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ABF E-Buzz: November 2011
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ABF E-Buzz — November 2011

In This Issue:

Welcome Back to ABF E-Buzz

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

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

Elizabeth Coatsworth

With this issue of ABF E-Buzz we mark the start of a second year in our efforts to bring a bit of good information to you each month. It is our hope that it has been a valuable service to you and would welcome your comments and opinions on it. It has been a real learning experience for me and what keeps us from falling apart as we get older is new ideas. I hope it has provided some new ideas for you as well.

This month we have much good news and information for you to peruse. I would like to start off by refreshing an idea that I used to do for the printed ABF Newsletter. The column was called "Sorting it All Out" and it was all about sifting through all of the stuff that we get on the Internet each day. The column focused on some sites that provide really useful information that we can utilize and depend on.

This month I came across a web site that is worthy of visiting and even telling your beekeeping friends about, as I know it is one that I will use this coming year. Yes, I am already thinking about New Year's resolutions and trying to do things better. My past record keeping leaves much to be desired, usually resorting to recording information on lids, which can work, but occasionally the information weathers away before it is out of date. I think this site will give me the basics to do a better job of keeping records on my colonies. It is called beetight.com and is a site that as far as I have gotten into it seems to be a great tool for keeping track of the colonies at all of your apiary sites.

You begin by creating an apiary and enter the apiary name and a description of the apiary. When you put in the address it will automatically put in the latitude and longitude coordinates and provide a map to the site and display the current temperature and a forecast of temperatures for the next three days. This type of information can be valuable to anyone who might need to find our hives if anything happens to us. You can also upload pictures of your apiaries and individual colonies so you can keep track of them.  The inspection sheet that you can download is a good basic sheet and is easily adaptable if you have other check points to consider that aren't on the list. The items on the list are: Queen Spotted; Eggs Seen; Laying Pattern; Temperament; Diseases; Queen Cells; Varroa Drop; Weather Conditions; Temperature; Humidity; Wind; Fed; and Treatments. All of this is free for up to six colony records and then you need to update to the Pro Plan that runs $15 per year, which is nominal, in my opinion, for such a service. With the update you can use the iPhone, iPad or Android apps to put the information in from your mobile device.

There is also a free site to track your hives, which has some great features, as well, and provides a little different perspective on the reporting. That site is hivetracks.com and you can check it out to see which of these two record keeping programs best fits your need. I don't think that the Hivetracks site has any apps yet for mobile devices, but I'll bet they come out with those sometime soon.   So, visit these excellent sites and try them out!

Back to this issue, Anna Kettlewell has contributed another Queen Buzz article to this edition that will keep you informed on what our Honey Queen and Princess are doing across the country in these last few months of their royalty. They do a such a wonderful job for us representing our industry and sacrifice a big portion of this year in their lives to promote honey and the honey bee! There's also a report on a new book by Kirsten Traynor that I hope will entice you to buy her book, Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey, which details the healing aspects of honey and honey's special history.

Also in this issue is a great article on starting a meadery by Clint Walker from Rogers, Texas. Clint has just in the past few months started Dancing Bee Winery and their meads are already selling out as quickly as they can make them. I have also done an article on George Imirie, who is featured as the Beekeeper of the Month, and while he is no longer with us, he is still a great resource and inspiration for beekeepers of all levels of experience.    There's also some great and timely news in Buzzmakers and another Recipe of the Month.

Hope you enjoy this issue and find it valuable in your beekeeping experience. If you have an article or information that you think would be a good addition to the ABF E-Buzz, let's talk. Drop me a note at tuckerb@hit.net. Thanks again for stopping by.

Bee There: Celebrate the New Year with 600+ of Your Closest Beekeeping Friends!

by Robin E. Dahlen, CAE, ABF Executive Director

2012 is quickly approaching and now is the time to make attending the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow one of your New Year's resolutions! The conference will be held January 10-14, 2012, at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The conference agenda is complete and posted to the conference Web site at www.nabeekeepingconference.com. We've filled the agenda with topics of interest to all beekeepers, including:

  • Updates from the Tucson, Beltsville, Weslaco and Baton Rouge Bee Labs
  • Two presentations from Gilles Ratia, the President of Apimondia
  • Sub-lethal impacts of pesticides on honey bees
  • True Source Honey update
  • Panel discussions on pollination and mite control

These are just a few of the presentations you will experience at the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow. Please take a few minutes to review the agenda and select the meetings, workshops and optional activities that are right for you and register today.

