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ABF E-Buzz: May 2017
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ABF E-Buzz — May 2017

In This Issue:






Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


Now children may go out of doors
Without their coats to candy stores.

The apple branches and the pear
May float their blossoms through the air.

And daddy may get out his hoe
To plant tomatoes in a row.

And afterwards may lazily
Look at some baseball on TV.

Welcome back!

I hope you are catching lots of swarms......from other beekeepers hives or perhaps feral colonies!
May is the awaited for month here throughout the winter and spring months because our nectar flow has started. It is always a great experience to watch your bees explode in numbers and begin crowding down the bottom boards heavy with both nectar and pollen.

Over the years, I have sold bees to many beekeepers in their seventies eighties and one was over a hundred at the time. I wonder if there has ever been a study to see if beekeepers live longer on average than non-beekeepers? The fellow who was over a hundred bought some queens and he was celebrated as the oldest working American by President Bush in the early 2000's. Waldo McBurney was his name and he lived to be 108. I was recently sent an article by my uncle Gordon Bradford who had clipped an article from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette about another man who looks like he might make the Centenarian marker in his life. His name is Elvin Bates and his story was documented by Frank Fellone. Elvin has 90 years of beekeeping experience because he started keeping bees at the age of 8. He currently operates about a 100 hives on his land near Monticello extracting the honey and averaging 40 – 45 lbs. per hive. He also has a big garden and says, “I never did a day's work in my life, but I work all the time.” Bates doesn't wear a suit when working bees. He said, “You get stung some, but that's part of it.” Beekeepers in the area credit Elvin with getting them going in bees and that he is free with his knowledge and help. I think I would like to look Elvin up sometime soon and meet him and offer him a free membership to the ABF. If anyone has a contact number for Elvin, please give me a call.

This month we have lots of new information for your review. Gene Brandi, our president has his president's greeting regarding the California Honey Festival. Our Vice-President, Tim May has an article on the recent ruling regarding the EPA's approval of the neonic compounds Clothianidin and Thiomethoxam and how they may have violated the proper laws regarding their registration.
We also have updates on the Honey Queen and Princess and their travels around the country which is a constant job keeping the ladies lined out in all their destinations and travels. Sarah Red-Laird has an update on the Kids and Bees program and her upcoming activities. We also have a great article on water usage for Billy Synk; Director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m and several new buzzmakers that we hope you find interesting as well.

Again, thank you for stopping by and we hope that you find this month’s issue informative and time well spent viewing. If there's anything you would like to see or a story to tell, please drop me an email at tuckerb@hit.net. Till next month, enjoy your beekeeping experience and take time to smell the clover!

President's Greeting

by Gene Brandi, ABF President

Spring is in full swing and here in California and the bees are making honey in many areas that have not produced for the past five years due to the drought. We are so thankful that the rains came this year and, at least temporarily have eased our drought conditions. Watch out North Dakota, we just might out produce you this year!

Congratulations to the folks in Woodland, California who organized the fabulous first annual California Honey Festival which was held on May 6. It is estimated that at least 8,000 attendees enjoyed the day learning about bees and honey. Many folks sampled honey and mead to their heart’s content as there was plenty of both. Several of the vendors who lived in the area needed to rush home for more stocks as customers were buying items at a brisk pace. My wife, Christine, and I manned the ABF booth and talked to visitors from Northern California and Nevada about bees, honey, and the ABF. It is clear that there is still a growing interest in small scale beekeeping as many folks are thinking about taking the plunge to try it. Quite a few attendees with whom we spoke were very interested in the ABF webinar series, so we may add a few new members to the ABF family. I spoke twice on the “Beekeeper Stage” about the “Wonders of Bees and Honey and the Challenges of Beekeeping.” Many good questions from the audience at both talks reaffirmed my opinion that there is a great deal of interest in the bees and beekeeping.

The ABF Conference Committee has been working on the details of our upcoming 75th Anniversary Convention which will be held at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, January 9-13, 2018. Make plans to attend this grand event, see old friends, make new ones, and learn the latest news in the bee world from world renowned scientists and beekeepers! Hope your bees are healthy!

Government Relations Buzz

by Tim May, ABF Vice President

On May 8th, a California federal court ruled on claims that the EPA violated the Endangered Species Act by approving products that are linked to bee deaths. The plaintiffs in the case say that the EPA broke the law by approving uses of Bayer Crop Science LP’s clothianidin and Syngenta Crop Protection’s thiamethoxam. These two neonicotinoids kill insects by affecting their central nervous system. Despite ruling with for the defendants on most counts of the lawsuit, this is another example of the Endangered Species Act being used to contest EPA’s approvals on pesticides.
Honeybees are not on the list of threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, but environmental interests in the lawsuit allowed the plaintiffs to have standing in the case.
The “Bee Informed Partnership” survey on honeybee loss for 2015 found that the national average of colony loss was at 44.1%. Results from the 2016 survey should be released within the next couple of weeks.
In other news, according to Bloomberg, Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers say that they would like to help with the declining bee population by giving their state’s beekeepers tax exemptions. State Representative Amy Loudenback along with State Senator Steve Nass have co-sponsored a bill that would identify beekeeping in Wisconsin state law. It would extend tax exemptions on items and services sold to other farming and agricultural business to beekeepers.

