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ABF E-Buzz: May 2015
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ABF E-Buzz — May 2015

In This Issue:







Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF President

"'Tis like the birthday of the world,

When earth was born in bloom;

The light is made of many dyes,

The air is all perfume:

There's crimson buds, and white and blue,

The very rainbow showers

Have turned to blossoms where they fell,

And sown the earth with flowers."

- Thomas Hood

Welcome back!

This is the month of May and the beginning for most beekeepers to recognize the real condition their hives are in. If yours are anything like mine, I am afraid that what survived the winter is still not in the best of shape. They are survivors but about a third are still struggling.

The most recent BIP loss survey indicated that the losses for last year were 42%, which is just a bit above our 38% losses for the year. The other day, I told a reporter who called about this statistic that yes, we are losing a large percentage of our bees each year, but even the remaining percentage isn't 100% great either. So, just detailing the losses doesn't tell the entire story. The most interesting part of the report was the loss map. This map indicates that the heaviest losses seem to be located in the areas where pesticide use is the highest, which isn't really surprising. I heard of several beekeepers who lost 60 – 90% of their bees in the upper Midwest and Iowa, where I think the reports indicate an average of about 60% losses. It's difficult to say just how long many beekeepers are going to be able to endure this. It's really difficult on the bottom line.

I had an opportunity to participate in a few meetings on Capitol Hill this past week and also meetings at EPA with the Pesticide Programs Dialogue Committee (PPDC). It was a very informative two days of different work groups reporting on their efforts during the course of the year. I previously had no appreciation of all of the different areas that EPA is working in to help bring better clarity to the issues surrounding pesticides and whether or not they are harming the environment or us.

The agency is currently reevaluating all compounds in use and also attempting to evaluate their roles as endocrine disruptors for humans. This is a staggering job considering the number of active compounds on the market and the inert ingredients as well. The task is phenomenally large and complex. There are around three dozen or so members of the PPDC, and there were always at least that many people in the room from non-government organizations, reporters, and interested parties such as myself.

The portion on pollinators and honey bees was primarily Thursday afternoon, and most of the report from EPA was on the state managed pollinator plans and considerations for getting these plans established. I was very surprised when EPA’s Marietta Echeverria said that these plans are not going to be referenced in the new label. That is not what we have been told during the past year and I want to affirm this. The report basically stated that states can set up either voluntary plans or regulated plans where the state registers all beekeepers and apiary sites and closely supervises all aspects of coordination between beekeepers, farmers and applicators. We need to push for a specific plan that is voluntary in nature like the California program.

There was also a report on the work group on incident reporting. They are very involved in working to make reporting easier and more beekeeper friendly. This is an ongoing issue with much to come in the next six months.

I was also able to attend the House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday afternoon. This hearing addressed the letter from USDA to EPA stating their concerns that EPA did not discuss the recent report on EPA assessment that there is no benefit to justify the risk associated with seed treatments for soybeans. It was primarily an attempt to handle some inter-agency squabbling and positioning by congressmen, several of whom were very willing to express their opinions on what the problems really are with our bees. The hearing room was standing room only and the spillover room is where we sat to watch the event. It was my first congressional subcommittee hearing and it was very interesting. I will get there earlier next time so I can get a good seat!

Well, there's lots of good information here again for you. Sarah Red-Laird has another report on the Kids and Bees program, and of course Anna Kettlewell has updates from the Honey Queen and Princess on all of their great activities around the country. They have been really busy! We also have a great Science Buzz from Marla Spivak and many, many other items of information to help you in your beekeeping experience. Thanks again for stopping by and we hope you find it time well spent.

Legislative Buzz

House Subcommittee Hearing on Federal Coordination and Response Regarding Pollinator Health

The House Agriculture Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research Subcommittee held a hearing Wednesday, May 13 on the federal coordination and response regarding pollinator health. There were no beekeepers on the panel as the only witnesses who testified at this hearing were USDA and EPA officials. Although it is anticipated that the Federal Task Force report on pollinator health will released soon, it seemed odd to hold a hearing such as this prior to its release. ABF President, Tim Tucker, as well as Fran Boyd, of Meyers and Associates, attended this hearing.