To register online, please visit the conference Web site at www.nabeekeepingconference.com and follow the links to registration.

And while you are registering for the conference, don't forget to make your hotel reservations at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino and take advantage of the discounted group rate of $109. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at 888.746.6955 and referencing the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference (group code SRBEE12) or online at: http://www.harrahs.com/CheckGroupAvailability.do?propCode=RLV&groupCode=SRBEE12.

Last year, we sold out our room block early. Therefore, we encourage you to make your reservations now to ensure a room at the conference hotel.

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 Web site at www.nabeekeepingconference.com. Be sure to check the Web site often, as additional conference details will be posted as soon as they are made available.

We are looking forward to a fantastic conference and we hope to see you there. We have lots of information to share with you and your participation is very beneficial to the ABF, as well as other conference attendees. Make your plans now, as you won't want to miss out on this all-important conference!

Bee Proactive: Help Save the Annual Bee/Honey Production Report

By Troy Fore, ABF Director of Government Relations

USDA-NASS had announced that it would discontinue the annual bee/honey production report along with a wide range of agricultural survey programs. Now, Congress has passed the 2012 Agricultural Appropriations bill, which gives the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) sufficient funding to continue some of these reports - those that receive the most support from their industries.

Beekeepers need to contact NASS to urge that the agency continue the bee/honey report.

"This is the only production report NASS provides for the honey industry," says ABF president David Mendes. "We have a chance to save the report. It is important that the honey industry let NASS know how critical this annual report is to the industry and support the reinstatement of its publication."

In addition to giving producers information on honey production and colony numbers in the various states, the annual report is used by the National Honey Board as a comparison to its domestic assessment collections and is a vital component of the fledgling beekeeper crop insurance program.

"When we go to Congress and USDA to make our case for programs to benefit beekeepers, we rely on the annual bee/honey report as an indication of the health and trends of our industry. Without the NASS report, we would have nothing to base our requests on," said Mendes.

Beekeepers, packers, state associations and others associated with the honey industry are encouraged to take a moment to send an e-mail to the Joseph Prusacki, NASS statistics division director, at Joseph_Prusacki@nass.usda.gov, explaining the importance of this report to you and to the industry. The same communication should be sent to your members of Congress and to the NASS field office in your state. To locate the NASS office in your state, go to http://nass.usda.gov/About_NASS/sso_directory.pdf.

Bee Proud: Call for Entries for the 2012 American Honey Show

by Robin E. Dahlen, CAE, ABF Executive Director

The ABF invites you to enter the 2012 American Honey Show, which will be held during the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 10-14, 2012. 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 showcase 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 "Super Bowl Party."

After the entries are judged, they will be auctioned to benefit the American Honey Queen Program.

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 16, 2011.

Questions? Contact the ABF office at 404.760.2875 or via e-mail at info@abfnet.org. You can also download some helpful Honey Show hints and tips by clicking here. Good luck!

ABF 2012 Annual Conference: Call for Auction Donations!

by Robin E. Dahlen, CAE, ABF Executive Director

Each year during the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) annual conference, 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
  • 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 2012 annual conference, January 10-14, in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 Robin Dahlen at robindahlen@abfnet.org or 404.760.2875 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 9, 2011.

Thank you in advance for your support of the ABF. We look forward to hearing from you soon and to seeing you in Las Vegas in January!

Beekeeper of the Month: George Imirie

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

George Imirie

Thanks to an idea by George Hansen, ABF vice president, I have chosen to share information this month about a beekeeper who is no longer with us, but who was a giant in our industry. His words and thoughts are still very accessible and so very pertinent to our beekeeping experience.

George was often quoted as saying that he deplores those who keep bees "the way daddy used to do it." His father and grandfather were also beekeepers.   Having a Ph.D. in nuclear physics, he believed in scientific theory and learning through experience. "We should be beekeepers and not bee-havers," he often remarked, as well. Even though George passed away in 2007, a good portion of his monthly newsletters written for the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association (MCBA) are available online in both a written form or as audio files.

