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ABF E-Buzz: May 2013
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ABF E-Buzz — May 2013

In This Issue:









Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

So mellow the gentle breath of June day breeze
The birds rejoicing on the leafy trees
And dappled trout in pool bed of the stream
Bask in the sun their spotted skins agleam.

God gave us June and all her lovely flowers
Bright sunny days and pleasant evening hours
Shady green glens and serene sunlit dells
And leafy bowers adorned with blue bluebells.

- Francis Duggan

Welcome back to the ABF E-Buzz. We hope you find a lot of interesting information here that helps in your day-to-day beekeeping. There is much going on in the world of beekeeping this month and all beekeepers are busy with the tasks at hand. It seems in Kansas we are about a month behind in our bloom cycle. Normally, our Black Locust blooms the last week of April into the first week of May, but it is still in bloom, and the yellow clover has just started. This has been an unusually cool spring for a change, but the forecasters are calling for a hot and dry summer again for much of the country. When our nectar flow really starts, it may be short lived for our spring crop in the Midwest. I hope you all have your hives supered up and ready for the bees to fill. Honey prices are hitting all-time highs, and of course, American honey is in short supply. You can find the latest honey report from the USDA at: http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/fvmhoney.pdf. White honey is currently at $2.10 per pound in semi load quantities, and I've heard reports of 5 gallon buckets selling up to $200. These are great prices if you can produce a good crop this year!    

Here in southeast Kansas I've been delivering nucs this month to lots of beekeepers who have either lost colonies over the winter or are just starting up. I have been standing up wind blown colonies which don't usually fall this neatly to the ground. They are often much more of a mess. What are you doing in your neck of the woods right now? Let us know and send a picture of what activities you are involved in, and we'll include it in the upcoming issue of the ABF E-Buzz.

The Farm Bill is finally advancing after Congress has done little for the past year. There seems to now be a rush to get this through, and some things are being added as amendments that may not all be good for our industry or agriculture in general. One amendment has to do with the change to FIFRA, which would treat the coating of seeds with pesticides to be deemed not an application of pesticide. This would appear to totally negate any process for pursuing bee kills under the new ruling, as bees killed during seed planting would not be considered a pesticide application. If you contact your Senators to express concern about this portion of the Farm Bill, it is amendment 984. I have already called and expressed my concern but feel like it fell on deaf ears. Senator Boxer has introduced an amendment that would create a task force on bee health and commercial beekeeping. It would seem to be a positive step in the right direction, but it would have to be built on in the coming years to really have a dramatic impact. The amendment would provide twenty million dollars to assist in protecting pollinators through the establishment of a new pollinator research laboratory. There's no doubt we need more help for all pollinators as they seem to all be in decline, and any help for our commercial beekeeping is much appreciated. It's good to let the people know in D.C. what we think, so give them a call on a regular basis to keep the lines of communication open.   

This month there are lots of great links in the Buzzmakers section that will keep you up-to-date on current events in the bee world, and there's a great link to a story about Aaron Daniels, an ABF member from New Jersey, who is making his mark in the world of honey. There's also a tremendously informative article from Peter Teal on information about submitting research proposals to the ABF as a part of the recently established research initiative. We also have another fantastic update from Anna Kettlewell, ABF Honey Queen Program Coordinator. The girls have been busy working and promoting honey bees and the ABF around the country. Unlike my bees, they fly thousands of miles for some trips to do their job. Please visit their Facebook page, and let them know you "like" and appreciate their efforts. This program does work for you and all of us as members of the ABF. They promote honey every week to tens of thousands of people around the country with great information that helps you market your honey. Grayson Daniels, our membership coordinator, has also provided us with another wonderful recipe for honey almond granola that we will all have to try this month. Thanks to all of our contributing editors who continue to make the ABF E-Buzz so informative!

There's a new movie that is coming out in June called "More Than Honey," and you can visit their Facebook page to see what it is all about and view the trailer for the movie. There are some great pictures there and we hope you "like" their page and show your support. It's great to keep the honey bee in the news and increase awareness of the issues that are plaguing them.  The film is winning lots of awards around the world for "Best Documentary of 2013," so it must be good, and I hope to see it.

I hope you enjoy your time spent here again, and if there's something you have to offer, please drop me a note at tuckerb@hit.net. Have a great upcoming month in June, and I hope you collect a lot of swarms!

Bee Informed: Register Today for ABF's Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar Two Sessions Scheduled for June

Expanding from a Small Scale to Sideline Beekeeper
Thursday, June 6, 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 / 2:00 p.m. HST
Blake Shook, ABF director and Membership and Marketing Committee chair

EPA Ecological Risk Assessment Process for Pesticides
Tuesday, June 11, 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 / 2:00 p.m. HST
Dr. Tom Steeger, Senior Science Advisor, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs' Environmental Fate and Effects Division

Register today for two new sessions in the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" Webinar series - "Expanding from a Small Scale to Sideline Beekeeper," Thursday, June 6, with Blake Shook, and "EPA Ecological Risk Assessment Process for Pesticides," Tuesday, June 11, with Dr. Tom Steeger. Both sessions will be held at 8:00 p.m. ET.

