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ABF E-Buzz: November 2015
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ABF E-Buzz — November 2015

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF President

Crisp mornings that speed the step,

The air is full of wood smoke.

Smells of hot dogs, popcorn and roasted nuts,

All the sweet things that I remember.

Perfect days, all November.

- Tim Tucker

Welcome back! November is always a good month for beekeepers, or so it seems to me. I don't remember too much bad weather in November, and while it's a time of long evenings, it is also a month to get caught up all that's been neglected inside, because of all the outside work. It's time to get the wood stove going and get your honey entries ready for the American Honey Show. It's always a great challenge to find out just how well your honey stacks up against the competition.

We already have 450 people registered for the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, and all of the exhibitor booths have been sold, so the tradeshow will be packed. ABF Executive Director Regina Robuck has even sold out the exhibit hall and had to put display tables outside of the main exhibit area in the foyer. It will be one of our largest gathering of exhibitors. I have ordered good weather, so this is one conference you don't want to miss. There's nothing like a round of golf on a sunny, 70-degree day in Florida at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, so bring your clubs as well. Looking forward to seeing you all there!

I just had the opportunity to visit with the Indiana State Beekeepers during their fall meeting at Clifty Falls State Park. I had a great time meeting lots of new friends there. It was a lovely setting and more than 250 people showed up. I started out the weekend on Friday evening with a question and answer session that lasted over an hour. I think it was a great idea to kind of “quiz the Prez,” and it's something we should do more often. Most people really enjoyed it, and I told them that if they were going to ask me questions, then I wanted some of my own questions answered as well. When they got the answers right, I gave out some SassyBuzz CD's to the respondents. It was a real treat.

The really interesting part is there are currently two state organizations in Indiana, and they were voting to combine the two into a single organization for purposes that all make sense (such as duplication of efforts and economy of scale). It's always better to have one large group working in one direction than two going off on different paths. I hope that they can overcome the difficulties that are keeping them from uniting and find resolution.

We have the same thing going on at the national level with the American Beekeeping Federation and the American Honey Producers Association. We, ABF and AHPA, will be holding meetings in December to discuss the feasibility of combining the two groups. It is something that has been discussed many times and it seems to be the right time to address this. It will take a lot of work and dedication over the next few years to make it happen. But if there's one thing I've come to know for sure, it is that we have some great people who are very dedicated to making things better.

Once again, we have lots of news and information in this issue. Anna has another update on the travels of our Honey Queen and Princess, and there are lots of new Buzzmakers for you to peruse on these long winter evenings. There is a new riddle and a new recipe for Thanksgiving, so enjoy your time here and pass us on to your friends and family of beekeepers wherever you are. If you would like to see anything new in the ABF E-Buzz, we are looking to make some changes and some additions to upcoming editions, so just email me your ideas and stories at tuckerb@hit.net.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends.

Legislative Buzz 

by ABF Vice President Gene Brandi  

Discussions continue with government agencies involved in the effort to improve honey bee health throughout the country by allowing greater access to their lands for apiary sites. Several agencies, including but not limited to BLM, US Forest Service, Department of Defense, US Fish and Wildlife Service, etc., manage millions of acres, some of which is suitable for apiary sites. BLM and the US Forest Service have contracted apiary sites for many years, but it would be helpful to know if there are any additional federally managed land areas where apiary sites do not currently exist that could potentially support bees. Please contact me at gbrandi@sbcglobal.net so that we can use this information in our apiary location discussions with federal officials.

The ABF/AHPA Memorandum of Understanding with USDA-NRCS and FSA should be signed in the very near future as the language has been finalized and agreed upon by all parties. The purpose of this MOU is to establish a framework of cooperation among FSA, NRCS, ABF and AHPA to maintain and enhance the productivity of honey bees on private and public lands, and to foster a better relationship between the bee industry and these federal agencies which administer programs for the benefit of beekeepers.

Honey producers are still eligible for NAP (Non Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program) payments in 2016, contrary to an announcement in late October when FSA indicated that honey would not be included in the 2016 program. There is one major change for NAP 2016: honey producers who also purchase crop insurance (the API rainfall insurance program underwritten by USDA-Risk Management Agency) can only receive payments from one program or the other, but not both. According to a Risk Management Agency official, the reason for this change is that both programs are intended to pay for lack of honey, even though API uses lack of rainfall as a proxy for honey. Check with your local FSA office for any additional changes to these programs.

