Home | Contact Us | Print Page | Sign In | Join Now
ABF E-Buzz: May 2019

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


Azalea praise in painted hues
some pray, lie, bribe, pray, insult, pray
muddy month of May.

-Anil Deo

Welcome back!

As I write, I am sure there are many hives washing down the streams and creeks and once-dry gullies which are all now raging rivers here in the Midwest. This has been the wettest and muddiest May I can remember! There have been dozens of tornadoes, and thankfully we have not seen or heard one yet. I have 35 acres of the most beautiful white clover going under water, and I hope it will not all be killed. There has been loss of life and much damage to be repaired in the coming months. Many have lost all they have, so we have much to be thankful for.

Last week, Rhonda and I went to Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the Pesticide Programs Dialogue Committee (PPDC). It was her first trip to D.C., and while it only allowed for a few extra hours to visit some sites and experience the area, I think she really enjoyed it. I remember back to when I was asked to run for ABF Vice President by Zac Browning. I told him I really didn’t think I would enjoy doing the legislative aspect of that position and would need a lot of help. I didn’t think I would enjoy going to D.C. and all the politics involved. It only took one trip to get the bug of why it is such an amazing attraction, not only to Americans, but to people from all over the world.

The museums and galleries, the mall and Arlington National Cemetery give perspective to how unique and successful an experiment our great country has been. I usually book flights to allow for an extra day or two when travelling to D.C. for our PPDC meetings or meetings on the Hill, but for this trip, time just did not permit it. Perhaps the next time we will be able to spend a bit more time there.

The EPA office is in the area of Crystal City, and it is a beautiful place to walk and enjoy the little parks and quiet spots with wonderful plantings. We experienced the bustle and buzz of a presidential motorcade, we believe, as a flurry of security vehicles flowed past the EPA building during the second morning we were there. The vehicles were headed somewhere other than the EPA, but I’m not sure where they ended up. Rick Kegwin, our PPDC coordinator, said there isn’t likely that much of an event unless it is the president.

I remember back a few years ago, when I was sitting and taking in the sight of the Jefferson Memorial one evening, and the presidential helicopter came flying up the Potomac and landed on the mall for a meeting that was being held there under high security. I thought…wow, that is really kind of neat to experience. It makes great memories which can make up for the expense and occasional frustration of trips to D.C.

We did have the opportunity to address Assistant Administrator Alexandra Dunn, who actually took questions for twenty minutes after her opening comments on Thursday. I told her it was good to hear in her remarks that they are pushing for a more open and transparent agency with hopes for improving public opinion and that comments from the Public Health Work Group had reported that the EPA should work to improve public confidence by improving communique quality, quantity and consistency. I wished her luck in that respect. I told her, in trying to explain what we do on the PPDC, that most people were skeptical about efforts to work with the EPA because there is a high level of mistrust amongst the public in general and specifically with beekeepers.

Some of the topics on the meeting’s agenda were biostimulants, which are being proposed for use on crops and notably hemp to replace chemical fertilizers to some degree. The hopes are that these “naturally occurring compounds” will be safer. I asked Bob McNally, Director, Biopesticides and Pollution Prevention Division, if these compounds would be naturally extracted or chemically produced, and you know what the answer was. The other issue to consider is that these naturally occurring compounds found in plants will not be used in amounts that would be in any way close to natural. There are always costs and usually effects on the environment that might not always be “natural” in their consequences.

We were assured that the Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) would be safe and species-specific. Most original claims by the chemical industry do not turn out to be what they had presented. Another topic discussed at length was hemp and what compounds will be able to be used in the production of marijuana for consumption. There are already 56 thousand acres being planted in Kentucky, and there are no “approved” pesticides for use on hemp for human consumption as opposed to other uses in manufacturing products. EPA hasn’t established minimum tolerance levels for any products on hemp. Last year, hemp was a billion-dollar industry. It is expected to quadruple this year alone. I told them that without any minimum tolerances or approved products or monitoring, I think I will pass on using CDB oil despite magnificent results acclaimed by some.

