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ABF E-Buzz: February 2018
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ABF E-Buzz — February 2018

In This Issue:


Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

The ground is chained in frozen iron
Snow crystals glued on pine cones
Overhangs embroideries of polished ice
The wind shakes and shatters them into millions of pieces
Slowly more brightness toward longer days
A new light is born across a white landscape
With its beauty and bliss a squirrel in a pine tree
Thoughts and reflections how beautiful it is
- A-L Andresen


Welcome back!
I hope your January was a good one and you are getting ready for the upcoming year. Many of you are in the almonds now and I hear there were some cold nights there below freezing in some areas, which can be hard on all the fruit trees as well as almonds that occupy the valley. Our weather here has been very erratic and unusual, and we have had 30 to 50 degrees swings in a day or two. We have not had a week this winter where the bees have not un-clustered and flown. Lately, I have seen some dead pupae on the bottom boards.

Of course, there are multiple reasons to explain this, including Hygienic behavior but I think our bees have been expanding quickly and these 70-degree days in February cause the bees to attempt to raise too much brood perhaps and they get ahead of their ability to cover it when temperatures crash again, and the bees can’t cover all the brood and warm it properly. I know that our bees are taking syrup very quickly right now and the numbers are rapidly expanding and that requires that we keep feeding until there is a good flow on, which won’t occur until mid-April here.
So, if your bees aren’t heavy with stores, you need to monitor the need for supplementing them. I have had strong hives collapse in the spring because they just got too light and could no longer feed the quantity of bees in the hive and they cannibalized brood breaking the expansion cycle. It really is a difficult time here in February and March and we build honey producing units this time of year or we have hives that just seem to not compete and by June and July and by August they are gone. I really think that the lack of a good sustained winter is changing how we need to care for our bees. In addition to the other issues, these little changes in blooming cycles and rainfall are affecting all making things hard to manage bees effectively.
This is our second winter without any significant snow or rain. The ground has been as solid as rock and there is little or no subsoil moisture. I remember a time when we had to rock our road and access roads to our apiaries every spring when it dried out. We haven’t had to do that for ten years as our winters are so light in good soaking rains that soak in and keep things a mess all winter long when it’s above freezing. I used to hate February and March because they were four-wheel drive months and months of getting the neighbor to get their tractor to pull your tractor chained to your truck out of a bog somewhere! I guess there are some good aspects to changing weather!

We have some great information here this month as always and updates from Our new ABF, President, Tim May, who is buried in snow up there in Chicago, writes an article regarding the renewed E-LAP program. We have a Legislative update from our ABF Vice President, Joan Gunter, on a call to action to report our losses to EPA and Diana Cox Foster is calling out to beekeepers for pollen samples. She will use the samples to determine the actual levels of exposure of bees to OSS in many crops and across time. OSS is organosilicone spray adjuvants.

We also have a new Honey Queen Buzz report from Anna Kettlewell. Queen Kayla and Princess Jenny have been busy with their training in advance of starting off this years traveling to scheduled events around the country representing the image of honey and how consumers can use honey in so many ways to enhance personal health! There are new Buzzmakers and a great new recipe so again. As always, we hope you enjoy your time here at the ABF E-Buzz and that it provides you with information on how to be a better beekeeper.
If you have something you would like to see added to the news, please let me know what you would think a good addition. Thanks again –
Tim Tucker tuckerb@hit.net

President's Greeting 

by Tim May, ABF President

Well, after a cold but relatively snow free winter, we have really been hit hard in the Chicago area. We have had measurable snow for the past nine days and now have about 16 inches on the ground with not much of a warmup in sight. We were able to check some of our wintering hives before the snow came, but unfortunately things are not looking great. The two weeks of extreme cold around Christmas and New Year’s did some damage. The stronger hives seem ok, but the smaller clusters did go downhill. After speaking with several beekeepers from different parts of the country it is obvious that the health of the bees has not improved. I hope your bees are looking good. Spring isn’t that far away.

We did get some good news recently regarding ELAP (Emergency Loss Assistance for Honey Bees /Farm-Raised Fish). Under the Senate’s proposed continuing resolution, the $20M annual funding cap on ELAP would be lifted. This of course is preliminary, but we are moving in the right direction. This was one of our Farm Bill priorities and to get it done outside the Farm Bill is a bonus. We will keep you informed on the progress of this issue as it becomes available.