ABF Co-Signs Letter to EPA

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF), American Honey Producers Association (AHPA), and National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) have joined with the Pollinator Stewardship Council by jointly signing a letter to EPA requesting that an experimental use permit to allow a soil drench of clothianidin on corn be denied. It is ironic that this would be proposed after EPA announced on April 2, 2015, that it had informed pesticide manufacturers that new outdoor uses of neonicotinoid pesticides would not be approved “until new bee data have been submitted and pollinator risk assessment are complete.”

ABF to be Represented on NASDA/HBHC Task Force

American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Past President George Hansen and ABF Vice President Gene Brandi will represent the ABF on a National Association of State Departments of Agriculture/ Honey Bee Health Coalition Task Force to discuss state pollinator protection plans. The ABF remains concerned that new EPA pesticide label language (not yet released) reportedly will defer to state programs for the protection of bees. The ABF, by resolution, has stated that clear, enforceable label language is the primary fundamental protection for bees from pesticide damage. The ABF would not be supportive of any plan that would dilute the pollinator protection provided by a clear, enforceable federal pesticide label.

Bee Educated: ABF's 2015 Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinars Continue in May

This is an ABF member benefit. Please visit our ABF website for more information and to sign up.

Manage Webinar for "Nectar Management, Reduce Swarming and Increase Honey Production"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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

Steven Page, Certified Beekeeper in the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program


Nectar management is an effective way of reducing swarming and doubling honey production. Understanding the goals and objectives of a honey bee colony prior to swarm season enables a beekeeper to prevent swarming. Nectar management was developed by Walt Wright in Tennessee and it is part of the Coweta Beekeeping Method.

About the presenter: 

Steven Page started beekeeping in 2007 with two hives and now manages Barrington Farms Apiary, LLC and about 40 hives in or near Coweta County. Each spring the honeybees produce over two thousand pounds of local, raw and unfiltered honey.

His accomplishments are numerous and reflect his love for beekeeping. Not only is he the president of the Coweta Beekeepers Association, but he also belongs to the Georgia Beekeepers Association. Steven is a Certified Beekeeper in the Georgia Master Beekeeper Program. 

Totally committed to educating the public about bees, he is one of the instructors for the associations' annual Introduction to Beekeeping course. He mentors novice beekeepers; volunteers at local public schools and other venues where he presents beekeeping programs. Steven’s accomplishments resulted in the Coweta Beekeepers Association honoring him with “Beekeeper of the Year” in 2011.

He has participated in local, state and national honey competitions. Awards include best tasting honey in Coweta County. 

Science Buzz 

by Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota

For many years in my lab at the University of Minnesota we studied and bred honey bees for hygienic behavior - the ability of bees to quickly detect and remove (weed out) dead, diseased and mite-infested brood from the nest. Hygienic colonies display resistance to American foulbrood (AFB) and chalkbrood, and can reduce Varroa mite loads in colonies. There is a relatively easy test to determine if a colony displays rapid and efficient hygienic behavior: a section of sealed brood is freeze-killed within the comb, and the time it takes the bees to uncap and remove the dead brood is recorded. Colonies that remove >95% of the freeze-killed brood within 24 hours are considered hygienic (University of Minnesota Bee Lab provides publications on hygienic behavior). Many commercial and small-scale beekeepers are now selecting for hygienic behavior around the U.S., which will have a positive effect on the health of U.S. bees. In 2010, my lab switched gears and moved on to other studies, but I have kept tabs on research on hygienic behavior from other labs around the world. Here I briefly summarize two recent and encouraging studies.