The new transportation bill recently passed by both the House and the Senate contains language very beneficial to pollinator habitat along roadways throughout the USA. The bill is headed to conference committee where it is hoped that the pollinator language will remain as written. If this bill is enacted with the pollinator provisions intact, state Departments of Transportation will be key to making progress for pollinators on the rights-of-way landscape. The White House has scheduled a summit focused on pollinator habitat along roadsides in early December.  

Bee Educated: ABF's 2015 Series "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinars Continues 

New sessions are coming up and new archived sessions are now available!

Please visit our ABF website for more information and to sign up.

Why do honey bees like dirty water?

Tuesday, December 8, 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

Rachael Bonoan, Foundation Scholar 



Beekeepers have observed that honey bees tend to forage from dirty water sources over clean ones. While the mechanism by which honey bees find dirty water sources is likely scent, the reason they look for these dirty sources in the first place has yet to be examined. Since micronutrients are essential for many physiological functions (e.g. muscle movement and immunity), and are only found in nectar and pollen in trace amounts, Rachael Bonoan hypothesizes that to obtain a well-rounded diet, honey bees selectively forage in soil and water for minerals that the colony may lack.  Register Now! 

Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative

Tuesday, December 15, 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

Sarah Red Laird, Bee Girl, Executive Director



Sarah hosts a virtual breakout session for the Next Generation Initiative. Register Now! 

Celebrate the New Year with 700+ of Your Closest Beekeeping Friends! 


ABF Conference & Tradeshow January 5 - 9, 2016

The 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow will be held in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa on January 5-9, 2016. As always, this conference promises to bring you the most up-to-date information within the beekeeping industry and the latest products and services offered by our many exhibitors and sponsors. BEE sure to check out the conference agenda for the latest updates on fantastic sessions and hands-on workshops. Make sure to secure your reservation by December 9, 2015. After the 10th we will only be doing onsite registration. There’s something for everyone at the 2016 annual conference, from the beginner beekeeper to the experienced business owner. We are introducing many new features this year. Here are just a few highlights to pique your interest!

There’s something for everyone at the 2016 annual conference, from the beginner beekeeper to the experienced business owner. Not only can you participate in educational sessions get education, the conference is a great place to network with friends, speakers, vendors and others. Get up close and personal with hundreds of your fellow beekeepers when you engage in one of our many networking options (Note: An additional registration fee may apply).

Be sure to join us Wednesday evening in the Tradeshow for the welcome reception. You can grab an appetizer or two and visit with vendors who are eager to share their products and services with you. On Thursday, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the 2016 Honey Queen candidates when you register to attend the Auxiliary Luncheon. On Thursday evening, we’ll be going to the Jacksonville Zoo for dinner and dancing amongst the Range of the Jaguars. Our off-site socials are always fun and provide an opportunity to step away from the conference and get to know other beekeepers on a personal level. Don’t miss the Foundation Luncheon on Friday, where you can hear more from our scholars. Please be sure to attend the Business Meeting on Friday afternoon to learn more about the ABF and to help guide the direction for 2016. And of course, the ever popular annual ABF banquet will be held on Saturday evening. Join us as we coronate the 2016 ABF Honey Queen and Princess and welcome the new ABF President.

For more information, please visit the conference website at www.abfconference.com.

Click Here to view the full conference agenda.

Register Today!

Silent Auction: Call for Donations

Each year during the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, attendees are given the opportunity to experience outstanding live and silent auctions. The ABF is never at a loss for must-have auction items, including:

  • Beekeeping-related artwork, including paintings, stained glass and hand-carved pewter items
  • Honey and honey-related products
  • Unique clothing items
  • Beekeeping supplies and instructional books
  • Antique beekeeping items, such as smokers and hive tools
  • Household items in a bee motif, including coffee mugs, glasses, cheese trays and plates

The ABF is already on the lookout for items for the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016 in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida. Do you have an item that you would like to donate? Your contribution will be instrumental in helping the ABF bolster its general fund, which enables us to carry out our programs to serve the U.S. beekeeping and honey industry, as well as work to preserve and protect honey bees to ensure a quality food supply and environment.