Coming soon will be the first issue of the new “ABF Quarterly” magazine. This has been in the works for a while and I hope you enjoy. There are many added features on current industry issues along with some of the past thrown in. Please feel free to express your opinions on the new format, we love hearing from the membership.

I hope your bees are looking good. Spring isn’t that far away.

Government Relations

by: Joan Gunter, ABF Vice President

Winter is in full swing in the Dakotas. I will soon be heading south to begin grafting for our queen rearing operation in Mississippi. I am looking forward to some warmer weather!


You may have received a text message for the ABF office informing you of the EPA’s interest in helping the beekeepers who have had extensive bee losses recently. The message is related to all beekeepers who have problems with their honeybee colonies collapsing, failing to build up, etc. Tom Steeger at the EPA (703)305-5444 would like to help. His comment was “if we don’t hear from beekeepers, then the EPA can’t begin to fix the problem.” If he is not in, leave a message. He will try to get back to you. Tom encourages beekeepers to submit an incident report at beekill@epa.gov. This will give him a written statement that he can refer to. He is concerned and wants to help. Don’t put this off! Do it today!

Diana Cox Foster is calling for pollen samples. She will use the samples to determine the actual levels of exposure of bees to OSS in many crops and across time. OSS is organosilicone spray adjuvants. These adjuvants have increased since the early 2000’s and may be used in tank mixes for pesticides and herbicides. Contact Diana at Diana.Cox-Foster@ars.usda.gov.
All they need is 1/4 cup of pollen from 3 hives in the same location. Very easy to do!

The comment period for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCA) is about over. The final date for comments is February 20th. To submit a comment, go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://regulations.gov and follow the online instructions or fax your comments to (202)493-2251. Choose only one method to eliminate confusion. The ABF encourages comments from it’s membership on all issues. If you do not comment, they have no reason to respond to our concerns.

The cap is gone for honeybees, fish and cattle. A provision secured by Senator Jerry Mason to remove a $125,000 cap on payments to livestock producers under the Livestock Indemnity Program and to expand it to cover animals sold at a lower price in the event of a natural disaster. A $20 million annual cap on the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish program that would be lifted.

The ABF 75th commemorative rifle is still available. If you want one of these, contact A & A Engraving at (605)343-7640, attention Tanya. We will continue to sell them until all 75 are sold so get yours today!

Bee Educated: Conversation with A Beekeeper is Back

 On Tuesday, February 20, 2018 ABF hosted its first Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar of 2018! If you missed it be sure to log into your ABF account and click the "Education and Events" Tab to watch an amazing webinar on the use of mini hives. 

We are still in the process of planning our Calendar for the first quarter and would love to hear from you if there are any topics in particular you are interested in learning more about or if you are interested in doing a webinar please email us at info@abfnet.org

We look forward to creating a Calendar full of wonderful topics for ALL members! 




ABF Past Presidents at the 2018 ABF Conference & Tradeshow


Top (Left to Right): Pat Heitkam, Zac Browning, David Sundberg, Danny Weaver, Don Schmidt, Morris Weaver, Dave Hackenberg

Bottom (Left to Right): George Hansen, Bob Brandi, David Ellingson, Gene Brandi, Dave Mendes, Tim Tucker




Keynote Speaker, Morris Weaver & Family


Left to Right: J.D. Moody III, Karen Moody, Morris Weaver, Carlene Weaver, Megan Barcak, Ethan Barcak



Gene Brandi & Wife Christine Brandi


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

NHB Partners with Major Tea Brand on National Retail Promotion

When many people think of honey, they think of tea; the pairing has been one that has stood the test of time and is still considered a favorite today. Because of the romance between these two kitchen staples, the National Honey Board (NHB) has been working to bring a tea and honey partnership to life at retail and is excited to announce its partnership with popular tea brand Celestial Seasonings.  Founded in 1969, Celestial Seasonings is the largest specialty tea producer in North America and is also the number one brand purchased when honey is in the consumer’s shopping basket (per Catalina, 2017 data). With honey holding strong in the top ten for fastest-growing grocery categories and continued household penetration growth, honey is in a unique position to benefit from a strong promotion with Celestial Seasonings, which is stocked in over 90% of all food retailers.

