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ABF E-Buzz: December 2011
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ABF E-Buzz — December 2011

In This Issue:

Welcome Back to ABF E-Buzz

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

"I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember.
'We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,'
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December."

— Oliver Herford, I Heard a Bird Sing

Welcome back to ABF E-Buzz. For most of you reading this, the old year of 2011 will have passed into the history books for good. As the poem above wishes for a return of spring, so do I and with it the hopes for a good honey crop in this new year.

We have not had a good crop, well above average, since 1999. So, we are definitely closer to that good year that we were in September. Those of us in agriculture are always optimists and always planning for the coming year when it will be great! It has to be this year because it begins with a "2" and ends with a "2" and that hasn't happened for a few thousand years.  Then there's the thing with the end of the Mayan calender, right? Personally, I think that just means it starts over again just like our 12-month calendars. Their calender just happens to be 20,000 years long or something like that.

The last time we had a year that began and ended with the same number was 1991 and that was the first year I had any bees of my own. I started with two hives and I remember it like it was yesterday. I soon got over being terrified of opening my hives and, I'll have to admit, I only did inspections when it was absolutely necessary. I do remember coming down to the farm here where we live now and watching them come and go for lengths of time I don't recall, but they were not short. I do remember that they filled up the better part of six medium honey supers that my mentor extracted for me and I had almost three full five-gallon buckets of honey. I had no idea what I was going to do with all that honey. Heck, it had to be a lifetime supply. What a year that was!

I also remember 1997 when I had grown to a total of 21 hives and I couldn't put boxes on the hives fast enough. Every week they would fill another box and I was in the end putting on boxes with an empty frame in every other position to see if they would build them out and they did.  We squashed some of this new comb into a nylon bag to extract the honey and cut some to put in jars of honey as cut comb. It was a miracle year and probably if I had had more supers of drawn comb in stock and been a better manager the bees would have made even more honey than they did. But, it was a learning year and I had several hives that I had to prop up with support poles and work the top boxes from a small ladder. I would like to do that one more time before I retire from beekeeping and I hope it happens soon so I have the energy to do it. So, this is going to be it. Yes, 2012 is the year and, should it not be, we will at least be closer.

This month there are some great "Buzzmakers" for you to review in your spare time and a link to the current monthly honey report from the USDA. Peter Teal is back with another edition of "Science Buzz" and, of course, we have the "Honey Queen Buzz" from Anna Kettlewell. There's also an article on our "Vendor of the Month," Cook & Beals, that we hope you enjoy and find informative. So, thanks again for stopping by and if there's anything you would like to add or see in the future 2012 issues of ABF E-Buzz drop me a line at tuckerb@hit.net. Happy New Year!

Bee There: There's Still Time to Register for the 2012 Annual Conference!

by Robin D. Lane, CAE, ABF Executive Director

Happy New Year! The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) would like to take a minute to thank you for your continued support of the organization throughout the year. We hope you are enjoying the holiday season with family and friends and resting up for a busy January.

As you know, the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 10-14, is just two weeks away. Currently, registration is just over 550 attendees and we anticipate another 200 to register onsite (based on attendance at previous conferences). This is shaping up to be an outstanding conference and we are looking forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.

It's not too late to register for the conference if you haven't done so already! Regular registration has officially closed, but onsite registration is still available. Information regarding registration rates and other conference-related details can be found on the conference Web site at www.nabeekeepingconference.com.


We have been notified that our room block at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino is now full and the group rate will no longer be honored. As such, we have secured a small block of rooms at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino, located within a short walk from the Rio. If you have not yet made your reservations, this may be your best option. The room rate (for single/double occupancy) is $119 Monday-Friday, January 9-13, 2012, and $79 on Saturday, January 14, 2012 (plus tax and resort fee). You can upgrade to a Premium room for an additional $20 per night.

There are two options available to make your reservation at the Gold Coast Hotel & Casino:

This rate will only be available until December 30, 2011, so act now to ensure your place at the conference.

We look forward to seeing you in 2012!

Bee Proactive: NASS Reinstates Annual Bee/Honey Production Report Next Report Due March 30, 2012

**The ABF extends its thanks and gratitude to those who helped to get the report reinstated.**

NASS leadership recently concluded a deliberate review of all programs against mission- and user-based criteria, aimed at finding cost savings and forward-thinking business efficiencies so that timely, accurate and useful data remains available in service to agriculture. In 2011, NASS made several enhancements within its programs and operations to deliver improved results for the American people, including opening a new national operations center in St. Louis that will centralize data collection and service to people who provide and use NASS products and services. These efforts and more over the last year have allowed NASS leadership the flexibility within its budget to retain and reinstate several key reports.

