Home | Contact Us | Print Page | Sign In | Join Now
ABF E-Buzz: August 2011
Share |


ABF E-Buzz — August 2011

In This Issue:

Welcome Back to E-Buzz

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

August brings so many things to mind,
Like county fairs with fun foods and rides easy to find.
Catfish scream louder than ever for our fishing poles,
Inviting us to joyous jaunts at our favorite watering holes.

Gregory Huyette

Welcome back to the ABF E-Buzz. We hope your honey supers are full and that you are busy filling buckets or barrels and running out of storage space.    Seems like August is always a busy month. The kids are back in school and fairs and festivals are going on from coast to coast. Football has begun again and harvest of all crops is underway.

Just like the bees, we have different priorities than we did during the spring months. August is the time to begin thinking about next year's crops and making preps for 2012. One of the upcoming deadlines is the sign-up date for crop insurance for next year, which is September 30, 2011, and Troy Fore, ABF director of government relations, explains the importance of this program in this month's newsletter. For many of us who make a living from managing bees,  managing risk is always on our minds.

This month we have another great contribution from Peter Teal in this installment of "Science Buzz." We will also introduce you to a new family of beekeepers in North Dakota, Brent and Bonnie Woodworth, who have been involved with the ABF since 1995. There's also a great recipe for Rum-Soaked Raisin Bread Pudding that I have to limit myself to making twice a month because it is so good I eat it all.

The "Buzzmakers" in this issue offers lots of news, and the first link is excellent news for all of those in Florida and makes a great deal of sense for beekeepers there, as they can now sell their production to the public directly without having a state-inspected facility. Definitely a step in the right direction regarding the regulation of small business. So, hats off to the legislators in Florida! There's another link that reports our bees did the job quite well in the almonds, despite the bad weather.

Finally, there's a review of the new and enjoyable book, Confessions of a Bad  Beekeeper, or what not to do when keeping bees. This book by Bill Turnbull was a very enjoyable read and provides some humorous reflections on our efforts to work with these endlessly interesting insects.

So, we hope that you enjoy this month's issue of ABF E-Buzz and that you share it with others you know who are interested in the honey bee. If you have any items of interest you would like to share with all of us, please send your contributions to me at tuckerb@hit.net. Thanks again!

Science Buzz

by Peter Teal, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS

Emily Koller

This is the first of two "Buzzes" in which I want to highlight research that two high school students who were summer interns working in our laboratories conducted this summer.  The two were in the second summer with us and, this year, were tasked with developing their own research projects. They are top-notch kids who are now really into the science of bees and hopefully will continue on this track!

Emily Koller, who worked primarily with Dr. Adrian Duehl, developed a project to determine "What Attracts Varroa Mites?" The first question addressed was, "What stage of bee development (larva, pupa or adult) is most attractive to Varroa?"  To do this, dishes containing larvae of different stages, or pupae, along with an adult worker bee were set up and a mite was placed between the two treatments. The choice of the mite was recorded after two hours and the mite's travels were videotaped.

By far and away the most attractive stage were adult bees. In fact, in all trials adults were preferred more than 97 percent of the time! This was a real eye opener to us because we, and other research groups, have focused our research on what attracts the mites to bee brood.  Indeed, we and others have identified chemicals from capping brood that attract mites when they are ready to reproduce.

Next, she looked at whether frozen dead bees were as attractive to mites as were live bees and found that frozen bees were just as attractive as live bees for the first two hours of the trial, but that at 24 hours live bees were more attractive.  To her, this meant that some chemical, attractive to mites, was released from frozen bees for at least first two hours.
The next step was to determine if she could extract the chemical that was attractive.  She selected two solvents, including pentane, which is the most selective and only extracts certain types of compounds, and the second, methylene chloride, which extracts more types of compounds. She extracted groups of bees in the two solvents and found that when she tested pentane-extracted bees there was some loss of attraction for the mites. However, when she extracted bees in methylene chloride nearly all mites went to the non-extracted frozen bees! This indicated that she had successfully extracted the chemical(s) that attract the mites to adult bees.

Well, if this was so then we figured that we should be able to apply the extract back onto the extracted bees and make them attractive again. However, when the methylene chloride extract was reapplied to bees they were not attractive. In fact, they were repellant! So, although we were successful in extracting the attractant for the mite, we also stumbled on a compound(s) that was repellant. As Alfred Einstein said, "If we knew what we were doing it wouldn't be called research."