SESSION DETAILS: Expanding from a Small Scale to Sideliner Beekeeper

Join us as we hear Blake's story about his growth from one beehive to 1,400. He will also include a business plan so you can learn how to grow your business in the same way.

Blake Shook and his wife, Kathleen, are the owners of Desert Creek Honey Company. They operate over 2,000 hives in Texas, California and North Dakota. Blake began his business in 2004 at age 14, and still packages and markets a wide variety of honey and honey products online and throughout Texas. Blake is a director of the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF), as well as the Membership and Marketing Committee chair. He has served as president and vice president of a local beekeeping association in Texas and is currently the president for the Texas Beekeepers Association. When he is not working bees, he has had the privilege of speaking at local, state, national and international beekeeping conventions promoting beekeeping. He has also written and contributed content for national beekeeping magazines.

SESSION DETAILS: EPA Ecological Risk Assessment Process for Pesticides

This webinar will provide an introduction to the EPA Office of Pesticide Programs’ process for evaluating potential risks of pesticides to non-target animals and plants.

Tom Steeger is a Senior Science Advisor in the Environmental Fate and Effects Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). He has worked as an ecological risk assessor at EPA for the past 16 years and is responsible to evaluating the effects of pesticides in a broad range of non-target organisms including insect pollinators. Over the past five years, Tom has served as the lead technical advisor to the OPP Pollinator Protection Team and more recently he has served as the lead technical advisor on OPP's proposed framework for quantifying risks to honey bees. Tom also served on the Steering Committee for the Pellston Workshop on Pollinator Risk Assessment hosted by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in 2011, and he co-chaired the risk assessment workgroup of the Pellston; he is a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expert group on pollinators and he is a member of the International Commission on Plant-Pollinator Relationships (ICPPR) workgroup on semi-field and full-field pollinator studies. Tom's doctoral research examined the effects of chemical pollutants on endocrine-mediated processes in fish, and he has nine years of experience as a research biologist conducting mammalian toxicity studies with pharmaceuticals.


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 clicking the links below for the session you are interested in joining. Upon approval of registration, 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.

Click here to register for Blake Shook's session on June 6, titled "Expanding from a Small Scale to Sideline Beekeeper."

Click here to register for the Dr. Tom Steeger's session on June 11, titled "EPA Ecological Risk Assessment Process for Pesticides."

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 Ready: ABF Dues Increase — Renew Now at Today's Rates!

During the recent ABF Annual Business Meeting in January at the 2013 ABF annual conference, those ABF members present voted on and approved a membership dues increase effective July 1, 2013, to the following: Small Scale — $60; Sideliner — $125; and Commercial — $300.

The cost of protecting beekeeping on a small, sideline and commercial scale continues to grow. The ABF is committed to fighting for YOUR ability to continue to maintain healthy bees and needs your support to do so.  Since we last raised our dues in 2007 we have added many membership benefits and expanded the reach of services that are offered.
It is not without much thought and consideration that this increase was decided upon and we hope that you will find the many membership benefits far outweigh the small additional increase in the dues structure. Be assured that the ABF elected leaders and staff operate in a manner that is fiscally responsible while continuing to provide the membership benefits you have come to expect, including:

  • North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow
  • ABF Website at www.abfnet.org — The latest in industry news
  • Government Relations — Your voice into Washington
  • ABF Membership Directory
  • "Conversation With a Beekeeper" Online Webinars
  • ABF Honey Defense Fund — Ensuring the purity of honey
  • ABF Newsletter — Published six times yearly
  • ABF Research Initiative — Funding small-scale projects
  • ABF E-Buzz Electronic Newsletter — Published monthly
  • American Honey Queen Program

We are notifying members in advance of this dues change, such that you can take this opportunity NOW to pay your dues for the coming year at the current levels, which are $50 for Small Scale, $100 for Sideliner and $250 for Commercial. These savings will hopefully help you transition into the higher dues structure over the next year. We encourage you to consider taking advantage of this opportunity to renew at today's rates!  Click here to download the renewal form or you can easily do so online at www.abfnet.org.

The ABF looks forward to continuing to serve the industry while expanding our services and benefits in the coming years. The new dues structure will provide for years of improving our ability to be an effective organization providing the highest level of commitment to you, our members, as possible.  Thank you in advance for your continued support of the ABF. 

