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ABF E-Buzz: March 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — March 2014

In This Issue:








Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

It's spring! 
Farewell to chills and colds!
The blushing, girlish world unfolds
Each flower, leaf and blade of sod—
Small letters sent to her from God.

John Updike, "April," A Child’s Calendar, 1965

Welcome back to ABF E-Buzz! Glad you took the time to visit us again!

There's much abuzz around the country with educational workshops and spring meetings. I was at the Oklahoma Beekeepers meeting two weeks ago and there was hardly room for everyone to find a seat. Almost half of the attendees were new beekeepers. It was fun getting to know Kevin Andrews, a beekeeper of only a half a dozen years or so, who is now running 20,000 hives in Oklahoma. I wasn't aware that there was anyone running that many colonies. It's also amazing that someone can grow that fast in their beekeeping business. That takes a tremendous level of organizational skill that likely very few people possess. I am always glad to hear stories, though, of young people coming into the business and succeeding. That gives hope that there are folks who can make this model work in spite of all of the difficulties and replace those who are leaving the business, or retiring.  

As every year goes by, I am finding it more and more difficult to maintain numbers that I used to be able to keep active. It's a business for younger men and women who are eager to employ others and manage those people very, very well. It was also enjoyable to hear the presentation of another relatively new beekeeper of just four years who was running about a hundred hives as a good sideline business. He pointed out how easy it was to get help with his work as long as he had a steady stream of "newbees" who were eager to learn. He picked no bones about the fact that they were going to do the work while he took it easy at times.   

Rick Hall is doing quite well but admits he's not going to quit his day job. Of course, Hall's wife is eager to help. She picks up all the swarms and makes toiletry products that they sell at a local farm shop during the warm months. They also allow people to come out to their house on Sunday afternoons (and that's ONLY Sunday afternoons). If someone doesn't honor the sign, which clearly states his hours, he sends them packing. He sells all of his honey in one-pound jars at $10 per jar. Since he doesn't have any to sell right now, he claims he's not overpriced. He may have a point! 

People everywhere are eager to buy honey from beekeepers and get to know the source of the honey they consume. One of the problems that I've had the last 10 years is trying to let people know that I just can't sell off the farm. I have honey available in 40 stores and it's far more convenient for them to pick it up in town than driving six miles of dirt roads to locate me (if they're lucky). I'm always busy and when people just stop by, it stops everything. I had a couple drop by the other day just as I was leaving the house to mail some packages and pay my yearly liability insurance premium. It was late and I only had 15 minutes to get the packages into the post office or they weren't going out until the next day. I almost had to be rude after they got out of their truck and kept asking questions. They were looking for packages as they had lost all their bees and were keeping top bar hives. I informed them that I didn't sell packages, just nucs and they were in deep frames which wouldn't work for their situation. They both wanted to tell me how great top bar hives were, and they'd done it for years...but they didn't have any bees alive. I felt bad about how short I had to be with them but I did pleasantly offer to talk with them after 6 p.m. after returning home from town and following a conference call I had scheduled for 5 p.m. They didn't come back. I felt bad most of the evening but then I got to thinking: when people just stop in without calling to see if you have the time to talk bees, they are stopping your production line. And they are doing it at their convenience which is indifferent to your situation. 

Well, there's much to peruse here this month. We have lots of buzzmakers with great information on what's new in the bee world. We've another great report on what the Honey Queen and Honey Princess have been up to in their efforts to promote honey throughout America. Peter Teal is back with another great Science Buzz to help you stay educated. In addition, we have another great recipe from our 2014 America Honey Princess Elena Hoffman and, of course, another great riddle for you to figure out. Hope you find your time here well spent and if there's anything you have to add to the ABF E-Buzz in the future, e-mail me at: tuckerb@hit.net.   

Until next time, have a great beginning of spring. 

Legislative Buzz: Bee A Giver

By this time you are well into your 2014 beekeeping year. The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is well into its year, too, and is focusing on the legislative goals that were set during the Baton Rouge conference.