Emily has, just this week, started as a freshman at the University of Florida, so her time with us is over until next summer. However, her work is allowing us to push hard to isolate both the attractant and repellant from extracts of the adult bees. Hopefully, by the time the ABF annual meeting comes around early next year, we will be able to tell you what the compounds are. Both the attractant and repellant have real practical application for controlling Varroa mites and, as they are naturally produced by honey bees, the likelihood of their having a negative impact on bee health is minimal.

Next month's column will feature the other summer research project conducted by Kaitlin Deutsch, yet another "ace" summer student: "Honey Bee Hormones in Queenless and Queenright Hives Are There Differences in Hormone Levels Based on the Presence or Absence of a Queen?" 

Beekeeper of the Month: The Woodworth Family

by Bonnie Woodworth, Woodworth Honey Co.

First, to set the record straight, I am not really a beekeeper, I only work here!

How Brent and I got to know each other goes way back to Brent's father, Woody, and the family business, Woodworth Honey Co. Woody had started keeping bees when he was 12 years old and caught a swarm. By the time he graduated from high school, he had 300 colonies of bees. Woody and Jeanette moved to North Dakota in 1955 with Brent, then a year old, and his sister, Pat, and brother, Greg. Woody was a pilot and flew his Piper PA-11, barnstorming around the area and looking for bee yard locations. My first memory of the Woodworth's was when Woody landed at our farm north of Dickinson and gave us rides in his airplane.

Brent and Bonnie Woodworth check up on their bees.
Photo courtesy of David VanderDussen.

My sister's husband, Nick Letang, worked for Woodworth Honey Co. when he was in high school, so our families were connected long before I met Brent. We did meet in high school and dated during our senior year. He did take me to the bee yard to put supers on, so I guess I passed the test. We got married October 20, 1972, and Brent continued to work in the family business. After living in Dickinson for two years, we moved 50 miles northwest to Halliday, where a new warehouse was built.

From 1972 to 1990 we wintered our bees in East Texas. We raised queens, sold brood, five-frame nucs and package bees. Brent and I purchased the Halliday operation with 2,000 colonies of bees in 1979. After one year in business, North Dakota experienced a terrible drought in 1980 and the following years were really a struggle. During the drought years in the 1980s, the market for nucs was getting poor. We knew we needed to make a change in our operation. 1991 was the first year we took bees to California for almond pollination. Our first few years we did use a broker, Alan Buckley. Since then we have maintained a good relationship with several almond growers, some of which we have provided bees for since 1991.

Wintering our colonies has also changed, as we now ship our bees to Idaho in November to store them in potato warehouses. The bees are then shipped from Idaho to California in late January, just prior to the almond bloom. Brent is quite particular about the quality of the hives he sets for growers, so each hive is checked and colony strength is evened up by shaking bees out of strong colonies and boosting weaker ones. Growers do talk to each other, so maintaining a good reputation as a bee supplier is vital.

We no longer ship bees from California to Washington for apple and cherry pollination. After much experience, we now keep our bees in California longer to pull brood and make up new hives. Bees are shipped to North Dakota the end of April to begin the next phase of our operation, honey production.

Western North Dakota has always been feast or famine for honey production. On good years you almost can't overstock an area and on bad years one hive can starve. We are in an area where there still is a lot of alfalfa, but the alfalfa weevils have really been a problem since they damage the first growth, such that the plant doesn't bloom. This year the weevil damage was severe, so we did lose a lot of potential honey crop. There is a lot of buckwheat and sunflowers this summer in our area, so that will make up for the lack of early alfalfa honey. Our honey production looks good, but we never know until it's in the drum.

Western North Dakota is in the midst of a huge oil boom, so the whole area has changed immensely with the influx of oil workers. The roads have taken a beating due to increased usage by trucks and equipment. Housing has gone beyond expensive and it's obscene what an apartment costs. Finding workers is impossible unless you can afford to pay $30 an hour. No one in agriculture can compete with the energy sector wage rates.
Since help is so difficult to find, we started using the H2A program to hire South African workers. These young people have been a godsend for us. They are smart, eager to learn, hard workers and a lot of fun to have around. This year we have five South Africans working for us (three men and two women). They can stay with us for 10 months at a time, then they must go back home or to another employer. We have one young woman, Antoinette Hamman, that has been with us for five seasons - she is like gold. I think that finding workers is the biggest challenge for growth in our industry. Not too many people want to do physical labor anymore. It is difficult to expand our business in the current labor market.

