Home   |   Contact Us   |   Print Page   |   Sign In   |   Join Now
ABF E-Buzz: March 2017
Share |

ABF E-Buzz — March 2017

In This Issue:






Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


"The March wind roars

Like a lion in the sky,

And makes us shiver

As he passes by.

When winds are soft,

And the days are warm and clear,

Just like a gentle lamb,

Then spring is here."

-  Author Unknown


Welcome back to this the March issue of ABF E-Buzz.  This winter, which is about to end soon, has been a wild ride and I'm sure the bees think so too! The East coast is getting slammed this week with the biggest storm of the season and a foot of snow. The great thing about a March snow is it isn't going to be around too long. Here in Southern Kansas, I still haven't seen any snow that stuck to the ground.  We've had a snow fall or two but the ground has been too warm for the snow to stick. I think I saw the biggest snowflakes I’ve ever seen when I was in Indianapolis, Indiana a few weeks ago, I attended the Spring Bee School. They had an impressive attendance of over 1100 people for a full day of information and networking. It was amazing. Mike and Debbie Seib, who is an ABF board member, did a great job of organizing a crew of volunteers, getting everything set up for the day and having everything flow seamlessly. 

It is just amazing how much interest there is in beekeeping today. I was honored to be asked to be the guest speaker. I was alongside other great speakers like Sue Cobey, Dr. Greg Hunt from Perdue, Dr.  Jerry Zimmerman, Dave Shenefield and a host of others too numerous to mention. I had a great time at the Bee School and it was great to see Debbie and Mike, who were wonderful hosts. When they picked me up at the airport, we went to see the airport bee yard. The airport has set aside a lot of acreage where they have basically created a wonderful nature preserve. In addition, the Indiana Beekeepers have a yard there for the bees. It was a chilly day, but the bees were out flying. It was great to get off a plane and look at some bees. It is a wonderful concept to take land and set it aside space for habitat for bees and other wildlife. I think it's a practice we should employ in other cities as well. There were also large solar panel fields around the airport and I believe much of the airport was powered by clean renewable energy too. It seems like Indianapolis is doing some things right! 

This month we have lots and lots of great information for your reading pleasure. In this month’s issue, our president Gene Brandi has an article on the FDA's ruling last year on “added sugars” which is a move to inform supposedly the public on how much sugar is in their diet but is not at all an accurate description of honey as pure honey does not have anything “added” to it. Sarah Red-Laird is back with our Kids and Bees update and talks about eight simple steps to creating a kids and bees program. We also have an update on our young ladies who are serving as Honey Queen and Princess and their upcoming travels representing the industry. Honey Queen Maia Jaycox and Princess Hope Pettibon have recently completed their training for becoming the best speakers and promoters for honey that exist. We get priceless media coverage and reach lot of the general public with their talks and demonstrations across the country, nothing can compare! 

We also have an update from the National Honey Board about the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. We also have information about the upcoming California Honey Festival, where our own Gene Brandi will be speaking.  Once again.....thank you for stopping by and we hope that you find your time well spent.  If there's anything you would like to see in the upcoming issues of E-Buzz just drop me an email to tuckerb@hit.net and we will be glad to include it.  Till next month, I hope that your bees are making it through this amazing winter. 

President's Greeting

by Gene Brandi, ABF President

As I write this message, the 2017 almond pollination season is nearly complete. The bloom period began with cool, rainy weather in mid-February with minimum time for bees to get out and fly, but for nearly three weeks now the weather has been great for bee flight in most areas of the Central Valley which should result in sufficient pollination to set a good crop of almonds.  Early varieties have completed their bloom and only the latest blooming varieties have petals left on the trees now. Some bees are already being shipped out of California to southern states where they can be split, used to make nucs, or perhaps produce a spring honey crop. 

It appears that there was an adequate supply of bees this year as there were no last-minute calls from frantic growers whose beekeepers came up short, or from frantic beekeepers who needed extra hives.  Interestingly, the number of reported bee hive thefts was down this year.  I only heard of two thefts, one in California and one in Texas, and while these two incidents are certainly devastating to the victims, the reduction in total bee hive thefts is likely another indication of an adequate bee supply for almond pollination this year.

There were fewer reports of bee trucks held for long periods of time at the California border inspection stations with exotic pests on incoming shipments.  Some loads needed to be cleaned at the wash station in Needles, but overall it appeared that getting bees into California this year was less eventful than many previous years. 

