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ABF E-Buzz: October 2014
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ABF E-Buzz — October 2014

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

October Days

Oh, what a lovely time October brings
when nature takes the turn.
Its summer one day, fall the next,
Winter's cold we'll soon relearn.

Pumpkins and golden leaves all,
Remind us that in time,
All's replaced with white and frost,
And holidays sublime.

Welcome back!

Here we are again, approaching the end of another year. This one has really gone fast for me and at times I forget where I was six to eight weeks ago. I hope your bees are getting better attention than are mine. Of course it's time for closing up those entrances to keep the mice out, and to really assess what level of health your bees are experiencing. If you have 60 – 80 lbs. of honey left on them they should be prepared for the winter. If not, it's still early enough in many areas to bulk them up with supplementary feed. We all know how helpful supplementary pollen can be if you are in a pollen deficient area in the fall. Though these supplements are not as healthy as regular pollen, they still can be very beneficial.

One of the things we were presented with this week at the USDA Forage and Nutrition Summit was how important it is to provide not only protein for the bees but also amino acids and fatty acids or lipids. As we learn more and more about what bees really need in their diet we will make supplements better and our bees will hopefully respond in a better fashion attaining a better level of overall health.

Keynote speaker Zac Browning, one of ABF’s past presidents , commented that it takes 200 lbs. of honey and 40 lbs. of pollen just to power the hive for the year. That means that if we are going to harvest any honey or pollen it needs to be at levels above these amounts. So, when bees are foraging the roughly 9,000 acres that surround their home, they really have to have access to lots of nectar and pollen.

Zac also addressed the issue of seed mixes and how much we need to have species of clover, alfalfa and borage represented for CRP and pasture improvement if we are going to do a good job of providing nectar for our bees. In past negotiations, USDA has refused to include these varieties,considering them to be invasive species that will dominate others. While this may be the case in some areas, such as the western parts of the Dakotas, it may not be the case in other areas. Just like raising bees, raising forage is a very local thing as well.

We will be making ready to move the bees to Texas in December, and I had the opportunity to meet our Texas bee inspector this week in Washington, D.C. Yes, that's right: D.C., at the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) meeting. It's amazing where you have to go to some days to meet the people you need to speak to and get to know better.

Our meeting with Pollinator Partnership was a good meeting and very productive. Laurie Davies Adams and Tom VanArnsdale do a great job coordinating a meeting with a broad spectrum of speakers and special task forces that initiate objectives with time lines for accomplishment. I have worked on    the Pesticide education task force and      during the past year we have issued a very good instruction manual for the training of pesticide applicators and a video that is an excellent tool for purpose of disseminating information surrounding Best Management Practices (BMP's) for the use of pesticides    when necessary.   It is important to do what we can to inform and educate in regard to    protecting honey bees and pollinators all across the board.

Speakers at the meeting included Peter Beesley ofPacific Gas and Electric, which has programs to provide habitat strips along utility pathways in the western states. There are millions of acres that could provide great habitat that hasn't been exposed on a large scale to neonicotinoids.
Krysta Harden, USDA Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, spoke on the agency’s involvement in programs to protect honey bees and provide habitat. The USDA even promotes honey bee awareness through its bee cam, which focuses on the colony on the roof top of the USDA headquarters building in  Washington, D.C.

 We also heard from Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, who spoke on the agency's new field studies that will be required for registration of new pesticide products. They are coming out in December with new honey bee warning statements  that will  provide for more definitive wording on pesticide labels. There's no doubt that labels need to be very precise in their warning about protections for pollinators.

 Nigel Raine, Ph.D., Research Chair in Pollinator Conversation, University of Guelph. gave a talk on the devastating effects of neonicotinoids on honey bees and all insects in the fieldThese compounds are showing up in streams and rivers and having great impact on marine invertebrates as well.

 There were talks from James Strange, Ph.D., Research Entomologist, USDA; Michael Stebbins, Ph.D., White House Office of Science and Technology Policy ; and of course, myself.

 Michael detailed the recent Presidential Memorandum which commands all government agencies across the board to develop strategies for making the landscape around office buildings and any government-managed lands pollinator friendly and restoring pollinator levels to numbers that are r  representative of healthy populations that will be able to survive.

