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ABF E-Buzz: February 2012
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ABF E-Buzz — February 2012

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

"Away in a meadow all covered with snow
The little old groundhog looks for his shadow
The clouds in the sky determine our fate
If winter will leave us all early or late."

Don Halley

What an exciting time to live in! I was informed the other day that people are not purchasing new computers in large numbers anymore because of the alternative devices now available. The choices for personal information devices are growing each year and the capabilities are staggering. Our phones are becoming replacements for computers and it's difficult to keep up with the advances in how we get our news and information. Of course, since I still live in the dark ages,  I purchased a new laptop a couple of weeks ago to replace my four-year-old one that is having problems. The size of my new hard drive is staggering and it now has a dual core CPU, and the price was no more than what I paid four years ago. I now have information streaming at me so fast I feel like I'm in a wind tunnel! So, I hope that results in improved information and better quality ABF E-Buzz newsletters to come. It is at least letting me get things done faster and today that's important.

Randy Johnson (left) and
Binford Weaver

I would like to say how wonderful it was to see a couple of statesmen in the bee industry last month at the conference in Las Vegas. Randy Johnson and Binford Weaver were able to make the trip and it was wonderful to visit with them again. Last year Randy was in very poor health, but has made a great recovery and it was wonderful that he could make the trip to be with us again. Great to see you guys!

I'd also like to thank our great staff at Meeting Expectations for making the recent conference such a success. When you get a chance, call the ABF office and thank them personally for their long hours and dedication. Unfortunately, we are losing our team member Amanda Hammerli, ABF membership manager, to a promotion in the Meeting Expectations group and we will be saddened to not have her cheerful smile and warm personality greeting attendees at future conferences. She has assured us, however, that she will be right next door to her replacement in the office and will be available to help whenever our new staff member needs it. So, please be sure to call and wish Amanda the best, as well!

ABF staff members Amanda Hammerli, Robin Lane, Tara Zeravsky and Micheal North

This month Anna Kettelwell has provided us with an update in the "Honey Queen Buzz" as to what our wonderful young ladies have been doing in February.   They have been busy already in their travels and their schedules have been filling up. Peter Teal is back with another informative "Science Buzz" and, as per usual, I know you will find it a real help in expanding your knowledge of pollen and bee nutrition. Keeping up to date on the research is more critical today than ever in keeping our bees alive and healthy.

In addition, we have some great new "Buzzmakers" for you to peruse in your spare time. I hope you have some of that rare commodity and that you find them helpful and interesting. And, if you like muffins as much as I do, you will find the recipe for honey-infused blueberry muffins to your liking. They are great for you and, of course, blueberries are a healthful addition full of nutrition. We also are introducing you to the Bauer family from Minnesota who have been producing honey since 1957 and their story is another great addition to the "Beekeeper of the Month" tradition. I think doing this part of the ABF E-Buzz is my favorite, as I get to talk to new people all the time and make new friends. I hope I get a chance to meet some of them personally in the future. And finally, there's also a little bee humor and a puzzle for you to work on that I hope will get your brain working.   

Once again, I hope you find the ABF E-Buzz an important part of your information database and if there's something you would like to add just e-mail me at tuckerb@hit.net. Thanks again!

Bee Proud: ABF Member Laurence P. Cutts Inducted into Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame

The Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame Foundation recently inducted four agricultural leaders during the Florida State Fair in Tampa on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.  The Agricultural Hall of Fame recognizes men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the state’s agriculture industry.

Laurence P. Cutts

ABF member Laurence P. Cutts, of Chipley, Florida, was honored at the 34th Annual Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame banquet.  A third-generation beekeeper, Cutts was instrumental in advocating for research to reduce bee hive losses in Florida. He also invented a trap for small hive beetles, a threat to hives and beekeepers. Cutts served as chief of the Apiary Inspection Bureau at the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He also represented the beekeeping industry before the Legislature as a member of the Florida State Beekeepers Association legislative committee.

“The 2012 Florida Agriculture Hall of Fame inductees were chosen not only because of their commitment to improving their own craft through technology and innovation, but also because of their willingness to share these advancements with the industry as a whole,” said Commissioner Putnam. “I commend each of these Floridians for their contributions to the agriculture industry and our state.”

For more information about the Florida Agricultural Hall of Fame and previous inductees, visit www.florida-agriculture.com/halloffame/index.htm or www.flaghalloffame.com.