If you are interested in donating an item to either the silent or live auction, please contact Regina K. Robuck at reginarobuck@abfnet.org or 404.760.2887 for additional information and to let us know the item(s) you will be donating.

We will accept donations up until the conference, but for planning purposes it would be helpful to hear from you by Friday, December 11, 2015.

Thank you in advance for your support of the ABF. We look forward to hearing from you soon and to seeing you in Florida in January. And, if you haven't already done so, be sure to register now for the conference. Additional information, including all registration rates, guest room accommodations, the conference schedule, invited speakers, session topics and much more, can be found on the conference website at www.abfconference.com. Be sure to check the website often, as additional conference details will be posted as soon as they are made available.

Call for Entries for the 2016 American Honey Show


Gift Box Theme "Fountain of Youth"

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) invites you to enter the 2016 American Honey Show, which will be held during the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on January 5-9. This is a prime opportunity to showcase your bees’ abilities to produce the purest honey, the best wax and the most goodies.

Also, the Honey Show Committee has announced that the theme for the Honey Gift Box class this year will be “Fountain of Youth.”

The Honey Show will showcase the best examples of honey and beeswax. It includes eighteen (18) classes twelve (12) for honey, five (5) for beeswax (including the new category of Beeswax Art) and the gift box class. The gift box theme for 2016 is "Fountain of Youth." After the entries are judged, they will be auctioned to benefit the American Honey Queen Program.

The entry form and appropriate fees must arrive at the ABF offices by Friday, December 11, 2015.

Additional information, including official show rules, regulations and entry form, can be found on the here on the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow website or by contacting the ABF office at 404.760.2875. Good luck!  

Call for Resolutions

If you would like to submit a resolution for the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, please email Regina Robuck at reginarobuck@abfnet.org

Kids and Bees: Next Generation Breakout Session, Coming to You

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


Happy month of thanks, everyone! For your November ABF E-Buzz, I’ll be talking about our “big kid” beekeepers. In collaboration with many sponsors and mentors, the Bee Girl organization runs the “Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative,” modeled after the Next Gen Farmer movement. Early in October, about 25 people got together under one roof in Boulder, Colorado, during the Western Apicultural Society Conference. We were different in most ways: career paths, education, location, some men, some women, some older, some younger, but all had one common thread, our honey bees. The goal of the Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative is to provide a space for beekeepers, newer to the profession, to find guidance, connect with each other, identify current issues, and brainstorm solutions using “colony” mentality in an open discussion format.

Before we got down to brass tacks, we were treated to live acoustic guitar music from renowned finger picker and beekeeper Jim Deeming. Beers and delicious honey-based snacks provided by Full Sail Brewing and Honey Stinger, Inc., and a perfect and relaxed space donated by CSBA beekeeper, Theresa Beck, made the night.

After a couple of hours of milling about the porch and bathing in tunes and sunset, we headed inside where I welcomed the crowd, and introduced the facilitators. John Miller was our resident “wise elder” of the night and gave a powerful introduction on the realities of beekeeping. John asked us to think about what “kind” of a beekeeper we want to be, “industrial” or “artisanal”? He then explored the definitions of each side. Does big business excite you - running a crew, a fleet of equipment, trucking, the two or three state nomadic life? Or is it more about connecting with every hive - running a few hundred, or a couple thousand, hives with one or two partners. Less money? More stationary. Better quality of life?

Life, and living it to the fullest is one thing co-facilitator, Dan Wyns, knows about. Currently on the Oregon BIP team, Dan shared his fascinating tale of how he came to know bees in the backcountry of New Zealand. Dan recounted his last few years, including a seven year “stay” in New Zealand, where he started moving hives for pollination, and then progressed to the position of apiary manager for Kerikeri Pollination, a diverse beekeeping operation running approximately 2,200 colonies for kiwifruit pollination, manuka honey production, and queen rearing as well as running his own colonies for avocado pollination and acting as regional apiary inspector.

I asked each co-facilitator to share what they see as a “bright spot” in our industry, e.g. something that is working brilliantly, and could be repeatable by others. Working with many commercial beekeepers through BIP, Dan recounted the possibility to both have a manageable amount of hives (where two or three partners can access and provide the best care for each hive) and still have a successful business, making good money, and having a sustainable work/life balance.

