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ABF E-Buzz — May 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — May 2014

In This Issue:








Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

 Welcome back!

I hope you have your honey supers on and all is going well in your area.   Weather has been keeping some from getting bee work done. It has been an unusually cool spring and around here it has been very dry. Not sure when I've seen white clover and tall sweet clover both blooming so well, yet producing so little nectar, if any. Our bees should be gaining weight fast right now but there's been little rain in April and only two inches total since the first of the year. Many wheat farmers here in Kansas are mowing down wheat or putting cattle on it as there's not going to be enough production to run the combine over. Much of western Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are in extreme drought and could sure use some soaking rains before summer comes. We are busy delivering nucs throughout Kansas and they have done well but we are behind due to the cool weather and this lack of good forage. There's no substitute for a good nectar flow where the bees have access to lots of bloom and they are stimulated to grow so much faster than when we provide feed for them.   You just can't replace the real thing!

Almost 7,200 beekeepers completed the BIP survey, a great response. The reported loss for the past winter was 23.2 % which was down 7% from the previous winter. However, the report also says that during the summer months of 2013 beekeepers lost 20% of their hives as well, so the 23% number is a bit misleading. I had a reporter make the statement "So, beekeepers only lost 23% of their hives this winter and are just a few points above what they define as acceptable losses." I responded that yes we had lost fewer hives for the winter months but we are still experiencing losses at levels that make it economically impractical to keep bees. This is especially true when you consider that we are constantly splitting hives to replace our losses and many of those splits don't make it and, in addition, there are losses to pesticide poisoning and disease during the year that are not considered "overwintered" loss. It's very likely that we are losing a third or more of our bees during the entire year and it could run as high as 40%. I've talked to a dozen beekeepers that lost more than 50% of their hives and that is devastating to those individuals; they can't rebuild and take another loss of that magnitude. So, averages don't always tell the whole story and these numbers don't show a major change in our ability to keep bees healthy and serving as viable honey producers or pollinators.   

 I had a great opportunity to visit Washington D.C. again in late April where we had a meeting with White House advisers on the state of our honey bees. Zac Browning, Randy Verhoek and I had a chance to relay to the administration our thoughts on what is affecting our ability to keep bees doing what they used to do twenty years ago. We seemed to have their ears and they demonstrated a genuine interest in our issues. Dr. Micheal Stebbins, from the office of Science and Technology Policy, and Doug McKalip, senior policy advisor, were there to glean information to provide to the President. They said several times, "this is an all-hands-on-deck" issue. All three of us were very excited that there is now a real concern about the problems bees, butterflies, moths, birds and bats are all experiencing. It's a complex issue and one that will require that kind of an attitude to resolve. We informed these officials that we need fewer, and more wisely applied pesticides in our environment, along with more and better places to keep bees where there is healthy and diverse forage.

 We need solutions to the varroa issue with all the problems they bring to the table as well. There's also a big issue that I'm not sure we will be able to address while I am keeping bees and that is the issue of climate change. This stress factor is affecting us all and weather extremes are having an effect on how well our bees build up in the spring and how they survive these winters. We set a record high in February at 89 degrees and then two days later saw nighttime temperatures in the teens. That is a tough change for bees to adapt to. There were many reports of losses right at this time where the bees were doing well and then were suddenly dead upon the next inspection. Reports were that the bees had enough brood that they would not leave to get honey stores that were a frame or two away or perhaps a few inches above where they were clustered. I had a few hives that had a full deep box of honey that failed to survive this week of extremes. I'm not sure what we do to avoid these situations other than to put bees in a potato storage barn for the winter or work extra hard to provide wraps or heat sources for stabilizing these quick and abrupt changes. There is much work to do and I just want you to know that your leaders are taking time and expending much effort to solicit the help of all of our government agencies, whether federal, state or local in hopes of finding some long-term answers. We need your help financially and strategically with ideas on our involvement in these issues.