Science Buzz

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

Despite a couple of short, really cold spells, we have had an unseasonably warm winter here in North Central Florida. So, our bees have been foraging without interruption. Problem is that the plants don't seem to realize that it's been a warm one. So what are they foraging for in North Florida and what their finding of sufficient quality? These questions led me to take a look in the most recent science publication Journal of Insect Physiology to see if anything new on nutritional quality of pollen was out there and came across an interesting article on corn pollen (Evaluation of thee nutritive value of maize for honey bees, authors Nicole Hocherl and others, 2012, Journal of Insect Physiology, Volume 58, pages 278-285).

As we all know, proper nutrition is critical for bee health and pollen is critical for bee survival. But, not all pollen is equally nutritious. For example, high-quality pollen is produced by clover, rape, pear almond and poplar species, while pollen of less quality is produced by plants like sunflower, blueberry and dandelion. These plants all require pollination by animals, but what about plants that are wind pollinated like corn? Is pollen from corn a good source of available protein for bees? This question is becoming very important because over the last 10 years corn acerage in the United States has increased drammatically and in the absence of other crops bees collect any available pollen. In fact, studies have shown that bees do not descriminate between high- or low-quality corn pollen and even collect toxic pollen!

In the study I read the authors fed colonies with pollen collected from corn, or an artificial pollen substitute (made by the scientists), or pollyfloral (mixed) pollen and looked at brood rearing, longevity and immunocompetence (the ability to fight disease). Bees fed the mixed pollen were more productive and reared more brood than did bees fed either corn pollen or the pollen substitute. Additionally, it seemed to me that bees fed the pollen substitute were less productive than those fed corn pollen only. For example, the emergence rate of new bees from cells was 39% for bees fed mixed pollen, 25% for bees fed corn pollen and only 7% for bees fed the pollen substitute. The authors only compared longevity among bees fed mixed pollen and corn pollen and found that life expectancy for corn pollen fed bees was shorter than those fed mixed pollen. Interestingly, there were not differences in the immunocompetence of bees fed any of the diets. So, health was maintained even though other factors were affected.

The authors also looked at how much of each diet the bees ate and found that consumption of corn pollen was overall more than double that for the mixed pollen, suggesting that the bees detected the deficiency of the corn pollen and tried to overcome it by eating more. So what was the difference between the mixed pollen and the corn pollen? It turns out that both mixed and corn pollen contained about the same amounts of protein (23% mixed pollen, 26% corn pollen). But, when the authors broke down the protein into the building blocks (amino acids) they found that the mixed pollen contained five times more of the amino acid histidine, which is an essential amino acid that bees can not make. The low amount of histidine could be a telling problem for the bees. However, as the authors point out, their research did not look at the availabilities of vitamines or sterols in the mixed and corn pollen so further research is definitely needed. The bottom line is that bees will survive and reproduce on corn pollen, but pollen from mixed sources is obviously much better.

I am pleased to report that the ABF Research Committee is in full swing this year and is developing better ways to serve you! What is of real interest to you? Are there things you would like to see investigated? Do you have ideas for the "Science Buzz" for future issues? We would like to hear from you! Please e-mail me at peter.teal@ars.usda.gov.

Beekeeper of the Month: The Dale Bauer Family

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

Dale Bauer has been involved with bees since 1951, giving him over 60 seasons of experience.  As a 16 year old, he found a job working with a local beekeeper learning the business in Nebraska near his home.  After a stint in the military, he returned to the bees, working with a partner for many years near Fertile, Minnesota. Soon after moving to Minnesota he met his wife, Lois, and they began their life together, raising lots of bees and a family of two daughters and a son.

Members of the Bauer family hard at work

It was a number of years before Dale took over the business for himself and became a Sioux Honey Association honey producer in 1974. Dale produced honey by the tanker load and became a Sioux Honey Association board member, serving on the board for 22 years and eight years as vice-chairman. He also served on the National Honey Board in each capacity of producer, importer and co-op member.

Beekeeping seemed as good a job as any other did, and the couple went at it with enthusiasm over the years while raising their three children, Dan, Tammy and Jodi. Unfortunately, Lois discovered her response to bee stings was severe and she had to go through years of allergy shots to desensitize her body's response to bee venom. At age 79, Dale is still active in the business along with the entire family.

