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ABF E-Buzz: June 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — June 2014

In This Issue:


Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

"In June, as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them."  
-  Aldo Leopold

Welcome back!   

Here in Kansas things are really buzzing! It's been a dry spring but the past few weeks have brought several inches of rain that has brought the white Dutch clover to life. The bees are working it hard and we actually have a pretty good nectar flow on right at present. If we can get another rain or two before the end of June it could be the best year we've had in five years for producing honey. We just need more honey supers to put on. It seems like we are always short of equipment that is ready to go. I need another person just to keep cleaning and preparing boxes and frames. It's good to see the bees in good shape and working hard during these long June days. Once we get past the summer solstice things will begin to change and the bees will be operating in a different mode.   

It's great to know that there are so many people interested in helping the bees out and providing for better habitat. There's a community in Boulder, Colorado that is sporting the badge of being the first "bee safe" locality in Colorado! There are approximately 200 households that are committed to saving bees through not using systemic pesticides in a continuous block of homes in efforts to provide a zone of pesticide-free forage for honey bees. The Melody-Catalpa neighborhood is in north Boulder and the inhabitants have signed a pledge to minimize the use of pesticides.  

Those doing so were awarded green flags, signifying their commitment, to plant in their front lawns. Some homes there have not yet been contacted by the volunteers, but will be. "We felt really good about it," said Anne Bliss, one of the three organizers and a resident of the 3500 block of Catalpa Way. "We thought we would finish this by the end of May, and we more than had our goal really quickly. It took us a couple weeks." Molly Greacen, another of the drivers behind the Melody-Catalpa bee-safe initiative, said, "The real concern is that if we can get lots of other people to get excited about this idea, then all of Boulder can become bee-safe." Wouldn't that bee a great start on habitat improvement! You can read more about the initiative at the following URL.

I have been providing Dutch clover seed to our property owners for pasture improvement in some of the areas where we have bees and it has been very helpful in improving forage for our bees. It is expensive and it takes some time but this type of clover spreads very readily and it does get thicker in its stand over the years.  Cattle seem to eat the seed heads and spread it in manure and if the farmer will brush hog when the seed is mature, it tends to get spread out as well. This clover is rich in food value for cattle and they do eat it but don't tend to graze it out. So try making some investment in forage on pastures that surround your apiaries. We need to be thinking about helping ourselves and our bees.    Here's an excellent handout from the University of Guilph that gives some good tips that you could use as handouts when selling honey. 

There's lots of new news in the Buzzmakers section and another wonderful recipe, so we hope that you enjoy your time spent here with us. Have a great month and till next time, have a good time with your bees! If there's something you'd like to add to the E-Buzz just drop me a line at tuckerb@hit.net

Legislative Buzz:

Great News!  On Friday of Pollinator Week President Obama issued a memorandum, "Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators."

If implemented as written, there may be reason for hope in seeking solutions to our honey bee health issues. After more than seven years of research into the causes of pollinator health decline, the American Beekeeping Federation is encouraged to see a broad surge of interest in solving this problem, including what we deem as necessary intervention by the highest levels of government.  The memorandum requires many federal agencies to work together to restore populations of lost pollinators and find ways to help restore honey bee health.

The Memorandum:
Pollinators contribute substantially to the economy of the United States and are vital to keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets. Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States. Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.

Pollinator losses have been severe. The number of migrating Monarch butterflies sank to the lowest recorded population level in 2013-14, and there is an imminent risk of failed migration. The continued loss of commercial honey bee colonies poses a threat to the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States, which could have profound implications for agriculture and food. Severe yearly declines create concern that bee colony losses could reach a point from which the commercial pollination industry would not be able to adequately recover. The loss of native bees, which also play a key role in pollination of crops, is much less studied, but many native bee species are believed to be in decline. Scientists believe that bee losses are likely caused by a combination of stressors, including poor bee nutrition, loss of forage lands, parasites, pathogens, lack of genetic diversity, and exposure to pesticides.