This month, we have reports from our President Tim May who was also in Washington this month for a meeting with USDA-FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce and NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. He has a report on that meeting, and our Vice President Joan Gunter has a legislative update on the Farm Bill and budgets. Our Honey Queen Committee Chair Anna Kettlewell has a great report on the activities of Queen Hannah and Princess Nicole who started and ended the month with honey and bee festivals. Princess Nicole participated in the third California Honey Festival in Woodland, outside Sacramento. She was a guest speaker at the event and in local schools and assisted with the ABF’s exhibit at the event. We so appreciate the hard work these young ladies do to promote honey and honey bees! We also have some great new Buzzmakers and items in the news. Don’t forget to try our great new recipe for your honey taste buds. Once again, thank you for stopping by, and I hope it is time well spent for you. Until next month, I hope your bees are strong and working hard!


President's Greeting

by Tim May, ABF President

Earlier this month I headed to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Chief Matthew Lohr. The meeting was arranged by the Honey Bee Health Coalition and was also attended by FSA and NRCS staffers, Fran Boyd of Meyers and Associates, Eric Silva of AHPA, as well as other stakeholders. Julie Shapiro from the Keystone Policy Center was the facilitator.

Our goal for this meeting was to set up a working group with staffers from these two agencies as well as other stakeholders. This working group will discuss ways to implement our recommendations to improve both the quality and cost-effectiveness of honey bee and other pollinator habitat enrolled in USDA private land conservation programs.

Administrator Fordyce and Chief Lohr were both very receptive to our proposal. We are in the process of setting up this working group, and I will keep you up to date as it develops.

ABF Vice President Joan Gunter and I are planning another two-day trip to Washington next month. This visit will coincide with National Pollinator Week. We plan on visiting with both the Senate and House Agriculture Committee staffers along with several other Congressional Representatives. We will also be making a trip to the USDA to discuss honey bee health issues.

Joan or I will give an update on our trip in next month’s ABF E-Buzz. I hope everyone has a great summer, and we’re looking forward to seeing you at the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow in January.


Government Relations

by Joan Gunter, ABF Vice President

The month of May finds beekeepers engaged in preparing hives for their spring locations, whether they have successfully overwintered their colonies or migrated to spring locations. Keeping them fed is the first step in our business. We have an extremely short season in North Dakota, so the bees must be ready when the time is right.

Legislative Update

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is doing its best to implement the Farm Bill. There is much controversy over the specifics, especially the conversation programs. We have seen this reaction in the past. The ABF must continue this fight.

D.C. is going crazy over trade issues. The impending tariffs on China and the possible retaliation from these tariffs is of great concern right now. The President and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue are looking at a $20 billion trade adjustment, however, several folks on Capitol Hill are expressing concern over this decision.

In early May, ABF President Tim May represented the ABF along with Fran Boyd, our government relations representative, during a meeting with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRSC) and the Soil Conservation Service (SCS). Representatives from the Honey Bee Health Coalition were also in attendance. The structure of this meeting was to discuss the needs of honey bees and other pollinators on private lands. Seed mixtures and other issues were discussed in detail. Hopefully this is a positive step forward. ABF is determined to push forward on this issue.

Immigration is still an issue. The President has a plan, but the Democrats continue to offer no support.

Fran also supplied this information: The big fight this summer and fall will be funding the government. So far, a budget has not been agreed upon, but the appropriations subcommittees are doing their best work to push it forward.

Have a wonderful spring!


In Memory of Roger A. Graham
November 11, 1953 - April 26, 2019

Roger A. Graham, age 65, passed away all too soon on Friday, April 26, 2019. He was a resident of Bargersville, Indiana.

Roger was born November 11, 1953 in Franklin, to his parents, Byron and Doris (Buchanan) Graham. He was a 1972 graduate of Franklin Community High School. Roger retired in February of 2019 from Cranewerks in Morristown, where he worked as a Vice President for the past 17 years. He was also the co-owner and operator of Graham’s Bee Works in Morgantown, where he taught classes on Beekeeping since 1994. Roger was an auctioneer and has played Santa Claus for the past two years.