The reinstated programs are:

  • Annual Reports on Farm Numbers, Land in Farms Reports and Farm Income
  • Catfish and Trout Reports (data collection begins Dec. 9; report date is Dec. 20)
  • Annual Floriculture Report
  • January Sheep and Goat Report (data collection begins Dec. 23; report date is Jan. 27)
  • July Cattle Report
  • Annual Bee and Honey Report (data collection begins Jan. 23; report date is March 30)
  • Annual Hops Production Report (data collection begins Dec. 9; report date is Dec. 21)
  • Annual Mink Report
  • Fruit and Vegetable in season forecast and estimates
  • Rice Stocks June Report

Recognizing the importance of NASS's data products and services to U.S. agriculture, NASS will make available data that falls outside of the scope of the agricultural estimates programs in the 5-year Census of Agriculture. The next census will be conducted beginning January 2013 to reflect activities in the 2012 calendar year. NASS will publish Federal Register notices reflecting these program changes in the near future.

Issued December 9, 2011, by the Agricultural Statistics Board of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). For more information, contact Sue duPont, 202.690.8122.

Bee Proud: 2012 American Honey Show Still Time to Enter

by Robin D. Lane, 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 deadline for preregistration for the show has passed, but entries and entry fees can be hand delivered during the annual conference. Please bring your entries to the ABF Registration Desk no later than 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 11, 2012.

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!

Science Buzz

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

Ayuka Fombong

Jambo from Kenya! As I said last month I am reporting from the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Duduville, Kenya.  Yes, I said Duduville, it's just on the north side of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.  I've been working on a number of projects with graduate students from all over Africa and every one of them is absolutely top notch.  My problem is that they are so eager and have such interesting projects that I get worn out every day!

I want to focus on some outstanding work that one of the students, Ayuka Fombong, under the supervision of Dr. Baldwin Torto, has been conducting on insect pests attacking bee hives in Africa.  The reason for this is quite simply that the small hive beetle originated in Africa where it is not a problem for African honey bees, but is certainly a huge problem for beekeepers here in the United States. Ayuka has been conducting detailed ecological, behavioral and chemical studies on the hive beetle in Africa and has answered some questions that we have had no luck in answering here.

So, why is it that small hive beetles don't pose a problem for African honey bees? Below are the major reasons for the differences:

European Bees

  • Not aggressive
  • Large colonies
  • Do not swarm frequently
  • Highly domesticated
  • Evolved in absence of SHB

African Bees

  • Highly aggressive
  • Colony size small
  • Swarm 10x more frequently
  • Not well domesticated
  • Evolved with SHB
Native fruit in traps

Basically, African bees do a great job of corralling and throwing out the beetles, and when there are too many beetles the bees just walk away without taking the losses that large European bee hives take. Resources available for the beetles in African bee hives are significantly smaller than those in European hives because the hives are 10 times smaller.  So, what do the beetles do for food after the hive resources are depleted? Are there other resources out there that beetles use and why do we find beetles in traps in areas where no bees are present?

There have been observations of beetles feeding on rotting fruit and we have shown that we can rear beetles on fruit in the laboratory.  However, we have never been able to catch beetles in the field using fruit as an attractant.  Ayuka realized that there was a much greater possibility of catching beetles on fruit in Africa because of the differences in bee biology and because Africa is the home of the beetle, so there should be more beetles around.

He conducted a study in which he tested native fruit, including ripe apple bananas and ripe peach saber mangos as attractants for the beetles in laboratory assays and found that both sexes of beetles were strongly attracted to the odors of the fruit.  Now, before you go putting bananas out to attract beetles, I need to tell you that the African apple banana is totally different from the bananas we have in the United States (if you need to try something use a really ripe nice smelling cantaloupe). Then, he set out fruit in traps we developed for monitoring in two areas of Kenya, inland at Duduville and on the coast at Gede.  At both sites, he was able to capture beetles in traps baited with the ripe fruit over several months.  He was able to capture significant numbers of beetles in traps set 100 meters from bee yards.  Additionally, he recovered larvae from the fruit in the traps and was able to rear the larvae to the adult stage!

So, this solves our question and we now know why we are catching beetles in areas where there are no managed hives in the United States.  It's simply because the beetles are well able to survive and reproduce on fruit available in nature. Adrian Duehl, a post-doc working in my lab, and I have working closely with Ayuka, Dr. Baldwin Torto from ICIPE and Lillian DeGuzman from the USDA lab in Baton Rouge to identify the chemicals from ripe fruit that attract the small hive beetle.  I can honestly say that we have found odors from fruit to be far more attractive than the best attractant we have identified from bee hives and that we have a synthetic fruit perfume that is irresistible to beetles.  More on this either next month or at the ABF annual meeting in January in Las Vegas! See you there.