One thing I have always thought was important was to attend industry meetings. I have been involved with North Dakota Farm Bureau, holding positions on both the county and state level. I served on the American Farm Bureau Honey Bee Advisory Committee. I have been president of the North Dakota Beekeeper's Association and served on the American Beekeeping Federation's Board of Directors. All very worthwhile and effective organizations and what I have learned is immeasurable.

I am very involved in the Living Ag Classroom project in North Dakota. We educate about 6000 fourth graders each year and I find it very rewarding. It's also is a great opportunity to network with other commodity groups. That has come in very handy when it comes to agriculture issues that affect beekeepers. It helps to know people who can help you.

I always thought that if I listened to smart people they would have all the answers. What I learned is no one has all the answers, but you will learn something from each person, if you listen. Some tidbit of information that may save your business someday.

Beekeeping Vendor of the Month: Mann Lake Ltd.

by Brenda Tharp Bray, Mann Lake Ltd.

Mann Lake Ltd. was started by Jack and Betty Thomas in the early 1980s at their northern Minnesota home on Mann Lake. Business quickly grew and the operation was moved to the town of Hackensack just a few years later. Mann Lake has since become one of the largest beekeeping supply manufacturers in the world.

In 2005, a warehouse and showroom were added in Woodland, California, to meet the needs of beekeepers located on the West Coast. Mann Lake is an employee-owned company, so each employee strives to provide the best products and customer service possible.

Innovation has been a cornerstone of Mann Lake, whether it is in state-of-the-art wood products manufacturing, nutritional optimization, mite control or any other need of the industry, Mann Lake strives to be the leader. Paramount to Mann Lake's success has been its knowledgeable, friendly staff providing customer service 24 hours a day, whether on the Web or Phone.

Looking forward, Mann Lake is working with industry researchers on new compounds to treat the varroa mite. Research and trials also continue on new feed products, feed stimulants and health aides aimed at keeping bees well-nourished with strong immune systems.

Bee Protected: Considering Crop Insurance?

by Troy Fore, ABF Director of Government Relations

With the September 30, 2011, deadline approaching, beekeepers are encouraged to consider enrolling in the pilot crop insurance program for beekeepers.

For 2012, the "Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program" is available in 29 states up from 21 states at the program's start. The program is offered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) of USDA and is sold through insurance agencies that sell crop insurance to farmers.

There are two programs under study in the pilot program. The beekeeper is not actually insuring honey production. Rather, the policy covers rainfall or vegetation "greening" in the locations where the bees are located.

In 19 states, plus eastern Colorado, rainfall is the basis of the insurance. In nine states, plus western Colorado, it is based on a vegetation index or greening. Rainfall data is from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the vegetation index data is from the U.S. Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science Data Center.

Neither pilot program insures the honey crop directly. Instead, the assumption is that the lack of rainfall or lack of greening in an area will be translated to reduced honey production. The deviation from normal will be applied to a beekeeper's normal honey production and a payment made. The pilot program will be in effect for several years as RMA determines which approach is better.

For complete details on the pilot program, including a map and a county-by-county list showing program availability, visit http://www.rma.usda.gov/policies/ri-vi/apiculture.html. A directory of authorized insurance agencies is also available on the website.

Beekeepers are also reminded of the December 1, 2011, deadline to sign up for the Non-Insured Crop Program (NAP). This is available at offices of USDA-FSA and is a prerequisite for participation in any of USDA's disaster programs.


The ABF Board of Directors realizes there are deficiencies with the pilot crop insurance program. Rather than insuring your honey crop, you would be, in essence, making a bet on the weather, which is often the largest influence on honey production. Unfortunately, the pilot program is structured to insure against only the lack of rainfall. Certainly, excess rainfall could be just as much an issue as too little. The pilot program is an exploratory program. The ABF is working with USDA to improve the program to make it more useful for beekeepers.

