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ABF E-Buzz: March 2012
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ABF E-Buzz — March 2012

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

Dear March, come in!
How glad I am!
I looked for you before.
Put down your hat

You must have walked
How out of breath you are!
Dear March, how are you?
And the rest?
Did you leave Nature well?
Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
I have so much to tell!

Emily Dickenson

Welcome back, ya'll! I've been in Texas twice the past week and a half and am headed back for a third trip two weeks from today to finish up splits and bring all the newly made splits back. We have been working with our good friends Dan Whitney and Doug Ruby, who have their southern operations around Jasper and have a great location for wintering bees and spring build up. We had a great time working with them and always look forward to heading down to Jasper to see them in March.

While we have spring well under way here in Southeast Kansas, it is in full bloom in Texas and with the recent rains there seems to be good nectar available for the buildup of our splits in Henderson where we place them once they are made up. I am always pleased to see the azaleas and wisteria and holly like the one pictured here blooming everywhere on our trips in March when Texas is so beautiful. It's amazing how things are so different from year to year and while they were in a terrible drought throughout Texas last year, much of the eastern part of the state has had good rains this winter and spring, and last week I had to move some nucs out of standing water of about an inch or two in depth. Areas that we didn't even think about holding water did so in the recent heavy rains and while it didn't hurt the bees any, it did get the new nuc boxes thoroughly wet. As always, we learned lots from our work down there this year and have a couple of pages of notes on how to do things better next year. It seems as though this bee business is a continuous learning experience. I am so glad to have come to know Doug and Dan and without being involved in the ABF would not have likely ever had a chance to get together. The connections that we make are invaluable and we never know where they will lead us in our beekeeping future.

In this month's ABF E-Buzz we are short in some areas and long in others, but I hope there is plenty of valuable information for you to ponder. There is so much happening right now! There is information about our upcoming "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinar and you won't want to miss this one with Diana Sammataro, so get your reservation in to the ABF staff and make sure you can attend.
We also have another great update from Anna Kettlewell on what Queen Alyssa and Princess Danielle have been up to the last month. I am so glad Anna can stay up with these gals and keep their travel plans coordinated throughout the year. They are on the go all the time! Keep up with them on Facebook at "American Honey Queen Program" and their Web site www.buzzingacrossamerica.com. They will be glad to hear from you. It is always nice to know when you are on the road representing someone else that they appreciate your time and efforts.
No one responded with a correct answer to the "Bee Thinking" puzzle last month, so before revealing it, I am going to give you another month to work on the teaser and, in addition, think about the new puzzle that will get you thinking, as well. Now put your heads together if you have to, but work up the solutions to these puzzlers and we will send you a great prize if you are the first to respond.

I hope that you enjoy your time spent here with us and, as always, if there is something that you would like to include, just send me an e-mail at  tuckerb@hit.net.

Bee Informed: Register Today for ABF's Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar — Mites: Why Are They Important?

Thursday, April 26, 2012
8:00 p.m. ET
Diana Sammataro, research entomologist, USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Honey Bee Research Center, and co-author,
Beekeeper's Handbook

The ABF Education Committee has been hard at work developing new ways to keep its members engaged and informed in between ABF annual conferences each year. To this end, the ABF is pleased to announce another session in the educational Webinar series titled "Conversation with a Beekeeper." Plans are in place to host these sessions every few months. The next session will be held on Thursday, April 26, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. ET, and will feature Diana Sammataro, research entomologist, USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Honey Bee Research Center, and co-author, Beekeeper's Handbook. More details on her presentation can be found below.


Diana Sammataro

Join us as we take a deeper dive into what mites are, where they are found, why they are important, and a little on what are the bees' mites and their current status with Diana Sammataro, research entomologist, USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Honey Bee Research Center, and co-author, Beekeeper's Handbook.