 This partnership is designed to drive impulse sales of honey with a high-value offer at retail. The campaign will feature a free-standing insert in the Sunday coupon section to be delivered to over 39MM households on February 25. This insert will contain a beautiful image of honey and Celestial Seasonings as well as an instant-redeemable coupon for $2.50 off the purchase of Celestial Seasonings tea and any honey 12 oz. or larger. Coupons will be honored by some of the largest retails across the country including, but not limited to, Target, Walmart, Kroger, Publix, Whole Foods, Meijer, Wegmans, Sprouts and Save Mart.

According to Nielsen, promotions drove 25% of all honey unit sales in 2017, increasing over 10% from prior year. With this information in mind, the NHB is excited to see what this partnership will do to continue growth of the honey category at retail.


Kids and Bees :

5 Tips for Working with Kids

by Sarah Red-Laird, a.k.a Bee Girl, ABF Kids and Bees Program Director

If you are a beekeeper who visits classrooms, works the kids’ booth at the state fair, talks with summer camps, or groups of scouts about bees, or loves to spend your time in some other educational capacity, we wanted to share a few helpful tips with you!

1. Get on the kids’ level: Kneel down or if needed sit in a chair. Being talked at or standing over a child can be intimidating and confusing for the kiddo.

2. Make eye contact: This lets the student(s) know you are talking to them. This also builds social skills and confidence in students!

3. Provide opportunities for all learning styles: Students learn in a variety of ways, such as: visual, auditory, verbal, or kinesthetic. The best part is they will learn a little bit from each opportunity. Some kids love to fill out worksheets, or color. Other kids want to ask questions and talk through ideas they have. While others want to touch, smell, watch, or taste. Do your best to favor every students’ needs. Bring an observation hive and let the students smell the vents, watch the bees, and touch the warm glass. Bring at least three different honeys for them to taste, and a flavor wheel to connect taste with a visual. Consider bringing wax sheets for them to roll and smell candles, which they will take home and share with their families. Give them plenty of time to ask you questions. Also consider leaving a worksheet, or coloring sheet with their teacher to do after you leave.

4. Connect the learning with kids: This can be challenging during a day program. Do your homework ahead of time. If you can
 do a pre-class visit to set your event up for success. If this event travels know the culture of the area you will be in. All of that said providing examples and analogies is a great way to connect with students and to make the learning last a lifetime. I did a Kids and Bees presentation in Hawaii a couple of years ago. Before I went, I studied how honey bees came to Hawaii, how they were significant to local agriculture, and also what native bees were on the island, and what their conservation concerns were. I also brought honey from Oregon, and had them taste and compare it to local Hawaiian honey that I bought once I arrived.

5. Recognize the parents, chaperones, and teachers: Make sure to connect with the kids, not just their parents. Praise your adult attendees by acknowledging them and thanking them for being there. Without them, the students would not be there. Provide them with a friendly reminder that this day is all about student learning (they may learn something too, but let’s focus on the kids’ opportunity to engage in learning)! If time allows - do answer their questions (or politely say, "I will come back to you"). When answering an adults question connect it to the kids’ learning level, so you don't lose the little ones.

UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy


Registration is underway for the fourth annual UC Davis Bee Symposium: Keeping Bees Healthy, set Saturday, March 3 in the UC Davis 

Conference Room on Alumni Drive. It's sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center, Robert Mondavi Institute of Wine and 

Food Science, and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
Keynote speaker is noted bee scientist/professor/author Tom Seeley of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., who will speak on "Darwinian Beekeeping" at 9:15 a.m.

Seeley is the Horace White Professor in Biology, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, where he teaches courses on animal behavior and researches the behavior and social life of honey bees. He's the author of Honeybee Ecology: A Study of Adaptation in Social Life(1985), The Wisdom of the Hive: the Social Physiology of Honey Bee Colonies (1995), and Honeybee Democracy(2010), all published by Princeton University Press. His books will be available for purchase and signing at the symposium.

The daylong event "is designed for beekeepers of all experience levels, including gardeners, farmers and anyone interested in the world of pollination and bees," said Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center. "In addition to our speakers, there will be lobby displays featuring graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, and much more."



