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ABF E-Buzz: December 2012
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ABF E-Buzz — December 2012

In This Issue:









Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet, the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Welcome back to ABF E-Buzz! We sincerely hope that your Christmas day was a warm and loving time spent with your family and friends. It is a special time of coming together that we are so much in need of in our modern world. It seems as though things are always so busy that we don't have time to renew and refresh ourselves as often as we need. It would appear that once again we have made it past the end of the world, so I guess we still have to make plans for 2013 and the best way to kick the year off is with a few days joining us at the North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in "sweet" Hershey, Pennsylvania. Plans are complete and it looks like one of the best programs ever, so I hope to see you there!

It looks like a possible shortage of bees is the likely scenario for the upcoming almond pollination. No one is sure if there will be enough bees, as some of the large commercial beekeepers have lost large numbers of colonies again this fall. We've heard reports of bees getting to California where only a third of the load are viable pollinators. There are reports that trucking companies are hundreds of loads behind what they transported last year, so it's a real toss up as to whether there will be enough bees to do the job. This year's drought has really taken its toll on the bees and the lack of good nutrition is always a detriment to our ability to keep the bees doing what we need them to do. It is likely that pricing should be strong again and that those with good bees will have a good year there. It may be a bit muddy though, as two storms that have rolled through California have already soaked things through good sections of the valley, and the possibility of more fronts coming through could make for a cold and wet season. Good news for the drought conditions, but may be tough on the bees.

We have lots of great information for you again with Peter Teal's "Science Buzz," which provides an insight into his travel to Argentina and new studies being done there to help bees learn how to increase pollination efficiency. It's a great read, so we hope you enjoy that.

Anna Kettlewell is back with another report on the last weeks of the reign of the current Honey Queen and Honey Princess. They have done such a great job representing the industry and it's been a great time keeping up with those journeys on a day-to-day basis on Facebook this past year. What a great invention this new technology is, as it really brings people together. Social media can be a good thing! The American Honey Queen Program has a special invitation to you to attend their Dessert Reception and Quiz Bowl during the upcoming ABF annuual meeting (January 9, 2013, at 7:00 p.m.) For more information visit http://www.nabeekeepingconference.com/honey_queen.html.

There's a lot of great news items for your review and a wonderful recipe detailing how you can prepare lucky honey-walnut cookies. Our last month's riddle was not solved, so there's a fresh clue that will likely give some thoughtful person an answer. So, once again, we hope you enjoy your time spent here and if you have anything you'd like to contribute to an upcoming issue, please e-mail me at tuckerb@hit.net.

Bee There: There's Still Time to Register for the 2013 Annual Conference!

by Robin Lane, ABF Executive Director

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

As you know, the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is just three weeks away. Currently, registration is just over 600 attendees and we anticipate another 100 to 200 people to register onsite. This is shaping up to be an outstanding conference and we are looking forward to seeing you in Hershey.

It's not too late to register for the conference if you haven't done so already! Regular registration has officially closed, but onsite registration is still available. Information regarding registration rates and other conference-related details can be found on the conference website at www.nabeekeepingconference.com. Please be sure to take a look at the various conference agendas, as this conference offers something from everyone.

Also, if you haven't made your guest room reservations yet at the Hershey® Lodge please be sure to do so quickly. At last check, there were still rooms available. However, we do anticipate that the hotel will sell-out. Reservations can be made directly with the hotel by calling 800.533.3131 or 717.533.3311 and requesting the group rate for the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference or online at https://resweb.passkey.com/go/ABF2013.

We look forward to seeing you in 2013!

Bee Proud: 2013 American Honey Show — Not Too Late to Enter

by Robin Lane, ABF Executive Director

The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) invites you to enter the 2013 American Honey Show, which will be held during the 2013 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  This is a prime opportunity to showcase your bees' abilities to produce the purest honey, the best wax and the most goodies.

The Honey Show will showcase the best examples of honey and beeswax. It includes 12 classes for honey, four for beeswax and the gift basket class.  Also, the Honey Show Committee has announced that the theme for the Honey Gift Basket class this year will be "Winter Wonderland."

After the entries are judged, they will be auctioned to benefit the American Honey Queen Program.

Click here for the official show rules/regulations and entry form. NOTE: The deadline for preregistration for the show has passed, but entries and entry fees can be hand delivered during the annual conference. Please bring your entries to the ABF Registration Desk no later than 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 9, 2013.