Dan is currently involved in the running of the business, along with his wife, Rochelle. Dan and Rochelle have two boys, Isaiah and Dominic, who will likely be a big help to the family, as well. Dan did say that his son, Isaiah, has had the same reaction that grandmother Lois had and has been undergoing the allergy shots for almost five years.

Dan is busy raising queens near Koontz, Texas, in the late winter months and getting ready to split bees when they get back from California. This year, they sent around 7,000 hives and in the process one of the trucks was involved in an accident and the entire load was lost - 512 colonies were completely destroyed but, fortunately, no one was hurt in the mishap.    That of course is a huge loss of income and the splits that could have been made up from those colonies.

Dale and Lois' daughter, Tammy, is married to Brad Campbell and they have twin daughters, Hannah and Lindsay. Jodi is the other daughter in the family and she is married to Darren Strauss. The couple have two children, a boy, Parker, and a daughter, Isabelle. Six grandchildren in all and lots of potential help.

Dale said they currently have Darren and Brad working in their operation in Poplarville, Mississippi, where they winter bees and get things ready for the coming year's honey production. They also employ three other people full time and as many as 10 other employees through the H2A program that work for 10 months a year helping with the management of approximately 15,000 colonies. The family now produces from 18 to 26 tanker loads of honey for Sioux, but Dale said 2011 was a poor year, resulting in a smaller delivery of 20 tanker loads.   Wow...now that's making honey when instead of counting barrels or buckets, you count tanker loads. By the way, those tanker loads are 50,000 pounds each!

Pallets help the Bauer family better manage
their bees for pollination services

Dale says that one of the biggest changes in beekeeping that he has seen in 60 years is the transition to pallets and using equipment to handle the bees.   It's the only way they can operate the numbers that they do and ship bees to California for pollination. It all used to be done by hand back in the 50s and 60s and was back breaking work. He also says that back in the good ole days when you lost 10 percent of your bees during the winter, you cried all day. Now you can loose 30 to 50 percent of your bees and you are constantly rebuilding your numbers. They now overwinter in storage buildings and have found that this helps in winter loss, as well as a lot of good care in deciding what colonies they will keep to winter over. It all takes more management and good decisions.

Dan says he doesn't know if the grandchildren will make beekeeping their livelihood, but hopes the business is there for them if they so choose. It is a demanding time and a challenging business. Dale has been a member of the ABF since 1972 and Dan since 1996. We value their commitment to the organization and it was a pleasure to visit with them and learn more about their successful beekeeping operation.


Bee Aware: High-Level EPA Delegation Visits California Almond Groves

by Jim Anderson, National Honey Bee Advisory Board

"In most cases when bees are not under contract for crop pollination, they are orphan tenants of rural America, often occupying a site undesirable or suitable for other use. As beekeepers, we seek areas that offer both benefit and protection for the hives, but as agriculture expansion meets urban sprawl, there is little left on the fringes. There simply is not enough protected habitat available for the hives needed for pollination outside of areas with concentrated agriculture. So, we are at an impasse, at least until EPA is able to rise above the situation and make rules that will mostly eliminate exposure to honey bees and other pollinators. The key is to recognize that applying chemicals to blooming crops and weeds always presents a risk to pollinators (native and managed). It is not merely a matter of whether honey bees are presently occupying a site near by. Bees and other pollinators need to be considered permanent tenants of agricultural systems in order for them to be properly protected. Then, and only then, can we remove the attitudinal barriers that prevent complete cooperation and communication between stake holders."  – Zac Browning

There have been reports recently that there were excess bees available to California almond pollination this year and, as a result, that the losses the industry has been suffering for the past several years have been ameliorated. It has also been noted that some in the industry and at the EPA have felt that there is little direct correlation between the health of honey bees and other pollinators and agricultural pesticides.

On Friday, February 24, 2012, representatives from federal EPA and California Department of Pesticide Regulation met with a delegation of beekeepers from the National Honey Bee Advisory Board and EPA's Pesticide Program Dialog Committee to tour bee colonies placed in almonds. The good, the bad and the ugly were all put on display. This tour was an attempt to clear up the recent incorrect perception presented by the press that abnormal colony mortality is over, as well as to demonstrate to the EPA that even though there may be adequate boxes placed in orchards, some are less than adequate to set the crop if weather conditions become less than ideal.

