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ABF E-Buzz: May 2012
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ABF E-Buzz — May 2012

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.

Rhyme from England

Welcome back to ABF E-Buzz! I know you all are all busy as can be, as this time of year provides little slack time here in Kansas. We do have a little bit of a nectar flow going on, but haven't had to add a second honey super yet. Hope you are doing better! I have been busy getting most of our nucs delivered in the past few weeks. They have come up very fast and our queens have just been phenomenal this year. It is always exciting to see new beekeepers just getting their bees.

The excitement is reinvigorating to me and this year we provided a few to young people under the age of 18 for free in an attempt to get them off to a good start. One young man we delivered a nuc to was so overwhelmed when we put the bees into his boxes and told him that this was the best queen we had raised this spring and that she was spectacular! It was a very enjoyable time and I would suggest helping young people whenever you can. They are the future of our industry and we need to get more people excited about bees. I even had a fellow who is close to my age (older than dirt) that just repeated over and over again how excited he was to be getting started in the bees. It isn't age dependent. When the bee fever takes over your thoughts and emotions it is fun and thoroughly enjoyable to help others with the malady.

The past few weeks have brought news of a good number of bee-kill incidents in states where corn planting is still going on. It appears that there are quite a number of beekeepers in the corn belt who have lost large numbers of bees.  I've heard reports of over a dozen counties in Ohio reporting losses, some with damage so severe that it is questionable whether or not the bees will recover in time for production during this season. There is also the worry that some will recover only to collapse again in the springtime of next year.

Delivering nucs to a customer

It is really important that if you have suffered losses this spring you report the incident to the EPA and USDA-ARS. We at the National Honey Bee Advisory Board are also collecting information and would appreciate it if you would contact me at tuckerb@hit.net. I can forward a mortality reporting form that we will be using in cooperation with Peter Jenkins, who is the attorney for the Center for Food Safety and who filed the petition with the EPA to suspend sales of Clothianidin until acceptable toxicity studies are done. It is important that we collect as much information as possible to help us access what is working against our bees and all of our native pollinators out there. The EPA has recently revised some of its reporting procedures and the agency has two online sites for reporting bee poisoning incidents through the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).

The agency's preferred online method to report bee incidents is the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at http://npic.orst.edu/. The agency would appreciate feedback from beekeepers on how to improve reporting bee incidents on this website. NPIC also has telephone operators trained in pesticides available during regular working hours.

The second method to send the OPP bee incident information online is via the EPA's "Pollinator Protection" website at http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/ecosystem/pollinator/. A beekeeper just needs to click on the large "Report a Bee Incident" button to send them an e-mail.

This month's ABF E-Buzz has another great installment of "Science Buzz" from Peter Teal that will help you with your small hive beetle problems, which are a problem when hives get weak and are unable to combat the pest by themselves. Anna Kettlewell updates us on the great work that the Honey Queen and Honey Princess have been accomplishing in their buzzing around America. I do enjoy hearing from them on their travels as they do their daily updates on Facebook. If you haven't friended them, you need to visit the American Honey Queen Program page and stay tuned to their travels. We also have a report on the recent "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinar back in April with Diana Sammataro, who is one of the leading experts on mites and the manners in which they affect our bees. I do hope you were able to attend the session, but if not, you can view the Webinar by clicking here. Also be sure to save the date for the next session in June (more details can be found in this issue of ABF E-Buzz). Lots of new news in the "Buzzmakers" section and another great recipe featuring honey poppy seed dressing for those fresh-from-the-garden salads you will be preparing this summer.

So, once again, we hope that you find your time here well spent and if you have anything you would like to ask or see in future editions, please do not hesitate to contact me at tuckerb@hit.net. Wishing all a great nectar flow and heavy boxes!

Bee Informed: Register Today for ABF's Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar BEES Network: Learn How to Grow Your Knowledge and Understanding of Bees and Beekeeping

Monday, June 11, 2012
8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Dr. David Tarpy, associate professor and extension apiculturist, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University

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 Monday, June 11, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. ET, and will feature Dr. David Tarpy, associate professor and extension apiculturist, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University.  More details on his presentation can be found below.


Dr. David Tarpy

Join us as we learn more about an exciting new program the Beekeeper Education & Engagement System (BEES).  Under the direction of Dr. David Tarpy, associate professor and extension apiculturist, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University, the BEES network is an online resource for beekeepers at all levels.  The system is entirely Internet based and aims to foster an online learning community among beekeepers.  The structure of the BEES network is broken into three ascending levels of complexity (Beginner, Advanced and Ambassador) and three general areas of content (honey bee biology, honey bee management and the honey bee industry). And, through the end of the year, ABF members will be given the opportunity to participate in the program at a 20-percent discount.

