|ABF E-Buzz: January 2012|
For those who attended the 2012 annual ABF conference in Las Vegas there was never a shortage of things to do. With over 700 registered attendees, it was one of our better turnouts the past 10 years where we have met on our own.
The General Session began Wednesday with addresses from President Dave Mendes, Vice President George Hansen and the President of Apimondia Gilles Ratia. Mendes reported on the year 2011 and noted that while it was one of the most challenging years for beekeepers, there was more interest in honey bees and beekeeping around the U.S. today, and that more people are coming into the business of bees than ever before. Pesticides, pathogens and nutrition are all factors affecting bee health today and there's much to be done to resolve some of these issues in the coming years. But, it seems as though we are having more help and beekeepers, regulators and researchers are working together more today than ever.
The 2012 American Honey Show had a good number of entries in the honey division and some were first-time participants. The Creamed Honey class had a blue-ribbon winner who is from Hawaii. It was his first time ever to enter the American Honey Show and he won! Congratulations to Richard Spiegel, owner of Volcano Island Honey. Check out the 2012 American Honey Show wrap-up article in this issue of ABF E-Buzz for the complete list of winners.
We need to direct a big thank you, as well, to Kim Lehman, who has been directing the Kids and Bees Program for many years. This year there were approximately 500 kids who came out to learn about bees and their value to each and every one of us. It was, from all reports, a wild and wonderful day and the kids loved it. There were off-site programs conducted in Las Vegas at St. Viator Catholic School and Ruby Thomas Elementary. Thank you, Kim, for all your hard work in making this unique program a key part of our conference each year. You can contact Kim with personal thanks at email@example.com.
Friday evening was a new venture into innovation and change with a special evening with a variety of events to attend and I think it was a winner! We had a special showing of the "Vanishing of the Bees," which I attended and found very informative. The film highlights the human side of the CCD story along with the bees difficulty in this malady. Dave Hackenberg, Dave Mendes, Bret Adee and Rick Smith all suffered huge losses when CCD first struck and it was just unbelievable to see the horrendous loss depicted again. I highly suggest you get a copy and watch it if you haven't had the chance. We also had a person- to-person report from the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees scholars, who did poster presentations of their individual course of study and research with honey bees. In discussions with those who attended the roundtable discussions, the Beekeeping Around the World session and the film viewing, the evening was a jackpot of fun and entertainment!
by Robin D. Lane, CAE, ABF Executive Director
ABF members Tim Tucker, of Niotaze, Kansas, and Charles Lorence, of Aurora, Illinois, took top honors at the 2012 American Honey Show. Tucker's Extra Light Amber Honey won Best of Show — Honey, and Lorence's Chunk Honey received Best of Show — Related Items.
Bee Informed: Report from the National Honey Bee Advisory Board — Promoting Honey Bee Sustainability
|Jim Frazier leads the January 2012
NHBAB strategic planning session
For those who have been in the business for 20 years or more, it seems as though each spring brings a new challenge to face and the last 10 years have been unusual, to say the least. Keeping bees healthy enough to provide pollination services to the food industry, which have been estimated as high as $50 billion in value, and produce American honey becomes increasingly difficult each year. It was in light of these multi-faceted challenges that the National Honey Bee Advisory Board (NHBAB) was created. Its parent organizations are the American Honey Producers Association and the American Beekeeping Federation. Its purpose is to gain an understanding of the issues that are impacting our industry and provide the parent organizations with advice to pursue remedies to those issues.
All of the individual members of the NHBAB have suffered significant losses of colonies and are devoted to addressing issues that affect all beekeepers, large and small across the country. They do this, donating their own time and resources in an attempt to develop strategies that will hopefully result in accurate analysis of our specific problems and identify strategic partners involved so that we can begin the resolution process. This is not a small investment on their part and the commitment that I have seen in my short days of involvement has been encouraging to me.
Currently, the board meets twice a month with conference calls and the information stream on e-mail is voluminous many days. Scientific information seems to be released almost weekly that reveals more and more information about the variables affecting colony health and how inter-relationships create new synergisms that multiply those effects exponentially. Today it seems that to be an informed beekeeper you need to be a chemist, biologist, geneticist and toxicologist, as well. There is no doubt that you need to be informed and it is a goal of the NHBAB to provide more detailed summaries of planning and progress during the coming years.
It is the consensus of the NHBAB members that the EPA and the states are resistant to address concerns we have brought to light and have little interest in resolving system deficiencies. We have had productive dialog with chemical manufacturers and EPA OPP Senior Scientist Tom Steeger has made himself available as a sounding board for beekeepers to speak about pesticide misuse complaints directly. We need to continue to raise our concerns with the EPA regarding specific incidents and where necessary file petitions in hopes that we can initiate response from the EPA to begin addressing problems with enforcement of current law.