George kept bees for over 70 years and began his experience with them at the age of nine. He earned degrees from the University of Michigan, George Washington University and American University. During World War II, despite being declared 4-F (he was blind in one eye), he was surprised when he was drafted into the Army. He was sent to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico, to work on the Manhattan Project and the atom bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, he took up his family auto parts business, founded in 1916, and built up his bees. George was also an Eastern Apiculture Society (EAS) Certified Master Beekeeper and always promoted the EAS program. For many years, he and his sons thrilled everyone at the Montgomery County Fair by giving bee demonstrations in a screened room where he would only don just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt.

During his work with the bees, he also invented the "Imirie Shim," which is still available today in beekeeping supply catalogs. The Maryland State Beekeepers Association, in which he had served as president in the 1990s, named the yearly award for distinguished educational activities in Maryland "The George Imirie Award." In 1999, he contracted throat cancer, which caused his previously booming voice to become a raspy whisper. However, that didn't stop him from running the monthly beekeepers' meetings, where he would quiz both neophyte and experienced beekeepers on their scientific knowledge, correcting them if they were not completely accurate.

"You had to know your material if you were going to give a presentation and he was in the room," said David Bernard, president of the MCBA. "He had a low tolerance for ignorance and error. His high standards made us all better beekeepers and we will miss his guidance."

In his latter years, despite having several strokes, George continued beekeeping by using an electric scooter to get around. When the Maryland State Beekeepers Association arranged with the state of Maryland to produce automobile license plates with a beekeeping logo, he was given the prototype, which he proudly affixed to his scooter: BEE 000.

Many of George's writings were published in the ABF Newsletter up until 2005 and I remember reading many of them.  They are a valuable resource and are preserved for us today. You can access written files that Peter Chrisbacker has spent much time coordinating at http://pinkpages.chrisbacherconsulting.com/index.html. I have read and saved many of them, adding them to my personal information library of beekeeping information.

These Pink Pages have also been run through a web site utility that has converted them to audio files and they are now available at the following RSS feed: http://www.yakitome.com/cgi-bin/rss.py?uID=1350828966&cmd=pub#. Simply load that link into your Podcast software and you'll see MANY of George's writings and you'll have the luxury of being able to listen to them instead of having to be a captive reader.

There is also a good report on a talk given by George at the ABF conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1999 by Carl Wenning. The talk is titled  "Maximizing Honey Production with Effective Spring Management" and can be accessed  at http://www.utahcountybeekeepers.org/Other%20Files/Information%20Articles/Maximizing%20Honey%20Production%20with%20Spring%20Management.pdf.

Many thanks to the Utah County Beekeepers, the Maryland State Beekeepers Association and the Bowie-Upper Marlboro Beekeepers Association web sites and newsletters, where much of the information for this article was found.

Thank you, George, for sharing yourself and your knowledge with us! 

Honey Queen Buzz: 2011 Promotions Still Going Strong

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Princess Allison

Greetings fellow beekeepers! November quickly brought a change of weather to Wisconsin. When I think November, I think of all the great opportunities we have to promote our products.  Now is a great time to encourage the media to feature our products, just in time for the holidays and the cold and flu season!

November continues to be a busy promotion month for the American Honey Queen and Princess. It typically is the height of beekeeping convention season, and Queen Teresa and Princess Allison each visited different parts of the country speaking about the American Honey Queen Program and their promotional efforts this year. Teresa was a guest speaker at both the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association and the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association conventions.  Allison visited the Texas Beekeepers Association and the Illinois State Beekeepers Association conventions.

Queen Teresa

For all these events, the Queen and Princess participated in a variety of events outside the conventions, not only to promote the beekeeping industry, but also to promote events the organizations were sponsoring. Allison participated in the Kids Learning about Bees (Kids LAB) program held in conjunction with the Texas Beekeepers Association's convention. Teresa was as busy as a bee at my home convention in Wisconsin promoting the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association's Kids N Bees Expo. Both events are similar to the ABF's Kids and Bees program, held most years at the ABF conference. These states have a great turnout for their events, but each is run differently. Both feature stations at which children (and their parents) can learn more detailed information about honey and honey bees. These hands-on activities provide the public with a unique experience that goes beyond what any one of us could provide to students in a short classroom presentation. For more information about coordinating an event like this, contact Oscar Carlson from Wisconsin or Shirley Acevedo from Texas.

On a side note, I'm extremely proud of all the work Teresa accomplished in Wisconsin for my state organization. We attribute our record setting attendance of over 700 people at our Kids N Bees Expo to her speaking to over 1,700 students and being featured on television and radio.  She was a trooper with early morning events and long work hours, and it paid off immensely for our organization.