Dr. Tarpy has been with North Carolina State University since 2003, after receiving a B.S. from Hobart College, an M.S. from Bucknell University, a Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis, and a postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University.

As extension apiculturist, he maintains an apiculture website dedicated to the dissemination of information and understanding of honey bees and their management, spearheads numerous extension projects, such as the 2005 New Beekeeper Cost-Sharing Program, which created hundreds of new beekeepers within the state, and launched the new online BEES network.

His research interests focus on the biology and behavior of honey bee queens, using techniques including, field manipulations, behavioral observation, instrumental insemination, and molecular genetics-in order to better improve the overall health of queens and their colonies. Specific research projects include understanding the effect of the polyandrous mating strategy of queen bees on colony disease resistance, determining the underlying factors of Colony Collapse Disorder, using molecular methods to determine the genetic structure within honey bee colonies, and the determining the regulation of reproduction at the individual and colony levels.

His work has provided some of the best empirical evidence that multiple mating by queens confers multiple and significant benefits to colonies through increased genetic diversity of their nestmates, particularly through increased tolerance to numerous diseases. More recently, his lab group has focused on the reproductive potential of commercially produced queens, testing their genetic diversity and mating success in an effort to improve queen quality.


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 Grayson Daniels, ABF membership coordinator, at graysondaniels@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.

THIS SESSION SPONSORED BY: Nozevit - A Member of the CompleteBee.com Family

Nozevit is an all-natural plant polyphenol honey bee food supplement that is added to sugar syrup feed. Nozevit is produced from certified organic substances according to a decades old traditional European recipe. Healthy bee colonies build brood faster in the spring, and will winter extremely well when their intestinal integrity is intact. Exceptional colonies can be built using all-natural Nozevit as a food supplement for intestinal cleansing, thereby reducing the need of chemical treatments for internal ailments.

Science Buzz

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

It's May and it's been a really dry spring in North Florida. Last year at this time, we were getting ready to pull a honey crop, but this year I'm not sure we will. I hope that things are better for you and judging from the flowers and rain showers I encountered last week in Washington and Pennsylvania it looks good. One thing that does not seem to change between this year and last is the increase in pests in the hives with the onset of warm weather, so I thought I'd highlight some recent work on small hive beetles.

While capturing adult females is great, it is extremely hard to catch all of the mated females in hives before they lay eggs. One female can lay 100 or more eggs, and if 100 larvae are left unchecked they can: 1) cause havoc in a hive; and 2) become adults and reinvade hives to lay more eggs. So, capturing larvae is a good thing and a recent paper has described the construction and use of a trap for larvae. The trap was described by Arbogast and colleagues in a paper titled "Estimating reproductive success of Aethina tumida (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) in honey bee colonies by trapping emigrating larvae" (Environmental Entomology,  Vol. 41; pages 152-158; year 2012). The trap takes advantage of the fact that small hive beetle larvae leave beehives and pupate in the soil. The description in the paper is as follows:

"The trap attaches to the bottom board of a bee hive and intercepts small hive beetle larvae as they exit the hive for pupation in the soil. It consists of two sections constructed of 3/8-in (0.95-cm) clear acrylic plastic held together by stainless steel catches (a). Holes and pins (b) on the edges of the two sections assure proper alignment. The lower section of the trap is a water tight trough that is half filled with a solution of detergent and water to kill the larvae.  Glycerol may be added to the solution to slow evaporation. The trough is removed by releasing the catches, and the detergent solution containing larvae is poured into a jar for later counting. The upper section of the trap is entirely covered except for a 3-mm gap that allows the larvae to enter the trap, and it is provided with two 17.7-cm extensions (c) for attaching the trap to the bottom board. A trough-shaped screen (18 gauge stainless steel wire with 2-mm openings) just below the gap prevents bees from falling into the detergent solution. The trap, which spans the width of the bottom board, is placed flush with its outer edge and secured to its upper surface by attaching the two extensions with screws." (Arbogast et al., Environmental Entomology, Vol. 41; pages 152-158; year 2012).  
Trapping efficiency studies were conducted in the laboratory by placing 100 small hive beetle larvae along with fermented pollen dough into each of six empty brood boxes and monitored the number of larvae caught over the next two to three weeks at three times during the year.  Results indicated an average of 90.5 percent of the larvae were captured during the 18 trials. Field trials, conducted over a season, showed that the traps were effective even when used in strong hives that had no indication of the presence of beetles when inspected. More importantly, two weak colonies that eventually died were studied and as the colonies got weaker and weaker, the number of larvae captured increased rapidly! In fact, in one colony captures went from zero at day 30 to 700 on day 42 when the colony died and then to a fantastic total 1800 on day 55!