As background: Varroa mites pick up virus particles from bees when they feed. The virus can amplify within a mite and then, like a dirty syringe, the mite injects more virus into the next adult or pupal bee it feeds on, transmitting the virus through the colony. An excellent group of researchers from Germany (Schöning et al, J. Experimental Biology, 2012, doi:10.1242/jeb.062562) infested worker brood with mites that had high levels of deformed wing virus (DWV) or with mites that carried low levels of DWV. Colonies of hygienic bees removed significantly more worker brood infested with high-DWV-mites compared to brood infested with low-DWV-mites. The brood that had been infested with high-DWV-mites became discolored or malformed from the virus and had a different chemical profile compared to healthy pupae. They concluded that the trigger for hygienic behavior was the chemical cue coming from the damaged, infected pupae, rather than the mite per se.

This finding coincides well with previous work done on the removal of brood infected with AFB and chalkbrood. Hygienic bees use olfactory cues to sniff out abnormal and sick brood and selectively remove the brood from the cell. Does the hygienic removal process contain or spread the disease? In the case of AFB and chalkbrood, the answer is: removal contains the disease because hygienic bees detect and remove the brood before it becomes infectious.

In the case of viruses, another excellent set of researchers from Dr. Francis Ratnieks’ lab in the UK (Toufailia et al, J. Apicultural Research, 2014 doi:10.3896/IBRA. found that hygienic colonies (those that removed over 80% of freeze-killed brood within 48 hours) had lower levels of DWV compared to colonies that took longer to remove the freeze-killed brood. Also, colonies that removed >95% of the freeze-killed brood had only a 19 fold increase in mites over the season compared to a 45 fold mite increase in colonies that removed less freeze killed brood.

What are the take home messages?

  • Hygienic colonies slow the build up of the mites, but don’t stop mite growth (don't “resist” mites) completely.
  • Hygienic bees remove the most damaged and virus-infected brood, likely because it smells distinct from healthy brood to them.
  • Hygienic bees lower virus and other disease loads within the colony.
  • Hygienic behavior is a good for colony health. Every queen producer should use the freeze-killed brood test for hygienic behavior when selecting breeder colonies. My recommendation is to breed from gentle, productive colonies that also remove >95% of the freeze-killed brood within 24 hours.

Kids and Bees: EAS 2015 Beekeeping Academy 

by Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl

Summer is upon us with the buzz of summer bee meetings, conferences, and of course, kids’ camps! For the second year in a row, I am so happy to partner up with the Eastern Apicultural Society to offer a Kids and Bees Beekeeping Academy in Ontario, Canada, at the University of Guelph. The Beekeeping Academy is a one day camp for up to twelve kids going into grades four through six. Students will spend their day 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 in the spectacular arboretum.

Throughout the day students will also learn about present challenges bees face, and how they can be part of the solution in the bee’s survival.

The camp will run on Wednesday, August 12th from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada. Students can register at www.beegirl.org. The 2015 Beekeeping Academy is a collaboration between the Eastern Apicultural Society, the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, the University of Guelph, A&O “Hummerbee” Forklift, and Bee Girl.

Tuition for the academy is $60 (CAD) per student.

About your instructor:

Sarah Red-Laird, aka Bee Girl, is the American Beekeeping Federation’s Kids and Bees Program Director, the US Ambassador of the International Bee Research Association’s Bee World project, and the founder and executive director of the Bee Girl organization, with a mission to inspire and empower communities to conserve bees and their habitat. Every year, Bee Girl engages with thousands of kids across the nation and the globe, spreading knowledge and bringing a sense of wonder from the hive to our kids. Her resume also includes five years with the Skagway Volunteer Fire Department and the Missoula County Sherriff’s Search and Rescue teams. She is certified in swift water rescue and has been a Wilderness First Responder. Sarah holds an associate degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership, and has been working with kids’ groups for 11 years and leading Kids and Bees camps for five years. Please join and share our Facebook event page here, and help us spread the word to bring the wonderful world of beekeeping to the kids of Guelph!

Call for Presentations for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow 


Theme: Palm Trees and Healthy Bees

Mark your calendars and save the date for the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. ABF is pleased to announce that the call for 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 presentations submission form and return to Tara Zeravsky no later than July 8th. The conference committee will review all submissions to put together the most informative conference agenda. 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.