Bee Informed: Book Review of Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper by Bill Turnbull

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

Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper is a new book by Bill Turnbull, who delightfully explains during the course of the book what both good and bad beekeepers do while tending their bees. The book is full of humorous explanations of the process of beekeeping by someone who has obviously found the passion that all beekeepers who survive eventually experience. Those who are novices to beekeeping will find lots of helpful instruction in the basics and those with experience can delight in the reminiscing knowing that we all make the same mistakes, or so it seems.

A career journalist, Turnbull has reported from more than 30 countries, and for four years was the BBC News foreign correspondent in Washington, D.C. He is president of the Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers, and he says he has no idea of why he was elected.

Turnbull's fascination with the bees began with a swarm that landed in a weeping pear tree in the yard, which caused his normally fierce and brutish neighbor to take refuge in the house with him. After calling the police, a beekeeper showed up to calmly deposit the bees in a box with little or no concerns. Turnbull was impressed with his almost Zen-like ability to tame this "large cluster of potentially ferocious flying insects." It caused him to think for quite some time as to whether he would possess the courage to do the same and stuck with him until he could get the chance. That came while visiting the veterinary with one of the family chickens named Tobasco and while there Turnbull's daughter spotted a flier for beekeeping classes being offered by the local beekeeping association and the spark was ignited once again. Turnbull describes many of the processes and considerations of beginning the effort of beekeeping with humorous anecdotes along the way. It is a fun read from the beginning to the end. His description of getting things ready to extract and finding the parts to the extractor are a real experience.  

Turnbull warns that beekeeping is a commitment requiring dedication, discipline and determination. Even for bad beekeepers who survive, it takes a degree of all of the above. There are dozens of stories, mostly quite humorous, about all of the learning experiences where of course the good beekeeper does one thing and he always seems to do the other. Good beekeepers keep notes and don't store things where they can't be found. Bad beekeepers spend their time observing the bees, instead of taking notes, so they can wonder which hive it was they moved from where last year. His description of his new shed's orderliness and tidiness at first and its transformation is simply fun. It is also very likely a bit too common to all of us. As he says, "I'm not a bad beekeeper for nothing. It wasn't long before stuff got piled up in there. Lots of stuff, of indistinct purpose and unknown provenance." Just like my barn!

Well, I am sure this is a book most will find entertaining and some will find its lessons informative and educational. There's likely a bad beekeeper in most of us to one degree or another!

The American paperback edition of Confessions of a Bad Beekeeper by Bill Turnbull (The Experiment publisher) is available online and in book stores. He maintains a blog at http://www.badbeekeeper.com/.

Bee Worldly: Beekeeping in New Zealand

by Blake Shook, Owner, Desert Creek Honey Company, and ABF Board of Directors Member

ABF Board Member Blake Shook presents
during the annual National New Zealand Beekeeping Association conference.

I have had the honor of traveling many places and meeting many impressive beekeepers in my short career so far as a beekeeper. It is hard to compare all of those experiences. Each place is unique and fascinating in its own way, whether it is keeping bees in huge computer-controlled buildings during the harsh New Brunswick winters, producing honey from cactus in blazing hot Texas or having bee yards in postcard-quality locations in New Zealand.

The world beekeeping industry is fascinating, complex, and yet strikingly similar in very many ways. No matter where you go as a beekeeper you are normally welcomed with open arms by others who share in your passion. Sure, there is the occasional grouch, but even he usually perks up and grins when the conversation shifts to bees and honey. We all share a common interest and goal that often times (yet at times not often enough) unites us regardless of race, politics or location. That was certainly true in New Zealand. I was invited to speak to the National New Zealand Beekeeping Association at their conference in Auckland, New Zealand, this past June in the midst of their semi-tropical winter. Several of the board members had read an article I wrote for ABJ some time ago and decided to send me an invitation. Due to the gracious hospitality and kindness of our hosts, my wife and I were able to spend a little over a week on the fascinating North Island of New Zealand. I'll refrain from going into depth on the gorgeous landscape (though I will say it is very close to what I picture Heaven must look like) and stick with the topic that interests us all, which is, of course, bees and beekeeping.

