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ABF E-Buzz: November 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — November 2014

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

"In the garden, Autumn is, indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, safe perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November."
- Rose G. Kingsley, The Autumn Garden

Welcome back!

I hope your bees are in good shape and ready for winter. Do you have all of your entrance reducers on and have you wrapped them up if you are going to do that? When I was in Canada, in the middle of the month, everyone was finishing up wrapping their hives and getting them insulated. It's amazing how well bees can survive six months of winter up there with temperatures that get to 50 below zero!

It's been a busy month with two trips to Washington, D.C. and one to Canada. I will have to say that I had a wonderful time in Edmonton visiting with the Alberta Beekeepers. I had a great opportunity to visit with a couple of honey production outfits and view how different things are in a land where honey has to be produced in about ten weeks. My host was Grant Hicks. He comes to our meetings on a regular basis and he was so kind in showing me around before and after the meeting. Our first trip in the countryside was the day I arrived and I was just amazed at how much the landscape resembled Kansas. The houses and barns looked so much like here I really felt at home. It was also very unseasonable warm during that time and I got on my way back home before this cold front hit.

During the first afternoon I arrived, I had an opportunity to visit with Ryan and Debra Olthof and his brother and sister-in-law Jeremy and Amanda. They are running several thousand hives and their operation is growing with honey crops that are well over 100 lbs. in most years. They also pollinate canola seed and it is very good country for producing great crops of honey premium light honey. I even heard a report of a fellow, north of Edmonton that had a crop of over 270 lbs. average. That is just amazing when you think most of this all comes in in little more than eight to ten weeks. There is a variety of willow that grows in the ditches up there just everywhere and it is more similar to a bush than the trees we have here and with that amount of willow forage the bees just really build up quickly, exploding in June.

After the three day meeting, I met Tim Townsend and his son Lee, who run around 5000 hives and can produce well over a half a million pounds of honey, and I believe he said they had over a thousand barrels this year. Lee is concentrating on selling much of their production in Japan. They ship it there in barrels and process it for market and seem to be doing real well. Apparently the Japanese have a taste for the honey produced in Canada and it brings a premium price. At the time I was there, they had been done extracting for over a month and were all cleaned up and ready for winter. They had just a few more hives to wrap and then they were waiting for spring to come again. I think Tim was headed to Arizona for a stay that would get them out of the cold.

That afternoon, Grant took me to the Canadian research facility in Edmonton, where Dr. Medhat Nasr works, and it was a real treat. Medhat has several hundred hives there and they were all wrapped and set for winter. He gave me a tour of the lab and showed me where they inspect all the queens that are shipped into Canada. They put the queens into new boxes so that any eggs that might have been laid on them by small hive beetles (SHB) will not hatch and be brought into the country. They are working hard to keep the country free of SHB. He also showed me the fogging equipment that they had worked on for fogging Oxalic Acid into the hives for treatment for Varroa. There seem to be quite a few beekeepers using this process up there in Canada at the present time. I was also treated to a tour of the greenhouses where they are experimenting with Aquaculture and growing tilapia in tanks that produce waste water that is utilized by the plants growing in the medium. There are lots of tomatoes and lettuce and strawberries growing in the greenhouses all during the Canadian winter. Medhat was a good host in sharing some of his afternoon with me and then we had a wonderful dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse. The Canadians are just wonderfully hospitable folk and I enjoyed the time there. I'd go back in a minute and told several people that if I was 35 years old and wanted to be in the honey business, I'd move up there. It's difficult to compete with 200 lb. honey crops. If you get a chance, take a trip to Edmonton and visit some of our friendly beekeeping families. You'll enjoy it.

We have some great information here again this month with another great article from Peter Teal and great updates on the Kids and Bees program. Sarah Red-Laird has been busy introducing kids to the benefits of honey bees right along with our Honey Queen and Princess. We hope you enjoy keeping up with their travels and that you follow them on Facebook on a daily basis. Also visit the Kids and Bees Facebook page and like it if you haven't. There are always tons of new things happening on Facebook almost every day. Have a great Thanksgiving and we look forward to seeing you all in Anaheim at the annual North American Beekeeping Conference and Tradeshow. If you haven't made your reservations, you better get beeeezy!