Beekeeping Vendor of the Month: Cook & Beals, Inc.

by Cook & Beals, Inc., Staff

The Cook & Beals, Inc., name is one that beekeepers have come to know and trust over the last 50 plus years for quality, long lasting beekeeping equipment with personal service.  Lawrence Kuehl, known to most as Jim, along with Max Cook and J.D. Beals (Cook & Beals), began the business of manufacturing beekeeping equipment in a chicken coop, starting with the Bogenschutz Uncapper in 1959.  In 1965, Jim and his wife, Ruby, purchased Cook & Beals from Max Cook.  On November 19, 1964, Cook & Beals became a corporation.

Jim ran Cook & Beals, Inc., and kept bees until his youngest son, Pat, returned from the Navy in 1977.  In 1986, Pat and his wife, Carol, purchased Cook & Beals, Inc.  At this time, the business had become big enough that Pat spent his time managing the shop while Jim was managing the bees.  In the mid-1990s, Jim and Ruby "retired," although they still spent much time at the office. In March of 2003, Pat and Carol's only daughter, Elizabeth, or Betsy as most call her, came to join the Cook & Beals team with dreams of learning the ropes to try to fill Pat's shoes after his retirement.

Spin Float Honey Wax Separator

In August of 2004, Jim's wife and long-time bookkeeper for Cook & Beals, Inc. passed away at 82 years of age.  To this day, Jim still visits the shop daily.  Mid-summer 2005, Pat and Carol's oldest son, Shane, returned home from Oregon after being gone from Cook & Beals, Inc., for about 10 years, also to help secure a future for Cook & Beals, Inc.  Along with Jim, Ruby, Pat, Carol, Betsy and Shane, there have been many other family members to work at Cook & Beals, Inc.  We are extremely proud to have a family-based business.  In the small industry of beekeeping, all of our customers are family. We are also proud to have continued our business under the same principles that it was founded with and plan to keep it that way.  Good quality is our guarantee matched with good service.

Cook & Beals, Inc., continues to grow with the beekeeping industry in the United States and the rest of the world.  Cook & Beals, Inc., has, through the years, purchased and invented other pieces of machinery that fit in with its high-quality line of honey extracting equipment.  Patients awarded to Cook & Beals, Inc., include: the Spin Float Honey Wax Separator; the Heat Exchange Unit; the Honey Comb Handler; the Honey Moisture Remover System; and, most recently, the Larry Bermel Box Scraper.

We continue to overhaul and update used machines, as well as sell "to-order" new machines.  Over the years we have tried to keep an inventory of new machines, but due to outstanding sales over the last several years, we are not able to produce enough excess of machines to keep on hand.  Our business has been blessed.

Without our customers input, suggestions and support, we could not be where we are today.  It continues to be a pleasure to do business in this industry, where we can, out of a small town in Nebraska, and have customers and friends throughout the world.  We appreciate each and every one of you!

Honey Queen Buzz: Queen and Princess End Year Strong

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Teresa and Princess Allison

Happy New Year! I hope that your holiday season was enjoyable.  The American Honey Queen Program is gearing up for 2012 and we are excited for the ABF conference in Las Vegas.  Please don't forget to bring your auction items to the American Honey Queen Program's Reception and Quiz Bowl on Wednesday night of the conference.  Also, be sure to check out the prize winning honey and beeswax entries at the American Honey Show or enter the show yourself!  The auction of these prize winning items will take place on Friday of the conference and all proceeds benefit the American Honey Queen Program.  It's a great opportunity to taste the best honeys in the country while supporting a program that promotes honey and beekeeping!
December is always a quiet time for the American Honey Queen and Princess, but, this year, Teresa and Allison continued to promote at beekeeping meetings and in schools.  Here are their brief December reports, in their own words:
From American Honey Queen Teresa Bryson

During December, I spoke at schools in Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania.  One of the schools was a high school and Princess Allison and I spoke to the students about the uses of honey and taught them how to make two recipes.  Speaking to high school students is a great promotion, because you can encourage the use of honey while teaching the students about the link between honey bees and pollination.  This is a quiet time of year for promotions; consider inviting the honey queen or princess to speak to the students in your area.  I am looking forward to speaking with all of you in January about my year as the American Honey Queen!

Princess Allison

From American Honey Princess Allison Adams

Convention season ended for me with a trip to Pineville, Louisiana, where I met with the Louisiana State Beekeepers Association to speak about the value of the Honey Queen program and the impact of youth beekeeping programs. I also attended the Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association Christmas banquet in McKinney, Texas, where I shared with my home club what I had accomplished as a spokesperson for our industry. It has been a pleasure to meet with beekeepers from all over the nation this year, assisting with convention activities and promoting outside the conventions through the media, school presentations and civic organization meetings.  I look forward to meeting with you in January!  
We look forward to providing you a recap of a successful year of promotions for the ABF in Las Vegas.  Please contact me as soon as possible at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to schedule a visit from the 2012 American Honey Queen or Princess!