One of the most unique factors about the honey and beekeeping industry in New Zealand is their rare and exclusive Manuka honey. In recent years, Manuka honey (produced strictly in New Zealand and Australia from the flowering Manuka bush) has exploded onto the world market after the extremely talented marketing and research efforts carried out on this amber, robust tasting honey. Researchers found a chemical in Manuka honey that has many more medicinal properties than the already highly therapeutic conventional honey. As you know, virtually all honey contains (at different levels) elements that when placed on skin produce hydrogen peroxide, which greatly aids in the healing of burns, wounds, etc.  Manuka honey contains the same elements, yet it also contains an entirely different and unique set of properties that make it a one-of-a-kind honey.

The discovery of these properties resulted in the New Zealand honey industry selling honey for $20-$25USD per lb. (retail), rather than the average $5-$8USD per lb. I asked two of the gentlemen responsible for this discovery if it was possible for other honey in the world to contain undiscovered medicinal properties similar to those found in Manuka honey. Their answer was,  "Sure, why not? All it takes is someone willing to put their honey to the test and see what is really in it." That is exactly what they did, and the entire industry is still reaping the benefits. For anyone interested in learning more about Manuka honey, a great article can be found at the following link: http://bio.waikato.ac.nz/honey/special.shtml.

As fascinating as Manuka honey is, there are many other interesting things about beekeeping in New Zealand. There seems to be a great awareness and sensitivity in the country toward honey and beekeeping. As we drove around the island we would frequently come across honey stores that would sell a wide variety of honey, lotions, candles and other products. Each store was unique and creative, and several were complete with tours and honey cafes. It was also fascinating how the beekeepers pushed themselves in their marketing efforts. Virtually all of the many different labels I saw were incredibly stylish, modern and beautiful. I met one gentleman who gave me a jar of very rare "five finger honey." This plant only blooms in the winter, so to get a surplus crop, as you can imagine, is very difficult. As I commented on his incredibly simple, clean and modern label, I asked him how many stores he sold honey to. He chuckled and told me he doesn't even sell honey by the jar, he just gives it away to friends and family. Yet, his label and jar were among the most creative and impressive I have ever seen.
Interestingly, our industries are strikingly similar in many ways. In New Zealand they do not have issues with Chinese honey imports, but they do battle honey imports from elsewhere on the globe. They have problems with companies claiming to sell one type of honey when the product is something else entirely. Sounds familiar right? There seems especially to be a problem with companies all over the world claiming to sell Manuka honey with a high Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) level, yet it contains very little Manuka honey or very low levels of UMF. Like us, they struggle on a regular basis with Varroa mites, Nosema Ceranae, politics in beekeeping and a plethora of other issues. However, like the American beekeeping industry, they are resilient, passionate and excited about their careers despite the challenges they face. At times, the challenges are brutal and seem insurmountable. But, for every issue that arises, a solution has always been discovered, and a handful of scientists and beekeepers always rise to the challenge. The art of beekeeping may be difficult and the industry across the globe may seem fragile at times, but I believe it is held safe in the hands of some of the most ingenious, creative and resourceful groups of people I have ever met. I am confident that as long as beekeepers and researchers continue to defend what they have come to love and enjoy so much, the industry around the world will continue to succeed.

Bee $100 Richer: Join the ABF Buzz Club!

by Amanda Hammerli, ABF Membership Coordinator

Want to be a member of the ABF Buzz Club?  It's easy and rewarding!  For the months of August and September 2011, the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) will hold an ABF Buzz Club membership drive, which will be open to all ABF active members.  For every new member you bring to the ABF, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a $100 American Express gift card.  The more new members you bring the more chances you have to win the gift card. (Please see Rules and Regulations below.)  

The rewards do not stop in September! If you provide the ABF with five new members between August 2011 and January 2012, you will become a member of the ABF Buzz Club and will receive an ABF Buzz Club pin.  As a member of the ABF Buzz Club, you will be eligible for the ABF Buzz Club Award, which will be presented to the ABF member who has generated the most new members in one year.  The award recipient will be recognized during the banquet at the ABF annual meeting in January 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Please see Rules and Regulations below.)  

Have a question or need membership applications?  Contact Amanda Hammerli, ABF membership coordinator, at 404.760.2875 or amandahammerli@abfnet.org.  Thank you for your participation and let's start buzzing!  