Thanks again for stopping by and we hope you share the ABF E-Buzz with your friends and fellow beekeepers.

BEE Our Guest: 

Celebrate the New Year with 600+ of Your Closest Beekeeping Friends!

The 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Trade Show will be held in Anaheim, California at the four-star Disneyland Hotel, January 6 – 10. As always, this conference promises to bring you the most up-to-date information within the beekeeping industry and the latest products and services offered by our many exhibitors and sponsors. BEE sure to check out the conference agenda for the latest updates on fantastic sessions and hands-on workshops. Make sure to secure your reservation by December 10, 2014. After the 10th we will only be doing onsite registration. There’s something for everyone at the 2015 annual conference, from the beginner beekeeper to the experienced business owner. We are introducing many new features this year. Here are just a few highlights to pique your interest! 

The 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Trade Show will be held in Anaheim, California the most up-to-date information within the beekeeping industry and the latest products and services offered by our many exhibitors and sponsors. BEE sure to check out the conference agenda for the latest updates on fantastic sessions and hands-on workshops. Make sure to secure your reservation by December 10, 2014.  After the 10th we will only be doing onsite registration.

There’s something for everyone at the 2015 annual conference, from the beginner beekeeper to the experienced business owner. We are introducing many new features this year. Here are just a few highlights to pique your interest!

Beginning Beekeeping:

  • The Truth About Treatment Free for the Small Scale Beekeeper presented by Greg Hannaford
  • Integrated Pest Management on a Small Scale presented by Lance Wilson
  • Feeding Bees with Integrity: Understanding the Purpose of Feeding Bees presented by Chappie McChesney
  • Small Hive Management presented by Yong Park
  • Starting a Bee Club presented by Chappie McChesney

Serious Sideliner:

  • Beginning a Business for Small Scale Beekeepers presented by Debbie Seib
  • Swarm Management: What’s Really Happening in Your Hive? presented by Steve Repasky
  • Survivor Stock Breeding: Defining Longevity as the Umbrella Trait for a Whole-Approach to Management presented by Melanie Kirby
  • Hive Management Programs, Hive Products, Bee Removals, School Presentations & Media: KEYS to Making it as a Sideliner presented by Emily Brown

Commercial & Business Owners:

  • The Fall and Rise of the Honey Bee presented by Peter Loring Borst
  • Efficacy of HiveAlive ™ in Increasing Colony Population During Field Trials presented by Fani Hatjina
  • Varroa Treatments: Efficacy and Economic Impact presented by Fabiana Ahumada
  • Queens, Princesses and Drones! Oh My! presented by Elina Niño


  • Tuscon USDA-ARS Lab presented by Gloria DeGrandi-Hoffman
  • Beltsville USDA-ARS Lab: An Update on the Progress of Beltsville Bee Research Laboratory Research presented by Yanping (Judy) Chen
  • Baton Rough USDA-ARS Lab: Research Update from the USDA Honey Bee Breeding and Genetics Laboratory presented by Dr. Tom Rinderer
  • Queens, Princesses and Drones! Oh My! presented by Elina Niño


Register Today! 

ABF 2015 Annual Conference: Call for Auction Donation! 


Each year during the North American Beekeeping 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 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, January 6-10, in Anaheim, California. 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 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 12, 2014.

Thank you in advance for your support of the ABF. We look forward to hearing from you soon and to seeing you in Anaheim 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.nabeekeepingconference.com. Be sure to check the website often, as additional conference details will be posted as soon as they are made available.

Bee Thoughful: Think Outside the Bee Box This Holiday Season! 

Do you have a hard -to-buy for beekeeper on your Christmas list? Do you have a friend or family member who loves bees and honey? Might we suggest making a donation in their name to the ABF Friends of the Bees fund? For as little as $25, your loved one will have their name published in the ABF Newsletter and receive an FOB bumper sticker. Mention you saw this announcement in the ABF E-Buzz and receive a second sticker free! Please call our office at 404.760.2875 or e-mail us at info@abfnet.org to make your donation today. 