ABF President Tim Tucker, and ABF Vice President Gene Brandi are working hard to make sure ABF has their focus on the 2014 legislative priorities which include:

  • Working with EPA and others to reduce the impact of pesticides on our bees
  • Protecting our honey market; increasing funding for vital bee research
  • Promoting and protecting honey bee habitats
  • Working on bee transportation issues
  • Working to improve crop insurance, ELAP, and H-2A labor programs

As a member of ABF, you will be receiving a letter from Gene Brandi soon asking for your commitment and support of this Legislative Fund Campaign. While your contributions are vital, there is something else just as important - maybe more important at times. We need you to keep in contact with your members of Congress, both your Representative and your state's two Senators. They and their staff members need to be aware of your beekeeping activities and of our industry's needs - and they need to hear this from you. Enclosed is a document with tips on how to make these contacts.

The bottom line is that the ABF cannot achieve the goals set by the membership without the financial resources to get the job done and, at this time, we are again behind budget in the ABF Legislative Fund. Do we want to see our goals reached badly enough to commit what it takes?  We can assure you that your contributions to the ABF Legislative Fund are spent carefully and with full consideration of how important this work is for you, the ABF members. Your donations are very much appreciated and are an investment in the future of your business, as well as the beekeeping industry as a whole.  

Please make your donations to the Legislative Fund Campaign.  

Bee Aware: United States Honey Production Up 5 Percent in 2013

Annual honey report releaseed March 21, 2014, by the National Agricultural Statistics (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Honey production in 2013 from producers with five or more colonies totaled 149 million pounds, up 5 percent from 2012. There were 2.64 million colonies producing honey in 2013, up 4 percent from 2012. Yield per colony averaged 56.6 pounds, up 1 percent from the 56.0 pounds in 2012. Colonies which produced honey in more than one State were counted in each State where the honey was produced. Therefore, at the United States level yield per colony may be understated, but total production would not be impacted. Colonies were not included if honey was not harvested. Producer honey stocks were 38.2 million pounds on December 15, 2013, up 20 percent from a year earlier. Stocks held by producers exclude those held under the commodity loan program.

Record High Honey Prices  

Honey prices increased to a record high during 2013 to 212.1 cents per pound, up 6 percent from 199.2 cents per pound in 2012. United States and State level prices reflect the portions of honey sold through cooperatives, private, and retail channels. Prices for each color class are derived by weighting the quantities sold for each marketing channel. Prices for the 2012 crop reflect honey sold in 2012 and 2013. Some 2012 crop honey was sold in 2013, which caused some revisions to the 2012 crop prices.

The complete NASS Honey Report is available on the ABF Web site at www.abfnet.org under the “Education & Events” tab, “Honey Facts.”

Bee Ready: Save the Date for the 2015 ABF Annual Conference

Mark your calendars and save the date for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow.  Anaheim, California is the host city for the 2015 ABF conference and is sure to be a fantastic destination for our January event.  The conference will be held at the Disneyland Hotel, a AAA Four Diamond property, featuring three swimming pools, five dining locations and a quick walk to Downtown Disney.  

Now with improved, luxurious rooms, new pools and waterslides, themed dining and more, the newly transformed Disneyland Hotel is a modern vacation destination in itself. With a modern look of classic Disney; magical Disney in every room; old Disney friends in the lobby; exquisite dining; and new memories every night, the Disneyland® Hotel is the place to be.

The ABF conference committee has already started planning for the 2015 conference and it's sure to be a "magical" event. We hope you can join us in the place where "dreams come true" for an experience you won't soon forget.  Visit www.abfnet.org for updates!   

Bee Educated: ABF 2014 "Conversation with a Beekeeper" series continues in April  with two new sessions  