Bee Informed: Examining Bees for White Tyrosine Nodules

From the Bee Informed Web Site

Our fall honey bee health, disease and pest monitoring on hives that have the potential to become breeders has now officially come to an end, but will resume again in mid-January. A hiatus from field work provides the opportunity to explore bees in a different way.

Ten percent of all the samples we collect get processed at the Butte County Cooperative Extension in Oroville, California (the other 90 percent are shipped to the USDA Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, Maryland). Samples are processed in our lab to determine levels of Varroa, Nosema and white nodules, while autopsies are performed on individual bees that grade the tissues housed within the abdominal cavity.

We are now in the process of examining the abdomens of bees for white lumps known as white nodules. These white nodules are thought to be made of tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid. Why are they important? Data suggests that colonies that contain bees exhibiting white nodules are more likely to survive than those that do not. Read the entire report at http://beeinformed.org/2011/12/examining-bees-for-white-tyrosine-nodules/.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

  • According to the November 2011 National Honey Report, it appears that honey has slipped a little from previous highs due in large part to the amount of imports coming in mainly from Argentina and India with both countries importing close to two million pounds per month each. You can view the entire report at http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvmhoney.pdf.
  • As the warm temperatures of spring start a little earlier each year due to climate change, bees and plants are keeping pace, according to a new study recently published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Discover more at http://www.extension.org/pages/61894/as-earth-warms-plants-and-bees-keep-pace-study-reports.
  • The Los Angeles Times recently ran a feature story on upscale hotels using on-site beehives to bring locally sourced honey to guests and to save dwindling colonies of honey bees. Read the full story at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/20/travel/la-tr-bees-20111120.
  • Apimonida recently announced the dates for its Second Apimondia World Conference on Organic Beekeeping, in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, March 19-25, 2012. All conference details can be found at http://www.ecosur.mx/abejas.
  • A recent workshop in Sydney, Australia, brought together honey, pollination and horticultural representatives, universities and commercial enterprises a first time gathering for all participants in a bid to set up a Honeybee and Pollination Security Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Learn more about the workshop at http://sl.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/gathering-in-support-of-honeybee-and-pollination-crc-bid/2395911.aspx.
  • A team of scientists from the University of California, Riverside, recently rediscovered the rarest species of bumblebee in the United States, last seen in 1956, living in the White Mountains of south-central New Mexico. Known as “Cockerell’s Bumblebee,” the bee was originally described in 1913 from six specimens collected along the Rio Ruidoso, with another 16 specimens collected near the town of Cloudcroft, and one more from Ruidoso, the most recent being in 1956. No other specimens had been recorded until three more were collected on weeds along a highway north of Cloudcroft on August 31, 2011. Discover more at http://newsroom.ucr.edu/2805.

ABF Welcomes New Members — November 2011

  • David J. Baker, Minnesota
  • Richard Barlow, Idaho
  • Glen Bonnet, Texas
  • Scott Chippendale, Tennessee
  • Christopher Doggett, Texas
  • Juanita Graham, Indiana
  • James Griffith, North Carolina
  • Stan Land, North Carolina
  • Linda Lang, North Carolina
  • Cindy Lee, Ohio
  • Stephen Lester, Tennessee
  • Paul Lundy, Washington
  • Robin Owen, South Carolina
  • Mario Rodriguez, California
  • Ben Whitney, New York
  • Eddie Whitt, Virginia
  • Brian Wilber, Oregon

Recipe of the Month: Honey Mustard

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

Well, there's about as many ways to make mustard as there are beekeepers! But, I have enjoyed this one recipe very much and it is close to what we will be offering to our customers this year as our new honey mustard to compliment those summer burgers, brats and hot dogs. It also makes a great dressing for salads and snacks when combined with a little bit of Miracle Whip or mayonnaise, whichever your taste buds prefer.  There's no doubt that you can make a better, much more flavorful mustard on your own and the variations are endless. But, let's get started with this one.


  • ½  cup dry mustard
  • ½  cup white wine vinegar
  • ½  cup honey
  • 1   tsp. tumeric
  • 1   tsp. salt
  • 1   tsp. cornstarch


  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine mustard and vinegar, whisking to mix well and smooth out mixture.   My original recipe called for refrigerating overnight and while that may help better the outcome, I don't think it is absolutely necessary. Do as you wish.
  • Warm honey a bit in microwave and add to mustard and vinegar mixture, whisking and mixing thoroughly.
  • Put mixture in a small sauce pan on a very low heat and warm slowly, adding salt, tumeric and cornstarch. Stir until thickened and remove from heat. Allow to cool.

*This recipe will make about a cup and a half of finished mustard. Take half of mixture, about ¾ cup, and mix with mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (my favorite)  to make a dressing for use during your New Year's Eve celebration with that meat and cheese tray or on a sushi tray as a replacement for the wasabi.