Science Buzz

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

Over the past few years we have had suspicions that significant factors contributing to the unprecedented losses of not only honeybees but all pollinators are pesticides. In particular the focus has been on the new class of pesticides broadly called neonicotinoids. Indeed, the fear is so great that the European Union banned use of these compounds for a 2 year period on December 1, 2013. It’s too early to tell if the ban has reduced losses in Europe but when information is collated after the ban we will have a better understanding of the role played by the neonicotinoids. Although neonicotinoids are not present in the greatest amounts in bee hives, coumaphos and fluvalinate are because these are used for Varroa mite control.

 Coumaphos has an LD50 (the amount needed to kill half of the bees) of 20ug/bee while the LD50 of fluvalinate is 9.5ug/bee. These are really high amounts and as such are considered among the safest chemicals of their respective pesticide classes. However, as both pesticides are present in hives, a really important question to ask is what is the toxicity of mixtures of the two? Reed Johnson at Ohio State University has devoted much of his research to asking this question and has found very interesting results. He has given talks at our annual meeting on this and has published a number of interesting papers on the subject. I suggest you read his article entitled “When Varroacides Interact” http://beeccdcap.uga.edu/documents/CAPArticle2.html). Basically what he and his colleagues did was to treat bees with either coumaphos or fluvalinate with low non-lethal doses and then treat them with various doses of the other mitacide. So mites pre-treated with sub-lethal doses of coumaphos were later treated with different doses of fluvalinate and vice versa. What he found was really astonishing! Pretreatment with as little as 0.3ug (LD50 = 20ug/bee) of coumaphos doubled the toxicity of fluvalinate and treatment with 10ug increased the toxicity by 32 fold. Similarly, pre-treatment with 1ug of fluvalinate (LD50 = 9.5ug/bee) triples the sensitivity of bees to coumaphos. In short there is a significant negative health interaction when bees are exposed to the two pesticides. Reed also did some calculations on whether the doses he used were doses a bee would realistically encounter in hives treated with either Checkmite+® (coumaphos) or Apistan® (fluvalinate) and found that typical amounts encountered by  bees in treated hives (0.33ug coumophos and .125ug of fluvalinate) would indeed increase toxicity of the other pesticide. 

Both of these compounds are readily absorbed by wax in hives and as such every time you treat a colony wax absorbs them. Both larvae and adults are therefore constantly in contact with the pesticides. Bear in mind that a recent analysis of pesticides in bee hives (High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health by Chris Mullin and colleagues in PLOSone, March 19, 2010, search for - •DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009754) showed that mean levels of fluvalinate in hives approached ½ of the LD50. Levels of comaphos were much less but the combination of the two could still have effects of bee survival and this only looks at death of bees. We have very limited knowledge of the sub-lethal effects of these combined pesticides on bee physiology and behavior. Thus, long term exposure to sub-lethal amounts of these pesticides may have dramatic effects on bee longevity and brood production. Bottom line is: use Varroacides sparingly and with caution. On that cheery note, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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

We recently returned from our Fall Board Meeting in Denver, Colorado and it was tremendously productive.  Our Board Meetings generally consist of two full days of presentations, along with the opportunity for Members of our Board to discuss various topics in our honey industry.

After all the industry business was taken care of, we had the privilege to honor two of our long-standing Board Members for their service. Our 10 Member Board is appointed by the Secretary of Agricultural and allowed to serve a finite amount of time on our Board.

We’ve had the privilege of working with Importer / Handler Hans J. Boedecker from 2002-2014 and First Handler Nancy J. Gamber-Olcott from 2004-2014. Thank you both for your service to this industry and we wish you both the best in your future endeavors. Until we meet again. 

 Honey Queen Buzz: Celebrating Holidays and Honey!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Susannah in Hawaii at The Wave.

 Last month, autumn had arrived, and now it seems that winter has arrived much earlier than anticipated! Despite the snow flying and temperatures falling, the Honey Queen and Princess have maintained a busy schedule this November!

