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ABF E-Buzz: February 2016
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ABF E-Buzz — February 2016

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Gene Brandi, ABF President 

Welcome to all new members of the ABF! We certainly hope you find the information on the website, monthly webinars and ABF E-Buzz helpful and informative. ABF members can also access the multitude of archived webinars on a variety of topics at any time. It is our hope that you find the ABF a valuable organization that helps to increase your knowledge of beekeeping and bee industry related activities. You may also wish to consider attending our next annual conference, which will be held in Galveston, Texas, in January 2017. This is an opportunity to hear about many interesting bee related topics from various speakers on the program as well as from visiting with the other beekeepers in attendance.

Spring has sprung early here in the Central Valley of California, as almonds began blooming in earnest around Valentine’s Day. The unseasonably warm weather has set several daily high temperature records in many parts of the state, in sharp contrast to the record cold temperatures in much of the Eastern United States in mid-February. Although we are in the midst of California’s traditional rainy season as I write this, there has been no precipitation during the past two weeks, and we are hoping that more rain will arrive soon as we desperately attempt to break out of our four-year drought.

While I hope that your bees survive the winter in good shape, it is disappointing to again hear about the alarming number of severe colony losses in many parts of the country. There is certainly a shortage of good bee hives for almond pollination this year. This serious situation needs to be addressed if we are to continue to serve the pollination needs of the almond industry and the rest of the agricultural community that relies upon strong, healthy honey bee colonies to pollinate their crops. Mites, pesticides, poor nutrition, and diseases are all major concerns impacting the health of our bees. The ABF believes that these issues must be addressed in a comprehensive manner if beekeeping is going to be a successful endeavor in the future, and it is our goal to see that happen. Thanks again to all new members for becoming part of the ABF, the largest nationwide beekeeping organization in the USA!

Legislative Buzz

by Gene Brandi, ABF President 

The comment period for EPA’s Preliminary Pollinator Risk Assessment for Imidacloprid remains open until either March 15, 2016, or until a later date if the comment period is extended. The ABF is devel-oping comments to be submitted jointly with the American Honey Producers Association. EPA encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to review the risk assessment and related documents, and submit comments to the docket at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2008-0844. According to EPA, all com-ments submitted to the docket will be considered in the final risk assessment.

The ABF recently signed on to a letter from the Pollinator Stewardship Council to EPA requesting that a Section 18 Emergency Exemption for Sulfoxaflor not be approved for use on up to 3 million acres of sorghum in Texas. Sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees and was pulled from the market by a court action last year, due to the fact that significant bee toxicity data was lacking before it was originally regis-tered. Given the fact that honey bees will collect pollen from sorghum, the ABF believes it would be most prudent if all the necessary bee toxicity data is submitted and reviewed before granting this, or any other emergency exemption for use on bee attractive crops.

One of the most pressing issues facing the bee industry at this time is the development of Managed Pollinator Protection Plans or MP3’s. The purpose of these plans ostensibly is to provide greater protection to bees from exposure to harmful pesticide applications. Many state and tribal agencies are in the process of developing these plans as suggested by the EPA. ABF officers, many ABF members, and others continue to participate in discussions with various state and federal governmental agencies on this issue, and some of us are planning to attend a Pollinator Protection Program symposium in Washington, D.C., in March. ABF members are encouraged to become engaged on this issue in their home states, as many state departments of agriculture are seeking input from their state and local bee industry representatives.

The ABF is concerned that the basic premise of these programs appears to be based upon pesticide applicators notifying beekeepers of impending pesticide applications, whereupon beekeepers are expected to remove their bees from the area. This is an unsustainable concept that appears to shift the responsibility of bee protection from the pesticide applicator to the beekeeper. The ABF believes that clear, enforceable pesticide label language is the fundamental basis of pollinator protection.

The following resolution, which was approved by the membership at the recently concluded 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow in Florida, can be used as a guide for use in your own state when discussing the development of a pollinator protection program:

WHEREAS, Pollinator Protection Plans are being developed by many states across the nation; and,

WHEREAS, these plans include bee registries in order to keep track of apiary locations so that beekeepers can be notified of impending pesticide applications; and, WHEREAS, moving bee hives away from all pesticide applications is an impossibility and not a sustainable means of reducing bee hazards from pesticides on a broad scale; and,

WHEREAS, non-apis pollinators should be protected by these plans as well as honey bees; and,

WHEREAS, all such plans must be designed to specifically comply with FIFRA’s primary goal of preventing unreasonable harm to man and the environment; now,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Beekeeping Federation work to ensure that state pollinator protection plans truly protect all pollinators and that no pollinator protection plans contain elements that are less restrictive than federal pesticide law; and,

FURTHER, that the ABF continue to stress the fact that clear, enforceable pesticide label lan-guage is the best way to protect honey bees and all pollinators from the risks of pesticide exposure.