Read More 


BEE Our Guest: Call for Papers

Mark your calendars and save the date for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow on January 6-10 at Anaheim, California. ABF is pleased to announce that the call for papers/presentations is now open.  If you have important beekeeping research to share, a best practice in beekeeping or a proven track record with keeping the  hives alive, we want to hear from you.  Please complete the call for papers submission form and return to Tara Zeravsky at tzeravsky@meetingexpectations.com no later than July 15th.  The conference committee will review all submissions to put together the most informative conference agenda  available.  You will be notified of your participation in early September.  As a reminder, all presenters receive complimentary registration to the conference.  All other expenses are the responsibility of the presenter.  

Bee Educated: ABF 2014 "Conversation with a Beekeeper" series continues in July. 

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 offer new session in July.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
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
Tim Tucker, ABF president, will demonstrate a nuc box he has developed that is the most versatile box for starting two nucs in one box. The advantage of this six frame box is that when making nucs, which are usually started with two or three frames of brood, one can make up two and have only one box to carry around or transport to a mating yard. Queens can be raised in them as well and they are less prone to infestation from Small Hive Beetle than smaller queen rearing boxes that tend to have problems. The box has a divider that can be removed and allows the three frame nuc to develop into a full size nuc for sales. It is even possible to use these for full hives. This allows for three boxes of six frames each which amount to the same space as two full size 10 frame boxes using nine frames each. These boxes are of course 40% lighter than 10 frame boxes.
About the presenter: 
 Tim Tucker was elected to serve as ABF president during this year's North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow in Baton Rouge, LA. He had served two years as ABF vice-president. He has also been on the membership committee for ten years as well as serving on the Education, Conference Planning and Research committees. He has served as the president of the Kansas Honey Producers Association for five years and was the editor of the "Cappings Newsletter of the KHPA" for almost ten years. He is currently the editor of the monthly ABF E-Buzz Newsletter and also serves as a trustee on the Foundation for the Preservation of the Honey Bee, Inc.
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 going to our ABF website and follow the link. You must log into your ABF membership account to register. 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. 
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.
Have you missed out on any or all of the great webinars we have hosted over the past year?  Good news!  All of the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinars are archived on the ABF website and you can easily access them at your convenience.
You will need to log into your account to access the sessions.  If you don't remember your username or password, please contact Jon Magee, ABF membership coordinator, at jonmagee@abfnet.org. 

Science Buzz

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

The bees are ranging far and wide building up after a long tiring winter. Here in North Florida we didn't have a tough winter, but our bees are still out foraging to beat the band.  I was watching them the other day, working flowers on the date palms as they moved back and forth to the hive only a 100 yards away. The interesting thing to me is watching them leave the hive to return to the palms because there does not seem to be any particular direct flight plan that they follow, at least when they take off out of the hive. Some go up, some down or left or right.  When I did my search for this month's Science Buzz, I had no problem picking a topic when I read, "Bees Build Mental Maps to Get Home" in the news section of Nature Magazine (June 2, 2014).    
Many are keenly aware of the fantastic work of Karl von Firsch, who discovered the meaning of the "waggle dance" and that bees use the sun as a compass to guide them to resources. Essentially, bees use vectors pegged to the position of the sun (see figure to the left) to make their way to and from the hive. Indeed, I always thought that this was the only way that bees navigate. It turns out that I, and many others, may be wrong given the results reported by Cheeseman and colleagues in a paper entitled "Way-finding in Displaced Clock-shifted Bees Proves Bees Use a Cognitive Map" (published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, June 3, 2014. These authors believe that bees don't necessarily need the sun to find their way back to the hive because they have memorized a map of the landscape and can use the map to get home.  