We have another great issue for you this month, with a new riddle for you to think on and another great article from Peter Teal. He's busy but takes the time to inform us each month with his insights. Anna Kettlewell has another report on what the Honey Queen and Princess have been doing the past month. They are very busy, as always, representing you and all of us who produce and distribute honey. Join them on Facebook and encourage their efforts. They will greatly appreciate it. There's another great honey recipe and lots of new buzzmakers for your information library. 

Thanks again for stopping by and spending time with us and enjoy your upcoming summer. If there's anything you have to add to the ABF E-Buzz in the future, e-mail me at: tuckerb@hit.net.    

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 Our Guest: Call for Papers

 Mark your calendars and save the date for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow on January 6-10 at Anaheim, California. ABF is pleased to announce that the call for papers/presentations is now open.  If you have important beekeeping research to share, a best practice in beekeeping or a proven track record with keeping the  hives alive, we want to hear from you.  Please complete the call for papers submission form and return to Tara Zeravsky at tzeravsky@meetingexpectations.com no later than July 15th.  The conference committee will review all submissions to put together the most informative conference agenda  available.  You will be notified of your participation in early September.  As a reminder, all presenters receive complimentary registration to the conference.  All other expenses are the responsibility of the presenter.  

Bee Educated: ABF 2014 "Conversation with a Beekeeper" series continues in May with one new session  

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 offer one session in May.
Starting a Youth Program
Thursday, June 12, 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
Blake Shook, owner of Desert Creek Honey Company
This presentation goes into great detail about how to start a youth program in your local, or state association using a highly successful model to get youth and their families involved in beekeeping.This model has been influential in exponentially growing local and state clubs, and getting hundreds of young people involved in beekeeping. 
About the presenter: 
Blake Shook and his wife, Kathleen, are the owners of Desert Creek Honey Company, and operate 2,000+ hives in Texas, California and North Dakota. Blake is past president and vice president of a local beekeeping association in Texas, is a director for the American Beekeeping Federation and is the President for the Texas Beekeepers Association. When he is not working bees, he has had the privilege of has speaking at local, state, national and international beekeeping conventions promoting beekeeping. He has also written and contributed content for national beekeeping magazines. Blake began his business in 2004 at age 14, and still packages and markets a wide variety of honey, and honey products online and throughout Texas. 

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

 I would like to thank Mr. Chappie McChesney for providing me great insight on why swarms frequently appear in the Gainesville, Fla. area. "After founding so many new beekeeping clubs in North Florida, we have a large amount of new beekeepers that do not yet understand how to control swarming. In a nutshell, we have repopulated North Central Florida with bees, as a result." McChesney is a leader of developing local Apiculture clubs in north Florida.

Speaking of bee populations, I read an interesting article in Nature magazine, April 9, 2004, written by Daniel Cressey,entitled, "EU states lose up to one-third of honeybees per year" with the sub line, "Survey finds beehives died off at higher rates in north of continent".  The article discusses the results of a survey of 17 European Union member countries and includes data obtained by more than 1,000 bee inspectors (8,500 visits) between fall 2012 and spring 2013. The most interesting feature of the report was the fact that northern countries (such as England, Sweden and Belgium) all had rates of loss greater than 20% (the losses in Belgium were the highest at about 1/3). Early in the northern European crisis, blame was placed on Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) but as the article points out, colony collapse does not occur in all countries in every year.  So, CCD cannot explain all of the losses. Additionally, losses in southern climates (Spain, Italy, and Greece) were only between 5-10%. These countries are the "Florida" for European snowbirds, although to my knowledge, bees do not move from northern European countries to places like Spain for the winter.  

