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ABF E-Buzz: November 2010
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ABF E-Buzz — November 2010

In This Issue:

Welcome to E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF Membership and Marketing Committee Member and E-Buzz Editor

Greetings! As we wind down another year so very quickly, we here at the ABF have begun a new method of communication in hopes of keeping you, our members, informed and up to date on the latest news and happenings — E-Buzz. Oh yes, there's lots of news and there's lots of information being streamed at you today in so many forms, but we hope to provide a different insight into one thing...people who are beekeepers.  That's really what we are and our mission is to bring beekeepers together to establish new relationships and hopefully help each other survive difficult times and celebrate the good ones.

I was just recently asked at a state meeting what are the benefits of belonging to the ABF? It was a no-thought response because I knew so well the main benefit, which is the people who are involved and participating because they all care about one thing and that is other people who share the love for a simple insect, the honey bee.
We choose to gather together once a year and find a few moments where we can reconnect with friends and others who share our common experience. It is usually too short a time. So, once a month, we will attempt to bring you up to date on a variety of things that we have found interesting and we hope that you will share things of interest that you would like to impart to others in this beekeeping family.

If you have stories about what beekeepers are doing in your state, county or parish, send us the links so that we can spread the news. If you have books of interest that you feel have enriched your beekeeping experience, then pass the information along. If you have a personal achievement that has hit the news, we would like to pass it on to the rest of our industry. We would like to hear about what you feel is important to share with others who have a common passion for working in our industry.

Please send any news items or information that you would like to share with others to me at tuckerb@hit.net.  That's how we will all benefit. We look forward to sharing your stories and insights in future issues of E-Buzz!

Bee There: 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow Register Today!

"Together for a Sweet Future" is the theme of the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, January 4-8, 2011, in Galveston, Texas, and represents the joint effort of the American Beekeeping Federation, the American Honey Producers Association and the Canadian Honey Council to produce the largest and most innovative beekeeping conference in North America. 

This is an exciting opportunity to bring together beekeepers at all levels and from all over the country and beyond to share ideas and develop new contacts. Additional information, including the full conference schedule, invited speakers, guest room accommodations and much more, can be found on the conference Web site at www.nabeekeepingconference.com.

The ABF also invites you to enter the 2011 American Honey Show, which will be held during the 2001 conference. This is a prime opportunity to showcase your bees' abilities to produce the purest honey, the best wax and the most goodies. The Honey Show will feature the best examples of honey and beeswax. It includes 12 classes for honey, four for beeswax and the gift basket class.  Also, the Honey Show Committee has announced that the theme for the Honey Gift Basket class this year will be “Mardi Gras.” Click here for the official show rules/regulations and entry form.  NOTE: The entry form and appropriate fees must arrive at the ABF offices by Friday, December 17, 2010.

Bee Issues: NAP Deadline is December 1, 2010

by Troy Fore, ABF Director of Government Relations

No, that’s not a post-Thanksgiving-feast reminder, but an important date for any beekeeper who may want to participate in any USDA disaster program.

Enrollment in NAP (Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program) is a requirement for eligibility in disaster programs such as ELAP (Emergency Livestock Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm Raised Fish) - or any others that may be developed. NAP provides financial assistance to producers of noninsurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occurs due to natural disasters. A USDA fact sheet on NAP is available at www.fsa.usda.gov/Internet/FSA_File/nap09.pdf.

To enroll in NAP, visit you local USDA Farm Service Agency office. The annual fee is $250. Beekeepers must sign-up by December 1 each year for the next year’s honey crop.

Be a friend — pass the word to other beekeepers. Tell them to take a NAP!

Beekeeper of the Month: Clint Walker and Family

by Tim Tucker, ABF Membership and Marketing Committee Member and E-Buzz Editor

Photo courtesy of Some Beekeepers and Associates by Joseph O. Moffett.

This first month we are featuring a special family that has contributed so much to our organization and one that has a special place in my experience with the ABF.