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

Upcoming Sessions:

So You Think You Want to Be a Beekeeper (Open to the Public)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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 / 2:00 p.m. HST

James & Cheri Elam

Click here to learn more and to register!

Nature's Best--Honey in the Comb

Thursday, May 25, 2017

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 / 2:00 p.m. HST

Karen Belli

Click here to learn more and to register!

 How Much Water do Cover Crops Use

By: Billy Synk; Director of Pollination Programs for Project Apis m


Beekeepers and researchers know how important it is for bees to have access to diverse sources of forage. Project Apis m. is committed to assisting and encouraging growers to plant forage that supports the health of their crop and soil while providing a source of bee nutrition. It is in the best interest of growers to have vigorous, healthy bees. The foraging and recruitment performance of honey bee workers is compromised when they are reared in pollen-limited environment (Scofield and Mattila 2015). However, growers can be hesitant to change their farm/orchard management style. Planting bee forage does come with extra challenges, particularly in a place where water is limited.

For now, it looks like California is out of a drought. However, water is still precious, and it is important to comment on the water requirements of the seed we are providing. We have developed seed mixes that have a low moisture requirement. Sowing seeds in the fall is a great way to take advantage of fall and early winter rains. If planted early to utilize the seasonal rains, robust, well-growing stands of the PAm Seed Mixes are possible without the use of irrigation. Early planting also ensures forage will be available for colonies come almond bloom. When conditions aren’t normal, like during the recent drought, irrigation may be necessary. The PAm Clover Mix will respond better to additional irrigation than the PAm Mustard Mix. We are working to provide more specific water requirements for each option. In the meantime, watch the precipitation you receive and monitor the growth of the seedlings to indicate if irrigation will be needed to supplement the year’s rainfall.

There is evidence to suggest planting cover crops can actually increase water use efficiency and water availability. Cover crops add organic matter to the soil. Organic matter is excellent at holding water, it works like a sponge that traps and retains water.

• Organic matter holds 18-20 times its weight in water (USDA NRCS 2013). One can expect the PAm Seed Mixes to provide about 3.5 tons of organic matter per acre.
• There are 1,000,000 tons of soil in 6-inch deep acre plot, so growing a cover crop to about waist high will provide 0.03%-0.05% of organic matter every year. Just 1% organic matter in the top six inches holds up to 27,000 gallons of water! (USDA NRCS 2013)
• Organic matter helps water stay where it’s needed most, around the root systems of crops. But cover crops also use water, so let’s take a closer look at how much water cover crops use in an orchard system.

Cover crops grown in the fall and winter months will need less water due to shorter days and cooler temperatures. More research needs to be done to determine how much water cover crops use from October to March. Typically, this is the time of the year Seeds for Bees cover crops are growing. However, there is still something to be learned from a cover crop study that took place in an almond orchard from April to August. The results were published in California Agriculture in 1989 in an article titled, “Orchard water use and soil characteristics,” by Prichard, et al. The results are shown in Table 1 (below). Resident vegetation (weeds), clover, bromegrass, and herbicide (bare ground) were the four treatments that were compared in two orchards, a newly planted one (Orchard A) and a mature one with 70% soil shading (Orchard B). The herbicide (bare ground) treatment used the least amount of water. Bromegrass used from 4% less to 18% more water than bare ground. Clover used more than bromegrass, 14% to 29 %. The most water was used by weedy resident vegetation, from 17% to 36% more than bare ground. A clover cover crop used less water than resident weeds! If something is growing on the orchard floor, it might as well be a cover crop. It will use less water than the weeds.


Table 1. Seasonal water use in treatments at orchards A and B


USDA NRCS (2013) Soil Health Key Points
Prichard L., Terry (1989) Orchard water sue and soil characteristics. California Agriculture. July-August: 23-25
Scofield HN, Mattila HR (2015) Honey BeeWorkers That Are Pollen Stressed as Larvae BecomePoor Foragers and Waggle Dancers as Adults. PLoSONE 10(4): e0121731. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0121731

Please contact Billy Synk for questions, comments, or seed orders at (614) 330-6932 or billy@projectapism.org.

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

National Honey Board Swears in New Board Members

Firestone, Colorado, May 8, 2017 – At its most recent board meeting, the National Honey Board (NHB) swore in its newest members, appointed by former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture appoints members to the NHB after reviewing qualified nominations from certified national organizations.