ABF Buzz Club Rules and Regulations:

  • For the new member to be considered eligible for the contest at no point should the new member have ever been a member of the ABF.
  • The new member must be 18 years or older.
  • The new member must completely fill out and return a membership application with full payment.  The application must have the current ABF sponsoring member's name written on the form.   
  • One new member per application.
  • All membership applications and payment are due no later than September 30, 2011, at 12:00 a.m. ET.*  Any applications turned in after September 30, 2011, will not be eligible for the American Express gift card, but are still qualified for the end-of-the-year ABF Buzz Club Award.  The ABF Buzz Club contest winnings will only be awarded in the form of an American Express gift card.  
  • The ABF Buzz Club annual award contest ends December 16, 2011.** All membership applications and payment must be turned in by 12:00 a.m. ET on December 16, 2011.
  • Membership can be paid with cash, check, money order or credit card, and applications can be e-mailed to info@abfnet.org, or mailed or faxed to:

American Beekeeping Federation
3525 Piedmont Road
Building 5, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30305
404.240.0998 (fax)

*Must arrive on or before September 30, 2011, to be eligible for the American Express gift card drawing.
**Must arrive on or before December 16, 2011, to be eligible for the ABF Buzz Club Award.

Foundation Update: Five Graduate Student Scholarships Up for Grabs

by Troy Fore, Executive Director, Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees

The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees is again offering scholarships of $2,000 each to five (5) graduate students in apiculture. This is the Foundation's seventh year to award such scholarships.

The Foundation is a charitable research and education foundation affiliated with the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF). The Foundation has benefited from a generous gift from the Glenn and Gertrude Overturf estate, and is sustained by ongoing gifts from ABF members and other supportive individuals.

The Foundation Trustees have chosen to use a portion of the grant to offer graduate student scholarships to foster professional development for young apicultural scientists. The purpose of the scholarships is to allow the recipients to attend the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, January 10-14. The recipients will have an opportunity to meet other researchers and beekeepers and to present their research at the meeting. The Board of Trustees looks forward to their contributions to the conference. The scholarships are available to all graduate students. Graduate students at universities outside the United States are invited to apply.

Applications for the scholarships will be accepted until September 30, 2011.

Applicants should submit to the Board for consideration:

  • A cover letter from their advisor outlining the student's progress toward their graduate degree, tentative graduation date, and any other information about the student and their research that would help the committee "get to know" the student.
  • A curriculum vitae, or resume, not to exceed two (2) pages.
  • A research proposal (not to exceed three (3) pages). This proposal should outline the specific research experiments the student is conducting for their degree. The proposal should clearly state how the research benefits bees and/or beekeeping. The proposal can describe research that the student is planning to perform, or the progress the student already has made toward that research. The proposal should begin with an introduction to the research problem, and should follow with clear goals and objectives that state the research questions and hypotheses. The student should then discuss the methods that will be used to answer their research questions, and the expected results or results to date. Recipients will be selected in November.

Applications must be submitted electronically to: Troy Fore, executive director, Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees; troyfore@honeybeepreservation.org. If you have questions or need more information about the scholarship program, contact Marla Spivak, scholarship program coordinator, Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees; spiva001@umn.edu.

Moments in Beekeeping Photo Contest: Special Thanks!

The ABF would like to extend a special "thank you" to ABF members Joe Carson, of EKOBeekeeping.com, and Tim Tucker, of Tuckerbees Honey, for their generous prize donations to the inaugural ABF Moments in Beekeeping Photo Contest, which was held this past spring.

Details regarding the next installment of the photo contest will be available in the September 2011 issue of ABF E-Buzz, so get your cameras ready now and start snapping some entry-worthy shots!