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


2016 Will be an Exciting Year for Honey

Building on the momentum of our sweet 2015, the National Honey Board (NHB) hive has been buzzing with plans for an exciting 2016. Members of the NHB team have been meeting with industry organizations, current and new partners and gearing up for some really sweet programs.

In 2015 we attended our first Food & Wine event. This partnership allowed us to reach a new, and very welcoming, audience that was sweet on honey. We are pleased to announce that we will be continuing to make appearances at select shows around the country, kicking off the year at the 2016 South Beach Food & Wine event in Miami at the end of February.

We are excited to be partnering with Taste of Home for another year of their seasonal cooking schools. The NHB has developed a great and mutually beneficial relationship with the organization and is glad to see it continue. Through the work of their many wonderful chefs, we get to spread the news about honey as a versatile culinary ingredient.

This summer, the NHB will launch its first retail program with some great partners, so stay tuned for details on this exciting promotion for honey. We can’t wait to continue our work with our spokespeople Chef David Guas, Christy Wilson, RD, and Chef Michell Sanchez.

We can’t wait to see what new and delicious honey recipes they come up with.

This is just a sneak peek into a handful of the fun programs we are working on, with some awesome surprises that we know you will love.

It’s an exciting time for the NHB, with many changes coming over the following months that we can’t wait to share with you all! To keep up-to-date and follow along on our adventure, be sure to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Honey Queen Buzz  

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Princess Tabitha with the Florida State Beekeepers at the Florida State Fair

It feels like yesterday was the middle of the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow. February is flying by so fast, and our representatives have been hard at work with promotions and continued learning opportunities.

Queen Kim participated in a new promotion for the Honey Queen Program this year, the New Mexico Beekeepers Association convention. In addition to speaking to the organization about giving effective media interviews, and about the ABF and Honey Queen program, she also gave school presentations to students in Albuquerque and also participated in her first television interview. This trip was an excellent way for Kim to get her feet wet as the program’s national spokesperson, putting her new skills from training into action. We send special thanks to ABF board member Jessie Brown for arranging her visit and events!



Queen Kim gives a presentation to middle and elementary school children in Albuquerque

Princess Tabitha promoted at the first state fair of the year in Florida! She was a guest of the Florida State Beekeepers Association, where she worked in their fair exhibit and gave multiple cooking demonstrations during her stay. She also had great opportunities to promote the ABF at a variety of local beekeeping meetings and spoke to many students in elementary schools during her stay.

The Queens also had the opportunity to reunite at the University of Minnesota Beekeeping in Northern Climates Short Course. In addition to gaining more knowledge about beekeeping practices (particularly a great opportunity for Tabitha to learn more about how keeping bees in cold climates differs than practices in the south!), they also continued the important work of promoting the ABF and its programs during a special exhibit during the event. Thank you to Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter for again inviting the Queens to participate in this event!

March will be a busy promotional month for the Queens, and I thank everyone who has contacted me with their promotion date for the year. Please contact me as soon as possible to arrange a visit to your state before dates are already booked! Happy promoting!

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle was: "What flies when it is born, Lies when it's alive, and runs when it's dead?"

Todd Shealy was the first to get the correct answer: Snow! 

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • USDA research identifies factors for faster commercial honey bee queen failure. Learn More.
  • Bees abuzz over rapini. Read more.
  • Nature notes: early spring blooms could cause bee confusion. Learn More.
  • Almond blooms are welcome sight for farmers. Read More.
  • Federal researchers work to create honeybee gene bank. Learn More.
  • Worldwide bee epidemic linked to human cause: colony trafficking. Read More.
  • Extreme Temperatures During Shipping Can Affect Honey Bee Queens’ Reproductive Abilities. Learn More.
  • USDA to invest $4 million for honey bee food sources on private lands. Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members - January 2016