The ABF Education Committee has been hard at work developing new ways to keep its members engaged and informed in between ABF annual conferences each year. To this end, the ABF is pleased to two more sessions in April.
Urban Beekeeping: Making and Keeping Good Neighbors
Thursday, April 17, 2014
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
Joran Viers, City Forester for the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico
"Urban Beekeeping: Making and Keeping Good Neighbors", was developed for the 2013 Western Apiculture Society meeting in Santa Fe, NM, and it focuses on the things beginning urban beekeepers should know and think about. 
About the presenter: 
Joran Viers lives in Albuquerque, NM.  He is a native of that city, but spent his childhood and early adult years in many other places.  Joran has an abiding interest in the natural sciences and ecology, and has worked as a Horticulture Agent for the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service for the last decade.  During this time he took up beekeeping on a small, backyard scale.  Joran has recently taken a new job, as City Forester for the City of Albuquerque.  Though not an expert beekeeper, he does receive high marks for his presentations, which combine good information, logically presented, with an engaging presentation style
Easy Re-Queening
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
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
Greg Hannaford, chair of the ABF education committee and owner of Ozark Bee Supply
For many newer beekeepers, finding the queen for re-queening can be a very frustrating and time consuming procedure. Follow this simple method used by the professionals to make your life more simple and efficient. 
About the presenter: 
Greg Hannaford is a 20 year beekeeper, retired businessman and is the owner of Ozark Bee Supply in Tulsa, Ok. His business operates around 300 hives. Greg currently serves as chairman of the ABF education committee and spends much of his spare time teaching new beekeepers in Oklahoma to be better, more intuitive beekeepers.  As a speaker, Greg Hannaford has a unique way of cutting through the hype and getting down to the basic principles of bees. A frequent speaker  at the American Beekeeping Federation annual conference, Greg generally focuses on marketing and economics, which is just a fancy way of saying " making the most income possible". 
The sessions will be conducted via the GoToWebinar online meetings platform, which means the presenter will have a visual presentation, as well as an audio presentation. Upon entering the session online, you may choose whether to listen to the presentation through your computer's speakers or through your phone.
Reserve your spot today by going to our ABF website and follow the link. You must log into your ABF membership account to register. Registration will close 48 business hours before the scheduled session. Twenty-four hours before the session the registered participant will receive an e-mail confirming participation, along with the necessary information to join the session. If an e-mail address is not provided, the ABF will call the participant with the information. 
If you are unable to make the session, don't fear! Each session will be recorded and available on the ABF Web site for member-only access.
Have you missed out on any or all of the great webinars we have hosted over the past year?  Good news!  All of the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinars are archived on the ABF website and you can easily access them at your convenience.
You will need to log into your account to access the sessions.  If you don't remember your username or password, please contact Jon Magee, ABF membership coordinator, at jonmagee@abfnet.org. 

Science Buzz

By Peter Teal, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS

There has been yet another story sensationalized by the press on virus and colony collapse("Plant Virus Jumps to Honey Bees in Possible Link to Collapse," Bloomberg Business Week, Rudy Ruitenberg, January 21, 2014; "Study: Plant Virus Could Be Link In Decline Of Honey Bees," CBSDC; and many more).  At least, this time, the press used the words "possible" and "could be" in the headlines!  So often, they say things like, "The cause of CCD found…" or "Cell phones: The reason bees get lost."  Should we be worried? No more than we were before the news hit the fan because the event probably occurred long before we discovered it. 

In fact, this is a really interesting study conducted by an international group of respected scientists headed by Judy Chen from the USDA - Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) Bee Research Laboratory, located in Beltsville, Md., and there is no direct evidence that the virus kills the honeybee. The article is entitled, "Systemic spread and propagation of a plant-pathogenic virus in European Honeybee, Apis meliphera" published in mBio (volume 5; January/February 2014; search by typing in doi:10.1128/mBio.00898-13).

So what's the "buzz" about this scientific article?  Well, the virus is a plant virus called tobacco ringspot virus (picture above on left) and it occurs in a wide variety of plants, causing considerable damage to not only tobacco (picture above on right), but many other crops, including soybeans, grapes and blueberries.  It is spread by seeds, nematodes, aphids, grasshoppers and beetles.  Indeed, honeybees are known to vector the virus by transferring infected pollen from sick to healthy plants!  Amazingly, this virus has made a quantum leap from being limited to surviving on plants and being a plant disease to infecting honey bees.  Indeed, the virus has been found in all tissues of the bee and to be present colonies continuously.  Also, the virus was isolated from the guts of varroa mites and as such there is the potential that the mite can vector the virus while not being susceptible to it (just like mosquitoes carry the malaria parasite but do not get malaria).  