So how did they come up with this idea? First, they trained the bees to go to a feeder in a field.  Then, they collected bees in the morning, attached tiny transponders to the workers' backs and placed them in lightproof containers. Bees in one of the containers were anesthetized while the control group was not. Knocking the bees out for six hours with anesthetic effectively stopped their internal clock. When they woke up, they thought it was the same time that it was when they were anesthetized.  Of course, the control group kept tract of time. They took both groups to areas away from the feeders and the hive and released them, monitoring the flight path using the transponders and radar. Bees from both the anesthetized and control groups found their way home even though the time shifted. The anesthetized bees started going in the wrong direction, relying on the sun-compass vector system based on the position of the sun at the time when they were knocked out.  However, they realized they were going in the wrong direction, changed their flight path and found the way back to the hive. This shows that the bees used a method other than the sun-compass to reorient their way home.  Additionally, when the experiment was performed with obvious landmarks, they found their way back faster than when there were no obvious landmarks. The authors say that this shows that the bees recognized the landmarks and used them to get home faster and that overall, bees are able to use memories of landmarks to help guide them. If this is true, and more research needs to be conducted to fully support the idea, then honeybees use a system of so-called "cognitive mapping" to navigate. This is a similar system to that used by mammals. In other words, they are capable of memorizing the landscape! This is really interesting because bees have such tiny brains. In mammals, a special part of the brain, called the hippocampus, is used to develop and store cognitive maps.  Bees have no such area. So even without a hippocampus, bees manage to store maps. It's hard to believe, and in my view, in need of additional research. How are the authors going to explore this more fully? Well, they intend to put the bees in mazes and monitor their brain waves as they work their way through. This may well demonstrate that bees can indeed make mental maps. 

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

Honey Sweet Relief on a Sunny Day in SoCal

The National Honey Board and Pro Volleyball player and Gold Medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings kicked summer off in style by visiting Hermosa Beach on June 6. Armed with honey bear bottles, honey sticks and honey lip balms, the team hit the beach to bring beach goers sweet relief from the hot summer sun.At the event, Walsh  Jennings challenged beach bums on the sand court. Every hour, a couple of lucky people were randomly selected to play a quick match of volleyball with Walsh Jennings. 

To attract beach goers, the team built a huge tent, filled with chaise lounges, chairs, couches, photo booth and sweet honey snacks and beverages. Crowd favorites ranged from Honey Blueberry Citrus Slush to an energizing Pomegranate Apple with Honey Shot. In addition to the sweet sips, the team served up some delicious honey snacks like Honey Caramel Corn (link to Honey Caramel Corn) and Super Fast Honey Snack (link to Super Fast Honey Snack). Beach combers agreed: honey is the perfect natural energizer to recover from the hot summer sun. 

Who knows-maybe the team will hit your area next summer to bring sweet relief! 
 Keri Walsh

 Honey Queen Buzz: Summer Starts With a Bang!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Susannah Answers Questions. 
As we are all busy getting our bees ready for the early summer honey flow, the American Honey Queen and Princess have started their summers out with a bang! June has kept them busy with some exciting local and national promotions!

Schools wrapped up later in Florida than in Pennsylvania, so Susannah had the opportunity to present to students in Central Florida about how honeybees help the important agriculture industry in Florida. While schools were already done for the year in Pennsylvania, Elena visited several Girl Scout troops in her local area, teaching aspiring honey consumers how to use honey in different recipes. Susannah also gave presentations about cooking with honey to local 4-H clubs, and wrapped up her month of local appearances by visiting a local beekeeping club meeting. Susannah also spent six days promoting in these types of venues in Colorado and participating in the Colorado State Beekeepers Association summer meeting.

Princess Elena Serves Up Some Cooking Tips.

These promotions are easy to arrange and have a positive impact on the community. Speaking with children's groups and showing them how flavorful honey is and how easy it is to use helps increase honey consumption. Girl Scouts, 4-H Clubs and civic organizations are eager for free guest speakers and what better way to promote your products than by having the Honey Queen or Princess give these speeches in your area. Consider adding these types of presentations to your local promotions and you'll enjoy the rewards!

In addition to these promotions, the Queen Committee arranged several local television interviews for Susannah and Elena. The topics ranged from getting started in beekeeping in Florida, to demonstrating easy summer honey recipes in Pennsylvania. Check out the American Honey Queen Facebook Page for more information on these interviews!