“The 'best' outfits operate like families-- they have high continuity in key staff and are real students of the craft of beekeeping, always on top of new developments/threats in industry and accepting of science and technology advancements in an otherwise 'binary' trade. Commercial beekeeping is a true 'lifestyle gig' requiring hard physical work, erratic schedules, nomadic existence. There's plenty of easier ways to make a living -- you have to genuinely love and be fascinated by bees to do it well. Investment in training/mentoring/retaining beekeeping staff means an owner can send a crew out and the bees will get the highest level of care as opposed to cheap labor 'robotic beekeeping' (crack lid--> feed in-->patty on--> strips in . . .) without really looking at what's happening in individual hives or on an apiary level. Several of the best operations have some sort of equity/profit sharing/hive ownership scheme for key staff which encourages them to keep standards high rather than just going through the motions.

Beekeeping really is a people business-- bit of a throwback in that way but it's a small enough industry that your name and a handshake still mean something. Strong relationships with growers, orchardists, and land owners is essential so they understand issues facing beekeepers (sprays, forage, etc.) and beekeepers understand the importance of providing quality bees on time for pollination and respecting the privilege of access to apiary sites.”

Our final co-facilitator, Bernardo Niño, sees the “bright spots” every day, as part of his new appointment as a Staff Research Associate in Dr. Niño’s Lab at University of California at Davis. To him, the best example of what is working well, and can continue to thrive, is research. More specifically young people in research. More specifically young women in research. He sees the next generation of women scientists coming into the field as a force to be reckoned with. They are sharp, they think outside of the “box,” and they love bees. Seeing as how I got my start in research, then moved into education, I have to agree. I have a troupe of female colleagues who I know will change this world for the better. Bernardo has faith that funding will continue to come in from US Government programs, private donors, and beekeepers to employ the next generation of scientists to understand varroa, make forward steps in bee genetics, etc.

The bright “spotlight” then turned to the group, and we held a town hall style meeting where the co-facilitators answered questions, addressed concerns, and the group naturally settled on a few topics to delve into. The beekeepers in the room were primarily backyard beekeepers with 5-30 hives. Many of them were looking to grow their operations and take their honey to retail markets, others were interested in taking a step into commercial beekeeping, and some were interested in research and technology. Many held leadership positions in their communities (beekeeping associations, etc.).

Our discussion settled on three main topics:

  1. How to get financial assistance to start small operations (where is the startup capital)?
  2. How to Next Gen Beekeepers get into the commercial beekeeping industry?
  3. How do we mentor all of the new beekeepers (too many newbees, not enough of us!)?

Here are ideas gathered from the group using “colony” mentality, as well as some research I’ve done since.

1: How to get financial assistance to start small operations (where is the startup capital)?

• Grants: USDA’s Rural Business Enterprise Grant, Conservation Innovation Grant, Farmers Market Promotion Program, Rural Business Opportunity Grant, Beginning Farmer Loan Program.

• Donations: Local, regional, statewide, or national corporations, banks, and tribes.

• Crowd funding: Go fund me, Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Crowdrise, etc.

• Loans: Kiva, Small Business Administration (SBA) and Certified Development Company (CDC) microloans, USDA Farm Service Agency.

• Start a program modeled after UM Bee Squad’s “Hive to Bottle” program. Raise money for your business by taking care of bees for other people!

• Start a “Honey CSA”, i.e. “Community Supported Agriculture” where customers invest in your business and get a “share” of the “crop.”

2: How to Next Gen Beekeepers get into the commercial beekeeping industry?

• Start turning a profit by selling locally adapted nucleus hives.

• Create a “match.com” for beekeepers who need workers and next gen beekeepers who want to work for a commercial beekeeping.

• Find a WWOOF farm to work on that has bees (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms).

• Attend meetings and conventions to network and find a good match for mentorship.

3. How do we help mentor all of the brand new beekeepers? There is an influx of beekeepers right now, so how about “reverse mentoring”, e.g. teaching someone that is our “elder.” But we are busy, have families and jobs, how can this be sustainable for us?