November traditionally is the time for beekeeping conventions, conferences, and banquets, but there is a lot of promotion potential in this month of Thanksgiving. In addition to participating in three state beekeeping conventions in Wisconsin, Texas, and Pennsylvania, Susannah and Elena were busy with school presentations, media interviews, and other events at which they could promote honey.



Princess Elena's school visit in Pennsylvania

Susannah participated in a grocery store promotion, where she worked with the store and handed out samples of local honey paired with specialty cheeses and crackers. Not only did it help promote honey, but it also highlighted the diversity of the product. Store promotions are a great means to directly reach the consumer. Consider working with your local grocery stores to share samples of the many ways we can use honey. Elena had many promotions in schools in anticipation of her state’s beekeeping convention. She was most requested to speak to high school foods classes, including a culinary program at a local tech high school. She had the opportunity to teach students seriously considering culinary careers about honey, its versatility, and the many reasons why it should be an important part of any restaurant’s menu. Many vocational and technical schools would welcome the honey queen to teach students about using honey in recipes. Consider contacting your local school to arrange a day-long visit to speak to the students. Coupled with a cooking demonstration, it’s a great way to promote your product to local chefs and consumers. 

Not every part of the country is cold this time of year, and Susannah had the opportunity to experience island promotions in Hawaii, participating in the Big Island Beekeepers annual Honey Challenge. A festival established to celebrate honey; it comes at a great time of the year to promote honey right before the holidays. We appreciate the opportunity to again visit Hawaii and share the messages of beekeeping with students and the general public on the Big Island and Oahu! 

We have one more promotional month in 2014, and Susannah and Elena are eager to stay busy. Stay tuned for more news on their travel next month, as they continue their work to reach their goals of expanding the Queen Program’s Facebook and YouTube presence and improving resources for honey bee education. As we prepare for the 2015 American Honey Queen and Princess, we are welcoming requests for 2015 promotions. Contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com with your requests! Happy promoting!

Kids N' Bees: Kids, Bees and Disneyland!

by Sara Red-Laird, Bee Girl 

Kids and Bees and Disneyland.  I don’t think there are many more words that are more fitting in a sentence together. The annual American Beekeeping Federation Kids and Bees event will be Friday, January 9th from 9am to noon, in the Mark Twain room at the Disneyland Resort.       


This no-charge event has been a tradition with the North American Beekeeping 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 US, and activities that will harness their senses and imaginations.    


This event wouldn’t be possible year after year without the generosity of the donation of time and beekeeping gear from beekeepers both attending the convention, and joining in from the local area. If you live nearby, or are planning on attending the North American Beekeeping Conference and Tradeshow, I could use your help with these three things: helping get the word out to kids in the area, volunteering for the event, and bringing beekeeping supplies for kids to investigate.


First, we are looking for a few good volunteers to help on Friday morning. We would like a few hands to help kids through our activity stations, including a photo booth, a UV “bee view” station, beeswax candle rolling, bee puppet making, honey tasting, foundation crayon rubbing and a whole lot more!   We would love volunteers to join by 8:30 and stay until noon. (Extra bonus points for staying even longer for clean up!) Everything we do is “open source,” so this is a great opportunity for you to take home some ideas to use with your own educational programs!    


We are also looking for a variety of beekeeping equipment. We would love to show kids the diversity of the ways bees can live: Langstroth hives, top bars, Warres, and any modifications of those. We would LOVE a skep hive and any cool and different hives from around the world. The greatest thing would be to have an observational hive with bees in it!! We would also love tools, smokers, empty frames (lots of these), frames with drawn comb, honey frames (in a case, if possible, to avoid curious little fingers), and suits, veils and helmets, and honey for tasting.  


If you’ve got connections in the Los Angeles or Orange County areas, please email me, and I’ll give you an e-package to share with blubs, posters and pictures. I’d also love your help getting the word out via Facebook, Twitter, mailing lists, newsletters, word of mouth, and community boards. Passing the word along to teachers you work with, forwarding to homeschool groups, or anything else you can think of would be so helpful.  Our Facebook event page is here, please share! 


If you have some time or some gear to volunteer, please send me an email at sarah@beegirl.org or call 541-708-1127.