Fungicide applications during almond bloom this season were quite numerous although to date there have been few reports of severe brood or bee losses.  It is possible that the availability of alternative pollen sources (due to abundant rains in California this year), have helped to dilute the effects of any almond pollen that may contain harmful residues.  Early season applications were primarily by air due to the muddy ground conditions in many areas.   Since the ground has dried considerably during the past couple of weeks, most applications are now with ground rigs.

Many growers and pest control advisors have adopted the best management practices recommended by the Almond Board of California and are no longer tank mixing insect growth regulators with their fungicides.  Several growers have also changed the timing of their applications to late in the day or evening, as recommended in the BMP’s, to avoid hours of peak bee flight and pollen collection.  However, there are still some who are not following the BMP’s and we in the bee industry need to continue spreading the word about the necessity of recognizing the value of the recommendations.  I keep copies of the Almond Board BMP’s in my truck always in case I run into a grower, pest control advisor, or applicator who is not familiar with them.   They are also available on line through the Almond Board of California website.

Fungicide applications are still being applied to late blooming almond varieties and since brood damage does not become evident until twelve days after application, it is still possible that damage has occurred but is not yet evident.  Please let me know if you have encountered pesticide damage of any kind during almond pollination this season, as I can conduct another survey as I have done in the past, if necessary. 

You are encouraged to report pesticide damage encountered by your bees any time of year to your local or state officials as well as directly to EPA at: beekill@epa.gov.  Also, now, the ABF has some funds available for pesticide residue analysis if your local authorities are unwilling or unable to analyze your dead bee samples.

Approximately one million acres of almonds required pollination in California this year and the bee industry, once again, met this challenge and delivered the bees needed in a timely manner.   Exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, but it is likely that at least 1.8 million bee hives were moved into almond pollination this year, from nearly every state in the nation.   As almond acreage, has increased, the bee industry in the USA has risen to the challenge of supplying the bees necessary to pollinate nearly 85% of the world’s almonds.  This is truly a monumental effort for which we in the bee industry should take pride.   

Government Relations Buzz

by Tim May, ABF Vice President

The comment period for the FDA ruling on nutritional labeling ended on March 6th.  President Gene Brandi submitted this comment to the FDA on behalf of the ABF.

Comments of the American Beekeeping Federation:

The American Beekeeping Federation appreciates the opportunity to comment on this issue of critical importance to our membership and the entire honey industry.  Our association is very concerned about the FDA rule which requires that sugars in honey be listed as “added sugars” on the label of honey containers. 

The American Beekeeping Federation takes great pride in the fact that our members are part of the honey industry, producing nature’s most unique natural sweetener.  It can be consumed either directly from the honeycomb or extracted from the comb, but either way honey is a pure, natural product without additives.  Requiring the term “added sugars” on honey labels, when the only sugars in the product are naturally present, is not an accurate description of the product.

Professional research conducted by the National Honey Board has shown that such language will lead consumers to believe that honey is adulterated with “added sugars” which are not normally found in honey.  Pure, natural honey contains no additional sugars whatsoever, and label language stating honey contains “added sugars” is misleading to consumers. 

As stated in 21 US Code §342 (b)(4), “A food shall be deemed to be adulterated… if any substance has been added thereto or mixed or packed therewith so as to…make it appear better or of greater value than it is.”   If consumers are informed through the Nutrition Facts label that honey contains “Added Sugars” then they will be led to believe that honey is adulterated, by the regulatory definition, with sugars added to develop or enhance its sweetness, which is absolutely false. 

We understand that, through this rule, FDA is attempting to educate consumers about the amount of sugars they may be adding to their diet.  Therefore, we urge that honey labels be required to list only “total sugars” and not “added sugars” to avoid consumer confusion.

Again, we appreciate the opportunity to comment on this issue of great importance to the honey industry.

Thank you to all that could send a comment in to the FDA. We will continue to keep you updated on this important issue.

Bee Educated: ABF's Webinar Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Continues 

Upcoming Session:

Join us for new sessions of ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper." If you are a member, you can log in and go to Education & Events and Conversation with a Beekeeper to register. Not a member? You can join for as little as $60 for small scale. 