USDA Reminds Farmers to Certify Conservation Compliance by June 1 Deadline


Producers May Need to Take Action to Remain Eligible for Crop Insurance Premium Support

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 16, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds farmers that the 2014 Farm Bill requires producers to file a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form (AD-1026) with their local USDA service center by June 1, 2015, in order to become or remain eligible for crop insurance premium support.

Most farmers already have a certification form on file since it's required for participation in most USDA programs such as marketing assistance loans, farm storage facility loans and disaster assistance. However farmers, such as specialty crop growers who receive federal crop insurance premium support, but may not participate in other USDA programs, also must now file a certification form to maintain their crop insurance premium support.

"USDA employees are working very hard to get the word out about this new Farm Bill provision," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "While many producers will not need to take action, we want to help make sure that those who are required to act do so by the June 1 deadline. We want all eligible producers to be able to maintain their ability to protect their operations with affordable insurance."

Producers should visit their local USDA service center and talk with their crop insurance agent before the June 1, 2015, deadline to ask questions, get additional information or learn more about conservation compliance procedures. Producers that file their form by the deadline will be eligible for federal crop insurance premium support during the 2016 reinsurance year, which begins July, 1, 2015. USDA will publish a rule outlining the linkage of conservation compliance with federal crop insurance premium support. Click here to view a copy of the rule.

The Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification form is available at local USDA service center or online. When a farmer completes this form, USDA Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service staff will outline any additional actions that may be required for compliance with highly erodible land and wetland provisions. USDA's Risk Management Agency, through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, manages the federal crop insurance program that provides the modern farm safety net for America's farmers and ranchers.

This announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, USDA has implemented many provisions of this critical legislation, providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. Click here for more information.


Foundation News 


2015 National 4-H Essay Contest Winners Selected!

The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees selected the 2015 4-H Essay contest winners on the topic "Planting for Bees from Backyards and Up.” Out of the nineteen submissions, the following papers were the best. They are as follows:

First Place: Virginia Harness (age 16) from Nampa, ID.

Second Place: Natalie Shimo (age16) from Mercer, PA.

Third Place: Raymond Moats (age 15) from Brooksville, FL.

Honorable Mention: Heather Koering (age 17) from Vineland, NJ In her first place winning essay entitled “The Preservation of Honey Bees in Idaho” Virginia Harness writes, “Community education classes are offered on beekeeping, and there are a broad variety of resources for the general public, farmers, and gardeners on how to preserve honey bees. Though honey bee population is decreasing, public knowledge is increasing, allowing Idahoans to work toward better habitats for honey bees.”

“Honey Bees have a rich and beautiful history in America, as sweet as the delicious honey they produce every day. It appears Benjamin Franklin certainly understood their value…and he’s on the $100 bill!” Her first place prize is a cash award of $750.00.

Natalie Shimo writes, “Pollinators are critical to the production of the fruits, vegetables and flowers we love so much. However, the pollinator population is in decline. As people are becoming concerned, the popularity of pollinator programs is growing. Gardeners and farmers are rethinking traditional growing methods and pollinator information is becoming more available.”

Natalie is the second place winner and receives a cash award of $500.00 for her “Pennsylvania’s Pollinator Programs.”

Raymond wrote, “Florida native plants are steadily disappearing due to Florida development and the introduction of invasive species. Native plants are very important to honey bees. Since bees will take the shortest possible distances to forage for pollen and nectar, local plants are very necessary for their survival.”

His third place essay earned him a $250.00 cash award for his “Florida’s Outreach to Save Our Plants.”

Heather Koering receives an Honorable Mention for her great paper entitled “Everyone Can do Their Part to Aid the Honey Bee.”

You can find all three winning essays on The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees, Inc main page.

State winners, who submitted their essay, were:

  • Wick Cole, MT
  • Henook Cooper, NH
  • Arlan Dawdy, NM
  • Madeline Hillebrand, GA
  • Jaden Kieliszewski, MI
  • Laura LeGlue, NC
  • Dory McCormick, DE
  • Keaton Patrick, TN
  • Tommee Pelky, IA
  • Emily Roberts, OR
  • Jazzlan Rudd, AR
  • James Sanders, LA
  • Jessica Swenson, TX
  • Gabrielle Taylor, VA
  • Spencer Wittrock, CA

Congratulations to all participants in our annual essay contest.