Sammataro began keeping bees in 1972 in Litchfield, Connecticut, setting up a colony in her maternal grandfather's old bee hive equipment. From then on, she decided that her B.S. in landscape architecture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, would not be a career, but that honey bees would. After a year of independent studies on floral pollination, she earned an M.S. in Urban Forestry, and in 1978 she joined the Peace Corps and taught beekeeping in the Philippines for three years. On returning, she worked at the USDA Bee Lab in Madison, Wisconsin, under Dr. Eric Erickson, studying the effects of plant breeding and flower attraction of bees in sunflower lines.

When the lab closed, she eventually went to work at the A.I. Root Company in Medina, Ohio, as the bee supply sales manager. In 1991, she was accepted at the Rothenbuhler Honey Bee Lab at Ohio State University in Columbus to study for a Ph.D. under Drs. Brian Smith and Glen Needham. In 1995, she worked as a post-doctoral assistant at the Ohio State University Agriculture Research Center in Wooster with Dr. James Tew and, in 1998, at the Penn State University Bee Lab in State College with Maryann Frazier and Dr. Nancy Ostiguy.

Early in 2002, she was invited to join the USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Honey Bee Research Center in Tucson, Arizona. Her current work at the lab includes research on bee nutrition problems, Varroa, proteomics of bees and mites, and pollination problems.


The sessions will be conducted via the Cisco WebEx online meetings platform, which means the presenter will have a visual presentation, as well as an audio presentation. You do not have to have access to a computer to participate! As long as you have access to a phone you can listen in to the session.

Please note that space is limited and open to the first 100 ABF members. Reserve your spot today by e-mailing Robin Lane, ABF executive director, at robinlane@abfnet.org or by calling the ABF offices at 404.760.2875. Registration will close 48 business hours before the scheduled session. Twenty-four hours before the session the registered participant will receive an e-mail confirming participation, along with the necessary information to join the session. If an e-mail address is not provided, the ABF will call the participant with the information. Questions for the speaker must be submitted 48 business hours in advance to Robin Lane.

If you are unable to make the session, don't fear! Each session will be recorded and available on the ABF Web site for member-only access.

Bee Proactive: Help Strengthen the ABF's Voice in Washington

By this time you are well into your 2012 beekeeping year. The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is well into its year, too, and is focusing on the legislative goals that were set during the Las Vegas conference. ABF President George Hansen and ABF Past President Zac Browning have already made one legislative trip to Washington since the conference in order to further the legislative priorities of the ABF, which include:

  • Funding for CCD Research. Reports continue to reach us that many of our members and other beekeepers are again having large losses due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). The Farm Bill authorized additional funds for CCD research, but only a portion of that was actually appropriated. We are encouraging Congress to appropriate the authorized funds.
  • Maintaining ARS Lab Funding. There is a serious attempt to close the Weslaco Lab. Several options are being considered to continue the honey bee work being done there currently. The ABF continues to urge ARS to maintain the research efforts of the scientists, even if the Weslaco Lab is closed.
  • Protecting our Honey Market. There continues to be a great deal of discussion concerning the state of our honey market. The discussions come down to two priorities: 1) establishing a national standard of identity for honey, and establishing state standards while we get cooperation from the FDA on the national standard; and 2) stopping illegal imports, particularly transshipment of Chinese honey through intermediary countries. We are being told that our honey market is in precarious shape. We need to take strong steps to shore it up. The FDA has thus far refused work on the honey standard of identity submitted by the industry, led by the ABF nearly six years ago. In Washington, Congressional support for our request has taken a back seat to budget issues. Meanwhile, the list of states that have established state honey standards is growing. We applaud those state actions. The standard of identity will give state and federal enforcement officials a better tool to use to stop those who are adding cheaper sweeteners to our honey. In addition, several persons accused of being involved in honey transshipment have been arrested. In Las Vegas, we were told there will be more indictments.
  • Disaster Programs and Crop Insurance and H-2A Labor Programs. We are continuing to work for USDA disaster programs to be more "user friendly" to beekeepers. While immigration and farm subsidies are sure to create headlines, our industry's need for legal laborers requires an H-2A labor program that works, and programs that allow for the management of risk without opening the door to fraud. These are difficult issues and require our input and consistent voice to resolve.