In my mind, the biggest cause of colony loss in the northern countries is probably the inability of the bees to withstand harsh winter climates in northern Europe. Of course, there is one caveat with my hypothesis and that is the data reported for Lithuania, where losses were only 3.5%!  The climate of Lithuania is not much different from the British Isles so winter loss that occurs in other northern countries is not happening here. In researching the agriculture of Lithuania I found that the major crops include potato, sugar beet and increasing amounts of rape (canola). Unlike the USA, the majority of farms are family operated (67,800 family farms and 1,244 corporate-owned farms - source Encyclopedia of Nations) averaging only 20-25 acres and in the last 20 years or so about 25% of the agricultural land has been abandoned (source FAO) leaving way for growth of wild plants and trees. My observations of small family farms around the world is that, although these farms may have a single principal crop, for example potato in Lithuania, they also  tend to be mixed production farms in which a variety of different crops are grown, many of with provide good forage for bees. Also, the expanding acreage of canola on both family and corporate farms clearly benefits honeybees. These things coupled with the return of native vegetation in abandoned farms which results in growth of a rich diversity of plants pollinated by honeybees may be the reason bee populations in Lithuania are more secure than elsewhere in the European Union. 

 At our annual meeting, we heard a number of recent talks on the importance of natural and diverse forage for maintaining honeybees and several scientific papers showing that increasing forage diversity increases pollinator populations. So to me, it makes sense that the agricultural practices in Lithuania coupled with large acreage of native habitat are the reason honeybees suffer less. Let's increase the diversity of bee forage wherever possible. Indeed many States have fantastic roadside programs in which they are seeding wildflowers on the edges of highways.

 On an important note:I recently had a call from David Westervelt of the Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Studies. The Bureau is seeking research proposals and has a considerable amount of funding to support research on honeybee pests. The Bureau released an announcement:

  "Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Plant and Apiary Inspection is putting out a Call for Research Proposals Related to Honey Bee Pest Prevention. We anticipate supporting proposals of up to $105,000.00. If multiple projects are decided upon, the monies will be awarded accordingly to individual projects.  Funds must be used by the conclusion of FY 2015. Projects should be focused on rapid pest detection.  Proposals providing valuable extensions of previously funded projects will be considered." 

This is a unique opportunity and shows how much the State of Florida values apiculture. Proposals must be received by June 30, 2014. For more information please contact Dave Westervelt. His email is david.westervelt@freshfromflorida.com

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

National Honey Board (NHB) and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR) Announce WCR Award Honoring Chef/Beekeeper Laurey Masterton

The National Honey Board and Women Chefs & Restaurateurs have collaborated to establish the "Laurey Masterton Golden Amulet Award," recognizing women entrepreneurs in the foodservice industry. Launching in 2015, the WCR award is a tribute to Chef/Beekeeper Laurey Masterton, beloved WCR member and NHB spokeswoman, who lost a courageous battle with cancer in February. 

Laurey Masterton

A trailblazer and entrepreneur, Laurey is widely recognized for helping to establish downtown Asheville, N.C., as a vibrant farm-to-table food scene, starting with the launch of her eponymous "Laurey's" Café-Catering-Comfort in 1987. Announced by the National Honey Board at the 2014 WCR Conference in March, the new WCR Women Who Inspire "Golden Amulet Award" gets its name from an amulet Laurey proudly wore around her neck, containing one twelfth (1/12th) of a teaspoon of honey - the amount made by one worker bee in her lifetime. Laurey's own life's work touched many in the foodservice industry and beyond; she was an inspiration to all who met her. 

"It is our pleasure to be able to honor Laurey Masterton and we were so happy to do so in partnership with WCR, a professional organization that meant so much to her," said Catherine Barry, Director of Marketing for the National Honey Board.  "Laurey was such a joy to work with and we think she would have approved of this unique recognition that only she could have inspired." 

For more information on WCR and its "Women Who Inspire" awards program, click here..