A Queen for All Seasons: Trans-Regional Survivor Stock & Longevity-based Breeding Program
A Reflection of Living Laboratory Case Studies (2000-2017) ~From the Shores of Lakes Superior to the Banks of the Rio Grande
Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Melinda Kirby, founder of Zia Queenbees in Northern New Mexico

Pollinator Stewardship Council: Education, Advocacy and Action
Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Michele Colopy, Program Director of the Pollinator Stewardship Council

Spring Management of Hives
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, ABF Board Member 

The 115th Congress and the Trump Administration. What Does This Mean For America's Beekeepers
Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Fran Boyd, ABF's Legislative Council- Myers & Associates 

Click here to learn more and to register! 

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

Honey Hits the Sweet Spot at Charleston Wine and Food


The National Honey Board (NHB) team was in Charleston, South Carolina recently to showcase honey’s versatility across the menu at the 12th annual Charleston Wine and Food event. A first-time event for the NHB, honey was well represented throughout the weekend through the grand tasting and many special events.

The festivities opened on Friday, March 3rd, with an exclusive foraging excursion to Maybank Family Farm. At this event, sponsored by the NHB, 40 guests had the opportunity to explore the farm, including the apiary, and speak with local beekeepers and an NHB representative about bees and honey. Participants also had the chance to get up close with the bees via three observation hives and got to see brood, baby bees, worker bees and two queen bees. The lunch that followed, hosted by partner Red Drum Restaurant, featured honey, honeycomb and other items guests learned about on their foraging adventure.

Saturday morning the NHB teamed up with local chefs on a three-course lunch featuring honey. Hosted at the stunning River Oaks estate, which houses its own bee hives, this exclusive event featured recipes from chefs Jamie Simpson, Michelle Weaver, Steven Satterfield, and Kelly Fields. Attendees were introduced to the NHB and our work and even walked away with a gift bag featuring Orange Blossom honey and an exclusive drizzler.

Along with the two special events, the NHB was also featured at the event’s Culinary Village Friday through Sunday. At our booth, the honey team provided guests with some sweet inspiration in the form of a cheese, fruit and honey pairing including four varietals and a beautiful Carolina Wildflower honeycomb. With consistent traffic all three days, the NHB team had the opportunity to speak to visitors about honey’s unique varietals and how they differ from each other depending on where bees collect nectar. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to try Acacia, Tupelo, Orange Blossom and a local Charleston Wildflower varietals and many made multiple trips to the booth over the course of the weekend.

Overall, we thought that honey was well received and represented throughout the event and we look forward to connecting with and cultivating more honey admirers at future shows.

 City Of Woodland to Host California Honey Festival on May 6, 2017

Paying tribute to honey bees and the important pollinator industry, the City of Woodland will host its first-ever California Honey Festival on Saturday, May 6, 2017 on Main Street.


ABF’s President Gene Brandi will also be there manning the ABF Booth and speaking!


“Woodland is an agricultural epicenter and beekeeping is an integral part of our farming success,” said Woodland Mayor Jim Hilliard “Our city is proud to host this festival in honor of the humble honey bee.”


The all-day family festival is co-sponsored by the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, University of California, Davis, and Woodland Hoteliers.  Center director Amina Harris is coordinating the festival’s educational content.


California agriculture accounts for $21.6 billion in economic output, and honey bees are a crucial part of making California crops possible. Honey bees pollinate about one-third of the food eaten, including vegetables, fruits and nuts. During almond pollination season, beginning around Valentine’s Day, California growers require two bee hive colonies per acre to pollinate the state’s one million acres.   Colonies are trucked throughout the country to fill the need, passing through the nexus of Woodland on their way.


“The California Honey Festival will be a great opportunity for guests to experience the full spectrum of honey flavor,” said Harris.  “Not all honey tastes the same!  Like wine, varietals of honey flavors and aromas can be very distinct. We developed our Honey Flavor Wheel in 2014 to help teach people about the nuances of honey flavor.”


Beekeepers and honey packers will offer tastes of California’s golden sweet treat. In addition to tasting honey, festivalgoers will learn about honey bees, their pollination services, and the health benefits of honey. On tap will be samples of specialty meads or “honey wine” in addition to delectable honey-inspired food and honey or bee-themed gifts.


“The festival will run the length of historic downtown Woodland Main Street-- a truly perfect venue for this family friendly festival,” said VisitWoodland.com director Al Eby.  “Celebrating honey with a festival is a natural fit for this town and we invite visitors to come taste some of the best honeys in the world.”