Making these trips to Washington is expensive, but this is something we have to do several times a year as we endeavor to pursue the goals set by the ABF membership. Air travel is never cheap and Washington hotel rates are out-of-sight. Our Washington lobby firm has been working on discounted retainer fees. Now, we need to bump them back up to a reasonable level in light of the extra work load required as the new Farm Bill develops. We must have them working for us on the scene, alert to anything of importance to beekeepers, and especially educating the new crop of representatives of our needs and priorities.

The bottom line is that the ABF cannot achieve the goals set by the membership without the financial resources to get the job done and, at this time, we are approximately $48,000 behind budget in the ABF Legislative Fund. Do we want to see our goals reached badly enough to commit what it takes?  We can assure you that your contributions to the ABF Legislative Fund are spent carefully and with full consideration of how important this work is for you, the ABF members. Your legislative fund donations are very much appreciated and are an investment in the future of your business, as well as the bee industry as a whole. You can easily donate online at www.abfnet.org or send your contribution to ABF, 3525 Piedmont Road, Building Five, Suite 300, Atlanta, GA 30305.

Bee Involved: Bee Informed Survey Your Input is Needed

The Bee Informed Partnership needs your help! Take the time now to participate in the second annual Bee Informed Survey, which is being conducted from March 30 to April 20, 2012. This will be the second year the survey asks beekeepers to answer what they do and how well their colonies survived the winter. Last year's survey helped to identify many areas to watch and can help all beekeepers adjust their management to increase winter survivability. Visit www.beeinformed.org to see the details of last year's survey.

For example: Did you know the northern states lost an average of 40 percent (northeast was particularly bad) while the south reported a 25-percent loss? Did you know 61 percent of respondents still do not use any Varroa mite products to control our number one enemy? More colonies were lost when kept near corn and cranberries. The survey has yielded hundreds of such comparisons, all reported by beekeepers throughout the United States. Comparisons that include treatments, management practices and regional conditions. Every beekeeper can benefit from this data.

The more beekeepers who participate the better the information! It is confidential, easy to complete online and the results are developed quickly. The new information is released about every two weeks for anyone to see. The survey needs thousands of beekeepers if the information is going to show meaningful management trends that help winter survival.

Get involved by participating in this year's survey. Visit the Bee Informed Partnership Web site at www.beeinformed.org and sign up to participate. Share what you are experiencing in a way that can help the national beekeeping community.

Honey Queen Buzz: Queen and Princess Eager to Visit Your State!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Alyssa explains an observation hive at the Houston Livestock Show

Happy spring! As I write this, Wisconsin is experiencing one of the warmest Marches on record.  The bees that we have in Wisconsin are already bringing beautiful pollen to the hive and are thriving!  The early spring has offered Queen Alyssa and Princess Danielle some great promotional opportunities.  March was again a busy month for our representatives.

Both Alyssa and Danielle attended the University of Minnesota Short Course for Beekeeping in early March.  Thanks to the kindness of Dr. Marla Spivak and Gary Reuter, the Queen and Princess were fortunate to have a refresher on northern beekeeping practices as well as to promote the ABF to over 200 new beekeepers.  This is the third year that the Queen and Princess have attended this course, and it has been a beneficial addition to the program.  Attending beekeeping meetings and courses allows the Queen and Princess to learn different ways of explaining beekeeping concepts that they typically understand extremely well.  It also provides a great occasion to encourage membership in the ABF.  It would be beneficial to have the Queen and Princess attend a similar course in the southern United States, to provide a different perspective on the industry to them.  If your state runs such a course, consider inviting the Queen and Princess to attend your session and to speak about ABF!