The National Honey Board (NHB) is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers and foodservice professionals about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. For more information about the NHB's foodservice initiatives, visit www.honey.com/foodservice

 Honey Queen Buzz: One Door Closes and the Summer Begins

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

 May means the end of college semesters and the beginning of late spring and summer promotions. Congratulations to Queen Susannah and Princess Elena for completing their college courses this semester, while also balancing their busy honey queen and princess travel schedules!

 Honey Queen Susannah   Teachs Elementary and Middle School in North Carolina

 Susannah completed her course work in late April, which afforded her opportunity to travel to Fayetteville, NC, and Fort Bragg, NC, to teach elementary and middle school students about the importance of honeybees in their daily lives. Both the queen and princess are well prepared to give presentations to students of all grade levels.  Since more schools have electronic equipment in classrooms and in larger spaces, the queen and princess can reach larger groups and show them specialized information on screens. This dynamic duo also utilizes the AmericanHoneyQueen YouTube channel in schools, showing the students short videos of more complicated topics.  From North Carolina, Susannah travelled on to the Houston, TX area to work with the Harris County Beekeepers at the Pasadena Strawberry Festival, promoting the use of honey.  Please consider inviting the honey queen or princess to your spring and early summer agriculture festivals or events where you sell honey. They are sure to be a draw to your booth!

Princess Elena Speaks to Walnut Hill College's Culinary Program

 Elena's school semester extended further into May, but she stayed busy with some more local events. She was asked to be a guest speaker at Walnut Hill College's culinary program mid-month, where she spoke to culinary students about incorporating honey into their recipes. Culinary programs are great ways to use the Honey Queen program as the queen and princess can demonstrate using honey in a variety of recipes. As more restaurants adopt farm to table practices, chefs and restaurateurs are increasingly interested in using honey. Teaching future chefs about the versatility of honey and teaching them about beekeeping can encourage a greater use of the product. In addition to this event, Elena made a trip to nearby Delaware to present to elementary school students about the importance of the honey bee. 

Summer schedules are filling up rapidly, and we look forward to a productive spring and fall of promotions. I look forward to hearing from you soon about your request for Susannah and Elena to visit your state!

Please contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to request promotional visits from the American Honey Queen or Princess. Happy promoting! 

Kids And Bees: Must Bee Spring!

by Sara Red-Laird, Bee Girl

There’s an equal mix of sunshine and showers, flowers are popping, days are long, kids are restless, bees are buzzing; it must be spring! This is hands down my favorite time of the year. Nectar is flowing, the hills are green, and more and more teachers every year are incorporating bees into their curriculum.  This is keeping me more than busy! I’m to the point where I need extra buzzing bodies to help bring honey bee education to all of the events and classrooms. My grad student intern, the brilliant Phylicia Schwartz, came up with a great idea. As part of her studies (she’s an Environmental Education major), we are going to develop a curriculum based off of the Kids and Bees program. It will be streamlined, step-by-step, and easy to duplicate for anyone out there that is looking for direction on their own regional Kids and Bees programs. I’ll fold it into my work as US Ambassador for IBRA’s BEEWORLD Project, to make it accessible to educators and beekeepers who work with kids across the globe. If you have any “tricks of the trade” that you would like to share and have us possibly included, send me a note at sarah@beegirl.org.   

Potential Beekeeper

 Speaking of the BEEWORLD project, Director Julian Rees and I are currently working on an online platform to connect classrooms here in the US with classrooms in the UK, Australia, South America, and beyond. The notion is based off of the fact that there are so many kids and teachers out there coming up with brilliant ideas on how to teach about bees, and also how to engage in better bee friendly practices, so we want them to be able to connect and learn from each other! If you know of a teacher doing some awesomely creative bee projects, please connect us!  We would love to feature their work and inspire others!    