That the varroa mite carries the virus is not surprising because they are really the "Typhoid Mary" of the honey bee world and vector many viruses, which are known to cause diseases in honey bees.  Many kinds of virus are known to jump from one organism to another.  For example, the flu virus begins in either birds (chickens, ducks) or pigs and eventually jumps to humans who are in constant contact with the animals.  Additionally, the dreaded Ebola virus is probably carried by fruit bats (a delicacy in West Africa) which do not get sick and is spread to humans because people eat the bats. What a way to get back at people for eating you. The really neat thing about this virus is that it jumped from the plant kingdom to the animal kingdom!  This is extremely rare. When exactly it jumped between the kingdoms is unknown and whether it jumped from plants to bees or bees to plants is unknown.  However, the virus from bees, bee pollen and mites is very closely related which suggests that the bee type of the virus had a single ancestor.  

So what does the tobacco ringspot virus do to bees?  No one knows.  It may not do anything or it may cause an as-yet-unidentified problem.  The authors found that the prevalence of the virus, along with that of many other bee viruses, increases as bee colonies progress from spring to winter.  So it could be that the virus, along with all of the other viruses, contributes to "winter colony collapse."  However, there is no scientific data to support this now.  The most important thing about this paper is that it shows that virus can jump from one kingdom to another and because 5% of all plant viruses are transmitted on pollen, other viruses could do the same thing.  If you think about it, what better way to spread yourself than by having a pollinator carry you to another plant for you to infect.  As the authors say, we need to increase our surveillance for other potential host-jumping pathogens as a part of our integrated pollinator management programs. 

I'm off to Indonesia at the end of the month and will try to speak with beekeepers there to see how they manage their colonies.

Bee Involved: Call for Volunteers

Would you like to get more involved in the American Beekeeping Federation? Are you looking for a way to connect with and help other members? Do you have valuable skills and perspectives that could benefit ABF committees? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, consider responding to the Call for Volunteers. You have until Monday, April 21, 2014 to do so. 

Every year, ABF invite members to apply for volunteer positions within our committees. These committees include education, communication, membership and marketing, and research. Prospective volunteers are asked to forward their experience, knowledge, and primary areas of interest to Regina K. Robuck, ABF Executive Director. For more information about the time commitment and responsibilities of any committee, please contact Regina K. Robuck at reginarobuck@abfnet.org.  

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

National Honey Board Serves up a Golden Partnership with 3-time Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings

In an effort to increase awareness of the multi-faceted benefits of honey, the National Honey Board (NHB) announced a new partnership today with 3-time Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, of beach volleyball fame. 

Balancing life as an athlete and mother of three, Jennings finds ways to incorporate honey into her everyday life. By using it in her workout regimen as a natural energy booster and as a versatile culinary ingredient for her family, Jennings finds a multitude of ways to include honey into her lifestyle.

"Honey is an ingredient that I incorporate into every workout to give me a natural boost of energy," explains Jennings. "Since working with the folks at the National Honey Board, I realized that I use honey more than a supplement to workouts-it's a key part of a balanced lifestyle and perfect for my whole family."

Throughout 2014, Jennings will be highlighting the ways she already uses honey as a natural cough suppressant for her family and a beauty ingredient to keep her skin looking fresh, sharing culinary tips on ways to incorporate honey into dishes and of course, speaking about the reasons why she turns to honey for a natural energy boost.

"The NHB is thrilled to partner with Kerri Walsh Jennings because she embraces honey in all aspects of her everyday life. As a star athlete, mother, wife, and active charitable leader, she is a tremendous role model both on and off the sand. Kerri's values fall in line with honey, a wholesome ingredient," says Catherine Barry, director of marketing for the National Honey Board. "Honey has been a staple in consumers' pantries for decades, and with Kerri's help, we'd like to educate consumers even more about honey's various applications, so people reach for it as an everyday ingredient."  

To keep up with Kerri and the NHB, visit www.honey.com. Follow the NHB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube.  

Honey Queen Buzz: Spring Break For The Honey Queen and Honey Princess

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Spring has almost arrived in most parts of the country. March typically means college spring breaks, and it is that time of the year for Queen Susannah and Princess Elena. Instead of lying carefree on a beach somewhere, both women were promoting honey and beekeeping on behalf of the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) this month!

Princess Elena attends the Houston Livestock Show
Queen Susannah in Frankfort, KY

March always brings interesting educational opportunities for the Honey Queen and Princess. This year, they made stops in Kentucky, Texas and Connecticut for a variety of educational events.  Frankfort, Ky., again hosted its Bee Friendly Frankfort week of activities and Susannah spoke in area schools, at a beekeeping conference, at local promotional events and through media interviews. This community event highlights a great way to get a larger city to support the beekeeping industry. By hosting some fun events like a hive painting project for art students, an auction and a beehive hairdo contest, the community can come together to learn about ways to help the honeybee, such as supporting honeybee habitat initiatives. Contact the Capital Area Beekeepers or the Bluegrass Beekeepers in Kentucky to learn more about this unique event.