NHBAB has conducted three strategic planning sessions. In the original session, it was decided that beyond making the group functional, the number one priority should be, "How to transform label enforcement in the shortest possible time." A year later in strategic planning, the number one priority was, "How can we improve pesticide label language and enforcement to increase safety for all pollinators?" The most recent strategy session that took place in Las Vegas resulted in establishing five priorities for the coming year, including:
We also made a decision to begin discussions with legal counsel to investigate possible recourse to demand investigation of application procedures and violations of such in a recent bee kill incident in the state of Utah. It has become apparent that if we do not use this last resort that incidents such as this will continually be ignored in the future and all of the industry will suffer. We also voted to continue an open dialogue with groups that would have incentive in assisting our efforts and explore coalitions with such interested organizations in the coming year.
The following is a list of the members of the NHBAB. We all welcome your input in regard to suggestions for future planning and policy implementation. Feel free to contact any member through our parent organizations if you have any questions or would like to contribute to help fund expenses that may be incurred in efforts to provide a safer environment for our bees and all pollinators. Contributions of any amount will be greatly appreciated and can be sent to the NHBAB via Carrie Jensen, AHPA treasurer, P.O. Box 158, Power, MT 59468.
|You can also follow the progress of the NHBAB
on Facebook and the soon-to-be released
NHBAB Web site at www.nhbab.org.
Bret Adee, Co-Chair, Bruce, South Dakota
David Hackenberg, Co-Chair, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Steve Ellis, Secretary, Barrett, Minnesota
Jim Frazier, Scientific Advisor, Penn State University, University Park, Pennsylvania
by Peter Teal, Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, USDA-ARS
Well, I hope everyone had as good a time at the ABF annual meeting as I did. There were a lot of talks on a wide variety of science issues and I'm still going over my notes. What was of real interest to you? Are there things you would like me to study in order to develop "Science Buzz" articles for future issues? Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Recently, in fact during the week of the meeting, there was a lot of press and talk about the parasitic Phorid fly, Apocephalus borealis, and an article that came out in a widely read science journal available online, PlosOne. The title is "A new threat to Honey bees, the Parasitic phorid fly Apocephalus borealis" by Andrew Core and colleagues from San Francisco State University. The article is freely available, just search for PlosOne and enter Apocephalis. This little fly (on the back of the bee to the right) is well known to parasitize bumble bee and paper wasps, but the authors of the above paper have found that it also attacks honey bees. The adult female fly lays an egg in a bee and the larva developes inside the living bee, eventually attacking the brain of the bee prior to emerging from the bee and pupating outside (see the bee to the bottom right — there is a larva of the fly emerging from the neck). Up to 13 larvae were recorded exiting from a single bee.
The authors of the paper found that larvae of the fly have a profound effect on bee behavior. The most interesting behavioral change in parasitized bees was they left the hives at night and died shortly after. While there is evidence that bees can stay out of the hive at night, we all know that bees need the sun to navigate effectively. Leaving the hive at night is really unusual. Additionally, the authors found disoriented bees that were unable to maintain their balance at night under street lights. Stranger still was the fact that these bees remained inactive the next day died shortly thereafter. Hence, the news media grabbed onto the paper and coined the phrase "Zombie Bee."
In the study, the authors found an average parasitism rate amoung forager bees of only 6%. However, bees from 77% of the sites they sampled in the San Francisco Bay area had the parasite. So, although few bees in a colony seem to be affected, the parasite was present in 3/4ths of the colonies. The authors also have strong evidence that the fly is present in honey bees from the Central Valley of California and South Dakota. This, coupled with the fact that the parasite has been recorded from bumble bees and paper wasps from many states on the east coast, as well as from Oregon, Idaho and Minnesota, suggests that the fly may attack bees all over the country.
So, the symptoms are similar to those reported for CCD in as much as bees abscond from hives and die, leaving no trace. Is this the cause of CCD? Probably not. Is it a new problem for bee keepers? Probably not. Should we be worried? At this point, probably not. Should we keep an eye on it and monitor the parasite more carefully in colonies? Definitely yes.
Hope you all had a great holiday season and have a properous New Year!
by Kerry Scott, MAS Labor
A leading expert in the field of providing agricultural employees through the H-2A program, MAS Labor provides capable, reliable, legal labor up to 10 months a year, year after year. As a for-profit service provider of H2 services in the United States, MAS Labor leads not only in volume — the number and variety of industries served, the number of clients represented, and the number of H2 workers provided — but also in expertise, service and ethics.
|Kerry Scott represents MAS Labor in the tradeshow during the 2012 ABF annual conference in Las Vegas|
Elizabeth (Libby) Whitley Fulton's professional life has been dedicated to taking on tough jobs on behalf of growers and other seasonal employers. Her 20 years in Washington, D.C., included employment on staffs of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House. Later jobs included handling legislative work for the American Farm Bureau and running the National Council of Agricultural Employers. She moved to a small farm in central Virginia in 1995, and has run her own businesses providing labor services to seasonal employers since that date. As president of the MAS companies, Libby Whitley is continuously involved in legislative and regulatory matters affecting both the agricultural and non-agricultural seasonal labor programs, as well as daily service to MAS-H2A and MAS-H2B clients.