• Recommend online master beekeepers courses (University of Montana)

• Begin a mentorship program through local beekeeping clubs/associations. Establish vetting principals for mentors, connect them with a mentee, and offer the mentor an honorarium (for time, gas, etc.)

• Begin an apprentice program, e.g: Growing Gardens (Boulder), Brooklyn Grange (New York), New York City Beekeepers Assn. (example: http://www.growinggardens.org/beekeeping). Again, vet and compensate your instructors.

We wrapped up the evening with more delightful guitar strumming, brews, exchanging of business cards, reflecting and processing of ideas presented, smiles, selfies, and hugs. It was a splendid evening and I am so thankful for (my mentor) John Miller’s wit, leadership, and truth, co-facilitators Dan Wyns and Bernardo Niño, our musician, Jim Deeming, and our donors and sponsors Honey Stinger, Inc., Full Sail Brewing, A&O Forklift, Theresa Beck, the Western Apicultural Society, and the Colorado State Beekeepers Association.

As I write this, I am rushing out the door the Sacramento for the California State Beekeepers Association convention. On Wednesday evening we’ll be holding a “Next Gen” breakout session, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what this crowd comes up with. Check out the Bee Girl Blog for a write up in a couple of weeks. Does this sound like something you would like to be a part of? While we won’t have free beer, we are excited to offer a virtual breakout session! Mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 15th, 5pm PST for an “ABF Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative Webinar.” I will host, we will feature one of my “wise elder” beekeeping mentors, and ask you to be a large part of the conversation. Details and registration coming soon!

New ABF Gear is Now Available!

Show off your ABF style at the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow 

Preorder your ABF-branded gear by November 30, 2015 and pick it up on-site during your participation in the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016.

Plus, skip the shipping costs! Orders logged bypass any shipping fees.

Our new fleece, stylish hat and a variety of shirts are now available in the ABF merchandise shop.

Questions? Call Valerie Lake, ABF membership coordinator, at 404-760-2875.

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


NHB Exhibits at 2015 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo®

In October, the National Honey Board (NHB) returned to Nashville to exhibit at the 2015 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (FNCE®). The annual event, organized by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, was held at the Music City Center October 3-6 and brought together leading experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics.

Over the course of three days, attendees had access to over 140 educational events, from workshops and excursions to keynote speakers and cooking demonstrations. When not in a session, participants visited the exhibit hall and were greeted by 380 companies and organizations, including the NHB.

As an all-natural ingredient, made by bees in nature, honey was a natural fit for this event. Staff at the NHB booth spoke with some of the more than 9,000 attendees about the versatility of honey and its variety of uses, both inside and outside of the kitchen. Armed with informative brochures and unique recipes, visitors walked away with new found knowledge on honey’s many benefits, such as:

  • With humectant properties, honey is an all-natural moisturizer, making it a great ingredient for skin care, as well as baking.
  • At 17 grams of carbohydrates, and only 64 calories, per tablespoon, honey is an all-natural energy booster.
  • A 2007 study by a Penn State College of Medicine research team found that honey may offer parents an effective alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine.

To take our customer engagement one step further, the NHB participated in the 2015 FNCE® Nutritional Pursuit game, which proved to be a fun way to test participants’ nutritional knowledge. Upon arriving at our booth, players answered the following question:

  • True or False? Approximately one-third of the U.S. diet is derived from insect-pollinated plants, and honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of that process.

The answer to which is, of course, true, and visitors were surprised to hear that bees do so much more than just make honey. Honey bees also perform a vital second role as pollinators, and people were shocked when we told them that almonds are actually 100% dependent on honey bee pollination. You can learn more about bees and pollination here.

In addition to the Nutritional Pursuit, the NHB engaged booth visitors in a honey varietal tasting. We had six flavors on hand, including alfalfa, clover, orange blossom, wildflower, blueberry, and buckwheat. The blueberry was the most popular, followed by buckwheat and orange blossom. Many attendees were surprised to hear that there are more than 300 varietals of honey found in the U.S. alone. They were also interested in what gave each varietal its unique characteristics, which is, of course, the floral source from which the bees collect the nectar.

This was the first FNCE® that the NHB has attended in a few years, and we are very pleased with the warm welcome we received from organizers and participants and the overall experience.

Bee Thoughtful


Think Outside the Bee Box this Holiday Season! 