Questions? Contact the ABF office at 404.760.2875 or via e-mail at info@abfnet.org.  You can also download some helpful Honey Show hints and tips by clicking here.  Good luck!

Bee Involved: Help the ABF Celebrate Its 70th Anniversary in Hershey

In celebration of the upcoming 70th anniversary of the ABF, Rachel Bryson, ABF Auxiliary historian, is creating a special PowerPoint presentation that will be shown during the annual Auxiliary meeting in Hershey, but she needs your help. If you have a comment on what the ABF has meant to you, how you have seen it change or any type of congratulatory message, please send it to Rachel at brysonrachel@yahoo.com no later than January 5, 2013. Thank you all in advance for your help!

ABF Member Survey: Share Your Feedback on ABF Publications

by Grayson Daniels, ABF Membership Coordinator

Participate in the ABF's publications survey and be entered to win a $25 American Express gift card!

The ABF is always looking for ways to improve its communication with its members. The ABF Membership Committee has created a survey asking for members' opinions on the current distribution of the printed ABF Newsletter and the monthly electronic ABF E-Buzz. We invite you to participate in this survey and let us know how we are doing in regard to our communication with you. We know your feedback will be beneficial in gaining insights on how we can improve the way our publications are distributed.

This survey will be anonymous and it should only take about five (5) minutes to complete. You must log in to your ABF account in order to take the survey. If you have forgotten your username and password, you may contact Grayson Daniels, ABF membership coordinator, at 404.760.2875 or graysondaniels@abfnet.org.

Click here to access the survey and share your opinions with the ABF Board of Directors and staff. The survey will close on December 31, 2012, at midnight ET, so don't miss out on this opportunity.

As an added bonus, anyone who participates may provide their e-mail address at the end of the survey to be entered to win a $25 American Express gift card. If you don't win this time, don't worry! There will be several other opportunities to complete a survey in the near future for a chance to win another gift card.

Please let us know if you have any questions or if you are experiencing problems with taking the survey. Thank you in advance for your feedback. As always, we appreciate your support of the ABF!

Science Buzz

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

I hope that all have had a good year and that the new year is better than this one. I have just returned from two weeks in Argentina and found that issues there, like Varroa control and effects of pesticides, are very similar to those we have here. During my trip I had the privilege of listening to several presentations on honey bee research that is being conducted there and was very impressed. One of the most interesting discussions revolved around the use of flower odors to pre-condition bees to respond to a particular crop and thus increase pollination efficiency. We have all seen the "waggle dance" performed by workers returning to the hive after a successful foraging flight and I, at least, believed that the intensity and length of the dance was the only reason that bees were recruited. However, as with all things to do with bees, the situation is more complicated. We all know that bees are guided to flowers by both colors and odors and that bees are able to learn what odors provide rewards - a good nectar flower has a really appealing smell to a bee.  Well, now I have learned that bees use associative learning and that prior exposure to honey containing odors from particular flowers can increase the numbers of bees recruited by bees returning from those flowers!
This came from a series of studies conducted in the laboratory of Walter Farina, a professor at the University of Buenos Aires. In the studies they first trained marked foragers to feed from sugar water scented with specific floral chemicals or to unscented sugar water. Then, for a period of five days, the foragers were provided with just sugar water. After that, the bees were provided with either scented sugar water or just sugar water and the number of bees recruited to marked bees foraging on either source were observed. What they found was that many more bees were recruited by foragers feeding on scented sugar water than to foragers feeding on just sugar water. So, more bees went to scented sugar water, despite having a five-day period in which all bees in the hive had only sugar water. This means that the hive bees learned that the odor from the scented sugar water provided a reward and remembered that this scent was associated with rewards. This is called associative learning and because the study included workers of many ages it showed that even nurse bees can retain the information and respond to the reward signal scent many days later, when they become foragers.
Can this discovery be used to the benefit of the industry? Well, the folks from the Farina lab in Argentina have been testing the idea that they could improve pollination in seed sunflower crops. They are pre-treating hives using feeders containing sugar and the most prominent chemicals in the volatiles from sunflowers prior to placing the hives in sunflower fields and comparing pollination rates in fields that are pollinated by bees that have not been exposed to the scent of sunflowers. The data are really encouraging and suggest that there can be a significant improvement in pollination and seed production.

