how farming is done there on a very intense format was amazing. Every square inch of manageable land is utilized fully and they produce some of the largest and best tasting fruit you would see anywhere. One box of nine Oriental pears sells for roughly $59.00. Apples and peaches were almost the size of grapefruits, as the fruit is reduced in number to the point where a tree produces only a small number of them, but they are huge! People there are very respectful and courteous, especially towards Americans. I had a lady on the train come up to Racheal and I and say, “Americans, God bless you!” I stumbled and fell once, tripping over my luggage and there were half a dozen people rushing to help me get up and dusting me off. I really found them to be very nice overall and never saw a single policeman walking around the town centers of Seoul, Daejeon and Songdo. Go there if you get a chance!

This month we have a lot of great items for you to peruse and I hope you find your time well spent once again. We have some more news about the upcoming 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, including information about the Kids and Bees program activities, silent auction, and stylish new ABF gear available to pre-order and pick up at the event. There is also a great article by Peter Berthelsen about the Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership, and an update on the Honey Queen activities. Thanks again for stopping by and we hope you find it time well spent.

Legislative Buzz 

Pollinator Stewardship Council v. EPA: Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act

The panel vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s unconditional registration of sulfoxaflor, and remanded for the EPA to obtain further studies and data regarding the effects of sulfoxaflor on bees, as required by EPA regulations.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act prohibits the use or sale of pesticides that lack approval and registration by the EPA. Petitioners are commercial bee keepers and bee keeping organizations, and they challenge the EPA’s approval of insecticides containing sulfoxaflor, which initial studies showed were highly toxic to bees.

The panel held that because the EPA’s decision to unconditionally register sulfoxaflor was based on flawed and limited data, the EPA’s unconditional approval was supported by substantial evidence. The panel vacated the EPA’s unconditional registration because given the precariousness of bee populations, leaving the EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor in place risked more potential environmental harm than vacating it.

Concurring in the judgment, Judge N.R. Smith agreed with the panel’s decision because he could not say the EPA supported its decision with substantial evidence. He wrote separately to ask the EPA to explain the analysis it conducted, the data it reviewed, and how it relied on the data in making its final decision. Read More.

Bee Educated: ABF's 2015 Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinars Continues 

Primetime with Honey Bees: Public Webinar Series on Beekeeping, Honey Bees and More!

“Bee educated” about honey bees and how you — yes, you — can help reverse their population decline. Join the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) for a free, public three-part webinar series about the basics of beekeeping and honey bees. Sessions are 90 minutes each and allow you to interact with expert beekeepers and ABF members!

Please visit our ABF website for more information and to sign up.

New Beneficial Microbial Supplements For Honey Bees

Tuesday, October 27, 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 / 2:00 p.m. HST

Slava Strogolov, Strong Microbials Inspection.



Commensal, or naturally occuring bacteria promote honeybee health and play an important role in inhibiting honeybee pathogens. Commensal bacteria include Lactic Acid Bacteria, Bacillus, and Yeast. We introduced a direct-fed microbial product containing commensal bacteria, SuperDFM-HoneyBee. DFM-supplemented hives had better 2014-2015 winter survival rate (79%) than control hives (60%). We discuss modes of action of this DFM supplement. We also have new exciting data on developing biological control agents for treating AFB. 

Please log in to your ABF membership account and visit the 'Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar Series" section of the website to register for this webinar.

Primetime with Honey bees: Beekeeping, Honey Bees and More! - Part Three

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

10:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. CT / 8:00 p.m. MT / 7:00 p.m. PT / 6:00 p.m. AKST / 4:00 p.m. HST

Gene Brandi, ABF Vice President and owner of Gene Brandi Apiaries Inspection.



This last session is on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, at 10:00 PM ET. ABF Vice President Gene Brandi shares challenges that beekeepers face and the effects of pesticides on the honey bee population. Beekeepers are losing 30-50% of their hives each year, so this is a pressing issue for all who are interested in the population. Gene will update us on everything that ABF board members and leaders are doing to help reverse the trend, and provides insight into how everyone can lend a helping hand. Register Now! 