Do you have a hard -to-buy for beekeeper on your Christmas list? Do you have a friend or family member who loves bees and honey? Might we suggest making a donation in their name to the ABF Friends of the Bees fund?

For as little as $25, your loved one will have their name published in the ABF Newsletter and receive an FOB bumper sticker. Mention you saw this announcement in the ABF E-Buzz and receive a second sticker free! Please call our office at 404.760.2875 or e-mail us at info@abfnet.org to make your donation today.

Science Buzz


Why do Honey Bees Like Dirty Water?

Rachael E. Bonoan, Ph.D. Student in the Starks Lab at Tufts University, Board Member for the Boston Area Beekeepers Association

Why do honey bees like dirty water? It's a question that beekeepers have asked for decades, however there has only been one scientific study—from 1940—to examine this phenomenon. Put out a dish of clean water for your hive and the bees will likely ignore it, choosing instead to drink from the swimming pool, the rain gutter, or the puddle on a cow pie at the nearby dairy farm. In the 1940 study, C.G. Butler tested honey bee water preferences, letting the bees choose between cow dung distillate, rain gutter distillate, and urine distillate. The bees always preferred the dirtiest (and smelliest) choice—cow dung. When Butler added activated carbon to the experimental dirty water sources, effectively removing their scent, the preference disappeared and bees drank equally from each dirty water source.

So bees likely find dirty water via scent, but the story doesn’t end there—Butler's study may have uncovered the mechanism by which honey bees are attracted to these dirty sources but the question "why?" remains unanswered.

That's where my research comes in. A honey bee's diet consists of two main floral food sources: pollen and nectar. Pollen and nectar are rich in macronutrients (protein and carbohydrates respectively), but typically only contain trace amounts of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). These micronutrients are important to a honey bee foraging for both herself and the colony as a whole—calcium is needed for muscle movement, sodium for water regulation, potassium for pH balance, and so forth. Since the bees’ floral diet only provides small amounts of micronutrients, I hypothesize that honey bees are using dirty water sources to supplement their floral diet; minerals such as sodium, potassium, and calcium are likely to be found in a puddle full of soil, a pile of decomposing leaves, or even cow dung.

To test this hypothesis, I broke down the "dirty water" into simple salt solutions. I trained my honey bees (8 observation hives) to feed from artificial feeders, each full of a different salt solution. I then let the bees choose which water sources to drink from, and compared the volume consumed (over the course of 5 – 7 hours) of each salt solution to that of deionized water.

I ran these “taste tests” for five field seasons (fall 2013, summer 2014, fall 2014, summer 2015, and fall 2015). During all field seasons, honey bees loved sodium. This was expected as many herbivores are sodium deficient; sodium-specific foraging has been found in butterflies, ants, and solitary bees (sweat bees are called sweat bees because they like sweat, which contains a lot of salt!).

What I find most interesting is that there was a switch in mineral preferences between seasons. During the fall, my honey bees consistently drank more of the calcium, potassium and magnesium solutions when compared to deionized water. In the summer, they completely avoided those solutions. Even more interesting, calcium, potassium, and magnesium are three of the five most common micronutrients found in pollen (the other two are iron and copper, which I did not test). This suggests that as the floral resources change in distribution and abundance with the change in seasons, honey bees similarly change their foraging preferences. While I am still analyzing my data, it seems as though honey bees “love that dirty water” because it provides more nutritional value than a dish of clean water.

Honey Queen Buzz 

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Gabrielle painted faces during the Wisconsin Honey Producers Associations's Kids and Bees Expo 

November seemed to come out of nowhere this year! While the year is beginning to wind down for Queen Gabrielle and Princess Hayden, they are still promoting our industry and conducting important educational outreach for the ABF!

Beekeeping conferences are always a highlight of November each year. Gabrielle made stops in Wisconsin and Iowa for each state’s annual convention. At both, she gave speeches about her year as Honey Queen and the ABF. In Wisconsin, she also had the opportunity to speak in area schools, at local civic group meetings, and in a variety of media outlets promoting the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association’s annual Kids N Bees Expo (which is moving into its 16th year in Wisconsin!) Hayden wrapped up her visit to the Texas Beekeepers Association conference, and also participated in her local organization’s regular meeting.