So, what does this tell us? First, the number of hive beetle larvae increases as hives get weak. Second, even after hives die out, there are huge numbers of small hive beetle larvae living in the colony and these are destined to pupate in the soil and attack other hives as adults. Third, it is very possible to capture the larvae as they leave the hive and thus reduce the population. If you're interested, build a trap or two and try them. If they work, let me know how they work for you! E-mail me at peter.teal@ars.usda.gov.

Bee Proactive: Industry Meets to Discuss Standard of Identity for Honey

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

Beekeeping industry representatives
gather to discuss SOI for honey issues and concerns

It was a great chance for the representatives from the major packing companies and organizations to discuss the denial of the previous petition by the USDA and move forward with a new petition for a Standard of Identity (SOI) for honey. The meeting took place on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada, and included Nancy Gentry, who had initiated the first state SOI in Florida in 2009. It is hoped that in the near future a new petition will be finalized and presented to the USDA.

Roundtable attendees represented several industry groups and included: George Hansen; Troy Fore; Bob Olney; Bill Huser; Tim Burleson; Michelle Jones; Gene Brandi; Nancy Gentry; Greg Olsen; Mark Mammen; Brent Barkman; Eric Wenger; Jill Clark; Bruce Boynton; Nancy Gamber; Hans Boedeker; Bob Coyle; Ilene Miller; Jerry Probst; Darren Cox; Randy Verhoek; Jerry Brown; Dave Allibone; and Tim Tucker.

There were many thanks to George Hansen for organizing the meeting and getting the industry together to discuss this very worthwhile topic.

Buzzworthy: Conversation with a Beekeeper in Review Mites: Why Are They Important?

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

I always enjoy listening to Diana Sammataro, research entomologist, USDA-ARS Carl Hayden Honey Bee Research Center, and co-author, Beekeeper's Handbook, as she is so well informed and always has some of the best pictures and illustrations for her presentations no matter what they are on. Mites are really amazing when viewed under an electron microscope.
Our recent conversation with her was spent talking about mites and how they infest and affect our honey bees. I didn't know that there were so many kinds of mites and how pervasive they are on everything that we come in contact with. There are over a million unnamed species and they thrive in everything from plants and soils to every kind of animal from insects to sea urchins and monkey lungs. There's even a mite that lives in the slime of snails! Most of them are specific to individual hosts and some are even present in cheese and stored food products. Yuck!

We get many of the mites that are on our bodies from our parents when we are growing up, going from cradle to grave with our load of these hitch hikers. There's even a specific mite that affects moth ears and they only affect one ear because if they affected both ears, then most would be deaf and would not likely survive very long. This study of mites is called Acarology and is almost endless in the scope of things that we don't know.

We are all aware of the varroa and tracheal mites that have been affecting our honey bees for years since their arrival in the U.S. and there is no doubt that they are very successful in surviving despite all we do to try and eliminate them. One of the most interesting points of information in Sammataro's discussion of mites was that there are mites that live in the feathers of birds and there are some that preen themselves with ants, rubbing the ants into their feathers. The ants apparently produce formic acid, which kills mites and the bird gets the benefit by handling its own mite problem. Too bad bees hate ants so much!

One of the difficult things that we need to overcome in studying and understanding varroa is that we can't reproduce them other than in the confines of the sealed bee honeycomb. It is difficult to study them off host to see how they are changing and what pesticides will best affect their development. So, it remains a challenge.

Well, I don't want to give away all the secrets of the evening, so do take the time to review the program for yourself, which is available for download on the ABF Web site. Click here to view the session (you must be an active ABF member to access the session).

Do make your plans now to join us for the next "Conversation with a Beekeeper" session scheduled for Monday, June 11, 2012, at 8:00 p.m. ET, which will feature Dr. David Tarpy, associate professor and extension apiculturist, Department of Entomology, North Carolina State University. Details and registration information can be found in this issue of ABF E-Buzz.