ABF Small Research Project Grant Winners 


Congratulations to Ian Williams of Alaska Bee Initiative and Kelly Michelle Rogers of Bee Ecology

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Research Committee has developed a program to support small research projects conducted by beekeepers and members of the beekeeping industry. Resources from the ABF’s “Friends of the Bee” fund have been earmarked for this purpose. The scope of research was that the proposals for funding should focus on issues of concern to the beekeeping industry as a whole and to members of the ABF. Projects need to result in a product, solution or method that directly benefits the apiculture industry.

Congratulations to Ian Williams of Alaska Bee Initiative for their submission of “Comparing the Overwintering Success of Nucleus Colonies Headed by Alaskan, California, and Northern Raised Queens” and Kelly Michelle Rogers of Bee Ecology for their submission of “Honey Bee Nutrition: Determining the Nutritional Value of Pollen Collected from Flowering Plants Across the Southeastern Region of North America.”

With this honor, comes funding from a grant of $1500 from the ABF “Friends of the Bee” for their research. They will also get an opportunity to deliver a 10-minute oral presentation discussing the research project and outcomes of the research at the annual meeting of the ABF subsequent to completion of the research project. 

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


One Sweet Summer – National Honey Board Partners with Omni Hotels

We’ve been dropping hints on our social media channels about our partnership with the Omni Hotels & Resorts and are so excited to make the official announcement about our collaboration!

This partnership kicked off with a two-day honey immersion event at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort in Amelia Island, FL. There, Omni Chefs, National Honey Board (NHB) Chef-Ambassador David Guas and Master Mixologist Kim Haasarud combined their talents and expertise to create an array of honey cocktails and dishes that are featured in this year’s poolside menu. The menu launches this month at 34 Omni properties nationwide.

An in-room video highlights Omni’s ongoing love affair with bees and honey, as well as the people and inspiration behind the new menu items.

“Guests from coast-to-coast can enjoy our special honey-inspired menu filled with the sweet or savory bites of summer, while sipping ‘liquid-gold’ cocktails designed to refresh any summer palate,” said David Morgan, vice president of food and beverage at Omni Hotels & Resorts. “Honey bees create more than 300 different honey varietals in the United States alone, each with a different flavor and color profile, and some of which we have used to create this summer’s menu to offer our guests a stirring experience.”

The cocktail portion of the menu is divided into five regions – Southeast, Northeast, Midwest, Texas and West – each featuring local and unique honey-infused cocktails. Here is a look at what you may find in your travels:  

  • At a couple of the Southeast’s most iconic resorts – The Omni Homestead Resort and The Omni Grove Park Inn – guests can enjoy the Honey Grapefruit Crush made with grapefruit jalapeno vodka, wildflower honey water (honey simple syrup), and a splash of fresh grapefruit and lemon juice.
  • To refresh in the West, travelers at the Omni San Diego Hotel can sip on a Pink Moon Shandy made with red grapefruit vodka shaken with orange blossom honey water, fresh lemon and grapefruit juices, topped with a light ale.
  • Patrons can enjoy the urban paradise on the rooftop pool in the Big Easy at the Omni Royal Orleans while sipping Wildflower Honey Punch made with honey whiskey, white sangria, bitters, wildflower honey water, hand-squeezed lime and lemon juices.
  • On the other hand, after 18 holes of golf at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa near Austin, Texas, guests can relax with the Gold Blossom Margarita or Honey Grapefruit Lemonade, both infused with orange blossom honey water.

In addition to the cocktails, each participating property will feature two honey-inspired entrees, which could include Honey Roasted Chicken Salad, Ale & Honey Braised Brat, Kale Salad with orange blossom honey vinaigrette, and Lemon-Alfalfa Honey Hummus.

"We are thrilled with every aspect of our collaboration with Omni Hotels, and especially with Omni's shared enthusiasm for honey," said Catherine Barry, NHB Director of Marketing.