Register Today and Join Us for Palm Trees & Healthy Bees in Sunny Florida!  


2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016

Join us for a buzzworthy experience at the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016. The conference will be held at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida. Begin your New Year with mild temperatures and hundreds of fellow beekeepers sharing experiences, best practices and research while making like-minded friends.

Features of the conference include:

  • General session full of presentations by industry experts
  • Robust tradeshow to learn about the latest product and services available to beekeepers to nurture and grow their business or interest
  • Track sessions on Thursday specific to various stages of beekeeping
  • Over 15 hands-on workshops
  • 2016 Honey Show
  • Optional social activity on Thursday
  • Shared Interest Group meetings
  • ABF annual banquet
  • Coronation of the 2016 American Honey Queen and Honey Princess
  • And much, much more . . .

Registration is Open:

Registration is now open for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow. Register by October 14th to save $100 and secure your place at this all-important conference.

Conference Hotel:

The Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa is the host hotel for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow. This hotel offers 65 acres of lush landscaping, a dazzling lagoon and sunshine galore and offers an array of amenities including:

  • Complimentary Internet in guest rooms
  • Complimentary self-parking
  • 100% non-smoking hotel
  • Private balconies overlooking lovely views
  • Fitness center and four pools
  • Pets allowed (with non-refundable deposit)
Guest Room Reservations Warning:

It has been brought to our attention that a Housing Company is contacting ABF members and advising that the conference hotel is almost sold out and that they need to make their reservations with them at that time. This is not accurate! No one should, or will be calling you to make your hotel reservations. All reservations can be made directly with the hotel via telephone or online reservation link. If you would like to secure your guest room for the conference, the room rate is $125.00 + tax.

Secure your guest room today for the conference at the negotiated rate of $125.00 per night, plus tax (currently 16%). This rate is available until Friday, December 11, 2015, or until the room block is sold out – whichever comes first. Don’t hesitate, make your reservations today!
This conference is sure to be an exciting and enriching experience that we can’t wait to share with you! Visit the conference website for more information, including schedule at a glance and hotel information. Please check back often as we continue to post new information. We look forward to celebrating Palm Trees & Healthy Bees with you!

Kids and Bees 

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


As fall begins to fall fast upon us, the end of bee season is in sight, and conference season is almost here. Last weekend’s New York City Honey Festival was a sweet opportunity to reach the country’s far most Eastern little residents with honey bee and beekeeping education. The kids’ costumes were a sight to behold, and learning about beeswax and honey through our activities lit up some little minds.

Next on the agenda is the Kids and Bees event at the Western Apicultural Society conference in Boulder, Colorado. I’m so looking forward to meeting the littles in the Centennial State, and bringing their awareness to the amazing honey bee.

Looking forward to the main event of the year, preparations are underway for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida!

Elementary-aged kids are welcomed to Ponte Vedra Beach at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa to participate in the Kids and Bees program. This no-charge event has been a tradition with the ABF Conference & Tradeshow for over 20 years, and is a don’t-miss opportunity for school groups, home schooled kids, scouts, and clubs. Kids and their teachers or parents can expect a room full of hands-on activities under the themes of: The Art of Beekeeping; The Science of Beekeeping; The World of Beekeeping; and, The Future of Bees: It’s Up to You! Favorites such as beeswax candle rolling, bee finger puppet making, and hive displays will be there. The highlights this year will be face painting, a photo booth with costumes, and an ultraviolet Bee View demonstration. Students will make their way through each station, engaging with beekeepers and Honey Queens from around the United States, and activities that will harness their senses and imaginations.

If you would like to participate as a volunteer, and lend your time, a smile, and your love of bees and beekeeping, we would love to have you! It’s a great opportunity to connect with locals and other beekeepers from across the country. Contact me at sarah@beegirl.org or 541.708.1127 for more information and program needs. In the meantime, please help us spread the word by sharing our Facebook event page here. For more information on our Kids and Bees program, visit our webpage here.  