A number of years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Clint Walker at the Kansas City meeting of the ABF. He sat down and spent quite some time asking me about what I did and how I had come to be interested in bees.   At the time, I was a ranch  manager for two different properties here in Southeast Kansas and was keeping about 50 or 60 colonies while caring for 300 cows and calves. I was so impressed that a guy who was running a couple thousand colonies and who was a third-generation beekeeper was interested in me and my story. In the coming years, I became involved because I looked forward to seeing Clint once a year and sharing our problems and personal achievements. We had much in common and I hope that I can relate the Walker's story to you now as best as I might.

Our current economic conditions are bad, but not as bad as when Clint's grandfather, George Clinton Walker, went broke in the grocery business in 1929. Somehow he managed to purchase 150 hives in 1930 and began making a modest living for his family in Texas.

G.C. "Clint" Walker, Sr., was born near Gause, Texas, and during the early years had four sons in the beekeeping business. He also had a daughter, Rebecca Walker. One son, G.C., Jr., had purchased his own 350 hives in 1937 with  $400 cash and a 1938 Ford pickup he had purchased with 100 gallons of honey in friction top cans, $100 cash and a bob-tailed cow in trade. Talk about a cow trader!

There were good years and bad. There were tough times due to the use of arsenic to control cotton boll weevil and the decimation it brought to the family's bees in central Texas. So, in 1941, they left and moved the bees to the Lower Rio Grand Valley, where orange groves promised to offer some reward of citrus honey and a better and more stable production. Then the rumbling of wars came, which rallied the family to the cause of country and G.C.'s brothers went off to serve in the war. When his brothers returned, it was G.C., Jr.'s, turn and he went off to serve while they in turn cared for the beekeeping business and kept things going in his absence. When he returned, there was clover in Texas and a family to begin caring for.  

G.C., Jr., and his wife Beth were active in raising their three children, attending their church, making friends in the community and ever at the task at hand of keeping the bees working.  Ann was born in 1955, then Clint Walker III in 1957 and finally, in 1960, a second daughter named Jan.   

In 1964, Clint, Sr., retired from beekeeping. Ed continued to work for G.C., Jr., until his death in 1993.   During his career, G.C., Jr., was active in the Texas state association and served on the executive committee of the ABF as early as 1956.

After graduating college, Clint Walker III left the business and headed for California for a time, but found his way back to the bees after deciding it would be better to raise his two sons in Texas.

In 1994, Clint bought the business from his father, G.C., Jr., and they worked together for years finding new solutions to the challenges that arose each year. The family was very active in the ABF throughout the years and Clint was elected to serve as its president in 2000-01. G.C., Jr., died in April 2008 during queen rearing, which was his favorite time of year.

Clint and Janice Walker. 
Photo courtesy of Becky Jones.

One of the many discussions I have had with Clint that he feels so strongly about is the difference between an association and a federation. To "federate" is to put one's own views in public discourse, argue for their adoption by the whole, yield to the collective wisdom of the association and work hard to improve the organization. Clint watched his dad "federate" at church, on the school board and in the ABF. He always worked as hard for the group after they differed with his view as he did lobbying for an alternative view. G.C. taught the lessons of being loyal to family, friends, faith and all his associations in life. Clint learned to "fight hard to stay together!"

Clint's vision for the future and where we are going as an industry:

  • We will continue to understand honey bee nutrition better.
  • We will learn to control our pests naturally or we will continue to lose the battle.
  • We will flourish as an industry in inverse proportion to "big ag." The corollary is that we should not tie our fortunes to the politics that favors subsidies. We will improve as an industry when subsidies to corn, etc., end.
  • We will win some big victories for honey bee health, especially with government agencies that have heretofore not favored us.