MAS Labor provides hardworking, legal labor to seasonal employers in 38 states and in virtually every agricultural sector from apiculture to viticulture. Each H-2A client gets a dedicated case manager to work with from start to finish. This comprehensive service includes coordination with an elite group of worker agents in Mexico, Central America, Jamaica and South Africa to ensure workers are prepared for the tough physical demands of agricultural work.
There is a common misconception that "everyone" wants to be a U.S. citizen. One reason that illegal immigration is such a problem is that it separates families. They don't go home, often start second families here, and lose the family they left behind.
The H2 program actually keeps families together by providing workers solid opportunities, allowing them to save and send substantial money home, and ensuring that workers go home at the end of the season. While there are differences between cultures, a good employer can expect that a Mexican H2 worker will average seven or eight years in the H2 program. After that time, they have earned enough money to take their next step in their home country, from buying a farm or a store to starting another kind of business.
The H2 programs are one part of U.S. immigration policy that works, whether the concern is homeland security, the safety of migrant workers or the success of the business during its most critical peak seasons. MAS Labor provides the best customer service, highest regulatory approval rates, top quality workers, and extensive experience in the industry, all at a reasonable cost with no hidden charges. If you have any questions regarding temporary workers, contact MAS Labor at email@example.com.
|Danielle Dale (2012 Princess) and
Alyssa Fine (2012 Queen)
by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair
Greetings fellow beekeepers. As I write this, I'm still cleaning up paperwork from the 2012 ABF conference in Las Vegas. What a conference it was! I send my sincere appreciation to Teresa Bryson and Allison Adams, your 2011 American Honey Queen and Princess, for all their hard work and dedication to the ABF this year. They promoted straight through the ABF conference. In addition to working at the ABF's Kids and Bees Program in Las Vegas, Teresa also made one last promotional stop at the Pennsylvania Farm Show just before heading out to Nevada! Their dedication to honey and beekeeping promotions is high, and I know that future honey queens and princesses will look at their records of service with great admiration.
The ABF received six applications for the positions of 2012 American Honey Queen and Princess, and all six applicants were highly qualified, professional women who represented their state organizations admirably. They all possessed significant knowledge of the industry and a passion for serving, as evidenced by their tremendous work as state honey queens. Our six finalists were Jalya Gillaspie (Florida), Lacy Dooley (Indiana), Lillian-Grace Misko (Missouri), Alyssa Fine (Pennsylvania), Kaylynn Mansker (Texas) and Danielle Dale (Wisconsin). For those of you who haven't heard, our 2012 American Honey Queen is Alyssa Fine and our 2012 American Honey Princess is Danielle Dale. Both exhibited a deep commitment to the Honey Queen program and will work extremely hard for all of us this year.
At the end of January, Alyssa and Danielle attended the annual American Honey Queen and Princess training session. This year, we held the training in Wisconsin and in Iowa, and they had significant practice in structuring their messages about our industry and how to deliver these messages in all their communications this year. They quickly put these skills into action with practice interviews and school visits in the Quad Cities region.
Please continue to support Alyssa and Danielle this year by following them on Facebook (American Honey Queen Program) and by hosting them for a promotional event in your area. We always have several openings for visits in the spring and early summer, so contact me as soon as possible at 414.545.5514 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit. Both are eager to start traveling on behalf of the ABF and meeting all of you in your states.
by Jennifer Tsang, NAPPC
The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) is seeking proposals for research related to improving the health of honey bees. Summaries of previously funded projects can be found at http://www.pollinator.org/honeybee_health.htm. Review and selection of proposals will be conducted by members of the Honey Bee Health Improvement Task Force.
We anticipate supporting proposals of up to $3,500. Funds must be used within a one-year period. Focused, targeted projects with a high likelihood of providing tangible results that can be applied to improving honey bee health are preferred. Proposals providing valuable extensions of previously funded projects will be considered. The HBH Task Force has identified six priority areas for funding, though other areas will be considered as well. Proposals that address multiple priority areas or have implications for the health of other managed or native bee species are encouraged:
The proposals should include:
Please send your proposal packets as a single PDF file by electronic mail to Jennifer Tsang (email@example.com) by Thursday, March 1, 2012. Contact Christina Grozinger (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions. The proposals will be evaluated by members of the HBHI Task Force and funding decisions will be made by Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
Pausing for a moment to remember these beekeepers whose company we have lost, for a time, in 2011. Our prayers and thoughts are with their families.
by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor
Looking for the perfect way to honor a friend or family member while helping to protect and preserve one of nature's finest? Why not make a donation in his or her name to the Friends of the Bee fund?
The honey bee today faces it's largest challenge in its long history — its continued survival. Factors fighting against the honey bee include:
With your generous donation you can help protect the honey bee habitat, aid in the fight against Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), encourage government-sponsored research, assist in the battle against adulterated honey in the marketplace and help ensure the continued role of the honey bee in pollinating 1/3 of our food supply.
Support the world's most beneficial insect and become a friend of the bee with your donation of $25, $50 or $100. Donate today and receive a stylish Friends of the Bee bumper sticker…and help us tip the balance back in favor of the honey bee. Click here to download the donation form or contact the ABF at 404.760.2875 for assistance.