Thank you so much for your attention, and I look forward to hearing from you!  

Bee Thinking

Last Month's Riddle was "What does this say? ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES ISSUES"  Linda Anderson got the correct answer: Tennis Shoes. Congratulations Linda!

Here is another riddle for you to ponder over.


The waves are my voice

So sing and rejoice.

On a long road together

We're birds of a feather.

Memories we share

While floating in air.

Now you'll have a song

All the day long.


Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.  

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Senators push EPA to protect honey bees: Members of the Senate are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to save the honeybees. A letter, signed by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and nine other senators, sent to the EPA on Friday asked the agency to detail how it plans to protect pollinators from pesticides.
    The Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and an executive order issued by President Obama in June are measures already in place to revive the honey bee population that’s been rapidly declining since 2006. Learn More 
  • The Beekeeping Year Starts Now: The beekeeping year starts now. Most budding beekeepers will begin thinking about this venture in the spring. That’s what I did. Everything awakening. Gardeners starting to plant early crops of peas and greens. Spring calves and lambs beginning to make their entrance. And beginners looking to start an apiary. Read More
  • Mark L. Winston’s ‘Bee Time’: A hive has a lot to tell us: In his new book “Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive,” Mark Winston draws on his long career studying bees to argue that human beings could learn a thing or two from bees’ ability to cooperate. Winston discusses his book Saturday at Seattle’s Elliott Bay Book Co. Learn More  
  • Why did 37 million bees fall out of the sky? Mystery of mass insect death puzzles experts: The insects died en masse just weeks after genetically modified corn was planted in Ontario and beekeepers suspect pesticides are the cause million of bees mysteriously fell from the sky and wiped out beekeepers' profits in an instant in Canada. Read More 

ABF Welcomes New Members —October 2014

Brian Ashley, Massachusetts      
 Larry Johnson, Idaho
 Brian Bross, Montana Sueanne Mosley, Missiouri
 Allison Brustin, Illinois    Jeremy Kadletz, Florida
 Cory Burrough, Texas Kimberly Keller, Alabama
 Michelet Carsrud, Texas Melville Kennedy, Michigan 
Tom Cinquini, Oregon   Keely Leonard, California
 St. Julian Cox, Georgia Matthew Mansker, Texas
 Jeff Crooks, Maryland Mike McGregor, Washington
 Christina Danley, California Doyal Morris, Missouri
 Ramona Decker, Colorado Lana Myers, Mississippi
 Sandy Dibble, Texas Clinton Myers, Mississippi
 Patty Dickson, Texas Ryan Razee, Idaho
 Kristen Feldman, Connecticut Craig Rodenberg, Montana
 Donald Finley, Texas Terria Schmidt, Texas
 Jim Garcia, California Cade Shook, Texas
 Tamila Grogan, Georgia Allen Tuell, Texas
 Christopher Henderson, California Summer Van Beurden, California
 Jared Jaffe, Pennsylvania Judy Wells, Mississippi
 Slade Jarrett, Georgia Joshua Willams, Texas
  Howard Young, Texas


Recipe of the Month: Festive Honey Chai Pudding

 Yields 4 Servings 


2 1/2 cups - milk

1/2 teaspoon - cinnamon powder

1 tablespoon - ginger, chopped

1/2 teaspoon - cardamom powder

1/4 teaspoon - salt, kosher

1 teaspoon - vanilla bean paste

1/4 cup - honey

1 each - tea bags

1/4 cup - corn starch

4 each - egg yolks

1 tablespoon - butter

2 tablespoons - white rum, (optional)


Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl; set aside. In a sauce pan over medium heat, mix together milk, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, salt, vanilla bean paste, honey and tea bags. Bring to gentle boil. Once the milk becomes a beige color, turn off heat and pour mixture through the sieve into the bowl and let cool. Once mixture is cool, pour into a sauce pot and whisk in corn starch, taking care to dissolve corn starch completely. Whisk in egg yolks one at a time. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to thicken slightly. Reduce heat to low, still whisking, cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and white rum. Serve warm divided into 4 portions or chill for at least 3 hours. Before serving, whisk pudding until smooth.



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