Clint now runs around 2,000 colonies and does pollination in almonds in California and produces packages and nucs for sale in the spring to local beekeepers. Their retail store is a real hit in Rogers, Texas, with a full line of honey products, including creamed honey in many flavors, varietal honeys, such as Orange Blossom Yaupon and Huajillo, and lots of beeswax products. Clint's wife, Janice, and the whole family work hard to keep up the store and Web site, which is top of line. Their two sons, Jonathan and Clinton, have a great legacy to build upon and I hope that one or both find their way to work with their parents in perpetuating the Walker family business for generations to come.

Bee Informed: Book Review of Queen Rearing Essentials by Lawrence John Connor

by Tim Tucker, ABF Membership and Marketing Committee Member and E-Buzz Editor

I had an opportunity to visit with Larry recently at our Kansas Honey Producers meeting in McPherson, Kansas. It is always a informational treat when he is speaking at a meeting because he has such timely information and his presentations are so down to earth. He doesn't speak above your head and that's the way his new book, Queen Rearing Essentials, reads. It is very easy to understand and has many helpful pictures.
Larry's ability to relate a simple and effective method for rearing queens for people of all levels of understanding in the bee business is unparalleled. This book allows for even beginners who are in their first year of experience to "grasp the concept" of queen rearing and be successful in the process. Queen evaluation is always the key to surviving in this business and too few people understand how to quickly assess whether they have a good queen in their hive or a failing queen.

On page 8, there is a picture of a good frame of brood, indicating a super queen that is laying eggs and producing brood so well that she would be good for use in new queen raising efforts. On page 9, there is a great photo of a queen that needs to be replaced and there is little left to the imagination. One of the most important assessments in queen rearing is determining the egg production level of the queen you are evaluating and Larry explains how to accurately measure brood in the hive. This is one of the most thorough articles on this topic that I have read and the great thing is that he gives a method of making the process simple and quick.

He also mentions the big difference that you can expect depending upon the stage of the season in the count that you are doing. Very important things change once we pass the summer solstice as the motivators of colony change the factors for colony numbers and the need for reproduction. Each step of queen production is thoroughly laid out and defined in terms that we can all understand. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this book is one of the most voluminous discussions of the topic ever written. They are almost on every page, defining the process for you to actually see and understand.

Larry is a great teacher and I always enjoy listening to his talks wherever I can, but I think he is an even better photographer. Catch Larry at a state meeting or at the Serious Sideliner Symposium in January at the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, where you can also pick up this book. It is a must for all beekeepers, from the beginner to the commercial applicator.

Bee World: New Beekeeping Exchange Group Introduced

The International Federation of Beekeepers Associations (APIMONDIA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are pleased to announce the launch of the TECA Exchange Group on Beekeeping, a new joint initiative between the two organizations to share knowledge and facilitate networking on beekeeping.

Why a TECA Exchange Group on Beekeeping?

Beekeeping is widely practiced in the world as an income-generating activity and for the benefits that bees and their products offer to mankind: pollination, biodiversity, food, medicines, etc.

Research institutions, farmers, projects and other bodies generate technologies to improve beekeeping practices, processing of beekeeping products and its marketing, but this information often remains scattered and does not reach the wide public that could benefit from these improved technologies and best practices.

In order to address this problem and increase the benefits of research and years of improving practices, FAO in collaboration with APIMONDIA has decided to set up a Beekeeping Exchange Group on the TECA Platform, where information and knowledge can be shared, and beekeepers and stakeholders from all over the world can meet to discuss topics related to beekeeping.

What is TECA?

TECA stands for Technologies for Agriculture and can be accessed via www.fao.org/teca. It is an online database of technologies that have been tested by farmers in rural areas. TECA responds to the specific information needs of small producers and those providing advisory services to them.

TECA also provides Web-based communication tools (also linked to YouTube and other comparable media) to better document, share technologies and customize its use to each user's characteristics. It is interactive, and has a great potential to improve linkages among extension staff, researchers, farmer organizations and other stakeholders involved in agricultural innovation. TECA also gives visibility to small producers for their achievements and technological developments and at the same time allows them to tap this resource to their own benefit and gain further information and knowledge.