The day started over breakfast in Oakdale, California, at 8:00 a.m. and terminated at about 6:30 p.m.  Two Minnesota, two Utah and two North Dakota bee operations agreed to be put on display and colonies from each were examined. Each of these operations believes that pesticides are playing a significant role in the quality of hives they are able to bring to almond pollination. Two of the operations, one North Dakota and one Utah have their operations "split," with part of them in agricultural areas that include corn and soybeans, and the other portion either in low pesticide exposure areas or located on Conservation Reserve Program lands.

Both of the operations summered away from agricultural had VERY low colony losses and VERY nice hives currently rented in almonds. The beekeepers on the tour "graded" several random sets and concluded that these hives on average were a 11 frames of bees. Their bees pastured in agricultural areas had a VERY different outcome. The worst case was 2,000 "Ag" hives going through winter into mid-January with eight frames of bees being condensed down into 200 mediocre hives actually placed, and 400 hives that were knocked down to singles and left in the stockpile yard, the remainder were stone cold dead. Friday, when we toured these hives, the largest of the remaining 400 hives was four frames of bees, most had shrunk even smaller with some of those now dead.

Thanks to Dave Hackenberg, Darren Cox, Gene Brandi, Bret Adee and Randy Verhoek for putting this meeting together. It was a real eye opener for all those participating. Below are several photos taken during the tour. Photo credits: KGA Photos and Randy Verhoek.


Minnesota "ag bees" that are almost totally gone This colony doesn't have enough bees left to cover brood


Picture of a drop that was typical of "non-ag" bees


North Dakota bees that
experienced minimal spray
North Dakota CRP bees
(averaged 11 frames of bees)
It is not difficult to see the difference in quality or the vigor of these hives


Overview of the North Dakota
sprayed bone yard
Representative hive that had been eight frames of bees in late January that are now less than four frames (this has less than two frames of bees)
While many of these colonies were combined, they are still failing and
not up to levels sufficient for pollination


Honey Queen Buzz: Off to the Races!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Our 2012 American Honey Queen and Princess have been busy beginning their year of promotions for the ABF. February is a fantastic opportunity to promote our sweet industry. Valentine's Day is a great opportunity to promote the sweet treat of honey and the use of beeswax candles for your romantic dinners.

Queen Alyssa shares an observation hive during her visit to the Florida State Fair
Princess Danielle shares a recipe during a Girl Scout troop visit

Queen Alyssa visited two states in February to promote our industry. Her first stop was in Florida, primarily to attend the Florida State Fair. February 14 marks Honey Day at the fair, and it's a perfect tie-in to our industry. Consider hosting the Queen or Princess next year during the Valentine's Day season to create buzz about using honey during the winter holiday seasons. Alyssa also made a stop in Mississippi for a variety of events, including community presentations and a visit to the state capitol. Since many legislatures are in session in the winter months, capitol or legislative visits at the state and local level are a perfect addition to a winter Honey Queen promotion!

Princess Danielle's appearances were more local in nature, but her travel schedule will pick up in March. Danielle visited many schools in Central Wisconsin, and she also gave a presentation to a local Girl Scout troop.  A Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, Danielle grew up participating in scout programs. If she visits your area, consider having her speak to the area Girl or Boy Scouts. In these types of presentations, the Honey Queen and Princess can give the children a hands-on view of beekeeping. Since the groups are typically smaller and the presentation times are longer, consider taking beekeeping tools, an empty hive, an observation hive, and a bee suit to allow students to get a better glimpse into the beekeeping world.  These groups often seek an activity, and the Honey Queen and Princess can work with the children to demonstrate a honey recipe or a beeswax project.

While the late summer and early fall schedules are filling in nicely, we are always looking for new promotional events in the spring and early summer.  Please contact me at  at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to arrange a visit from the Honey Queen and Princess. Continue showing your support for Alyssa and Danielle by becoming a fan on their Facebook page. Happy promoting!

Bee Informed: Book Review of The Complete Meadmaker by Ken Schramm

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor

I picked up this book at the Missouri State Beekeepers meeting back in October and have only recently had a few moments to get into the book in any detail.   It is a great history of honey and mead making, and provides a lot of good information, some of which was quite new to me. I have always had an interest in making mead since my start with the bees some 20 years ago. I will admit that quite a number of years ago I made a small batch and didn't particularly care for it. So, in preparation for my second attempt, I thought it a wise move to purchase a good book and take some advice into my planning.