Honey Queen Buzz: Busy as Bees!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Alyssa gives a cooking with honey demonstration in the Food Science Class at Plum Senior High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Spring has finally sprung and Alyssa Fine and Danielle Dale were as busy as bees this May! In addition to keeping up with their own family beekeeping operations, they buzzed across the United States promoting our industry.

As the school year starts to come to a close, both the Queen and Princess continued school visits, Alyssa in Pennsylvania and Colorado, and Danielle in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. During May, they spoke to students in grades K-12. On the middle- and high-school levels, they spoke to agriculture and science students. Alyssa had the opportunity to spend a day in a high school foods class with urban students. The teacher was thrilled to have her there, noting that Alyssa had the students trying foods that they would never normally try! Consider approaching middle and high school foods courses, or even technical school foods courses, for a Honey Queen or Princess visit. Teachers are typically thrilled to have a guest presenter in these types of classes.

Princess Danielle explains creamed honey at the 100th year anniversary of Girl Scouts event in Madison, Wisconsin

Farmers' markets are beginning throughout the country, and Danielle had an opportunity to visit the Janesville Farmers' Market in Wisconsin, coupling her trip there with school visits in nearby Rockford, Illinois. As schools are winding down, we know that civic organizations continue to meet and both Alyssa and Danielle visited with Girl Scouts this month, coinciding with the organization's 100th anniversary.  

Both the Queen and Princess were well received by the media during the month of May. Both made appearances on local television stations in different formats. The sit-down, in-studio interview offered Danielle an opportunity to discuss honey bee pollination and the benefits of using honey beyond the kitchen. A cooking demonstration interview on a local morning program allowed Alyssa to give urban dwellers ideas of incorporating honey into easy recipes for kids and adults. Both were featured in newspapers, including front page coverage for Danielle in newspapers in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Danielle rounded out the month with a 20-minute live radio interview that was featured via podcast on a media website.

You can get up-to-date information on Alyssa and Danielle's activities through the American Honey Queen Program Facebook page. If you are interested in having the Queen or Princess at your events in early summer or late fall, please contact me (414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com) as soon as possible, as their schedules are filling up rapidly. Happy promoting!

Bee Educated: 2012 Conference Session Recordings Now Available

by Grayson Daniels, ABF Membership Coordinator

Several educational sessions were recorded as audio files during the 2012 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, Nevada, and are now available for your review on the 2012 conference Web site.

You can access these sessions online by clicking here and downloading them at your convenience. We hope you find these recordings to be a valuable resource for your personal beekeeping education and experience. There are many more sessions to be uploaded to the website, so keep checking back. You don't want to miss any of the great presentations from this year's conference!

Be sure to mark your calendar now for the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, January 8-12, 2013, in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Conference information will be available soon on the ABF Web site at www.abfnet.org.

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

Congratulations to ABF member Allison Adams of Plano, Texas, for providing the correct answer to the riddle published in the April issue of ABF E-Buzz.  Allison received a great ABF prize for her superior problem solving skills.  Below is the answer:

Riddle: Not born, but from a mother's body drawn, I hang until half of me is gone. I sleep in a cave until I grow old, then valued for my hardened gold. What am I?

Answer: Cheese

So, here's another riddle to keep your brain working during June. Think you know the answer?  The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

When one does not know what it is, then it is something; but when one knows what it is, then it is nothing.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

ABF Welcomes New Members — April 2012

  • Chris Clyne, New York
  • Joseph Christopher Coffey, Minnesota
  • Gregory L. Cook, Georgia
  • Stephen T. Epley, California
  • Jennifer Finley-Short, Arizona
  • John Giulino, Massachusetts
  • Samuel Abady Golston, West Virginia
  • Bryon D. Hansen, Wisconsin

  • Kelly Y. Robson, Missouri
  • Raymond W. Sola, Connecticut
  • Mark Tracy, California
  • John Van Riper, Oregon
  • Ken Charles Walters, New Jersey
  • Priscilla A. Ward, Missouri
  • Margo Wimbish, Georgia










Recipe of the Month: Honey Poppy Seed Salad Dressing

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

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

This is a great homemade dressing that will top off your summer salad creations! Nothing better than fresh greens from the garden topped off with your favorite dressing.


  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • 5 teaspoons vinegar (I like red wine vinegar)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic


Measure out one cup of oil and place in a small mixing bowl. Put cup of honey in measuring cup used for oil and warm for 20 to 30 seconds. The oil coating will help most of the honey come out of the measuring cup. Once honey is slightly warm, add other ingredients to the honey and mix well. Combine with oil and after mixing thoroughly refrigerate for a few hours before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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.