This May 6th 2017 festival will offer a variety of family friendly activities and will include activities such as, a bee-themed play structure for kids, cooking demonstrations featuring honey, and informational sessions on beekeeping basics and bee-friendly gardening.


The California Honey Festival: Saturday, May 6th, 2017 Downtown Woodland. More information on the California Honey Festival, including sponsorships and vendor details, is available on the festival website,www.CaliforniaHoneyFestival.com


Kids and Bees

A Simple 8 Step Kids and Bees Program

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


There are not many things in life that bring me more pure joy then sharing the love of bees that I have with kids!  When I first walk into a room of littles, the mention of bees may inspire fear.  However, after I leave, there is an overwhelming love and fascination for our striped fuzzy friends.  All it really takes is conveying your genuine admiration for your bees.  Below are a few steps to help you out.

1.  Read a story.  Kids love stories!  This works well with kids in pre-K through about fourth grade.  There is a list of books on the American Beekeeping Federation’s Kids and Bees webpage.  

2.  Tell your story.  Everyone loves stories, this is how our species communicates and bonds.  For groups of kids at any age, share why you love bees.  Tell them the story of how you became a beekeeper, did a swarm land in your yard?  Was your grandmother a beekeeper?  Have you always just felt called to it?  Share any special opportunities you have had, thanks to bees.  Tell them about different people you have met, new friends you have made, or places you have traveled.

3.  Do some research.  What is the coolest, most amazing, things bees do – in your own opinion?  Flip through some books, talk to your local extension agent, or listen to a bee episode of Science Friday.  Really dive into the vast world of bees, and whatever really gives you that “wow factor” – share it!

4.  Talk about honey.  Let kids know how remarkable honey is.  Ask them, “Who here likes honey?”  A few kids won’t raise their hand.  That’s because they’ve only had corn-syrupy pasteurized honey.  Bring visual aids (there are some great ones at honey.com), and wow them with all of the different colors and flavors of honey.  Bring the UC Davis Honey & Pollination Center’s honey wheel, and point out all of the different flavors there are!  (Cat pee is a flavor, ha!)  Amaze them with facts about how hard bees work to make this honey, i.e. one bee will only make 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her whole life, it takes approximately 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey, etc.  Engage them by asking to guess these answers, i.e. “How much honey do you think a bee will make in her lifetime?” 

5.  Talk about food.  Ask them if they know what pollination is, I bet one kid can do a pretty good job explaining it!  Lightly correct them and give a good, solid explanation.  Don’t dumb this, or anything, down.  Kids are SMART!!  Bring examples of foods kids love that bees pollinate.  Apples, pears, pumpkins, almonds, STRAWBERRIES!  Also bring wind pollinated grains.  Ask them to guess which ones bees pollinate.  I carry my foods in a shopping basket.  I ask if we didn’t have a world where bees are happy, healthy, and thriving… would we have pumpkins, almonds, strrrraaaawwwwberrrries (this is the real heartbreaker)?  If no, take them out of the basket.  You will be left with oatmeal and rice (or whatever you bring that is wind pollinated), and some really bummed out kids.  Ask them how they can make sure bees survive, and they are assured strawberries, in the future.  I always steer them toward planting flowers. 

6.  Bring an observation hive.  This is a must.  Schedule your programs for times of the year when you can bring your bees.  There are a variety of options out there for well built, safe, observation hives.  (I prefer the light single deep frame model, I keep two hives in my backyard to stock it with.  I only pull the bees out for the program, and put them back by the end of the day.)  Ask the teacher to divide them up in small groups, or have them form a single line.  Ask the kids to use all of their senses.  Watch the bees, feel the warmth, listen for the buzzing, smell the vent holes (or have a block of wax nearby to smell).  They will be transfixed, and you will love watching them watch the bees.

7.  Taste honey.  Whenever you travel, buy local honey with the intention to share it with kids.  Don’t hoard it away forever, honey was meant to be enjoyed!  Bring about five different flavors and colors from a diverse of places if possible, but always have your honey and the honey of their home landscape as well.  Let them know that they can taste what they see in the distance!  Bring toothpicks, and you do the dipping.  If you let kids dip their own toothpicks, you will have fists in the jars and double dipping galore.  Bring in the honey wheel.  Ask them to go beyond, “This is sweet.”  Yes… and… what else?  Fruity?  Sour?  Grassy?  Herbaceous?  Kids have extraordinarily sensitive palates and will blow you away with their tasting skills.           