I enjoyed the first chapter, which is devoted to the history of mead making and references to some of the earliest information regarding brewing by our ancestors. Some dates of early beekeeping date back to 8,500 B.C. and it is thought that mead was perhaps the first alcoholic beverage to be produced by man. The author proposes that discovery of the production process was likely just chance, but it was the ability to produce waterproof containers that would be required to store any such honey that would be turned into mead that made it possible. Ideas are that it was animal skins that were used for water storage that someone might have added honey into the mix and history was made.

While these are all just theories, it is pretty well known that by the time the potters wheel was invented that allowed for the production of wine casks, wine making was well understood. I was not aware that Brother Adam was accomplished at mead making in his duties at Buckfast Abbey and that his meads were and still are renowned. I now know that mead isn't just mead, but there are a wide range of meads, which are described as follows:

  • Sack mead is a strong, sweet mead.
  • Melomel is mead fermented or flavored with fruit.
  • Cyser is a melomel made from apples or cider.
  • Pyment is a melomel made with grapes or grape juice or can refer to wine sweetened with honey.
  • Hippocras is a pyment to which spices have been added.
  • Metheglin is a mead that has been fermented or flavored with herbs or spices.
  • Braggot is mead made with malted grain, usually barley.

I had no idea that mead was so complex in its definition. But, the book starts with basics of brewing mead and has some recipes that sound wonderful. If you don't have the basic equipment, it will require a small investment in basic items to provide for some successful experimentation. I would guess it is cheaper to get started brewing mead than it is to get started beekeeping. So, if you have lots of extra honey to get rid of and would like to take up another hobby in your spare time, this book is a must for your library. Here's one of the recipes from the book that sounded particularly good to me.

Peach Ginger Melomel (for a 5-gallon batch)

  • 12 lbs. white clover or other high-quality honey
  • 3 gals. water
  • 2 tsp. yeast energizer
  • 2 tsp. yeast nutrient
  • 2½ tsp. pectic enzyme
  • 10½ lbs. fresh peaches, blanched, pealed and halved
  • 1-2 ozs. pealed and mashed ginger root
  • 1 liter starter of Lalvin D-47 yeast

Of course you will have to either have a good background in wine making or read the book to get all of the details for making the mead, and then following the process for primary fermentation and then racking off to clear up and finish off during the course of a few months of great anticipation. I made some peach wine 20 years ago using sugar instead of honey, but it was really wonderful. Hope you find a way to try your hand at a batch of mead or two. Good luck!