  • Jacob Amlong, Florida
  • Christine Anninos, Washington D.C.
  • Dion Ashurst, California
  • Xiuliang Bao, New York
  • Patsy Baughman, New Mexico
  • William Blough, Florida
  • Emily Blount, Michigan
  • Steve Bridge, Maryland
  • Annie Burleson, Texas
  • Ben Carpenter, New York
  • Charles Carter, Georgia
  • Lorette Cheswick, New Jersey
  • Gene Ciampini, Florida
  • Laurent Cilia, Colorado
  • James Couture, Illinois
  • Justin Cutts, California
  • Maria Daniela D Ambros, Utah
  • Randy Daily, Kansas
  • Rudy Fernandez, Florida
  • Elizabeth Frost, Australia
  • Mark Gilberts, Wisconsin
  • Maxine Grier, Canada
  • Judy Griesedieck, Minnesota
  • Michael Hammond, Missouri
  • Jack Hanel, North Carolina
  • John Hangen, Florida
  • Calvin Harley, California
  • Jason Harp, California
  • Jessica Helgen, Minnesota
  • James Hinkle, Florida
  • Southeast Honey Co., Indiana
  • Jim Howard, New York
  • Stanley Jakubek, Wisconsin
  • Pratime Jester, Florida
  • Sara Johnson, North Dakota
  • John Keele, Florida
  • Russ Kendzior, Texas
  • Kevin Krebsbach, Connecticut
  • Joel Laberge, Canada
  • Joyce Lang, Florida
  • David Lehmann, North Carolina
  • Elizabeth Lennington, Georgia
  • Shayne Madella, Maryland
  • Jacob Maselka, Georgia
  • Phil McDaniel, Florida
  • Bill McEnany, Oregon
  • Stuart Mellish, Florida
  • Megan Merrill, Michigan
  • Meghan Milbrath, Michigan
  • Gerard Moyen, Canada
  • Derek Moyen, Canada
  • Oleksiy Naumenko, Florida
  • Celia Norman, Colorado
  • Kelly O'Day
  • Mike Palmer, California
  • Calvin Parsons, Canada
  • Joseph Patton, Alabama
  • Paul Perkins, Washington
  • Scott Perkins, Oregon
  • Philip Plumbo, Minnesota
  • Mike Poelman, Canada
  • Kathleen Prough, Indiana
  • Mary Puecell-Miramontes, Washington D.C.
  • Leah Quigg, Canada
  • Jeanie Robinson, Georgia
  • Samuel Rose, Washington D.C.
  • Jason Rufer, Minnesota
  • Terry Rufer, Minnesota
  • Erin Rupp, Minnesota
  • Benjamin Sallmann, California
  • Jessica Sanders, California
  • Rudra Santocchi, Italy
  • Sharon Schmidt, Oregon
  • Stuart Shim, Canada
  • Marc Simmons, Georgia
  • Thomas Sipprell, Florida
  • Neil Specht, Canada
  • Justin Stubblefield, Florida
  • Ludo Thomas
  • TJ Thomas, North Carolina
  • Bo Townsend, Florida
  • John Trent, Georgia
  • Todd Walker, North Carolina
  • Mary Weaver, Pennsylvania
  • Bill Weaver, Pennsylvania
  • Greg Wilcox, Michigan
  • Robert Wooten, California
  • Amanda Wooten, California
  • Todd Yakimishen, Canada
  • Renlian Yi, China



Recipe of the Month: Almond Crusted French Toast with Whipped Ricotta and Honey

Source: National Honey Board

Filling Ingredients:

3/4 cup - ricotta cheese

1/4 cup - cream cheese, softened

zest of 1 orange

Syrup Ingredients: 

3/4 cup - honey

juice of 1/2 orange

1/2 teaspoon - cinnamon

French Toast Ingredients: 

1/2 cup - sliced almond

3 - eggs

3/4 cup - milk

splash - vanilla

pinch - salt

8 - thick slices of challah or brioche bread

3 tablespoons - butter



Preheat the oven to 350°.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the ricotta and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in orange zest.

In another small bowl, whisk the honey, orange juice and cinnamon. Add three tablespoons of that mixture to the ricotta and stir. Reserve the rest for the topping.

In a shallow wide bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and salt. Spread the almonds out on a plate.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt half the butter in the skillet. Dip half the bread slices in the egg mixture, letting it soak in for about five seconds on each side. Place both sides of the bread in the almonds, pressing them into the s

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