TECA Exchange Group on Beekeeping

The aim of the TECA Exchange Group on Beekeeping is to provide a forum to share and discuss beekeeping technologies and best practices, focusing particularly on smallholders. Additionally, the group offers the opportunity to explore areas of common interest that could potentially serve as the basis for the establishment of partnerships.

Visit the TECA Web site and join this initiative for enhancing the sharing of knowledge and technology on beekeeping for smallholders. Check out the information on beekeeping already available in the database and/or share your knowledge by uploading training manuals, technologies that have been tested and validated in the field or videos and pictures demonstrating techniques. In order to ensure the quality of the information available on TECA, technologies submitted for uploading will be validated by APIMONDIA's Standing Scientific Commissions before making them available to the Exchange Group.

A brief Exchange Group User Guide and a guide on how to use TECA can be downloaded from the TECA Web site by at www.fao.org/teca/node/4730. Guides can also be requested by e-mail from the Beekeeping Exchange Group facilitators (TECA-beekeeping@fao.org).

Please feel free to share this announcement with your contacts and partners that could be interested in the information available in TECA or in sharing their proven technologies, or just become a member of this new beekeeping community.

Buzzmakers: Tulsan Teaches Beekeeping to Help Program in Uganda

Lloyd Ziegler teaches a class on
beekeeping to the locals.

Source: www.newson6.com

Tulsa, Oklahoma — Lloyd Ziegler has been keeping bees for more than three decades. After responding to an ad, he took those beekeeping skills to Uganda to help a farming program.  Lloyd Ziegler found few resources when he arrived in the mountain village above Kasese, Uganda.

"They had 500 hives all over the place. All these people did...and they were trying to produce honey. What they didn't have was detailed information about how to do it," Ziegler said.

Ziegler answered an ad in a national beekeeping publication and after buying about $2,500 worth of plane tickets, he found himself on an eight hour bus ride to Kasese. He'd been in Africa 40 years ago and said he was surprised to find that little seemed to have changed. The sanctioning group for his trip, the Liberty Development Foundation, was founded eight years ago in the city of Kasese. It is designed to find training and education to improve the lives of its citizens. Unfortunately, the group has no money, so Ziegler went on the trip on his own dime.

Despite no funding, Ziegler said the beekeeping program has great promise because it gives the villagers a way to make money. Ziegler said they are excellent farmers, but had little knowledge on proper beekeeping. "They need to have someone  there to advise them," Ziegler said.

View the entire story and watch the news clip at: www.newson6.com/global/story.asp?s=13108171.

LIDEFO is a community based non-government organisation founded in 2002 in Uganda and promotes income generation activities by providing loans to the disadvantaged women and youth who would like to undertake small businesses. LIDEDO, along with its partners, is working to raise awareness of beekeeping development initiatives. Learn more at www.lidefo.org/beekeeping-drive.

ABF Welcomes New Members — October 2010

  • Edwin Barth, Oregon
  • Tim Bartlett, Florida
  • Mike Hays, Florida
  • Jennifer Lund, Maine
  • Jon Pettit, New York
  • Grace Schmied, Kansas
  • Rocky Schmied, Kansas
  • Brad Turbes, Minnesota





Recipe of the Month: Brandied Apricot Preserves

Recipe from Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving


  • 5 cups sliced and pitted fresh apricots
  • 2 cups chopped cored and peeled tart apples
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup liquid honey
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 cup brandy


  • In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine apricots, apples, sugar honey and lemon juice. Stir to mix well.   Cover and let stand at room temperature for 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
  • Bring reserved apricot mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and test for gelling ability. If gel stage has been reached, skim off foam. Stir in brandy and return to medium heat. Boil gently, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and skim off foam.
  • Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if necessary by adding hot preserves. Wipe rim of jars and secure lids firmly on jars.   
  • Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes. Remove from canner and allow jars to cool.