Queen Teresa and Princess Allison aren't nearly done with their year of promoting.  December holds several more educational presentations and beekeeping meetings. They are both eager to share their stories from this year with you at the ABF conference in Las Vegas in January!

Bee Successful: From Hive to Barrel (Add Yeast Here) to Bottle (Cork Optional) Not Just Another Bottle of Honey

by Clint Walker, ABF Member

A sampling of
Dancing Bee Winery wines

As beekeepers, most of us have become accustomed to the "new normal" — CHANGE! With a general decline in colony health, prevailing extreme weather conditions and persistent pollination issues heading the list, we are beset on every side with competing interests for top billing in our ever evolving business plans. Like many of you, at Walker Honey Farm we are beginning to feel like our business "happens" in spite of our best efforts at planning. Our recent (ad)venture into mead making appears to fall squarely into the "stuff happens" category.

As is the case with many honey producing operations, Walker Honey Farm has, for many years, sold honey to home brewers — and the supply houses that service them — as well as directly to wineries and meaderies. Over the past few years, several of our mead-making brethren have encouraged us to join them in the craft of converting honey into mead — the first fermented beverage made by humans. (The craft of making mead from honey is at least 9,000 years old. Wine making with grapes is a much more recent occurrence in human history...by several thousand years!)

A little more than two years ago we initiated a plan to establish a mead making business under the same roof as our current honey production, packing and retail operation. Having finally opened Dancing Bee Winery for business this past Labor Day — and with a whole 90 days under our belts — we can provide a somewhat low resolution snapshot of how to start a meadery.


1. Licensing: The most daunting aspect of winery startup is licensing. Satisfying all the legal requirements of federal and state law can be overwhelming. Plan on a minimum six-month time frame to accomplish this necessary first step. You can either do the paperwork yourself by educating yourself on all the ins and outs of the various licensing bodies or you can avail yourself of the expertise of those with prior experience. We chose the latter route. We opted to hire a lawyer who had helped a couple dozen wineries through the licensing maze. It wasn't perfect, but we received a good value for our investment.

2. Education: My advice to would-be vintners would be to take a course in enology (wine making). UC Davis is the bellwether of enology and viticulture (grape-growing) programs. Not surprisingly, the best programs are on the west coast. Cornell has the best program in the east. There is a sleeper of an enology and viticulture course at Kent State in Ohio. We have a great enology program up the road from here in the Dallas area. The problem with most of these programs is that they focus on viticulture. Further, the wine making portion of these programs focuses on grape wines. Even worse, you would spend a day or two at best on mead making in a two-year E&V program. We found ourselves in the somewhat enviable position of having several wine and mead makers who, because of our relationship to them as their honey provider, generously offered to let us in their back rooms and chemistry labs. They have served as mentors to us — answering questions, testing product, even showing up at our place to trouble shoot and experiment with us. Whether you take courses, are self-taught or locate mentors, you will find yourself in a constant state of learning, exploring and experimenting. If you aren't curious or don't want to learn, then I would advise against starting a meadery. Kind of like beekeeping, huh?

3. Physical Plant: As in beekeeping and honey packing, one of the key decisions in starting a winery is efficiencies of scale. Because we were adding a winery to an existing retail business with an established customer base and quantifiable floor traffic, the risk to benefit ratio was not as scary as if one were to start a winery in a new location without a customer base.

Tools of the winery trade

We bought tanks, pumps, filters, bottlers, corkers and testing equipment. All that stuff has to have a home. Our winemaking is peaceably, for now, coexisting with our honey packing operation. We found space we didn't know we had.

Our showroom had to be remodeled so that the retail honey store could fit into one end of the store, leaving the other end for a wine tasting bar and product. It is tight, but it will have to do until the winery can afford to build its own space!

You will also benefit from a cellar, a cave or a cold box. Lacking the first two or the geography needed for either, we opted from some built-in cold storage. During the previous year we had just completed a nice solid cold box for our Dyce Method honey products. We initially wondered why we were building the box so large. It now has more mead in it than creamed honey. A constant 57 degrees (F) is as good for wine as it is essential to spun honey making. (Keep your cost of cooling down by forgoing the expensive commercial refrigeration units by using a Coolbot controller on a large home air conditioner.)