Silent Auction: Call for Donations

Each year during the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, attendees are given the opportunity to experience outstanding live and silent auctions. The ABF is never at a loss for must-have auction items, including:

  • Beekeeping-related artwork, including paintings, stained glass and hand-carved pewter items
  • Honey and honey-related products
  • Unique clothing items
  • Beekeeping supplies and instructional books
  • Antique beekeeping items, such as smokers and hive tools
  • Household items in a bee motif, including coffee mugs, glasses, cheese trays and plates

The ABF is already on the lookout for items for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016 in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida. Do you have an item that you would like to donate? Your contribution will be instrumental in helping the ABF bolster its general fund, which enables us to carry out our programs to serve the U.S. beekeeping and honey industry, as well as work to preserve and protect honey bees to ensure a quality food supply and environment.

If you are interested in donating an item to either the silent or live auction, please contact Regina K. Robuck at reginarobuck@abfnet.org or 404.760.2887 for additional information and to let us know the item(s) you will be donating.

We will accept donations up until the conference, but for planning purposes it would be helpful to hear from you by Friday, December 11, 2015.

Thank you in advance for your support of the ABF. We look forward to hearing from you soon and to seeing you in Florida in January. And, if you haven't already done so, be sure to register now for the conference. Additional information, including all registration rates, guest room accommodations, the conference schedule, invited speakers, session topics and much more, can be found on the conference website at www.abfconference.com. Be sure to check the website often, as additional conference details will be posted as soon as they are made available.

New ABF Gear is Now Available!

Show off your ABF style at the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow 

Preorder your ABF-branded gear by November 30, 2015 and pick it up on-site during your participation in the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016.

Plus, skip the shipping costs! Orders logged bypass any shipping fees.

Our new fleece, stylish hat and a variety of shirts are now available in the ABF merchandise shop.

Questions? Call Valerie Lake, ABF membership coordinator, at 404-760-2875.

HB & MB Partnership: New Options for Honey Bee Access to High Quality Forage and Nutrition 

by Peter Berthelsen, Pheasants Forever, Inc. Director of Habitat Partnerships


When it comes to honey bee health, there are many factors that beekeepers need to juggle and consider as they work to keep healthy and productive bee hives. It seems like the considerations that need to be juggled grow and expand with each year, and become more complex with each passing season. The more I learn about the complex factors affecting honey bee health, the more I come to the conclusion that access to nutrition is a key factor that can be influenced and produce positive results.

In the last decade, many areas of the country that are critical to honey bees have seen dramatic changes on the landscape. In a short four-year period from 2008 to 2011, the US Department of Agriculture estimated that nearly 24 million acres of grassland, wetlands and shrub land that was not being farmed was converted into cropland. At a pace of about six million acres/year, lands that had potential honey bee forage were being converted primarily into row crops of corn and soybeans. That rate of change didn’t stop in 2011 and has continued at a pace that has rarely been seen in the Midwest and Great Plains.

The pace and scale of landscape changes have had dramatic impacts on many wildlife species, honey bees being one of them. The type of changes that are happening on the landscape might best be described by Zac Browning, past ABF president and 4th generation commercial beekeeper from North Dakota, when he stated “Wildlife is left to live on the scraps on the landscape.” For honey bees and other wildlife to be healthy and thrive, they need a solid base of access to high quality forage and nutrition.

Towards that end, Pheasants Forever, Project Apis m., and Browning Honey Company met in July of 2014 to collaborate on finding solutions to the nutrition access limitations facing honey bees. The result of those conversations was the formation of the Honey Bee and Monarch Butterfly Partnership (HB&MB). The HB&MB is an innovative partnership designed to create high quality habitat for a wide range of wildlife, most importantly honey bees and monarch butterflies.