Prior to the day and a half board meeting, which took place April 20-21 in San Diego, new members attended an onboarding session hosted by NHB and USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) staff members. In this session, new board members were introduced to the Commodity Promotion, Research, and Information Act of 1996 and the Honey Packers and Importers Research, Promotion, Consumer Education and Information Order, both of which outline the rules and regulations that oversee the running of the NHB. NHB and AMS staff also explained the responsibilities and expectations that come with being appointed to the Board.

The following appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2017, and ending Dec. 31, 2019, except the additional alternate producer member, who will serve the remainder of a term expiring Dec. 31, 2018.

• Blake Shook of Melissa, Texas – Producer Board Member
• Joan Gunter of Towner, N.D. – Producer Alternate
• Joseph Sanroma of Lecompte, La – Producer Alternate
• Michelle Poulk of Waxahachie, Texas – First Handler Board Member
• Melissa Ashurst-Foott of El Centro, Cali. – First Handler Alternate
• Andy Sargeantson of New Canaan, Conn. – Importer Board Member
• Gregory Olson of Bloomington, Minn. – Importer Alternate
• Lisa Hansel of Sioux City, Iowa – Marketing Cooperative Board Member
• Jeff Hull of Battle Lake, Minn. – Marketing Cooperative Alternate

The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. The Board is made up of ten members and ten alternates that meets twice a year. For more information, visit www.honey.com.


For Media Inquiries and Press Information:
Jessica Schindler | jessica@nhb.org | (303) 776-2337


11409 Business Park Circle, Ste. 210
Firestone, CO 80504
Phone: (303) 776-2337

Kids and Bees

Curriculum for Activity Stations

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

Next week, I will welcome about 300 third graders from all around the bee-autiful Rogue Valley to the student farm at Southern Oregon University to learn all about bees! I’ll meet with each class in a large group and give them a talk about how amazing our bees are, filled with fun facts, personal stories, and of course, costumes. After I’m through, the students will engage in activity stations.

I would love to share my curriculum for the activity stations, and encourage you to borrow it to integrate it into your kids’ programs. I’d like to point out that activity stations can be so much more than just arts and crafts time. I encourage you to take this opportunity to give your students an opportunity to deepen their learning about our bees!

Choose your volunteers, which will work with kids at the activity stations, wisely. Also, provide a volunteer/educator training for them in advance so they have time to let the curriculum sink in. I like having two volunteers per station, so recruit eight bee loving people to help you, if possible.

I like to do my lessons outside, so kids can catch and ID bees, but you can easily do these inside, and cut out the bee catching.

Have fun out there, and let me know how it goes!

Bees and Beekeeping

• Identify two species of bees,
• Identify three parts of bee anatomy,
• Feel comfortable around bees in the outdoors,
• Explain the organization of honey bees and identify the types of bees and their role in the hive.


Observational beehive, microscopes with bee parts, beekeeping equipment, bee ID posters, educational posters, jars to catch bees in.

Activity and Discussion:
• Encourage the students to try on the beekeeping gear, and touch the beekeeping equipment,
• Ask them to point out drone bees and worker bees in the hive, ask them what jobs they think the worker bees are doing,
• Ask them to point out wax, honey, nectar, brood, and pollen in the hive.
• Give them jars and help them catch, ID, and release bees.

Honey Tasting

• Understand the difference between nectar, honey, and pollen,
• Observe different colors of honey,
• Identify different flavor profiles in honey.

Five varieties of honey, UC Davis honey tasting wheel, toothpicks, garbage can, wet wipes, honey frame in a case, National Honey Board education poster.

Activity and Discussion:

• Give each student a taste of each honey and pollen – you serve them, they don’t serve themselves,
• Use the honey flavor wheel and encourage them to describe the honey beyond, “it’s good” “it’s sweet” etc.
• Ask them why the honey tastes and looks different.
• Ask them to tell you the difference between honey, nectar, and pollen,
• Ask them to tell you how much honey a bee makes in her lifetime, and how many flowers it takes to make one pound of honey.



• Understand where beeswax comes from,
• Discuss the multiple uses of beeswax,
• Observe and discuss hexagons in the beehive.

Beeswax, wicks, beeswax candles and bars, foundation, small bags, crayons, stamps, stamp pads.

Activity and Discussion:
• Each student will roll a beeswax candle,
• Tell them how beeswax is made,
• Ask them to tell you the uses of beeswax (candles, lotion, lip balm, car and furniture polish, musical instrument wax, etc.)
• They will also decorate a bag with honey comb pattern, ask them why they think bees use hexagons (it’s the strongest shape, they can pack in LOTS of honey, pollen, and brood)
• Tell them how honey comb is made (sound and heat)

Bees, food, and you

• Learn what is essential to bee survival,
• Learn how to plan a bee habitat.