We added a wine patio to the front of our building. It has been utilized for live music, hosting a release party for our Blackberry Mead, book clubs and any other group that wants to reserve it for their mead tasting party.

4. Experimentation/Production: This is the "carve-it-out-of-the-rock" phase of the business. Yes, you will be adding yeast and water to honey to make mead. Our ancestors were doing this in caves and huts 9,000 years ago. How hard could that be, right? In reality, though, it is not so easy if you want to enjoy the drinking end of the business. I'm going to jump out there and speculate that a good portion of the mead that has been made in the last 10 or so millennia would not be something you would want to serve at your Christmas party.

Rule of Thumb — if you don't like to drink it you probably won't be successful at selling it. Wine snobs forgive me for my definition of a good wine - whether made with honey, grapes, elderberries or watermelon rind: "A wine that you enjoy drinking and will purchase again." If you don't like it, you are probably not impressed with how much it costs, what great vintage (year) it is, where it hails from, how pretty the label is or the back-of-the-label "hint-of-this-or-nose-of-that" details. If it is pleasing to have with dinner or to sip while your significant other massages the day's nuc-making out of your neck, then it is a "good wine." (Yes, of course my wife massages my neck. Doesn't everyones?)

So, YES, you will have to experiment to arrive at a basic mead recipe that: 1) you like; 2) at least three other people like; and 3) you think can sell to the public.

The next step is actually much easier and significantly more fun. You will take your basic recipe and begin to foray into nuance. At Dancing Bee we have now made three different versions of our basic honey wine. We used different honeys in each, varying the sweetness and even lightly oaking one batch for a little added complexity. We have also produced three different melomels - meads made by fermenting fruit and honey together. Our next three projects are: 1) metheglins — meads made with spices and herbs; 2) pyments — grapes and honey fermented together; and  3) I would have to shoot you if I told you the other one! I do have a five-gallon batch in the cold box right now — ohhhh, so good! (Coming in mid-2012, the first of its kind in American mead-making! More later when no has to get hurt.)

There will undoubtedly be restaurants or retail wine stores that want to buy your mead at wholesale. This is great...as long as you know that you can guarantee quality and supply. We have yet to let it out the back door. However, we have recently tripled our production capability in order to meet this demand by adding several more tanks and two extra vacuum bottlers.

5. Labeling: All wine labels must be approved by federal (Alcohol, Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau/"TTB") and state authorities (in our case, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission/"TABC"). Prior to getting label approval, a formula must be approved for each type of mead. (TTB now has this process online — a great time saver.) Once approved, you can head to your printer to get labels made. Your label will include your company name, any fanciful name that you might want, a percentage of alcohol by volume, the usual alcohol consumption warning statement and a note that it contains sulfites if, in fact, your mead does.

6. Marketing: We were able to hire a marketing director for our growing retail and online presence knowing that we were starting a meadery. For us this was a happy convergence with cost efficiencies and results that aided both businesses. My marketing guru wants me to say, "Check us out online(WalkerHoneyFarm.com and DancingBeeWinery.com) or "like us" on Facebook (Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery) or "follow us" on Twitter (@walkerhoneyfarm and @dancingbeewine) or check FourSquare for daily specials or get directions to us from Google Places, or..." It makes me more light-headed than a good mead to think about this stuff. That's why we hired a young college marketing grad to tackle our marketing and social media. But, just like the ABF, these "tools" are only useful if you make them relevant to your customers. If they don't pop and sizzle, if you don't keep them fresh, if you don't give people a reason to visit them, then you have wasted all your effort.

We have also been able to dovetail our traditional radio ads for the honey store with the opening of the winery. Again, this would be a more expensive portion of startup costs if the winery were stand-alone. We are currently placing "rack cards" in local hotels and restaurants — one side promotes the retail honey store while the other advertises the meadery.

Finally, we are fortunate to have been able to join a budding wine trail in our area. Most wineries are happy to have other wineries in their backyard. More wineries entice people to visit the area for tours. For that reason, the local (grape) wineries have welcomed and encouraged our startup.

7. Staffing: You don't have to be a wine judge or have a degree in enology (wine making) to sell wine. Most people who are willing to learn and to talk to the public can effectively sell wine. I would say that a little more knowledge is required to sell wine than a jar of local honey. If, however, your employees are already accustomed to educating customers on unique honey varietals then they should have no trouble talking about the sensory details of meads.