Elena's spring break took her to Texas for the Houston Livestock Show and to Connecticut for school visits at Connecticut's Ag Day at the Capitol. March is a great time to approach state legislators; if your state has Ag Day at the Capitol, consider inviting the Honey Queen or Princess to participate.  They come prepared with state-specific fact sheets about the industry and can help with your presentations. Queens have had the opportunity to address legislative bodies and work at capitol events that promote a state's agriculture. The Honey Queen and Princess are typically a draw to any educational booth. 

Thank you to everyone who has been contacting me to request your promotional dates. We are busily working on the late spring and early summer calendars and look forward to filling up more spots this year! Please contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to request promotional visits from the American Honey Queen or Princess. Happy promoting!

Bee a Kid: Kids and Bees Abuzz in the Heartland

by Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl

Last month, I reported on my adventures abroad to begin building a bridge between the U.S. and the rest of the globe by connecting our kids through the International Bee Research Association's BEEWORLD Project.  Since then, I've been busy with my boots on the ground here in the Heartland.  In the last few weeks, I have had the pleasure of teaming up with our friends at Pheasants Forever to coordinate a bee program as part of a "Youth Village" at the 2014 Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee. I also joined our own Bonnie Woodworth in Fargo, N.D., for Living Ag Classroom.  

At the ABF conference in Baton Rouge, La., we were joined by Pheasants Forever Director of Habitat Partnerships Peter Berthelsen.  Berthelsen's talk on common habitat issues between game birds and honey bees won him the Hoopingarner award, and the opportunity to explore the many facets in which our organizations can work together to achieve positive change.  One facet is partnering up to inspire kids to be passionate about conservation.  After seeing the Kids and Bees program in Baton Rouge, La., Berthelsen invited me to coordinate a similar effort at Pheasant Forever's annual gathering, the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic.  I joyfully accepted the invitation, and with partnership, support and sponsorship of Pheasants Forever, the California State Beekeepers Association, Anna Kettlewell and the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, Dadant, Browning Honey and Miller Honey Farms, we pulled together a great program.  


The weekend played host to over 20,000 attendees, many of whom brought their little ones.  The "beestravaganza," as I lovingly called it, was staffed by a team of rock star caliber volunteers from Wisconsin including the association president, Derald Kettlewell, and Wisconsin Honey Queen Melissa Reedy.  CSBA President Bill Lewis even buzzed in from So Cal!  Families were invited to roll beeswax candles, taste honey, make finger puppets and learn about beekeeping, honey bee biology and planting for bees.  We even had the opportunity for them to take part in a postcard campaign to ask Secretary Tom Vilsack to work on good habitat policy.  

Aside from the show floor, I also had the opportunity to address high school students during the Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience.  Kids from the local area packed in for a keynote from Miss Kansas Theresa Vaile on using outdoor experiences as a means to overcome adversity.  They then split into groups to learn more about outdoor activities and conservation.  I was honored to take part in the morning with a talk about honey bees, beekeeping and conservation.  The students were completely engaged and asked fantastic questions.  I think we may have a few new urban beekeepers in the Milwaukee area! 


Next on the agenda was the 2014 Living Ag Classroom, a learning experience for Fargo, N.D., area fourth graders about "where our food comes from."  Woodworth, her assistant, Anje and I represented ND Honey Promotion alongside representatives from the ND Wheat Commission, the Northharvest Bean Growers Association, the Midwest Dairy Association and many others.  The Saddle and Sirloin Club even had lambs and a baby cow (which I spent my break times cooing at).  Over the course of three and a half days we talked with more than 2,000 kids about bees, honey and pollination.  I never got tired of watching their faces during "the big reveal" when we uncovered the bees in the observation hive.  The queen bee was the true star of the day, and she even came up to lay an egg once or twice!  I was pretty sure I might freeze and blow away on my way from the car to the venue, but managed to survive long enough to make the journey down to California and spend a few days thawing out among the petals falling and bees buzzing.  