Garden and farm models, with a box of “solutions” to place on the model.

Activity and Discussion:

• Tell the students that you have two landscapes that they need to care for, a farm and a garden.
• Let them know that there are problems – not enough food growing in the garden (no pollination), and a pest infestation at the farm – ask them to brainstorm solutions (pollinators need food, shelter, and water)
• Give them items to take action (add bee hives, bare ground, add brush piles, and downed trees, add water sources, add cover crops, hedgerows, flower beds, etc.)

- Sarah Red-Laird, Kids and Bees Program Director, sarah@beegirl.org

Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

April showers brought us plenty of May promotions! I hope you have been abundantly successful with your May honey promotions!

Both Queen Maia and Princess Hope continued to speak in their home areas through presentations at seven schools, reaching hundreds of students in elementary, middle, and high school. In between these presentations, they also traveled to several new events throughout the country!

Princess Hope participated in the first ever California Honey Festival outside Sacramento, CA. She participated in this event as a guest speaker and spent a good amount of time interacting with the attendees. Thank you to Yolo County for including the Queen Program in this first-time event! Queen Maia traveled to Houston, TX to participate in the annual Pasadena Strawberry Festival, stressing the importance of honeybee pollinator to many of Texas’s crops. Straight after this trip, she flew to Chicago, IL, to participate in four days of local promotions in the southern Chicagoland region, including school presentations, civic organization visits, and library promotions.

 These are great events to reach honey consumers on an intimate scale, and it came just in time before farmers’ markets are in full swing! Consider a series of local promotions in your area for the Queen or Princess next year for May! You may see a more interested group of people at your farmers’ market stand if you do!

Summer is fast approaching and our schedules are filling rapidly for honey promotions. 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

Congrats to our last Bee Thinking Riddle winner: Harold Keiner

You will always find me in the past. I can be created in the present, but the future can never taint me. What am I?


Think you know the answer? The first to email Sherrell Bailey at sbailey@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

  • Watching Their Dust: Photographing Players in Pollination. Read More.
  • New Test Confirm new Zealand Manuka Honey is For Real. Read more.
  • Why are Honey Bees Seen Earlier Than Bumble Bees, Hornets & Wasps. Read More.
  • Swallow the Nectar of the Gods. Read More.
  • Lessons From Bees are 'Bold & Loud'Read More.

ABF Welcomes New Members - April 2017 


  • Ana Rivera, Florida
  • Gregory Lee, Indiana
  • Ron Whitmire, South Carolina
  • Craige Wittig, Texas
  • Cara Bonin, Connecticut
  • Ron Hanson, Hawaii
  • Buckner Brown, New Jersey
  • Patrick Burt, Pennsylvania
  • Stephen Davidek, Michigan
  • Nanett Davis, New South Wales
  • Jeff Donald, North Carolina
  • James Gardiner, California
  • Lee Rosen, Florida
  • Darryl Ryan, New South Wales
  • Melissa Shipley, South Dakota
  • Arnaud LACOURT, New York


  • Ana Heck, Minnesota
  • Zac Lamas, New Hampshire
  • Jianghong Li, Maryland
  • Chad Price, North Dakota
  • Johnny Thompson, Mississippi
  • Peter Vichols, Ontario
  • Elizabeth Welch, Texas
  • Tom Xu, Zhejiong
  • Robert Heyduck, New Mexico
  • Michael Lordemann, Colorado
  • Greg Mohr, Manitoba
  • Eric Quail, South Dakota
  • Scott Rice, Colorado
  • Alison Sankey, Illinois
  • Phil Pagoria, 


Recipe of the Month: Honey Blueberry Oatmeal Bars


  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3/4 cups (6oz or 12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla Extract

Blueberry Honey Jam:

  • 2 cups Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Honey
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Juice

Directions (for the jam)

Place a small plate in the freezer for testing the jam. In a large deep skillet, add blueberries, honey, and lemon juice. Heat and stir until it reaches a rolling boil. Boil and stir until it thickens, 10 minutes. Add a small spoonful of the jam onto the plate in the freezer and let sit for 30 seconds. Tilt it. If it slides too fast, cook another 1-2 minutes and check again. If it moves slow, it is done. Test every 1-2 minutes and do not overcook. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

Directions (For the Bars)


Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment or grease with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

In another large bowl, beat together the butter, honey, and brown sugar until creamy, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated, about 1 minute (it may look curdled). Gradually beat in the flour mixture.

Evenly spread no more than half of the dough into the bottom of the pan. Top with cooled blueberry jam. Top with the remaining dough.

Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.


Recipe By: National Honey Board (www.honey.com)


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