 On the topic of awesome bee projects, I’d love to share some of the good work that my friend, Drew Larson, Pheasants Forever’s habitat education specialist is up to. Since I last worked with Drew at Pheasant Fest in Milwaukee, he has been busy pulling together pollinator projects across the Midwest.  In the next year, local Pheasants Forever chapters will partner with groups of kids in Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota, and beyond, with a goal of installing pollinator habitat on almost 100 sites.  While the kids spend time planting and connecting with the outdoors, they will also learn how important our bees and other pollinators are, and what they can do to aide in their conservation. Like us on Facebook to keep up with the current good works of our partners like PF!

Bee Girl Buzzin' Around

 Not only are schools and conservation groups excited about bees this time of year, Glory Bee in Eugene Oregon added an education extravaganza to the line-up at Bee Weekend. I got to spend two days talking with kids and new beekeepers all about bees and beekeeping. The event attendees totaled about 1,500 including five school groups (600 kids) who took fieldtrips to see us on Friday. I gave talks on “Honey Beeology”, explaining the importance of bees to our food. Here is a clip of the kids sporting super cool bee headbands and showing their bee love.  I was so thankful Dewey Caron came to pal around with me on Friday.  He helped field 'newbee' questions and talked science with the kids at the activity tables! Susannah Austin, 2014 American Honey Queen, also joined the fun.  It was so fun to get to know our Honey Queen better! She is a hard worker, great with kids, and I think she has a bright future ahead of her in the beekeeping industry!  

 As we head in to June, summer break and summer camps are upon us!!  If you are traveling to the Eastern Apicultural Society conference in Kentucky this year, think about bringing the kids!  EAS will feature a beekeeping camp lead by your truly this year. The Beekeeping Academy is a one day camp for kids going into grades four through six. Students will spend their day at Berea University’s farm in a fun and educational immersion into the world of the bee. During the morning hours, we will take an in-depth look into bee anatomy, biology, and sociology, and their vital role in our food system. The afternoon will be spent up close and personal with honey bee hives and native bee observations. Throughout the day students will learn about present challenges bees face, and how they can be part of the solution in the bee’s survival. For more information and to register, click here.  

A very happy start to “bee season” to you all, and I’ll end this write up with a little verse by Ogden Nash: 
 “I eat my peas with honey
I’ve done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on the knife!”   

Bee Informed 

An Up-and-Coming, Integrated IPM Approach to Small-Scale Beekeeping
by Katy Evans, Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees Scholarship Recipient

Beekeeping continues to gain popularity across the country despite the numerous pests and pathogens present in honey bee populations in the United States. The effects of these pests and viruses hit the mainstream public in 2006 when a wave of colony deaths plagued the nation and since then, the beekeeping community has continually suffered a 20-33% annual loss of overwintering colonies. Colony decline has not been directly linked to one factor, but evidence shows that the varroa mite, Varroa destructor, an ectoparasitic brood mite, is one of the primary causes behind the decline. Many treatments are available for varroa control, although few have yielded long term success. Therefore, there is a need to explore alternative beekeeping management strategies. The goal of my project is to develop and test the efficacy of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to manage varroa mites and varroa vectored viruses. 

Specifically, it will test the efficacy of splitting and swarming of colonies in conjunction with drone brood removal on reducing mite populations. Historically, beekeepers have tried to prevent their bees from swarming. They thought the process was detrimental to honey production and pollination, but existing research shows that colonies allowed to swarm show lower mite numbers and decreased bee mortality. My research focuses on non-chemical ways to manage varroa mites in small apiaries and aims to provide good management tools for small-scale beekeepers. If effective, this strategy will be developed into an IPM practice for hobbyist beekeepers that will reduce the amount of time and money spent on varroa control treatments and alleviate the need for additional control tactics. I still have one more field season, but the results to-date are promising and the data collected will be valuable for long term management of bees. Results from this work will lead to a greater understanding of the relationship between varroa mites and honey bees and provide a basis for sustainable honey bee management techniques.

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle master was ABF member Col. Todd Shealy. Below is the answer: 

Riddle: 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! My time is short lived, not more than a day, but together our year is set to make hay.