Roger was a member of the Fair Haven Christian Church, where he served as a Sunday School Teacher for the Children’s Special Needs Class; and was a former Deacon and Missions Committee Chairman. He was also a member of the Indiana State Bee Association, Indiana Auctioneers Association and served as an Esteemed Loyal Knight with the Franklin Elks Lodge 1818.

Roger was known for his cooking skills and has prepared dinner, alongside his wife Juanita, for the Veterans every Tuesday night at the Franklin Elks Lodge for the past year. He enjoyed fishing and was a fan of the television show Survivor.

Memorial contributions may be sent in honor of Roger to the Johnson County Senior Services, 731 S. State Street, Franklin, Indiana 46131.


Call for Presentations - Two Weeks Remain!

2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow

Schaumburg, Illinois  |  January 8-11, 2020

Do you have important beekeeping research to share, a best practice in beekeeping or a proven track record with keeping hives alive? We want to hear from you!

Please complete the online Call for Presentations submission form no later than Friday, June 14, 2019.

Your engaging and novel presentation should include a how-to component, best practices and an innovative approach. Educational sessions may not include product or company-specific sales initiatives.

The conference committee will review all submissions, and you will be notified of your acceptance in early August. As a reminder, all presenters receive complimentary registration to the conference. All other expenses are the responsibility of the presenter.

Mark your calendar and plan now to join us for the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow!

Exceptional education, spirited networking and constructive resources are what make this event special for beekeepers of all skill levels. From the smallest small-scale beekeepers to the largest commercial operations, we hope to see you in Schaumburg!


Archived Webinar of the Month:
Save-A-Bee, Plant-A-Tree

Presented by: Mike Connor, Certified Arborist, Nursery Grower and Beekeeper

Despite all the talk and programs established to maintain or restore bee habitat, trees are often overlooked in the vital role they play in providing pollen and nectar resources for honey bees and many of our native bees. In fact, throughout most of the country, spring buildup, colony strength and major honey flows depend on trees. This talk covers some of the major tree species that may play a vital role in your success as a beekeeper.

Mike Connor is a certified arborist, nursery grower and an experienced beekeeper. He grew up on an orchard and Christmas tree farm in Michigan and purchased his first hive of bees from Sears when he was 12 years old. He is in a unique position to understand the relationships between plants, trees and bees.

A graduate of Cornerstone University with post-graduate studies at Calvin College and MSU, Mike became a Branch Manager of Dadant and Sons Bee Supply in 1977. At Dadant, he received a real education in beekeeping from some of the best beekeepers in the world. He left Dadant in 1985 to start his own tree nursery and operate 200 hives of his own.

Including a 7-year commitment as a municipal arborist and park superintendent, Mike has spent his entire career growing and caring for plants, trees and bees. He is a co-founder of the Grand Rapids Area Bee Club.

Click Here to Download the Webinar


Honey Plays Starring Role
at Craft Brewers Conference

More than 14,000 brewers and brewing industry professionals trekked to the Mile-High City in April to attend the annual Craft Brewers Conference. The National Honey Board (NHB) has exhibited at this show for the last five years, educating brewers about the many flavor and functional roles that honey plays in beer.

From 9am to 5pm, the NHB booth was packed with brewers interested in learning about honey varietals and telling us about their latest made-with-honey beer. We saw quite a few friends and Honey Beer Summit alumni and generated quite a bit of attention for our upcoming Honey Beer Competition.

We also noted these three key trends that were talked about at the show and will be impacting the beer consumers will be drinking this summer and into 2020.

IPA Craze Continues
In the craft beer industry, IPAs drive sales, volumes and interest. It’s been that way for several years, and there are no signs of IPA sales waning. In fact, the category is expanding into regional styles of IPAs such as the popular New England Hazey IPAs, as well as extra-dry Brut IPAs. We’re also seeing a significant amount of honey being used in IPAs from both flavor and functional perspectives. 