We are close to finalizing the summer promotional schedules and are working quickly on the fall promotional schedules for Susannah and Elena. I look forward to hearing from you soon about your request for Susannah and Elena to visit your state! Please contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to discuss the options!  Happy promoting! 

Kids N' Bees: We are Buzzin'

by Sara Red-Laird, Bee Girl

One of the greatest benefits of being an American Beekeeping Federation member is access to their amazing webinars. We have a plethora of experts of many different factions of beekeeping here in the United States, and Regina and team round up many of them to share their expertise every few weeks via webcast. The most recent course was on starting a youth program. Texas Beekeeping Association President Blake Shook developed a program to engage young beekeepers, inspired by a 2004 survey showing a gap in interest among the next generation. According to the study, 60 percent of beekeepers were 66 or older, 29 percent were 41-65 and only 11 percent were under 40. The trend of beekeepers aging without recruitment of new "brood" continued; in 2007, only 8 percent were under 40.    

I, too, have noticed this trend. At ABF's 2012 conference in Las Vegas, keynote speaker Laurie Adams conducted a survey of her own. With nearly all participants in attendance, she asked all to stand up and then gradually take their seats as she called out qualifiers: sit if you are over 60, over 40, don't work in beekeeping as your full time job, etc. Out of over 700 audience members, there were three, yes THREE, of us who remained standing to represent the next generation of beekeepers. 

Beekeeper and researcher Randy Oliver says the secret to keeping your colony alive is simple: recruitment has to surpass attrition. In other words, if we want to see our industry continue, we need more young beekeepers inspired, empowered and trained than those beekeepers in the majority percentile that are retirement age.

This may seem like an overwhelming and daunting task. But, believe me, it's also a fun one!  I encourage you to start a youth program at any level you, or your club or association, can handle. It can be as small as popping into a classroom once a year with an observation hive and some honey for tasting or giving steep discounts for youth to your Bee School, or as ambitious as a full-blown youth program based on the model developed by Blake Shook and the Colin County Hobby Beekeepers Association.

The program that Blake has designed is successful, awesome and open-source. You can visit cchba.org for more information, but I'll give you the highlights from his ABF webinar: 

  • Start in phases; you don't have to launch this program in its entirety at once
  • The "award" of the scholarship program can be: a complete hive with bees, a smoker and tool, all protective equipment, a 20-hour training course, two books, a mentor for one year and a location to extract honey. Have students apply for the program, and only accept as many as you can handle. That might only be one your first year 
  • Interview the potential participants to gauge their commitment and enthusiasm 
  • Look for donations for your membership and ask beekeeping suppliers to support the program
  • Partner with local chapters of FFA and 4-H, public schools and homeschool groups
  • Suggested requirements to apply: applicant must be from a non-beekeeping family, must be between 12 and 17 years old, must be willing to complete all program requirements, must show level of responsibility and must be currently attending school
  • Once the student gets in to the program, you can require: attendance of at least 75 percent of monthly club meetings in a year, attendance of Bee School, attendance of their 20 hours of class/mentor time, keep a scrap book, work at your state or county fair bee booth, enter honey into your state or organization's honey contest, be of aid during monthly meetings and other gatherings, present their experience with the program at one club meeting, give regular reports on hive conditions, take initiative in hive care
  • Start the program in January or February, so they are comfortable and ready for bee season
  • Require a parent or guardian to attend with the student, and let them attend all opportunities for no cost as well. 

When I say this program is a success, it's because since the start of this program, they have seen club meeting attendance drastically climb by not only the students, but their family and friends as well. Often times the family will stay engaged in the beekeeping community even after the program participant goes off to college. I also deem this program successful due to the fact that even if the student doesn't emerge as a full-time beekeeper, we will undoubtedly have a bee and beekeeping advocate and a local honey connoisseur for life!  