Buzzworthy: Winter Loss Survey 2012-2013 Preliminary Results

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is releasing preliminary results for the seventh annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. For the 2012/2013 winter season, a total of 6,287 U.S. beekeepers provided validated responses. Collectively, responding beekeepers managed 599,610 colonies in October 2012, representing about 22.9%1 of the country’s estimated 2.62 million colonies.

Preliminary survey results indicate that 31.1% of managed honey bee colonies in the United States were lost during the 2012/2013 winter. This represents an increase in loss of 9.2 points or 42% over the previous 2011/2012 winter’s total losses that were estimated at 21.9% (see image). This level of loss is on par with the 6 year average total loss of 30.5%2.  Read more.

Science Buzz

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

The ABF is pleased to announce that the first annual research grant proposal was accepted for 2012. The title of the research is "A Pilot Apis Viral and Nosema Mapping Initiative: Using geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analysis to monitor honey bee health," and the recipient is Heather Gamper. The funding amount for the 2012 award was $2,891. Funds were distributed and received by Heather in early December. Heather will report results of her findings at the ABF meeting next January.

Everyone should be busy little bees by now and you're all out tinkering with your hives and bees to improve your situations. Have you come up with ideas that you want to test in a well designed experiment? I am asking because it's time to think about applying for the ABF research committee's second annual grant! So, instead of just doing what you were going to do to improve the bees - take some time and develop a replicated set of experiments that will allow you to prove that your tinkering works.

Our schedule for applications is as follows:

  • August 1 - Call for research proposals to be sent out.
  • September 30 - Deadline for receipt of proposals by research committee.
  • October-November - Committee review of proposals.
  • December 1 - Notification of successful application(s).

You have from now until August 1 to get a project together. Here is the general format that the proposals should take:

  • Descriptive Title
  • Researcher Information:  Name; Mailing Address; E-mail; Phone Number
  • Abstract/Summary:  Clear, concise summary of the project in layman's language to include: a) Overall objective of the    project; b) Summary of work plan and/or methodology; c) Expected outcomes, product or solution to question addressed.
  • Introduction:  Clear statement of the problem that you will study and why it is significant to the beekeeping community.  Include background information and any literature associated with the problem.  Describe the expected outcomes of the proposed research and how beekeepers would use the information that you generate.
  • Objectives:  Clearly state what the goal of the research will be.
  • Plans and Procedures:  Clearly state how you will study the objectives.  Define the experiments will you conduct to address the objectives.  Clearly outline how you will conduct the experiments.  Discuss how you will interpret the results of experiments. Outline the timeline for conducting and analyzing the results from the research.
  • Budget:  Define how resources provided by the ABF will be used to support the proposed research.

So how would I put a proposal together? Click here to see an example of a proposal I put together to help you in the process. There are some comments included that you might use as a guide. Send me an email at peter.teal @ars.usda.gov if you need to chat about what is needed.

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

May is the perfect month to launch "Honey Adds a Golden Flavor to Your Celebration" campaign.

May is full of celebrations with Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and graduations, and that is why this was the perfect month to launch our Honey Adds a Golden Flavor to Your Celebration campaign. Originally created for our Hispanic market, the information was also adopted for use in our e-newsletter, the Honey Feast.

We’ve been working with event planner and CEO of Zikei Event Design, Coral Bosch, to develop mini indulgences with honey that are sure to be a hit at your next party. 

Honey highlights the overall flavor of all these delectable combinations, going beyond its role as a natural sweetener. “It’s fascinating how well honey can complement such a wide variety of ingredients; each recipe is so different, but they all share the distinct flavor and special touch of honey,” says Coral.

The honey cups with brie, walnuts and cranberries is just one of the six new recipes that were created and featured for this campaign. To find more recipes that feature honey, visit www.honey.com.

Bee Ready: Save the Date for the 2014 ABF Annual Conference

Make your plans now for the 2014 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, which will be held January 7-11, 2014, at the Baton Rouge River Center with guest room accommodations available at the Belle of Baton Rouge and the Hilton Baton Rouge Capital Center.

Baton Rouge is one of the fastest-growing cities in America. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to start planning your agenda now. There is never a dull moment in Baton Rouge! The River Center is centrally located in the downtown area, within walking distance of various attractions, cultural sites, hotels, restaurants and nightlife. With surroundings rich in Louisiana culture and entertainment, the River Center provides a unique environment for memorable experiences, including the 2014 ABF annual conference.

The 2014 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow is sure to offer top-notch education sessions from industry leaders, various networking opportunities, a variety of hands-on workshops and lots of fun. Conference details will be available on the ABF website soon!

Honey Queen Buzz: Queen and Princess Kick Off the Summer Season

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Caroline signs to a group of deaf students at the Alta Vista Elementary School, Waco, Texas.