The HB&MB has several key objectives:

  • The establishment of high quality forage and nutrition habitat for honey bees and monarch butterflies.
  • The design and use of properly designed and cost effective seeding mixtures.
  • A flexible habitat partnership that works for landowners in their farming and ranching operation.
  • A program that local beekeepers could promote to the landowners they are working with.
  • Demonstrate the ability of properly designed seeding mixtures to reduce weed competition in new plantings.

In order to deliver those objectives, the program is designed to offer landowners key incentives for enrollment in the program. The pilot program offered the following incentives and guidelines in 2015:

  • Project size ranged from one to 160 acres in size.
  • Landowners receive high quality, high diversity seed mixtures at no cost. The mixtures are designed to provide maximum habitat value for both honey bees and monarch butterflies.
  • Landowners receive a $15/acre planting incentive payment in year one.
  • Landowners receive an annual rental payment of $50/acre. The contract length options in the program are for three, four, five or six years.
  • The habitat must remain undisturbed from April 1 to September 30 each year of the contract. Areas may be hayed or grazed outside of those dates.
  • The contracted acres do not need a cropping history, but areas in existing grass cover need to be chemically treated to remove grasses prior to enrollment. Establishing high diversity seeding mixtures into existing grass cover has limited success and would have limited honey bee and monarch butterfly benefits.

With key financial support from commercial beekeepers, the honey packing industry, agricultural industry and Pheasants Forever chapters, the program was launched in 2015 as a pilot program in North and South Dakota. Landowner interest in the program has been high and the early success of the program has led to a planned expansion of an additional five states for 2016. The HB&MB partnership is planning to expand in 2016 to include Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska. With continued success and financial support, the HB&MB hopes to continue its growth and expansion into additional states in the future.

For more detailed information about this partnership and how to enroll, please contact Pheasants Forever at 844-SEED-NOW.

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


This Year’s Honey Summit was the Place to Bee!

On August 26th, the National Honey Board and select editors from around the country traveled all the way back to Amelia Island, Florida, to the 2015 Foodservice Editors’ Honey Summit and Harvest. Inspired by the National Honey Board/Omni Hotels “One Sweet Summer” partnership, we returned to the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, where participants enjoyed several days of interactive and educational honey presentations and activities. The objective of the summit was to immerse editors in 2015’s Flavor of the Year, as well as inform and inspire them about honey’s versatility across food and beverage platforms.

The editors hailed from across the country and from a variety of foodservice publications including the National Culinary Review, Club & Resort Business, Flavor & The Menu, Food Management, CAFÉ/Gold Medal Classroom, QSR and FSR, Plate, and Restaurant Startup & Growth.

From a Honey 101 lesson and honey varietal tastings, to a honey varietal and spirit pairings session, as well as cocktail demos from Master Mixologist Kim Haasarud, the attendees were certainly busy bees on day one of the summit. However, it was not all just classroom sessions. Omni Regional Executive Chef Daven Wardynski made sure to keep the editors energized with a three-course, honey-inspired lunch in his state-of-the-art “Sprouting Project”. But this was only a small taste of what would come that evening: a seven-course, honey-inspired dinner, highlighting a different varietal each course, including some of Chef Daven’s own palmetto honey, which the editors would help harvest the subsequent day.

The next morning, participants donned their very own bee suits to fully submerge themselves in what Chef Daven had planned for them. A self-taught and avid bee keeper, Chef Daven led the group to his very own bee hives on the resort property. The editors were able to witness first-hand the start of the harvest, and what the bees had produced that season: an estimated 1,000 pounds of the sweet, smooth, and subtly smoky palmetto honey. It was surely a hands-on experience that these editors will never forget.

We are excited to report that the participants are already developing stories based on their honey learning experiences to share their with their food and beverage industry audiences. We look forward to hearing more about their takeaways in the months to come!

Honey Queen Buzz 

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Gabrielle promotes a Honey Bee Festival during a radio interview in Redding, California.