While this research is new to me, there was considerable research done in the area 60 years ago by the great behaviorist von Frisch who found that feeding bees scented food increased visitation three to four times more frequently than when they were not exposed to scented food. Thus, it may be worth trying if you know what the major floral odors of the crop that you are pollinating are. If you are interested, take a look at "Floral scents learned inside the honey bee hive have a long-lasting effect on recruitment" in the journal Animal Behavior, Volume 84, pages 77-83, published in 2012, authors Maria Balbuena, Andres Arenas and Walter Farina.

To all be safe and have happy holidays! See you in Hershey.

Bee Informed: Register Today for ABF's Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar Series — Diseases of the Honey Bee Part Two: Adult Bee Diseases and Pests

Diseases of the Honey Bee Part Two: Adult Bee Diseases and Pests
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
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. Marion Ellis, professor of entomology and apiculture specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Marion Ellis

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 a special two-part series within the "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinar series. This series will be titled "Diseases of the Honey Bee" and will feature Dr. Marion Ellis, professor of entomology and apiculture specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Whether you are brand new to the world of beekeeping or you just need to have a refresher course, this two-part series will be an outstanding educational experience.

The second session within this series is titled "Adult Bee Diseases and Pests" and it will be held on Wednesday, January 30, 2013, at 8:00 p.m. ET. More details on Dr. Ellis' presentation can be found below.


This session will describe adult honey bee diseases and pests and their management. It will include pathology, etiology, epidemiology and abatement measures. The presentation will emphasize varroa mites, the most serious pest of honey bees, globally. All options for managing adult bee diseases and pests will be covered including resistant stocks, physical control, trapping, bee management strategies, nutrition and drug therapy.

Dr. Marion Ellis
is a professor of entomology and apiculture specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology from the University of Tennessee in 1972 and 1974, respectively. He then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru and El Salvador, teaching apiculture at the Escuela National de Agricultura and offering educational workshops for beekeepers.

After completing his Peace Corps service, he spent four years at Iowa State University working on controlled pollination of plant germplasm collections and 15 years as the Nebraska State Apiculturist. After 21 years of applied apiculture work, he returned to school and completed a Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Nebraska in 1994 where he is currently a professor of entomology.  He offers educational programs for new and experienced beekeepers.  His research interests include bee diseases, bee parasites and how bees are affected by toxins.


The sessions will be conducted via the GoToWebinar online meetings platform, which means the presenter will have a visual presentation, as well as an audio presentation. Upon entering the session online, you may choose whether to listen to the presentation through your computer's speakers or through your phone.

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 Grayson Daniels.

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 Educated: Learn How to Grow Your Knowledge and Understanding of Bees and Beekeeping

by Robin Lane, ABF Executive Director


The American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) is pleased to announce a new online educational program available at a discounted rate for all ABF members 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 Internet based and promotes an online learning community among beekeepers.  The structure of the BEES network is broken into three levels of complexity (Beginner, Advanced and Ambassador) and three areas of content (honey bee biology, honey bee management and the honey bee industry). New courses and content areas are also in development and will be introduced soon. More information can be found at http://entomology.ncsu.edu/apiculture/BEES.html.

Through the end of the year, ABF members will be given the opportunity to participate in the program at a 20-percent discount (click here for coupon; coupon must be presented at time of registration). Dr. Tarpy also recently conducted an "ABF Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinar, where he introduced, in detail, the BEES Program. Click here to access the session.  Log on and learn more about this outstanding educational program today!

Honey Queen Buzz: Queen and Princess Bid a Fond Farewell

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

At Bon Mead Elementary School
in Moon Township, Pennsylvania, Queen Alyssa teaches students about the lifecycle of the
honey bee.

December brought to a close Alyssa and Danielle's work for the ABF in 2012. Both were incredibly busy representatives for the ABF throughout 2012 and December was no exception! Since this is our last edition for 2012, Alyssa and Danielle wanted to send you their December reports in their own words.

From American Honey Queen Alyssa Fine

My last month as American Honey Queen came to a gentle halt after a full week of promotions in early December. I started by giving school presentations in the Pittsburgh region. I visited five schools giving eight presentations to 430 students. I also presented to a Girl Scout troop and gave a cooking demonstration of gourmet honey fudge. In addition, I visited Harmony Habitats Environmental Club in Port Vue, Pennsylvania, giving an educational presentation and helping the students decorate cinnamon-scented gingerbread ornaments made from beeswax from my family's hives. Finally, Princess Danielle and I traveled to Northfield, Illinois, to work at New Trier High School in a culinary arts classroom. We spent the entire day in school giving cooking demonstrations to seven classrooms of over 150 students.