 My talk was on communication and how bees are telling us that they are not well. Factors involving pesticides, our need for new Varroa treatments, and lack of safe, pesticide-free forage are all having detrimental impacts on our bees. There is much bees can tell us if we but listen.
Bees are demonstrating that pesticides are putting stress on their ability to fight off disease and thrive in their environment.  The bees are telling us that they need pesticide free, diverse forage which is shrinking in their environment. The bees are telling us that varroa and the viruses they vector are a significant problem and we
need new effective controls.   Bees have an amazing resilience to combat these issues but with so many stress factors they are loosing the battle for health.

Once again, we hope you find your time here well spent and that you enjoy the information this month. Our honey queen and princess have been busy and Anna has yet another report on their hard work this past month representing all beekeepers. We have some great buzzmakers and another new riddle and recipe for Skinny Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas. Don’t forget to register for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow on January 6-10 in Anaheim, California. We look forward to seeing you there.

Thanks again for stopping by and if there's anything you would like to add or feel we need to add to the ABF E-Buzz to make information more available, please let us know. You can email me anytime at tuckerb@hit.net. Till next time, I hope you have a great fall and that your bees are in good shape for the upcoming winter!

BEE Our Guest: 

SAVE $50 before December 10 for the 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow!

The 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow takes place at the “magical” Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California, January 6-10, 2015. Join hundreds of beekeepers large and small and a vibrant community that is dedicated to ensuring the future of the honey bee for education, networking and the sharing of ideas and solutions. As an attendee you’ll benefit from:

• Two days of general sessions featuring presentations from industry experts
• Informative Shared Interest Group meetings and track sessions for each level of beekeeping
• 20+ interactive hands-on workshops
• Keynote presentation from Mark Winston from Simon Fraser University's Centre for Dialogue
• The 2015 Honey Show
• A global vendor tradeshow: discover the latest products and services in the beekeeping industry The coronation of the 2015 American Honey Queen and Princess
• Lots of socializing opportunities
• And much, much more . . .

Celebrate the start of 2015 in Anaheim, in the heart of sunny Southern California! Average temperatures range from the high 40’s to the low 70’s, making it much warmer than most other places in January. So, take a break from the cold and join 600-800 other beekeepers to share knowledge, experiences, tips and a little fun in a beautiful setting. We can’t wait to see you there!

More About the Disneyland Hotel
The Disneyland Hotel, a AAA Four-Diamond property, hosts the conference; attendees may take advantage of a special group rate of $109.00 (plus applicable taxes). This rate is available until December 15, 2014 or until the group block is sold out (whichever comes first). We encourage you to make your reservations early to ensure availability. Additionally, the group rate will be honored three days before and after the conference dates. So, make a little vacation out of it and bring the whole family.

Just steps away are Downtown Disney and its restaurants, retail shops and activities. Adjacent to Downtown Disney, you’ll find the Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. So in just one location, you’ll have the amazing 2015 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow, the AAA Four-Diamond Disneyland Hotel, Downtown Disney and two theme parks not to mention all the other features Anaheim has to offer. Make your plans now to attend and we’ll see you in January.

Register Today!

Science Buzz

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

Fall is a critical time to treat hives for Varroa mites. As such, I thought it would be good discuss some of the issues associated with miticides and Varroa control.  I covered this in an earlier write up and thought it might be good to re-publish it.  So here it is.

The Varroa mite is incredibly difficult to control using classical in-hive pesticides. This is because miticides must not only kill Varroa but also have little or no toxic effects on bees. This is incredibly difficult because both mites and bees are arthropods, and usually toxins for one arthropod are also toxic to other  arthropods.  Additionally, mites have developed resistance to fluvalinate and amitraz and good evidence that resistance to coumaphos is increasing. Currently tau-fluvalinate impregnated into plastic strips (Apistan®) is available for use but sprayable formulations are not. Tua-fluvalinate is a pyrethroid  neurotoxin and nearly all  pyrethroids  are highly toxic to bees. Little is known about the sub-lethal effects on bees.  Amitraz had a short life as a control measure for Varroa because beekeepers reported significant colony losses after treatment and it was withdrawn from the market. This pesticide acts as a  signaling chemical between nerves and  mimics a compound  found in high amounts in the honey bee brain.  As such it is likely that the compound has significant effects on behavior of bees and, even at sub-lethal amounts, may cause changes in worker behavior. Coumaphos is currently available for use  against both Varroa and small hive beetles  (Checkmite+®) and like the abov e  pesticides is a neurotoxin.  Although bees are able to detoxify doses of coumaphos used to control mites, coumaphos has been shown to have effects on queen size and longevity and to reduce the fertility of drones.  The most recent  classical pesticide available for Varroa control is  fenpyroximate which received a Section  18  registration under the name Havistan®. This compound is not a neurotoxin and probably acts by interfering with energy production in cells.  As of yet no resistance to fenpyroximate has been detected in Varroa mites  but, as with all classical pesticides resistance, will probably  emerge and adult bee mortality has been observed  in the early days following application. 