8.  Roll beeswax candles.  Cut deep, unwired, wax foundation vertically into four pieces.  Each piece will be a single candle.  Most beekeeping supply stores also sell wicks.  Cut the wicks to match the short end, with about an inch poking out the top.  Pinch the wick into the short side, and roll it up like a pig in a blanket.  Smooth the seam, and voila!  A beeswax candle to bring home.  This will inspire dinnertime conversation with the family, and all that you have taught this child about bees will reverberate out, like ripples in a pond.   

Don’t forget to have fun, yourself, and thank you for helping save our bees, one kid at a time! 

Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Your American Honey Queen and Princess have been buzzing across America throughout March on a wide variety of promotions for our industry.

Spring is the time of learning for beekeepers throughout the country.  As such, the Queens participated in several learning opportunities in March.  Both Queen Maia and Princess Hope attended the University of Minnesota Short Course for Beekeeping.  It was an excellent way for both queens to bone up on their knowledge before upcoming school presentations throughout the country in the coming months.  It also afforded them the opportunity to reach out to beekeepers about joining the ABF.

Princess Hope continued her learning opportunities in Kentucky during the Bluegrass Beekeeping Club’s annual bee school.  Beyond her visit to this event, she also participated in the week long Bee Friendly Frankfort event.  This special event featured a week of bee-related activities throughout the Frankfort community, and allowed Hope many opportunities to promote beekeeping and teach the public about the many ways to use honey and bee products.  Princess Hope wrapped up March visiting Houston for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Queen Maia’s learning adventures continued with a visit to the Florida Bee College outside Jacksonville. This gave her a great insight on the differences between northern and southern beekeeping practices.  She also learned about the challenges facing beekeepers in the mountainous west while visiting the Wyoming Bee College.  At each event, Maia assisted the organizers of the colleges and spoke to attendees about the ABF.  Queen Maia wrapped up March with a week of promotions in Connecticut, including A Day at the Capitol, and a presentation to her sorority at Iowa State University.

The Queen Committee is working on April and May travel schedules for the queens, including presentations in each of the Queens’ home states.  If you are interested in hosting Queen Maia or Princess Hope for promotions in your area, please contact me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414.545.5514.  Happy promoting!

Bee Thinking

No one guessed the February E-Buzz riddle. So, we will move on and bring that back another time. Don't be shy; send in your answer this time and you might be the next winner! Here's a new riddle for March: 

An old man wanted to leave all of his money to one of his three sons, but he didn't know which one he should give it to. He gave each of them a few coins and told them to buy something that would be able to fill their living room. The first man bought straw, but there was not enough to fill the room. The second bought some sticks, but they still did not fill the room. The third man bought two things that filled the room, so he obtained his father's fortune. What were the two things that the man bought?


Think you know the answer? The first to email Regina Robuck at reginarobuck@abfnet.org will lay claim to another fun ABF prize. it must be your first time to win. 


Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • The Reason I Keep Bees by Orren Fox on Edible Boston. Read More.
  • Decoding the Waggle DanceRead more.
  • Submit Your Best Wildflower Honey to the California Honey Festival Read More.
  • How Honey Bees Make Our Beer Even More Delicious Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members - February 2017

Check out the list of new members for January Annual Conference and February. 


Recipe of the Month: Honey Passion Fruit Blueberry Cupcakes


2 cups- unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon - baking soda
1/2 teaspoon - baking powder
1/2 teaspoon - salt
3/4 cup- passion fruit nectar
1/4 cup- buttermilk
1/2 cup - butter, softened
1/2 cup - Wildflower honey or other mild flavored honey
2 large - eggs
1 cup (4 oz.) - fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 350° F. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a liquid measure, combine passion fruit nectar and buttermilk; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add honey; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time. Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the passion fruit mixture. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Fill paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove to wire rack; cool. Frost with Honey Passion Fruit Whipped Cream (below), if desired.


Community Search
Sign In


The upcoming calendar is currently empty.

Click here to view past events and photos »


3525 Piedmont Road, Building 5, Suite 300
Atlanta, Georgia 30305
Phone: 404-760-2875    E-mail: info@abfnet.org
Copyright© 2017 American Beekeeping Federation - All Rights Reserved