Now, did you know that five Omni Hotels actually have beehives on-site and have incorporated the honey into their various offerings? Check out these five fun facts:

  • Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort has eight beehives that churn out an estimated 1,200 pounds of honey per harvest.
  • Omni Chicago Hotel is the newest hotel to join the honey craze. This is their first year having bees, and they won't meet them for the first time until the second week of June.
  • Omni La Costa Resort & Spa rescued a swarm of wild bees that landed on their property. This hive has been operating for almost two years now.
  • Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa has a third-party organization — Central Texas Bee Rescue & Preserve — handle their 60 hives in remote areas of the resort's golf courses.
  • Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade keeps their bees on the rooftop of the hotel next to their herb and vegetable garden. The hotel offers guests small jars of “roof top honey” along with a card that tells the story of the honey bees’ arrival to the Colonnade.

This sweet collaboration will make for one tasty summer indeed!

Honey Queen Buzz 

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Gabrielle at a School Presentation 

April showers brought the Honey Queen and Princess some fabulous May promotions!

Princess Hayden was busy during the beginning of May with stops in Arkansas and Washington. This year, the Queen Program participated in the Salmon Summit located in Kennewick, WA. Salmon may seem like a stretch from the honey bee, but this event incorporates all aspects of local agriculture and teaches area children about the importance of local products and industries. It fit perfectly into the Queen Program’s goal of teaching children about the importance of honey bee pollination. Sometimes, partnerships come from unlikely sources. Does your county or state Farm Bureau have a similar Ag in the classroom event or teaching opportunity? If so, consider getting involved to highlight honey and beekeeping. The Honey Queen and Princess are great resources to lend a helping hand, give large and small group presentations, and draw attention to your exhibit.


Princess Hayden at the Salmon Summit

Queen Gabrielle finished finals at Iowa State University in early May, while also making time to visit a local school and service group in Ames. In mid-May, she traveled to the Houston, TX area for the Pasadena Strawberry Festival and school presentations. The Strawberry Festival is a great example of an event in which we tie honey bees to other agricultural industries. Consider inviting the Queen or Princess to your special event in your state. Maybe it’s another berry festival or a pumpkin festival or another product that requires honey bee pollination! She can participate in a variety of ways, including giving a cooking demonstration, working in your beekeeping exhibit, and participating in other educational activities! Again, she’s a great draw for festival attendees!

We’re looking forward to a very busy summer for the Queen Program. Contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to schedule a visit to your area soon. Happy promoting!

In Memoriam: Mae Vehrs

Source: Bakken-Young Funeral and Cremation Services

Mae Marion Vehrs, age 95 of New Richmond, died on Thursday, March 19, 2015, at the St. Croix Health Center. She was active in the Homemakers Association, a longtime member of American Beekeeping Federation, a member of Order of the Eastern Star, and active in both the Lutheran and Methodist churches. Mae started the Peace Corp Sewing Group at the New Richmond United Methodist Church, which she chaired for 27 years. Mae is survived by her husband, Harlan Vehrs; children, Wayne Schmidt of DeKalb, IL and Donna Zorn of Seattle, WA; 5 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; brothers-in-law, Roger Vehrs, Allan Vehrs both of New Richmond; and many nieces and nephews. Read more. 

Bee Thinking

No one got the answer to last month's riddle, so this month we have a new clue at the end.

Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

Thinner than a pencil lead am I,

Not often tall enough to look you in the eye.

Long when you need me long,

Short when you like,

Never wise to cross me,

Better take a hike!

Working both day and night

I am always on the guard.