Happy National Honey Month! It is such a wonderful time to promote the fruits of our (and our bees’) labor! September abounds with so many promotional opportunities for the Queen and Princess. If you aren’t already following them on Facebook, please do so to keep up with all the action! In September, the Queen and Princess buzzed through seven unique states and ventured abroad!

September always starts and ends with fairs, and this year was no exception. The Queens made stops at fairs in Nebraska, Maryland, and California. Observation hives, candle dipping, honey sampling, sales booths, and demonstrations highlighted each fair, and the Queens were busy nonstop with these activities. Having a variety of promotional opportunities is key to a successful fair visit. Stage demonstrations in your agriculture booths or children’s activities are great options to supplement work in your sales booth or at your observation hive. Honey festivals and farmers’ markets are also hot promotions this month, and the Queens stopped in California, Ohio, Iowa, and Hawaii for such types of events. National Honey Month really is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our products via media interviews and festivals. The Queens can supplement your events with cooking demonstrations and can help you close sales with their stellar marketing skills!  


Princess Hayden gives a honey extracting demonstration with Johnson Honey Farm to a senior care center in Guttenberg, Iowa 

In addition to promoting our products domestically, Queen Gabrielle had the tremendous opportunity to accompany the ABF’s Apimondia committee to Daejeon, South Korea, in mid-September. She used her promotional skills to highlight the American Beekeeping Federation and its services to our international peers. I extend a special thank you to the ABF’s Apimondia team for making this experience possible for Gabrielle.

September also brings back one of the more popular types of Honey Queen promotions – school presentations! The Queens picked up where they left off this spring, presenting to students in California, Ohio, Iowa, Hawaii, and New Mexico during National Honey Month. The Queens speak to students grades K-12 and are available to give presentations to college level courses as well. By the end of 2015, we plan for the Queens to speak to close to 10,000 students throughout the nation.

As we begin to prepare our bees for the fall and winter months, the Queens’ activities will continue to be busy and productive. Look for them in your area in October and November! Happy promoting!!

Bee Thinking

No one got the answer to last month's riddle, so here is another clue. Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Valerie Lake at valerielake@abfnet.org will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

Someone might tell you to put me on it.

Might be a coat, might be a bonnet.

Often I fly along with the breeze.

Sometimes short or flirting with your knees.

Woolen and warm, or silky and fair.

Color don't matter, as long as i pair.

What am I? 

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Invasive ants found to carry novel virus and honey bee pathogens. Learn More.
  • Here's Why Scientists Are Giving Honeybees Tiny 'Backpacks'. Read more.
  • Local beeswax helping to preserve Smithsonian elephant. Learn more.
  • One hundred thousand honey bees have been introduced at two Derbyshire quarries to support a nationwide campaign to grow Britain’s bee population. Read more.
  • NCDOT spreads pollinator habitat in roadside flowerbeds. Learn More.
  • West Virginia’s Veterans and Warriors to Agriculture program growing, bee-keeping classes have been especially popular. Read more.
  • Alaska’s wilderness provides resources for one of the purest honey harvests in the world, produced primarily from the Chamerion angustfolium, or fireweed bloom. Learn More.
  • Los Angeles to legalize urban beekeeping. Read More.
  • Court Ruling on insecticides is good news for beekeepers. Learn More. 

ABF Welcomes New Members — August 2015

  • David Bailey, North Carolina 
  • Jack Berry, Texas
  • Stephen Brown, North Dakota
  • Richard Calkins, Tennessee
  • David Fox, Pennsylvania
  • Nora Garcia, Texas
  • John Gilliland, New York
  • Jason Graham, Hawaii
  • Susan Moore, Virginia
  • Phillip Moore, Tennessee 


  • Gene Norton, Texas
  • Shawn Nowicki, New York
  • Ron Paschich, Texas
  • Jeffery Pinkerton, Texas
  • John Reilly, North Carolina
  • Jake Reisdorf, California
  • Pam San Fillippo, Mississippi
  • Angela Schmidt, Oklahoma
  • Megan Wannarka, Grenada
  • Phillip Whitaker, Texas 



Recipe of the Month: Strawberry Fruit Spread

Source: Beth Hackenberg


6 c. strawberries chopped

2 boxes powdered pectin

1 ½ c. honey

2 T. lemon juice


Step 1: Prepare small canning jars and lids.