Princess Danielle visits a Boys
and Girls Club in Arizona

School visits and festivals were on tap the rest of March for Alyssa and Danielle.  Alyssa rounded out the month with a visit to the Houston Livestock Show and worked with the Harris County Beekeepers Association at their educational booth.  She also created an educational video about swarming, aided in part by her assistance on a swarm call the first day of her Texas visit!  Danielle made trips to Arizona and Connecticut in March.  In Arizona, she visited area schools and Boys and Girls clubs to speak about honey bees and beekeeping.  Boys and Girls Clubs provide an excellent year-round forum for beekeeping presentations.  Most clubs are eager to invite guest speakers in the spring and summer months to provide the students with additional learning opportunities.  In Connecticut, Danielle participated in a new event titled, "It's a Bug's World," sponsored by the Entomological Society of America.  This event was geared toward children and provided Danielle with multiple speaking opportunities.  We thoroughly enjoyed partnering with their organization, as it provided a perfect forum for the Honey Princess to speak to adults and children about the importance of honey bees in the world!

There are still opportunities available on Alyssa and Danielle's schedules for late spring and early summer promotions, and we hope they can visit your state.  Schools, scouts, early farmers' markets and National Pollinator Week promotions would be right up the Queen Program's alley, so contact me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414.545.5514 to involve the Queen or Princess in your area's events.  Happy promoting!

Bee Active: 2012 Pollinator Week is June 18-24!

The Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that June 18-24, 2012, has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As such, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible. It's not too early to start thinking about an event at your school, garden, church, store, etc. Pollinators positively effect all our lives let's SAVE them and CELEBRATE them!  Visit http://pollinator.org/pollinator_week_2012.htm for more details.

Additionally, the Pollinator Partnership has already received seven Pollinator Week 2012 proclamations from Colorado, Illinois, Massachusettes, Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington!  They still need support from the state of Texas. If you can, please write your governor to request your own state Pollinator Week proclamation. Visit http://pollinator.org/npw_action.htm for more details! There is a complete listing of the state's governors addresses.

Bee Updated: Latest and Greatest News from the National Honey Board

New National Honey Board members Sworn In at March Board Meeting; New Officers Elected

Several new Board Members and alternates recently appointed by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack attended the National Honey Board's meeting on March 20-21, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia. Pictured here (from left to right) are Hans J. Boedeker, Importer Handler member; Kimberly Coy, Marketing Specialist, USDA/AMS; Nancy J. Gamber-Olcott, First Handler member; Charles Kocot, Importer alternate; Mark A. Jensen, Producer member; Eric S. Wenger, First Handler alternate.  Following a brief orientation of the duties and responsibilities for Board members, the new appointees were welcomed and sworn in by Kimberly Coy. During the meeting the Board reviewed and accepted the 2011 audited financial statements and report, reviewed marketing and research plans for 2012 and approved amendments to the 2012 budget. The Board also elected new officers, including Brent Barkman, chairperson; Mark Mammen, vice-chairperson; and Nancy J. Gamber-Olcott, secretary/treasurer.  The next meeting of the National Honey Board is scheduled for October 16-17, 2012, in Denver, Colorado.

National Honey Board Funds New Honey Bee Research Projects Focusing on Honey Bee Health

The National Honey Board will fund in 2012 five new research projects focusing on honey bee health.  The Board's Research Committee, with input from a panel of experts, selected the projects from 17 proposals it received by the December 15, 2011, deadline.  The total dollar commitment for the five projects is $146,406.  A sixth project is still under consideration pending additional information.  "Any budgeted funds for bee research that are not committed to projects this year will be carried forward and added to next year's allocation for bee research," said CEO Bruce Boynton. New projects approved so far for funding in 2012 include:

  • "Benefits of Propolis to Honey Bee Health," Dr. Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota.
  • "How does Nosema infection affect larval development and queen production?," Daren M. Eiri and Dr. James C. Nieh, University of California San Diego; Dr. Guntima Suwannapong, Burapha University, Thailand.
  • "The impacts of pesticide exposure during larval development on adult worker honey bee (Apis mellifera) foraging performance and general fitness," Dr. Jamie Ellis, University of Florida.
  • "Quantifying the risk of neonicotinoid seed treatments to honey bee health," Dr. Greg J. Hunt and Dr. Christian H. Krupke, Purdue University.
  • "Understanding colony level prevalence and intensity of Nosema ceranae and investigating effects of colony nutrition on persistence of Nosema ceranae in honey bee colonies," Dr. Ramesh Sagili, Oregon State University.

All bee research projects funded by the National Honey Board are listed on the Board's Web site, www.honey.com.  Visitors can click on the "Honey Industry" tab and then go to "Bee Health Research" for further information on completed and ongoing projects.

Bee Ready: Save the Date for the 2013 ABF Annual Conference

Make your plans now for the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, which will be held January 8-12, 2013, at Hershey Lodge® in Hershey, Pennsylvania. There's no place like it and we know you won't want to miss this opportunity to meet with your fellow beekeepers.

When you're not busy learning about new beekeeping products and services in the tradeshow or discovering important information regarding your bees in the educational sessions, take some time to explore Hershey, which is a year-round destination with a variety of attractions. Hershey was rated a top family vacation spot by Smart Money and FamilyFun magazines.

So, bring your sweet tooth and we'll see you in Hershey next January. Conference details will be available on the ABF Web site soon!

Bee Thinking

So, here's another riddle to keep your brain working during April. It is not quite as tough as the one published in the March issue of ABF E-Buzz (click here to view the riddle), but if you solve it, we will send you an ABF T-shirt. Solve last month's riddle, as well, and get a baseball cap and a Beekeeping 101 CD. So, get thinking hard on this one and be the first ABF E-Buzz riddle master.  Think you know the answer(s)? E-mail Tim Tucker, ABF E-Buzz editor, at tuckerb@hit.net.

If to you I'm given you should thankfully receive, then look me over carefully, just don't look at my teeth. Show me to a cool stream and I'll follow willingly, though I might not do what you want, although parched I may be, but if you're really hungry and are looking for a bite, I don't think you could eat me even though you say you might. Decipher all these clues and then together they should tie, to help you solve the question which, of course, is "What am I?"

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

ABF Welcomes New Members — February 2012

  • George W. Breslin, Florida
  • Jeff LaSorsa, Pennsylvania
  • Marker L. Ramsey, Wisconsin
  • Rachael Seida, Texas
  • Aaron Eugene Stenberg, Tennessee
  • William Thomas Sweatt, South Carolina
  • Byron Teerlink, Florida

Recipe of the Month: Baked Almond Chicken

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

I am going to give you my favorite baked chicken recipe that will compete with anything you will get anywhere. I have fixed it here with some stir fried turnips sweetened with honey, as well.


  • 1 whole chicken, broiler/fryer, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
  • 1 t. celery salt
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. paprika
  • ½ t. salt
  • ½ t. oregano
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup milk or half and half
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup honey








Wash chicken and pat dry. Coat with flour and place in a 13x9 baking dish and pour milk or half and half over chicken. In a saucepan, melt butter and add seasonings and honey. Brush mixture over chicken. Pour any leftover seasoning mixture into milk in baking dish (I don't usually have any). Bake at 350 degrees for one (1) hour. Remove from oven and spoon out ½ cup of juices and add to sour cream. Pour over chicken and dust with Panko bread crumbs and almonds. Bake for 20 more minutes or until golden brown (I usually step up the temperature to around 400 degrees). Serves six, unless you are hungry!

Tim's Tips: I usually don't get the wings into this dish, but I put them with the back, skin and the giblets in a sauce pan to boil and then strip any remaining meat from the bones and make up some chicken soup stock with the good juices. 

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.