May was a busy month for Caroline and Emily. Both finished their spring semesters successfully, and in between final exams, moving home, and settling back in, they have kept busy with promotions.

May promotions primarily focused on school visits. Emily rounded out the month visiting eight schools in Crookston, MN, Grand Forks, ND, and in the Aitkin, MN area. She spoke to students in grades kindergarten through high school.  Caroline also made a stop in the Plano area to a local school. Spring is a great time of year to visit schools, as many are studying plant reproduction, pollination, and insects. It's also a great way to end the school year for many schools.

Caroline made a trip to Waco, TX to give presentations to deaf groups - senior citizens and elementary school students. The Queen Program has worked hard to include her skills in American Sign Language into her visits throughout the country, and we encourage you to do the same when she visits your area.

Princess Emily meets with the Aitkin City Council in Aitkin, Minnesota.

Finally, Emily rounded out the month by speaking before the Aitkin County Board in Minnesota. It was an excellent forum for her to discuss the importance of beekeeping in Minnesota and express to the policymakers on how they can protect honeybee habitat through their actions as elected officials. These types of promotions are excellent ways to promote our industry to individuals who may not otherwise be in tune to the industry's current status and needs.

The late summer and early fall schedules are filling up quickly, but we still have a few openings, and many more times available for honey queen and princess visits in June, July, November, and December! We would love to fill their schedule with many new opportunities this year, so please contact me to arrange your visit today! You may reach me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414.545.5514. Happy promoting!

Bee Thinking

Last month's riddle must have been too tricky because there were not any correct answers. We've added in another clue, so hopefully it will help you out.

Riddle: It's not to be seen, not to be felt, cannot be heard, cannot be smelled. It's behind the stars and under hills, and in every empty hole it fills. The bees will fill it if they can, Langstroth was the wonderman!

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

  • The Farm Bill's Good and Bad Sides. Learn more.
  • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is under pressure from commercial beekeepers to allow them to bring in U.S. packages after they reported average losses of 50% of their hives. Read more.
  • A man uses smoke to harvest honey from a honeycomb. SOURCE: National Geographic

  • The European Union is going to spend two years figuring out something that is of interest to farmers, beekeepers and environmentalists alike: do neonicotinoid pesticides cause lasting damage to pollinating insects like bees?  Read more.
  • Environmental Almanac: Beekeeper emphasizes humane conditions. Read more.
  • Steps you can take to aid stricken bee populations. Learn more.
  • Bees are back in the news this spring, if not back in fields pollinating this summer's crops. Read more.
  • In apparent contradiction to its stated intention to protect pollinators and find solutions to the current pollinator crisis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the unconditional registration of the new insecticide sulfoxaflor, which the agency classifies as highly toxic to honey bees. Read more.
  • If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring? Bees. Swarms of them. Discover more.
  • Sugar diet may have impact on honeybee health. Read more.
  • Saving the Bees, Saving Ourselves. Read more.
  • This year's EAS 2013 Short Course has a "Train-The-Trainer" option. Learn more.
  • ABF member, Aaron Daniels, has made quite a buzzing business for himself as a beekeeper in Newark. Read more about his story.
  • Charges in a million-dollar honey dumping indictment against three people in Florida have been dismissed. Read more.

ABF Welcomes New Members — April 2013

  • Abigail Arcouette, Connecticut
  • Glenn Badgett, North Carolina
  • Rich Bauer, Illinois
  • Sarah Beard, Iowa
  • Brett Bowerman, North Dakota
  • Edward Brocker, Wisconsin
  • Vincent Brulia, Pennsylvania
  • Peggy Dotter, New Hampshire
  • David Edwards, Tennessee
  • Ron Erbel, Florida
  • Susan Garing, New York
  • Betsy Glennon, Minnesota
  • Harold Gross, New Jersey
  • Peter Hoffman, Massachusetts
  • Gene Hubbard, Missouri
  • Kerri-Ann Lynch, New York
  • William Marquette, Tennessee
  • Kent Pegorsch, Wisconsin
  • Matthew Pittman, Georgia
  • Mark Rosenberg, Michigan
  • James Swanson, Texas
  • Kevin Topek, Texas
  • Yongxiang Yan, Wisconsin



Recipe of the Month: Honey Almond Granola

Source: The National Honey Board

by Grayson Daniels, ABF Membership Coordinator

Temperatures are beginning to warm up, which means that you might be spending more time outside. Whether it’s a picnic in the park or a hike in the woods, this granola will be sure to keep your energy up for the warmer days ahead.


  • 3 cups quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tbsp. warm water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Combine oats, almonds and coconut in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In another bowl combine honey, coconut oil (melted in microwave), water and vanilla. Pour over oat mixture and stir well.
  • Spread mixture onto cookie sheet. Bake about 12-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. 


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