For more information visit : http://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=26176


To Register : honey.ucdavis.edu/events 



by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

I would like to thank all the ABF members for their prayers and generous spirit as you supported American Honey Queen Kayla Fusselman. For those unaware, Queen Kayla’s loving mother, Diane, passed away on February 10, 2018, suddenly and unexpectedly. On behalf of the American Honey Queen Committee, I thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and many donations to aid Kayla’s family in the unexpected funeral and medical expenses.

Prior to February 10, Queen Kayla and Princess Jenny began their promotional year with the annual honey queen training. This weeklong training session is an intense retreat for our representatives. As the American Honey Queen Program has evolved in the last 60 years, so have our training practices. Media training continues to be the most intense component of the week; however, the representatives also focus on presentation skills, social media platforms, reporting, and much more. Eleven Committee members and volunteers assisted me with the training, including Jolene McNutt, Carmen Risi, Emily Brown, Tabitha Mansker, Angie Lundeen, Dan Piechowski, Amy Blakeney, Danielle Dale, Rachel Bryson, Louann Hausner, and Bill Graffin. Each of these people brought a unique perspective and skillset to the training to enhance Kayla and Jenny’s skills. They put their improved skills and creativity to action creating YouTube videos for the American Honey Queen channel, preparing blog posts for the Buzzing Across America blog, and giving school presentations to students in third and fourth grades.

Most importantly, Kayla and Jenny set goals for their year and established key messages that they will share with the consumer throughout this year. I thank the training team for their assistance in boosting the confidence and creativity of our representatives. I believe that you will be pleased with each as they visit your state to promote honey.

Kayla and Jenny each promoted on behalf of ABF quickly after training. Kayla visited the Florida State Fair, spreading the word about the benefits of beekeeping and honey use to fairgoers and government leaders. She also spoke to local beekeeping organizations during her visit. Jenny was a guest speaker at the New Jersey Beekeepers Association winter conference, discussing how the Honey Queen Program is an effective tool for promotion and education.

Promoting ABF membership and learning from beekeeping experts at the University of Minnesota’s Beekeeping in Northern Climates course is up next in late February for the representatives. This learning opportunity gave each a renewed basis of knowledge on the industry, knowledge of different beekeeping practices in different regions of the country, and the opportunity to network with new and seasoned beekeepers.
The Committee is working on the rest of the first quarter promotions while providing Kayla time to sort out personal matters. Thank you for your patience as we craft a successful promotional schedule for our team! Contact me soon to discuss your promotions and how we can make the Queen or Princess a part of them. You can reach me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com.


Happy promoting!

 Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Urban "Buzz": How inner-city Detroit entrepreneurs are saving the bees. Read More.
  • More effort being made to help Indiana's hurting bees.   Read more.
  • What goes on with bees inside the Winter Hive Read More.
  • Chefs slather on the honey at GrowFood's Sweet Buzz gathering. Read More.
  • Cover crops nutritious forage for bees. Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members -January 2018

  • Amy Lohman, Louisiana
  •  Anna Baum, New York
  • Becky Tubb, Utah
  • Cheryl Kosta, Texas
  • Danny Brewer, Minnesota
  • Dean Hanniball
  • Donovan Butts
  • Dwayne Anderson, California
  • Garry Oreskovic
  • Jennifer Wisnom
  • Jennifer Power, Missouri
  • Jeremy Kadletz, Florida
  • Lara Lopez, Michigan
  • Mark Benscoter, California
  • Moneen Jones, Arkansas
  • Scott Hamilton
  • Shannon Charles, Oregon
  • Steve Laube, Oregon
  • Tonya Mann, Pennsylvania
  • Walter Scott, Maryland
  • William Hahn, California

YIELD: Makes 8 Servings


  • 1/2 cup honey divided
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apricot nectar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 8 (3-inch) baked tart shells
  • 3 cups fresh strawberries sliced
  • 8 springs fresh mint optional
  • 8 spirals orange peel optional


Reserve 1 T honey; heat remaining honey over very low heat.

Dissolve cornstarch in apricot nectar; stir into honey. Cook and stir until mixture thickens and boils; cook 1 minute. Add lemon juice; cool.

Beat cream cheese, reserved honey and almond extract until light and fluffy. Spread over bottoms of tart shells; coat surface with glaze.

Top each tart with 1/3 cup sliced strawberries and coat with additional glaze.

Refrigerate until served.

Garnish with mint and orange peel before serving, if desired.


Recipe by: honey.com


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