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

ABF Welcomes New Members — January 2012

  • Albert Anderson, Manitoba, Canada
  • Josh Anderson, Ontario, Canada
  • Richard Anderson, Texas
  • Brent Ashurst, California
  • Dione Bacon, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Robert Baker, California
  • Ron Barney, Montana
  • Riley Beck, Utah
  • Lorelee Bergmark, Minnesota
  • Gary Blank, Alaska
  • Gerd Boehnke, New Jersey
  • Wendie Brandenburg, Idaho
  • April Bridge, Colorado
  • Donald Bruders, California
  • John Bryans, Ontario, Candada
  • Gordon Bufford, Georgia
  • Jackie Burba, Kentucky
  • Justin Clark, Montana
  • Nick Clark, Montana
  • Dwain Cleveland, Texas
  • Tom Congdon, Ontario, Canada
  • Liz Corbett, Ontario, Canada
  • Roxie Davidek, Michigan
  • Michael Davis, Georgia
  • Linda Dudenhoeffer, Missouri
  • Jane Duke, Texas
  • Les Eccles, Ontario, Canada
  • Leslie Ellis, Colorado
  • Jason Escapule, Idaho
  • Liam Feely, Washington
  • Dave Fiedler, Minnesota
  • Karen Finley, Oregon
  • David Foubert, Ohio
  • John Gibeau, British Columbia, Canada
  • Debbie Gilmore, Nevada
  • Monica Gomez, California
  • Bob Gook, Manitoba, Canada
  • John Grossi, Illinois
  • Mike Grysiuk, Manitoba, Canada
  • Henry Harlan, California
  • Mark Henson, North Carolina
  • Louisa Hooven, Oregon
  • Dan Hurley, Idaho
  • Roderick Jackman, Washington
  • Wade Janzen, Saskatchewan, Canada
  • Leonard Jasiuwienas, California
  • Ed Jefferson, California
  • Scott Jeffreys, California
  • Donald Kitson, Manitoba, Canada
  • Leonard Kurtz, Iowa
  • Bill Langs, Ontario, Canada
  • Christopher Laue, Alberta, Canada
  • Mark Leech, Australia
  • Vladimir Likmovidov, Oregon
  • Richard Marks, Minnesota
  • Jake Meijer, Alberta, Canada
  • Joe Meijer, Alberta, Canada
  • Lynn Mellott, California
  • Neil Miller, Idaho
  • Sheila Millet, Idaho
  • James Myers, Minnesota
  • Ed Nowek, British Columbia, Canada
  • Russell Olivarez, Hawaii
  • Robin Pagenkopp, Nevada
  • Jerry Paul, Ohio
  • Mathew Peng, California
  • Borden Petrycia, Manitoba, Canada
  • Salvatore Pitruzzello, California
  • Dave Polk, Maryland
  • Robert Rauch, Missouri
  • Daniel Ray, California
  • Donald Rima, Tennessee
  • Christopher Ruffin, Alabama
  • James Rushfeldt, Wisconsin
  • Eric Rynders, Minnesota
  • Lloyd Schantz, District of Columbia
  • Laura Schaufelberger, Illinois
  • Tyler Scofield, California
  • Russel Shaffer, California
  • Maryann Shakespear, Utah
  • Steve Shamp, California
  • Neil Shelley, Utah
  • Larry Shreffler, Nevada
  • Thomas Siep, Texas
  • Robert Skvorecz, New Jersey
  • Dennis Stacey, Illinois
  • Kurt Stembridge, Utah
  • Oliver Stephens, Nevada
  • Paul Stone, Kentucky
  • Thomas Thomson, Wisconsin
  • Gary Thornam, Colorado
  • Jose Tinoco, California
  • Lori Titus, Maryland
  • Eric Umbreit, Florida
  • Stan Umlauft, California
  • Peter Underwood, Wisconsin
  • Matt Vandenbark, South Dakota
  • David Verbrugge, New Jersey
  • Randell Verhoek, Texas
  • Jason Waite, Utah
  • Tim Wendell, Manitoba, Canada
  • Kathy Widing, Ohio
  • Les Wienke, Montana
  • Rex Wilkerson, Utah
  • James Wilkes, North Carolina

Bee Humor

For all of us who are married, were married, wish you were married, or wish you weren't married, this is something to smile about the next time you see a bottle of wine.

Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride. With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.

Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.

"What in bag?," asked the old woman. Sally looked down at the brown bag and said, "It's a bottle of mead or honey wine. I got it for my husband who is a beekeeper."

The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder she said, "Good trade."

Bee Thinking

Last year I sent my hired man out with a load of bees containing 80 colonies to place in four yards that I had drawn maps out for easy locating. Since I had a dentist appointment I would not be able to help, but knew that he could set off a load and be back by noon by himself. At 8:00 a.m. he was loaded up and on his way to the first yard with instructions to make five rows of four hives each in each of the four yards. Easy enough, right? Well, at 9:30 a.m. he called and said we have a problem. "I have set up the first yard just as you said, with five rows with four hives in each row and I still have 70 hives on the truck," he said. I said that's impossible, but soon found out it was. How did he set up the yard using only 10 hives?

Think you know the answer? The first person to e-mail Tim Tucker, ABF E-Buzz editor, at tuckerb@hit.net with the correct answer will win a stylish ABF baseball cap. The answer will also be revealed in the March 2012 issue of ABF E-Buzz.

Recipe of the Month: Blueberry Muffins

by Tim Tucker, ABF Vice President and ABF E-Buzz Editor


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ cup blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Grease muffin tins.
  • Sift and combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  • Over low heat melt butter and add in the honey. Stir together, mixing well. Remove from the heat and add milk and beaten egg.
  • Combine the two mixtures, stirring only until moistened.
  • Stir in blueberries.
  • Fill the muffin tins half full with mixture and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Yields about 12 medium 2½-inch muffins.

From the Winnie the Pooh Cookbook, reprinted from the Connecticut Honey Bee.

Bee-friend the Honey Bee: Support the ABF "Friends of the Bee" Fund

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:

  • Parasitic varroa mites that not only affect colony numbers, but vector over a dozen viruses that affect honey bee health.
  • Continued loss of habitat due to urban expansion and the even larger problem of monocultural practices of modern agriculture.
  • Challenging weather extremes that can affect honey bee health due to drought and floral degradation.
  • Increased use of pesticides affecting all beneficial insects.

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.