In-store wine tasting event

All of our staff that conduct tastings have gone through a state certification and licensing process. This educates and provisionally protects them (and the winery that employs them).

8. Events: Not unlike the farmer's markets at which many of us market our products, most areas have periodic wine festivals. These are great events in which to participate, as the folks attending them have already prequalified themselves by their attendance as wine lovers. Mead makers have a special advantage at wine festivals as we are the only folks there who fermenting without grapes. We never attend one of these events without getting a whole passel of email addresses for further contact. We make sure everyone on either one of our mailing lists gets at least one correspondence from us each month. And we always make sure there is a discount, sale or new release to encourage a visit to the store or web site.

For a year before the opening of the winery, we kept signage on our farmer's market honey table announcing the winery opening and giving away chances to win prizes in exchange for the all-valuable e-mail address.

9. Shipping: Early in the licensing process you will have to determine if you want to ship wine. For regulatory purposes, you will need to decide to ship in-state or to states other than your own. To ship out of your state, you will have to research and comply with the laws in each individual state to which you will ship. (Some states are nearly impossible to ship into.) Additionally, you will have to select one carrier to do all your shipping. Special agreements will have to be in place for this.

10. Wine Club: Our next step. Any ideas on how to structure a wine club?

Bee Informed: Book Review of Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey

The health care debate rages in the halls of congress and across the American dinner table as we struggle to rein in the cost of medical care. In her new book, Two Million Blossoms: Discovering the Medicinal Benefits of Honey, Kirsten S. Traynor, M.S., details how doctors have rediscovered a timeless and cost-effective remedy used effectively since the Egyptian pharaoh's physicians.

New scientific findings from around the world demonstrate honey heals chronic wounds, halts antibiotic-resistant superbugs, eliminates tissue scarring, reduces brain damage, improves memory and minimizes the harmful side effects of cancer treatments. An easily assimilated antioxidant, honey proves more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines, acts as a natural laxative, stimulates good intestinal flora and alleviates spring allergies.

As conventional therapies increasingly failed to clear infected wounds, doctors started applying honey dressings with astounding success. Chronic wounds that refused to mend for many years using standard medical care costing over $300,000 suddenly started healing when treated with 43¢ of honey and gauze honey, according to Dr. Jennifer Eddy, a family practitioner at Health's Family Medicine Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

In 2007, the FDA approved medical honey for diabetic foot ulcers, leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, first- and second-degree burns, donor sites, traumatic wounds and surgical wounds. Two Million Blossoms lets you discover the remarkable healing properties of honey.

"This delightful book Kirsten has written is the book I wanted to write myself 20 years ago," world renowned honey researcher Dr. Peter Molan, Director of the Waikato Honey Research Unit in New Zealand writes in the foreword. Honey can "prevent people from suffering needlessly from ailments that detract from their quality of life." Two Million Blossoms, a 272-page paperback, is divided into four sections that cover the history of honey, honey for human health, honey for wound healing and honey for pet care. It is available through Dadant & Sons and Amazon.com.

Kirsten Traynor is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in biology at Arizona State University. Much of the research in this book was gathered while she was a German Chancellor Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Institute of Bee Research in Celle, Germany. Currently she is in Avignon, France, on a Fulbright Fellowship to study how to improve honey bee health.

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 honor to the ABF Friends of the Bee 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 offices at 404.760.2875 or e-mail us at info@abfnet.org to make your donation today.

Example of Products of the Hive

Moments in Beekeeping Photo Contest: Call for Submissions Deadline Extended to December 31st

There are four categories for entries in the photo contest:

  • Bees at Work — This will involve a great picture of a honey bee on a flower in the process of gathering nectar or pollen. It would also entail pictures of bees in the hive performing functions such as cooling, transfer of nectar or attending the queen. It could also be great frames of colorful pollen or brood.
  • Kids and Bees — This will include children working bees or in the classroom demonstrating any educational activities involving the honey bee. Costumes and recreations of bee hives are great subjects.
  • Products of the Hive — This category will show off great displays of honey, pollen or beeswax. It could be food made with honey or demonstrations of the different color of varietals. It could involve vehicles used to deliver honey or honey gift baskets.
    Show how you use and market the wonderful products of the hive.
  • Landscapes and Bees — Show us your favorite yard of bees and how beautiful the surrounding landscape is at your apiary sites.
Example of Landscapes and Bees

Rules for photo contest are as follows:

  • Photo will be limited to 2 MB or under in size and will be displayed in a 1500 x 1200 pixel format.
  • Entrants will submit a release form for each photo stating the originality of the photo and possession of submission.
    Release forms will be sent via e-mail upon photo submission.
  • Photos and release forms must be submitted to the ABF via e-mail by December 31, 2011, for final judging. Please send photo to Robin Dahlen, ABF executive director, at robindahlen@abfnet.org.