As a flavor, honey provides a sweetness to IPAs to balance out the bitter edges some hops can impart. On a functional side, honey added during the boil phase of the brewing process will raise the ABV of an IPA without contributing sweetness, as the sugars in honey will ferment out before making it into the bottle or can.

Light Beers, Crisp Finishes
Light beers were once the sole domain of the non-craft beer scene, with giant global brewers such as Anheuser-Busch Inbev and MillerCoors competing for consumers by creating beers light on taste, calories and alcohol content. Craft brewers are trying to win some of these consumers over by delivering low-calorie, low-alcohol beers with a ton of flavor. 

For many craft brewers, honey is the answer for crafting easy-drinking ales and lagers. The simple sugars in honey ferment out of these beers and impart a wonderful aroma while lightening the body of a beer and delivering a crisp finish.

Now for Something Different...Mead
It was apparent on the show floor that every craft brewer was looking for the next big thing or point of distinction. Many brewers who stopped by the NHB booth were interested in mead and how they could distinguish their brewery by serving this honey wine. Clearly, we’re big fans of mead and were more than happy to tell brewers all about how this honey wine can come in multiple styles, from dry to sweet to fruited. We expect to see more and more brewers offering both still mead that drinks like wine and carbonated mead that drinks like beer.


Greg Wade Named
2019 James Beard’s Outstanding Baker

We were thrilled earlier this month to learn that Greg Wade of Publican Quality Bread, one of our favorite bakers and a friend of the National Honey Board (NHB), was recognized with a James Beard Award for Outstanding Baker. The James Beard Awards are the Oscars of the food and beverage industry, and this prestigious recognition is a pinnacle achievement for any chef or baker.

Over the years, the NHB has been fortunate to work with Greg several times. He attended one of our first ever Honey Baking Summits and also participated in our Baking All-Star event, where he created an amazing hempseed honey ciabatta.

In addition to being a great baker, Greg is also heavily involved in changing our food system in America. For the last five years, we’ve been proud to support his efforts through the annual Bread Camp he ran with the Spence Farm Foundation.

This year’s James Beard Outstanding Baker finalists were stacked with bakers who have attended one of the NHB’s Honey Baking Summits, which is held annually in Providence, Rhode Island. Those other finalists include:

  • Zachary Golper of Bien Cuit in Brooklyn, New York, 2016 Honey Baking Summit alum
  • Lisa Ludwinski of Sister Pie in Detroit, Michigan, 2017 Honey Baking Summit alum
  • Maura Kilpatrick of Sofra Bakery and Café in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2018 Honey Baking Summit alum
  • Avery Ruzicka of Manresa Bread in Los Gatos, California, 2019 Honey Baking Summit attendee

The NHB is happy to congratulate Greg on his much deserved James Beard Award.


Bee Week

by Sarah Red-Laird

Every May, I host more than 300 kids at The Farm at Southern Oregon University for “Bee Week.” Students ride over on school busses from all over our valley to come and learn all about bees from myself and our large team of passionate volunteers. I spend about 40 minutes with the kids, engaging in a super fun and educational lesson on the bee life cycle, honey, pollination and solutions to bee loss. Then we guide them through four learning stations for the remainder of our time together: Bees and Beekeeping, Honey Tasting, Beeswax and Bee Habitat.


A script for my talk, as well as learning objectives and activities for the stations are listed in the “90 Minute Fly-In Lesson” starting on page 36 in the Kids and Bees Handbook. You can find a free e-book of the handbook or order a hard copy at www.beegirl.org/kidsandbees. I also made a YouTube video of the “Bee and Beekeeping” station to give you a tour of the materials we use and how and why we use them.

Click this link for the video: https://youtu.be/uCs6KIHCDvc

I have absolutely loved seeing selfies with the handbook pop up all over the U.S. and as far away as Australia! Please share any successes you have had with the handbook with us on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/kidsandbees or via email at thehive@beegirl.org.