Image from the
Magners Facebook page.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • Florida's Department of Agriculture recently announced that it is adding honey to its list of "cottage foods." Small-scale beekeepers, those who have no more than $15,000 a year in sales, can now bottle and sell honey without getting permits and preparing it in a Department of Agriculture-inspected kitchen. Uncover additional details at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/os-honey-sales-deregulated-20110822,0,7334379.story.
  • After a good winter with excellent chilling hours, the 2011 almond crop bloom began in an unusually chilly spring that had growers initially concerned because the bees that are responsible for pollination don't fly as much when cold. The bees then eventually came through and the flowering trees set an excellent crop. Read more at http://www.growingproduce.com/news/index.php?storyid=5746.
  • Science Daily recently reported on findings that infection by Nosema ceranae, a parasite that causes Nosema disease, results in higher mortality among honey bees when they are exposed to low doses of insecticides. Learn more about this discovery at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110725091434.htm.
  • A third or more of all the honey consumed in the U.S. is likely to have been smuggled in from China and may be tainted with illegal antibiotics and heavy metals. A Food Safety News investigation has documented that millions of pounds of honey banned as unsafe in dozens of countries are being imported and sold here in record quantities. Read more at http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/08/honey-laundering/.
  • The Atlantic recently ran a story about a group of researchers at the Free University of Berlin that are working on a robotic bee. If the researchers can figure out the "waggle dance," their little robot will be able to communicate with the real bees about a new food source. Discover more and watch a robotic bee presentation at http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/08/attack-of-the-robobees-a-mechanical-bee-tests-its-wings/243879/.
  • At least the White House honey bees are sticking with the president. Set in some of Washington's lushest gardens and tree groves, and right next to first lady Michelle Obama's veggie patch, the single South Lawn hive has produced a record 225 and a half pounds of honey this year, nearly double its first year production. Learn more at http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/washington-whispers/2011/08/17/record-honey-crop-from-white-house-hive-.
  • A U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist is trying to learn what is causing the decline in bumble bee populations and also is searching for a species that can serve as the next generation of greenhouse pollinators. Bumble bees, like honey bees, are important pollinators of native plants and are used to pollinate greenhouse crops like peppers and tomatoes. But, colonies of Bombus occidentalis used for greenhouse pollination began to suffer from disease problems in the late 1990s and companies stopped rearing them. Populations of other bumble bee species are also believed to be in decline. Read more about this research in the August 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine at http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/aug11/bees0811.htm.
  • Irish cider maker Magners recently launched a free iPhone app as part of its “bee aid” campaign to help save urban bees. For every download of the app, Magners will make a donation of 50 bees to the British Beekeepers Association and the Federation of Irish Beekeepers. Another 50 bees will be donated each time users “like” the Magners Facebook page. Magners’ “bee aid” campaign aims to save 1.5 million urban bees in the UK and Ireland. Check it out at http://home.ezezine.com/1636/1636-2011.
  • The Village of Lithopolis, which is located in central Ohio only minutes southeast of Columbus, Ohio's capital, is celebrating National Honey Month and Lithopolis Honeyfest Day in Ohio. Attendees can experience the science of apiculture via a robust atmosphere of art, music, food, fun and people. Learn more about the event at http://www.lithopolishoneyfest.com/.

ABF Welcomes New Members — July 2011

  • Maya Althouse, Pennsylvania
  • Marlin Athearn, Florida
  • Brian Fishback, California
  • Jody Hankins, Pennsylvania
  • John Harrison, Mississippi
  • Caro Kauffman, Texas
  • Alice Matthews, New York
  • Robert Mosher, California
  • Rick Scoggins, Texas

Recipe of the Month: Rum-Soaked Raisin Bread Pudding

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

This recipe is one that we have derived from about three different bread pudding recipes and has a few optional possibilities, as well. It is a great way to get rid of bread that is past its best and is so good that I've thrown away all the other bread pudding recipes that we have. I hope you enjoy it!


  • 12 cups of bread crumbs (enough to fill a 9 X 13-inch baking dish)
  • 4 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup rum (or enough to cover raisins well)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon


  • The night before preparing pudding take the raisins and put in a small container and cover with rum. Place in refrigerator overnight and let them have a good time soaking up rum!  
  • The next day, butter a  9 X 13-inch baking dish and fill half full of bread crumbs.
  • Add ½ of raisins and then fill baking dish with more bread crumbs and then another layer of the remaining raisins.
  • Melt butter and pour over bread.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugars, honey, cinnamon, vanilla and milk. Mix well before pouring over bread.
  • Turn on oven to 350 degrees and let pudding set while preheating or about 10 minutes.
  • Bake for 30 minutes.
  • Serve warm, if possible, with a splash of honey, maple syrup or sorghum. You can also serve in a bowl with milk or half and half.
  • Variations include adding a half a cup of crushed pineapple or a half a cup of maraschino cherries.