As the first day of spring looms in the near future, I am looking forward to spending some long days with my girls, in between planning more adventures across the map with Kids and Bees.  Next month, I'll give a full report on the fun that was had in Eugene, Ore., at Glory Bee's Bee Weekend! 

Bee Informed 

Fighting Back: Honey Bee Defense Against the Parasitic Mite Varroa Destructor
By Maria Kirrane, Foundation for the Preservation of the Honey Bees Scholarship Recipient
Lilia I. De Guzman2, Thomas E. Rinderer2, Amanda M. Frake2, Pádraig M. Whelan1,3

1. School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Ireland

2. USDA-ARS Honey Bee Breeding, Genetics and Physiology Laboratory Baton Rouge, Louisiana

3. Environmental Research Institute, Lee Road, Cork, Ireland

The parasitic mite Varroa destructor Anderson & Trueman (Mesostigmata: Varroidae) is still regarded as one of the greatest threats facing honey bees, Apis mellifera L., worldwide (Le Conte et al., 2010). Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) and grooming are considered the most promising behaviors in the breeding of bees more tolerant to this parasite (Rinderer et al., 2010).  The aim of my research is to gain a better understanding of these behaviors and thereby, improve their detection, ensuring more effective inclusion in breeding programmes.   I am achieving this by studying one of the few honey bee races that has been found to naturally defend itself against the parasite; the Russian honey bee. This bee originated in far eastern Siberia, where the host shift to the western honey bee first occurred.  It has therefore lived in the longest association with varroa and is believed to have evolved resistance.  My experiments compare the responses of resistant Russian bees and susceptible Italian stocks in order to better understand resistance.

My experiments are based on a number of research questions, namely:

1. Do Russian bees perform Varroa Sensitive Hygiene?

2. How do VSH bees suppress varroa mite reproduction?

3. Is mitefall affected by hygienic behaviour?

4. Are hygienic bees more likely to groom?

5. Are bees of a certain age more likely to groom?

Answering these questions will lead to a better understanding of both behaviours as well as how they interact with one another.  This, in turn, should enable both researchers and beekeepers/breeders to improve detection of VSH and grooming, making their inclusion in breeding programmes more achievable and effective.  

To date, I have determined that Russian honey bees do display varroa-sensitive hygienic behavior.  I found that VSH breaks the normal synchrony in varroa reproduction resulting in female only offspring and thereby affecting future reproductive output (Kirrane et al., 2011). I also found that young mites are more likely to be groomed when compared with adult phoretic and gravid mites (Kirrane et al., 2012).  This indicates the importance of a sclerotized carapace in the ability of the mite to withstand honey bee defense. 

I plan to submit my thesis in the summer of 2014 and hope to continue researching honey bee health in the future.  I am very grateful to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees for awarding me a scholarship and enabling me to travel to the 2014 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Baton Rouge, Lousiana.


Kirrane, M.J., De Guzman L.I., Rinderer, T.E., Frake, A.M., Wagnitz, J., Whelan, P.M., 2011.  Asynchronous development of honey bee host and varroa destructor influences reproductive potential of mites. Journal of Economic Entomology, 104:1146-1152.

Kirrane, M.J., De Guzman L.I., Rinderer, T.E., Frake, A.M., Wagnitz, J., Whelan, P.M., 2012.  Age and reproductive status of adult varroa mites affect grooming success of honey bees.  Experimental and Applied Acarology, 58:423-430. 

Le Conte, Y., M. Ellis, Ritter, W., 2010. Varroa mites and honey bee health: can Varroa explain part of the colony losses? Apidologie, 41: 353-363.

Rinderer, T. E., Harris, J.W., Hunt, G.J., DeGuzman L. I., 2010. Breeding for resistance to Varroa destructor in North America. Apidologie 41: 409-424.

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle master was ABF member Tim Ives. Below is the answer: 

Riddle: When my first is a task to a young girl of spirit, And my second confines her to finish the piece, How hard is her fate! But how great is her merit If by taking my whole she effects her release!

Answer: Hem-Lock

So, here's another riddle for you to wrestle with. Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

I always dependable as a bee. Regular and normal, so have never a fear, The times you don't see me for more than a year. I know you'll not miss me,

And when I return we'll not have a fight, I'll average things out, and the time will be right!