School presentations and community outreach programs also are popular events in November.                      


Princess Hayden helped crown the new Texas Honey Queen, Hope, and Texas Honey Princess, Willow 

Princess Hayden made a stop in Oklahoma, a state that the program has not visited in many years, to speak to hundreds of elementary school students about honey bees and the importance of beekeeping in the United States. Queen Gabrielle also visited schools, including a college, in Iowa. She also made a trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to speak to hundreds of students, and appeared on two television stations promoting honey varietals!

The Queen Committee received applications for the 2016 American Honey Queen and Princess positions in November, and we are thrilled with the quality of the applicants this year. We are excited to introduce them to you via the next ABF News and on the American Honey Queen Program’s Facebook page.

We are excited about a few final promotions in December and seeing many of you at the 2016 ABF Conference & Tradeshow in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville), Florida! Happy promoting!

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle was: "A boy was at a carnival and went to a booth where a man said to the boy, "If I write your exact weight on this piece of paper then you have to give me $50, but if I cannot, I will pay you $50." The boy looked around and saw no scale, so he agreed, thinking no matter what the man writes he will just say he weighs more or less. In the end the boy ended up paying the man $50. How did the man win the bet?" Bear Kelley was the first to get the correct answer: He wrote "Your exact weight" on the paper.

Here is another riddle to ponder. Think you know the answer? The first to e-mail Valerie Lake at valerielake@abfnet.org will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

How do you make two 2s into two 5s? You are free to apply any mathematical function you like. (Hint - remember Snow White?)

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • French scientists say honey bees can recover from neonicotinoid damage in the wild. Learn More.
  • UNCG Student’s research could save honey bee colonies. Read more.
  • In Fort Worth, bicyclists drop seed bombs to help bees and butterflies. Learn more.
  • Diversity in a honey bee pathogen: first report of a third master variant of the Deformed Wing Virus quasispecies. Read More.
  • Forager bees ‘turn on’ gene expression to protect against microorganisms, toxins. Learn More.
  • UBC genomic project aims to breed a better honeybee. Read More.
  • A4 to become world’s first “honey highway”; playground for bees, flowers. Learn More. 

ABF Welcomes New Members — October 2015

  • Charlotte Albrecht, Texas 
  • Rachael Bonoan, Massachusetts
  • Angela Chastain, Connecticut
  • Richard Cousins, Florida
  • Gary Dockter, Florida
  • Robert Dozier, Florida
  • Michael Farrell,California
  • G. Fernandez, New York
  • Michael Gowdy, Texas
  • Linda Groves, Nevada 
  • Zack Handley, Georgia
  • Terry Hayden, Illinois
  • Vance Hayes, Colorado
  • Jane Karl, Colorado
  • Jim Klement, Florida


  • Doug McGinnis, Florida
  • Strong Microbials
  • Carla Miller, Florida
  • Tony Rekeweg, Indiana
  • Arron Robinson, Georgia
  • Tracy Skubal, Wisconsin
  • Chuck Smith, Georgia
  • Curtis Soles, Florida
  • Austin Spinella, Massachusetts
  • Charles Stuhl, Florida
  • Cheney Tye, Georgia
  • Tim Wallace, Texas
  • Patrick Wilbanks, Georgia
  • Tim Wilbanks, Iowa
  • Mary Yates, Alabama



Recipe of the Month: Honey Apple Glaze

Source: Beth Hackenberg


1/3 cup apple butter

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon oil

1/4 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper to taste



Combine ingredients and set aside. Take one 5-lb fresh or frozen whole turkey breast, thawed, and remove skin (if desired). The turkey can be done in the oven or on a grill. Spray Pam or other cooking spray on grill. When heated on medium, place turkey breast on grill directly over drip pan. Brush honey apple glaze on turkey. Cover grill and cook 1 to 1 1/2 hours (occasionally brush glaze on). When done, the thermometer should register 170°F and juices run clear.


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

Register Today and Join Us for Palm Trees & Healthy Bees in Sunny Florida!  


2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016

Join us for a buzzworthy experience at the 2016 American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) Conference & Tradeshow, January 5-9, 2016. The conference will be held at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa, in Ponte Vedra Beach (Jacksonville)

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