If you are already working with youth (and I know many of you are), share it with the WOLRD! The International Bee Research Association's BEEWOLRD Project has gone interactive! Register and then share your own "Bee World" through this link. Post a description and pictures of your classroom, organization, project, etc. and explore the other "beecentric" projects around the world. It's totally open-source, so feel free to use the ideas that you find and reach out to the other educators on the map! Coming soon will be a live feed on this page to post ideas and stories to encourage even more sharing. While you are on the site, check out the blog. I, along with other ambassadors, will be posting regularly!   

Bee Thinking

There was no winner for last month.  So, Tim is adding some helpful hints to the current riddle to see if you can guess it. . 

Riddle:You are here, I am there, Not an oval, not a square. I'm shaped and molded in every way, With your efforts day by day.  (Here is more) I go before you wherever you go, I'm known by others you may not know.

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

  • An Ittsy, Bittsy Spider: The venom from a deadly Australian spider offers promise of a new bio-pesticide that kills key insect pests but leaves honey bees unharmed.The insect-specific Hv1a/GNA fusion protein bio-pesticide is a combination of a natural toxin from the venom of the funnel web spider and snowdrop lectin. Researchers at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom says feeding acute and chronic doses to honeybees – beyond the levels they would ever experience in the field – had only a very slight effect on the bees’ survival and no measurable effect at all on their learning and memory. Learn More 
  • A researcher at Georgia State University is studying a new, biological treatment for bacterial and fungal pathogens that are killing honeybees and bats in record numbers. Read More
  • USDA Provides $8 Million to Help Boost Declining Honey Bee Population: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), today announced $8 million in Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) incentives for Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin farmers and ranchers who establish new habitats for declining honey bee populations. More than half of the commercially managed honey bees are in these five states during the summer.   Read More 
  • Sarah Red-Laird transformed a childhood fascination with honey bees into an impassioned career as a research scientist, educator, conservationist, and revered beekeeper. . Read More

  • It is with dismay that I must report on another bumblebee kill, this time only about a mile away from the DeadBumblesbees in my yard.  All of the details are not in yet, but the basic picture is clear.  Insecticide was sprayed early Monday morning, 6/16, on blooming linden trees in an apartment complex in northwest Eugene. Read More

  • Honeybee deaths in the U.S. fell over the past year, according to a government report that said losses remained higher than beekeepers consider acceptable to remain in businessRead More

  • BAYER MAKES SECOND HIRE IN BEE FIGHT: Pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer Corporation has hired Gephardt Group Government Affairs to defend against claims that its pesticides are causing devastating damage to honeybee populations. Former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) will lobby for Bayer, as will his former chief of staff, Thomas O'Donnell. It's the second lobbying hire on the specific issue of bee populations amid growing outcry from environmentalists and related legal battles with the European Union and the Environmental Protection Agency. Bayer brought Cornerstone Government Affairs on board in April and opened the North American Bee Care Center in North Carolina.

  • USDA Announces New Support for Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, and increases beginning beekeeper loss payments. Read More

ABF Welcomes New Members — April 2014

  • Manzoor Ahmad, Afghanistan
  • Darin Allred, California
  • Matt Baguss, Iowa
  • Gaylene Joy Carson, South Carolina
  • Philip M Hempel, Michigan
  • Timothy Nicholas, Missouri
  • Michael R Phillips, Virginia
  • Renea Williams, Oregon 

Recipe of the Month: Honey and Soy Laquered Ribs

Source: Southern Living March 2014


  • 2 (2- to 2 1/2-lb.) slabs St. Louis-style pork ribs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter 
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger


1. Preheat oven to 325°. Rinse slabs, and pat dry. Remove thin membrane from back of slabs by slicing into it and pulling it off. (This will make the ribs more tender.)
2. Sprinkle salt and pepper over slabs; wrap each slab tightly in aluminum foil. Place slabs on a jelly-roll pan, and bake 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until tender and meat pulls away from bone.

3. Bring honey and next 6 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Transfer to a bowl.

4. Remove slabs from oven. Increase oven temperature to broil on high. Carefully remove slabs from foil; place on a foil-?lined baking sheet. Brush each slab with 3 Tbsp. honey mixture.

5.. Broil 5 to 7 minutes or until browned and sticky. Brush with remaining honey mixture.

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