I've had a wonderful year serving beekeepers nationwide as the American Honey Queen. Thank you for all of your support. Without it, I would never have had this opportunity to represent the beekeeping and honey industry.

From American Honey Princess Danielle Dale

Princess Danielle conducts an interview with Pam Jahnke, Wisconsin's farm reporter.

I started December promoting pure local honey at four Brennan's Market locations, which is a regional Wisconsin specialty food store chain. At the stores, I distributed samples of honey with gorgonzola cheese. Following the store promotions, I had an interview with Pam Jahnke, Wisconsin's Farm Reporter. We talked about pollination, honey and the industry during this seven-minute interview, which aired on eight stations statewide. In between these events, Queen Alyssa and I spent time preparing for the North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow!

I thank you all so much for the unending support of the Queen Program that you have showed me this year. I've been forever blessed by this opportunity, and I look forward to talking with you about my travels in Hershey, Pennsylvania!

Queen Alyssa, Princess Danielle and I look forward to providing you a recap of a successful year of promotions for the ABF in Hershey, Pennsylvania. If you are coming to Hershey, please participate in the American Honey Queen activities, which have been outlined through various e-mails from the ABF. Please contact me as soon as possible (414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com) to schedule a visit from the 2013 American Honey Queen or Princess. Happy promoting!

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle has yet to be solved, so put your thinking caps on and try again!

You might run o'er me with your bee truck, but it might not hurt unless you get stuck. A simple square lends part of the clue, the first little word will come easy to you. Don't give up now, please don't leave. I know you can find me if you believe. A part of my name, it's the very middle, sounds like a word here contained in my riddle. Bees gather my golden drops sweet and pure, you can get to the end  now and solve it I'm sure.

Think you know the answer?  The first to e-mail Tim Tucker at tuckerb@hit.net will lay claim to another fun ABF prize.

Buzzmakers: Latest and Greatest Beekeeping Industry News

ABF Welcomes New Members — November 2012

  • Shamera Stewart, Washington
  • Galen L. Johnson, Illinois
  • Adele Thoma Barree, New Jersey
  • Michael Beevers, California
  • Carolyn Breece, Oregon
  • Janet Brisson, California
  • Linda Crombie-Daniels, New Jersey
  • Aaron Bradley Daniels, New Jersey
  • Susan H. Fariss, North Carolina
  • Tim Fredricks, Missouri
  • Sarah Gordon, Wisconsin
  • Jack C. Grimshaw, Connecticut
  • Doug Johnson, Washington
  • Jovica Jonovich, California
  • C.A. Justus, Texas
  • Lindsey Lee, Virginia
  • Lisbeth Mack, North Carolina
  • Lisa Masters, New York
  • Zale Alan Maxwell, Ohio
  • Norbert D. Neal, Kansas
  • W. Palmer, Wisconsin
  • Frank Sarlo, Pennsylvania
  • Jennifer Leigh Williams, Maryland












Recipe of the Month: Honey-Walnut Coins

Source: www.marthastewart.com

by Grayson Daniels, ABF Membership Coordinator

It's almost time to ring in the New Year! If you're looking for a sweet treat to serve at your New Year's Eve party, this recipe looks delicious. Foods shaped like coins are thought to bring prosperity to those who eat them on New Year's, so these honey-walnut cookies are the perfect addition to your bash.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped toasted walnuts (about 4 3/4 ounces)
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey, preferably orange blossom, plus cup, warmed until liquid, for brushing


  • Pulse flour, salt and 3/4 cup walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.
  • Beat butter with a standing mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy, 2 minutes more. Beat in 1/3 cup honey. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until just combined (dough will begin to pull together). Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 1/2 hours (or up to 2 days).
  • Preheat oven to 325. Let dough stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Pinch off about 2 teaspoons dough and roll into a 1-inch ball. Repeat, spacing balls about 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Flatten cookies to 1/2-inch thick with the floured bottom of a glass. Press one of the remaining walnut pieces into each cookie.
  • Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are pale golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks and brush cookies with warm honey. Let cool. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Recipe yields about seven dozen cookies.