Image result for crown clipart
Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

I recently read a cute comic strip that asked, “If April showers bring May flowers—what do May flowers bring?” The response, fittingly for all of us, was “June bees.”

May and June are incredibly busy months for all of us as we are getting our bees strong, healthy and vibrant so that those June bees will bring, as the comic strip stated, “July honey.” In July, we start really celebrating honey in all its glory at farmers’ markets, festivals, fairs and countless events. During May and June, the queens focus on honing their presentations, touting the immense importance of healthy bees for an abundant food supply and wonderful products of the hive.


This May, Hannah and Nicole started and ended the month with honey and bee festivals. Princess Nicole participated in the third California Honey Festival in Woodland, outside Sacramento. She was a guest speaker at the event and in local schools and assisted with the ABF’s exhibit at the event. Many thanks to the members and volunteers who participated in this function again! What a great way to kick off the honey season! Queen Hannah capped off the month of May in Texas, celebrating the state’s beekeeping heritage at the BeeWeaver Buzz Fest. She taught hundreds of visitors how honey is a restorative resource.

Continuing the theme of strengthening knowledge and health of our bees, Nicole participated in several beekeeping meetings, including being a guest speaker at the Delaware Valley College Queen Rearing Seminar and the New Jersey Beekeepers Association. Having the queens attend beekeeping meetings when they are in your area is a great way to connect with our members. It also provides our representatives with additional learning opportunities.

So, as we await June bees and July honey, the American Honey Queen Committee and I encourage you to continue to send your promotional ideas to us! We’d love to send Hannah and Nicole to your area. Our summer promotional schedule is filling up, but we do have availability in September, October and November! Contact me to arrange a visit to your area from Queen Hannah or Princess Nicole (honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414.545.5514). Happy promoting!


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

Honey Bee Colonies More Successful by Foraging on Non-Crop Fields

Artificial Intelligence Could Help Monitor Bee Health

Ford Motor Co., Veterans Partner to Save Honeybees at Ypsilanti Farm

A Definitive Way to Profile Our Nutrients

Honeybees Let Out a ‘Whoop’ When They Bump into Each Other

Honeybees Enter Virtual Reality So Scientists Can Study Their Brains

As Bees Specialize, So Does Their DNA Packaging


ABF Welcomes New Members: April 2019

Chris Andrews, Ohio
Christopher Blades, Massachusetts
Hernan Carranza, Peru
Lea Damisch, Illinois
Dawn Feltner, Florida
Beverly Frable, Florida
Jason Hughes, Tennessee
Marguerite McClintock, Alabama
Keith Mitchell, Texas
Mike Tooley, California


Sticky Asian Chicken Wings

Recipe By: Adam Hickman, Cooking Light

Because the wings get a good bit of char, the type of honey you use isn't as important here (it'll lose its subtler nuances). Though we remove the skin from the wings, you'd never know it—they pick up an irresistible crispy crunch as the glaze cooks under the broiler. Give yourself a better grip when skinning each wing by holding it with a paper towel in one hand and pulling the skin with another paper towel in the other hand.


  • Cooking spray
  • 20 Large chicken drumettes, skinned (about 1 1/2 lb)
  • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 5 Tablespoons wildflower honey
  • 1/4 Cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped


Step 1
Preheat broiler with rack 6 inches from heat.

Step 2
Coat a large foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine chicken and 1 tablespoon oil on prepared pan; toss to coat. Broil 13 minutes; turn chicken over and broil 3 minutes.

Step 3
Meanwhile, combine honey, stock, soy sauce, vinegar, sambal, ginger, garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; cook 13 minutes or until syrupy and reduced to about 2/3 cup, stirring frequently. Brush chicken with 3 tablespoons honey mixture and return to broiler; broil 2 minutes or until lightly charred. Place chicken in a large bowl; drizzle with remaining honey mixture and toss to coat. Sprinkle chicken evenly with cilantro and peanuts.