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Bee Research Facility May Be in the Works for the University of Florida: But researchers have been trying to figure out what has been killing off large numbers of honeybees. Now they may soon get some help. A proposed facility at UF promoting honeybee research can mean more than a million dollars in revenue for the state. Learn more .
  • Watch John Miller, Commercial beekeeper from North Dakota and Northern California, discuss his role in the pollination industry. His talk at TEDxUNC last month is entitled: No Bees, No Food. Learn  more.
  • A bill for an act relating to claims; providing compensation for bee deaths caused by pesticide poisoning under certain circumstances; establishing a pollinator emergency response team; providing civil liability for bee deaths; appropriating money;amending Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 18B.05; proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 3; 17; 604.  Learn more.
  • Low Doses Of A Controversial Insecticide May Harm Friendly Insects: For at least one member of a controversial class of insecticides, low doses may cause as much harm to nontarget insects as high doses do, according to a new study. Read more.
  • Bumble Bees of North America:An Identification Guide:More than ever before, there is widespread interest in studying bumble bees and the critical role they play in our ecosystems. Bumble Bees of North America is the first comprehensive guide to North American bumble bees to be published in more than a century. Learn more.
  • Honey Bees Electrically "Shock Charge" Flowers: Honey Bees carry their own electrical field. When bees fly and flutter their wings, they produce a strong electric charge. They use this charge to collect and harvest food … magnetically.“Anything flying through the air, whether it’s a baseball, 767 jumbo jet, or a bee, acquires a strong positive electrostatic charge due to interaction with air molecules,” says Stephen Buchmann of the University of Arizona in Tucson.  Learn More.
  • The Bee Project of Shangri-la: After two weeks in Thailand, I travelled to Xianggélila (Shangri-la), a city in the Yunnan province near the Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. The settlement itself is ancient, but “Shangri-la” was born in 2001. Originally called Zhongdian, Shangri-la took on its new title in order to encourage tourism in the area. Learn More.
  • 2013-2014 Winter Honey Bee Losses Are Likely To Be Large: ver the next few months we will hear news of this winter’s honey bee losses in North America. The news won’t be good. Although official loss tallies have yet to be released, persistently cold weather across the northern part of the continent has made the 2013-2014 winter an unusually difficult one. Read More.
  • EPA Seeks Public Comment on Draft Guidance Documents for Evaluating Pesticide Spray Drift. Proposals Would Further Protect Communities near Fields Where Crops Are Grown: EPA is announcing the availability of two draft guidance documents for public comment. These documents describe how off-site spray drift will be evaluated for ecological and human health risk assessments for pesticides. Learn More.
  • California Almond Crop Estimate Reduced by 7.5 Percent: The federal government Monday trimmed its estimate of the 2013 almond crop in California by 7.5 percent. The crop is now expected to be about 1.85 billion pounds, down from the near-record 2.0007 billion pounds projected in May, the National Agricultural Statistics Service said. Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members — February 2014

  • Tammy Barr, Texas
  • Victoria and Lester Bieber, Kansas
  • Robert W. Bradbury, Georgia
  • Eloise Gilbert, Florida
  • Kathleen S. Hering, California
  • John Huhn, Connecticut
  • Timothy Kenaga, Florida
  • David Litoff, Colorado
  • Sam M. Hall, New York
  • Zetian Lu, China
  • April June May, Texas
  • Christy Miller, Texas
  • Michael W. Miller, West Virginia
  • Shannon Pickering, Texas
  • Lucy Polak, Florida
  • Melissa Reedy, Wisconsin
  • Mike Rice, Connecticut
  • Clinton Dale Stucky, Kansas
  • Ed Topete, Colorado
  • David Reed Traylor, Indiana
  • Mary Vorgert, Texas
  • Brian Keith Wiggins, Idaho


Recipe of the Month: Honey Raspberry Lemonade

Source: 2014 American Honey Princess Elena Hoffman


  • 50 oz. cold, filtered water
  • 10 oz. lemon juice, fresh
  • 12.5 oz. HONEY
  • 6 oz. raspberries, frozen
  •  Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a blendar.  Pour over ice and serve.  
  • (Drink may be strained for seeds, if preferred.)
  • Yields 10 cups


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