Love to bee working,

Around your bee yard.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • The humble bee — nuisance, threat, and linchpin of the American food supply — has won over the leader of the free world. And now President Obama is intervening on the bee’s behalf as its habitat dwindles. Read more.
  • Pollinators are critical to the Nation’s economy, food security, and environmental health. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year, and helps ensure that our diets include ample fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Learn more.
  • A genetic test that can prevent the entry of 'killer' bees into Australia and worldwide spread has been created by researchers at the University of Sydney and their collaborators at York University in Canada. Read more.
  • Worker bees without access to adequate pollen early in life turn out to be poor foragers, and dancers, as adults. Learn more.
  • The Häagen-Dazs brand is stepping up its ongoing commitment to the Häagen-Dazs loves Honey Bees™ program with a new sustainable agricultural program for its farmer suppliers in partnership with the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Read more.
  • Nurturing Healthy Bees Starts With Knowing Your Native Pollinators. As domestic honeybee populations decline (Penn State University estimates hives are down almost 60 percent from 60 years ago), researchers are looking more closely at wild bees. Learn more.
  • The next Pollinator Week is June 15 - 21, 2015. During National Pollinator Week, Pollinator Partnership highlights and shares the importance of pollinators including bees, birds, butterflies and bats. Read more.
  • A new study by Heather Mattila, a leading honey bee ecologist and Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College, published this April in PLOS ONE, reveals that inadequate access to pollen during larval development has lifelong consequences for honey bees, leading not only to smaller workers and shorter lifespans, but also to impaired performance and productivity later in life. Learn more.
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have identified a bacterium that appears to give honey bee larvae a better chance of surviving to become pupae. Read more.
  • Clemson University Taps Kelly Registration Systems to Prevent South Carolina Honey Bee Colonies from Accidental Pesticide Exposure. Learn more.

ABF Welcomes New Members — April 2015

  • Lauri Allen, California 
  • Linda Aydlett, New York
  • CeCelia Fernandes, Arizona
  • Darwin Groves, Indiana
  • Renee Harris, Louisiana
  • Gary Link, Illinois
  • Archie Mason, Arkansas
  • Lynda Mathis, Louisiana
  • Brian Moon, New York
  • Samantha Murphy, New Jersey
  • Brendan Nordgren, Georgia
  • Deirdre O'Connor, Massachusetts
  • Craig Renton, Georgia
  • James Ristvedt, Minnesota
  • Cynthia Schiotis, Texas
  • Christine Schneider, Rhode Island
  • Patrick Smith, Virginia
  • Rusty Strader, Ohio


Recipe of the Month: Honey Asian Salad Dressing    

Source: 2015 American Honey Princess Hayden Wolf

More delicious recipes from the American Honey Queen and Princess can be found here!


1/4 Cup Mayonnaise

4 Tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar

2 Tbsp. HONEY

2 Tbsp. Sesame Seed Oil

1 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Seed Oil

1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard


In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well blended. Refrigerate salad dressing in a covered container for up to one week. Yields approximately ¾ cup. Serve on a salad with lettuce, peas, grated carrot, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds, and any other toppings of your choice.  

Science Buzz 

by Stephen Cutts and Dave Westervelt

With the feral population of honey bees in the southwestern states and Florida growing more and more Africanized, and the increasing number of “Backyard Beekeepers” wanting to manage European colonies, there is a need for African Honey Bee (AHB) education and preparedness. Education and preparedness are the key to proper response to potential stinging incidents, whether these incidents involve honey bees or other native pollinators easily found in Florida. There is also the increasing potential for vehicular accidents involving trucks or a semi loaded with honey bee colonies. For over a decade Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) and UF/IFAS have been striving to educate consumers about AHB and the importance of training First Responders.

May 8, 2015: Judy Ludlow, Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County, the County’s ESF17 Coordinator, has arranged for First Responder Training in the panhandle to be held at UF/IFAS Extension Washington County at 1424 Jackson Avenue, Chipley, FL 32428. University of Florida IFAS Extension Beekeeping Specialist Dr. William (Bill) Kern, who has trained first responders throughout the southeast, will be teaching: Africanized Honeybee Biology and Behavior; Threat Triage, Personal Protective Equipment; Rescue Tactics, and Situation Outcomes; Field Demonstrations Using PPE and Foam-Equipped Engines.

This Event is Free, but Please Call to Register:

UF/IFAS Extension Calhoun County - 850-674-8323, or

UF/IFAS Extension Washington County - 850-638-6180

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2019 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow





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