Step 2: Put berries in a blender and blend until small chunks remain.

Step 3: Pour berries in a kettle and add pectin. Stir and bring to a boil. Then boil and stir for 1 min.

Step 4: Remove from heat and add honey and lemon juice. Mix well, then return to heat and bring to a boil again, stirring occasionally for 5 min. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 5: Using a canning funnel, ladle fruit into hot jars. Wipe mouth of jar with a paper towel to clean, then put hot lids on. Secure rings on the jars.

Step 6: Place in hot water bath and boil for 8 min. When done, remove and put on towel. Tighten rings and lay another towel on top of jars until they seal. Let sit for a good part of the day, then store.

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

Register Today and Join Us for Palm Trees & Healthy Bees in Sunny Florida!  


2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016

Join us for a buzzworthy experience at the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016. The conference will be held at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida. Begin your New Year with mild temperatures and hundreds of fellow beekeepers sharing experiences, best practices and research while making like-minded friends.

Features of the conference include:

  • General session full of presentations by industry experts
  • Robust tradeshow to learn about the latest product and services available to beekeepers to nurture and grow their business or interest
  • Track sessions on Thursday specific to various stages of beekeeping
  • Over 15 hands-on workshops

Pete Berthelsen 

by Nathalie Steinhauer and Meghan McConnell for the Bee Informed Partnership


Over the last year, thanks to funding from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, the Bee Informed Partnership (BIP) followed 12 commercial migratory beekeepers (managing a total of 41,572 colonies in April) who spent most of their active season in North Dakota. Those beekeepers voluntarily participated in a real-time disease load monitoring program through which we documented the monthly progression of Nosema (Nosema spp) and varroa mites (Varroa destructor) in their apiaries in comparison to historic (composite of 5 years of data) national levels recorded through USDA APHIS National Honey Bee Disease Survey. A total of 460 samples were analyzed over the 2014 season.

North Dakota participants’ levels for varroa mites were generally lower than APHIS levels, with the exception of the months of August and September, in which the exponential growth of varroa mite populations is clearly illustrated (Fig.1). Interestingly, the drop of mite loads from September to October could be explained by the high proportion of participants having applied a control method for varroa. A majority (56% and 87% of the participants who answered our monthly management survey for September (n=9) and October (n=8)) indicated that they controlled for mites in those months. Also, 83% of the beekeepers surveyed in May (n=6) controlled for mites in that month, which could also explain the relatively low level of varroa mites in North Dakota apiaries compared to the rest of the participants. Over the entire season, almost all North Dakota beekeepers treated their colonies at least once for varroa (91.7%, n=12), about half of them treating a second time (n=5), and a few a third time (n=2).

North Dakota participants’ levels for Nosema were generally higher than APHIS levels, with the exception of the month of May (Fig.2). According to our questionnaires, only a few of the responding beekeepers used a control method for Nosema (May: 33%, n=6; June: 0%, n=9; July: 10%, n=10; August: 0%, n=10; September: 11%, n=9; October: 25%, n=8; November: 0%, n=2).

In conclusion, the North Dakota commercial beekeepers surveyed appeared to understand and manage their varroa treatments well and in a timely fashion, allowing them to bring their colonies into winter with relatively low levels of mites (less than 3 mites per 100 bees). While varroa levels are comparably low in the North Dakota beekeeper operations, levels in September are troubling, double our current treatment threshold of 3 mites per 100 bees. North Dakota beekeepers should consider mid-season treatment options - such as formic acid - to knock mite levels down while honey supers remain on colonies. Concerning Nosema, the North Dakota’s participating beekeepers exhibited generally higher loads than the other participants of the survey or the baseline levels from APHIS. More studies should investigate the relation between those high levels of Nosema and colony health.

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