The winner of each category will be given a prize and one grand prize winner will receive a Master Beekeepers Suit from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • National Public Radio (NPR) ran an article on its web site in reaction to the recent story by journalist Andrew Schneider that claimed that most honey on supermarket shelves isn't really honey. The folks at NPR found Schneider's post interesting and decided to look into it a little more closely. NPR talked to honey companies, academic experts and one of the world's top honey laboratories in Germany. Read more at http://m.npr.org/story/142659547?url=/blogs/thesalt/2011/11/25/142659547/relax-folks-it-really-is-honey-after-all.
  • Under pressure from the State of California, pesticide manufacturers have voluntarily withdrawn the pesticide imidacloprid from usage on almonds. Imidacloprid is widely blamed as contributing to the dieoff of honey bees around the world. Learn more at http://pierreterre.com/blog/bee-killing-pesticide-imidacloprid-voluntarily-withdrawn-almonds.
  • The 11th Annual Conference of the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) that was held last month was a tremendous success. The public symposium, "Our Future Flies on the Wings of Pollinators," was held at the National Museum of Natural History was webcast live and is now archived and available for streaming and downloading. Streaming videos are available at http://www.mnh.si.edu/nappc2011/.
  • A British scientist has won a coveted environment research prize for showing how bees can be used to reduce conflict between people and elephants. Lucy King's work proved that beehive "fences" can keep elephants out of African farmers' fields or compounds. The animals are scared of bees, which can sting them inside their trunks, and flee when they hear buzzing. Discover more at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-15836079.
  • Honey bees get most of the buzz, but some native bees are better at spreading pollen. They may hold the solution to world pollination problems that affect important crops. Learn more at http://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/research/stories/2011/11/bees.html.
  • The EU recently ordered a pollen warning on honey jars. Under new regulations, the jars will have to be marked "contains pollen," a move experts have branded ludicrous, and say could put some British beekeepers out of business. Read more at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2058190/EU-orders-pollen-warning-honey-jars.html.
  • The Utah Department of Agriculture will investigate a sudden die-off of honeybees in Millville, Utah. State Bee Inspector Danielle Downey said that dead bees from the hives of two hobbyist keepers will be gathered and tested to find out if a pesticide killed them. Learn more at http://news.hjnews.com/news/article_70237fec-b177-11df-a4a6-001cc4c03286.html.

ABF Welcomes New Members — October 2011

  • Gloria Balboa, Florida
  • Douglas Barnett, Colorado
  • Molly Berridge, Texas
  • Scott Clark, Montana
  • Noel Epstein, Florida
  • Andrew Fynn, California
  • N.T. Gilbreath, Alabama
  • Jerry Gracey, Texas
  • Jimmy Hardin, Oklahoma
  • Judy Hellwinkel, Nevada
  • Jovica Jonovich, California
  • Scott Lillie, Montana
  • Jennie Mann, Texas
  • Bonnie McLaughlin, Nevada
  • Cathy  Misko, Missouri
  • Jackie Park Burris, California
  • Kimberly Peterson, Montana
  • Jon Rau, Nevada
  • Lisa Schluttenhofer, Indiana
  • Eric Welch, Illinois

Recipe of the Month: Sweet Potato Soup

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

If you are looking for a soup that doesn't weigh you down, here is a good, light soup that isn't too hard on calories and still hits the spot if you have a continued hunger for sweet potatoes.


  • 1 17 oz. can sweet potatoes, drained and mashed
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup white wine
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 celery stalk and leaves to garnish


  • Combine all ingredients, except cinnamon and marshmallows in food processor and process until smooth.
  • Refrigerate if serving cool.
  • Garnish each bowl with a dusting of cinnamon.
  • If serving hot, warm in a medium sauce pan and serve with a dusting of cinnamon and a few mini-marshmallows.