So count up your days now, twenty by three, the answer is simple and easy to see. 

Answer: Leap day or February 29.

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.
You are here, I am there, Not an oval, not a square. I'm shaped and molded in every way, With your efforts day by day. 

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Honey Bee Deaths Are Down, But the Beepocalypse Continues: A new survey found that nearly a quarter of honey bee colonies died over the winter—and that's an improvement over last year. Learn More 
  • Above USDA Headquarters: Bees Are Abuzzing: The People's Garden Apiary located on the roof of the Jamie L. Whitten Building at USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC is home to approximately 40,000 Italian honey bees. You can #USDABeeWatch any day of the week by tuning into our live bee cam. Read More
  • Scientists May Have Finally Pinpointed What's Killing All The Honey Bees: Where have all the honey bees gone? A new study seems to strengthen the evidence linking pesticides used on crops to colony collapse disorder in honey bees. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, is a phenomenon in which honey bees inexplicably disappear from their hives. The bodies of the dead bees are typically never found. Read More 
  • Bee Deaths Decline But Remain At Unsustainable Level: Honey bee deaths in the U.S. fell over the past year, according to a government report that said losses remained higher than beekeepers consider acceptable to remain in business. Learn More  
  • Honeybee Deaths Most Likely Linked To Common Insecticides Not Global Warming: Recent Harvard studies have concluded that the cause of the recent decline in Honeybees is most likely attributed to commonly used insecticides. Much concern has been expressed in recent years about the apparent global decline in the number of honeybees, which are a critical component of our food supply. Read more 
  • Amazing Benefits of Honey That You Should Know to use This Mother Natural's Gift for Better Health: Honey is an ancient remedy that has been using for centuries. The scientists have shown that honey contains anti-bacterial and non-toxic properties to beat many types of bacteria and strengthen human's immunity. Honey can be used for other common purposes like beauty, nutrition, wound care, religion and more! This writing will help you have an overview of honey, including the facts of honey, the benefits of honey and the honey recipes. Read More
  • USDA Announces New Landmark Conservation Initiatives New Programs Authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill Help Restore Wetlands, Support Outdoor Recreation Activities, Boost the Economy: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that applications are now being accepted for new, landmark conservation initiatives created by the 2014 Farm Bill. The programs will provide up to $386 million to help farmers restore wetlands, protect working agriculture lands, support outdoor recreation activities and boost the economy. Learn More

ABF Welcomes New Members — April 2014

  • Rex Hastey, Oklahoma
  • Wade Janzen, Canada
  • Justin Liles, Georgia
  • Maryland State Beekeepers Association
  • David B. Murray, Texas
  • Michelle Poulk, Texas
  • Rayn Preusser, Minnesota
  • Y. Elizabeth Tison, Florida


Recipe of the Month: Honey Flans

 Source: Southern Living March 2014


  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 7 tablespoons honey (such as orange blossom), divided
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  •  Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle sugar in a 3-qt. saucepan; place over medium heat, and cook, gently shaking pan, 4 minutes or until sugar melts and turns a light golden brown.
  • Slowly stir in 3 Tbsp. honey. (Mixture will clump a little; gently stir just until melted.)
  • Remove from heat; immediately pour hot caramelized sugar into 6 (6-oz.) ramekins.
  • Process condensed milk, next 4 ingredients, and remaining 4 Tbsp. honey in a blender 10 to 15 seconds or until smooth; pour evenly over sugar in each ramekin.
  • Place ramekins in a 13- x 9-inch pan. Add hot tap water to pan to a depth of 1 inch.
  • Cover loosely with aluminum foil.Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until slightly set. (Flan will jiggle when pan is shaken.)
  • Remove ramekins from water bath; place on a wire rack. Cool 30 minutes.
  • Cover and chill 3 hours.Run a knife around edges of flans to loosen; invert flans onto a serving plate.


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