 In addition to classical pesticides, there are control strategies using naturally occurring chemicals including organic acids and essential oils. To date there has been no documentation of resistance to either class of these natural products. Organic acids that have been used with success include oxalic and formic  acids.  Of the two, only formic acid has a Section 18 registration for use in the US under the trade name MiteAway II®. The likely mode of action for formic acid is similar to that of fenpyroximate in that it probably inhibits energy production but it may also cause nervous excitation. Although this acid is present in  hives naturally, large concentrations of formic acid can reduce worker longevity and brood survival. Additionally, many different essential oils have been shown to be effective in controlling the mite. Essential oils are what give plants their odors.  For example the pinene smells like pine and limonene smells like l  lemons. At this point the principal essential oil in registered products available for Varroa control, Apilife Var ® and Apigard®, is thymol the essential oil in the herb thyme. Reports indicate that these formulations are very effective. However, studies have shown that thymol is more toxic to bees than most other  essential oils when used as a fumigant and that thymol can result in increased queen mortality and induce bees to remove brood. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any information on how these products kill Varroa mites or the sub-lethal effects of them on bees. 

 So what’s the bottom line on use of chemicals to control Varroa? First, do your homework, check with other beekeepers, read the labels and material data safety sheets before making a decision. Second, pick a product that you are comfortable with and third, if a decision is made to use any of the pesticides, it is absolutely imperative that you follow label instructions to the letter and that you monitor treated hives for problems. If problems arise contact the county extension agents and let them know the problems.    

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

In celebration of National Honey Month, the National Honey Board (NHB) wanted to do something BIG! We asked honey fans to set month-long goals to participate in the “What Can You Bee-Come?” Sweepstakes and we were delighted with the response.


To join, participants had to take three photos of their journey towards the completion of a goal throughout September, and post them to social media while tagging the NHB.  We were impressed with the wide range of goals we witnessed, from evening walks with the family to healthier meal plans and even yoga practice, among other adventures.


 We are excited to announce that Shannon S. is our grand prize winner! Shannon has won a sweet getaway to Los Angeles, California, to celebrate her victory, which includes meeting gold medalist volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings at an AVP tournament in 2015. Shannon posted some great photos of  accomplishing her goal of being more active with her family, including evening walks and family bike rides!


A big shout out to our runners up; Janice C., Lori B., and Monica L., who each won honey prize packs for their fun submissions! Thank you to everyone who participated. Please don’t forget to follow @NationalHoneyBoard on Instagram for upcoming Instagram challenges!


·        National Honey Month has come to an end, but that doesn’t mean the celebrations have to stop! Thank you to everyone who participated in our #TeamHoney Challenge Sweepstakes with Kerri Walsh . A very special congratulation to Shannon S. who will be on her way to see Kerri in action at the AVP Pro Beach tour in 2015! http://bit.ly/1t0fqWl

·        Link to blog post


·        #TY to all who entered the #TeamHoney challenge! Congrats 2 our winner who will be on her way to meet @kerrileewalsh! http://bit.ly/1t0fqWl

·        Link to blog post


Our #TeamHoney Challenge has come to an end. Thank you to everyone who participated in our sweepstakes and to our #TeamHoney captain @KerriLeeWalsh for keeping us on track! Congrats to @mrssendejas who won a sweet getaway to meet Kerri on the AVP tour in 2015!

·        Collage of photos from sweepstakes

 Honey Queen Buzz: Autumn Begins!

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Susannah at the NILE

 Autumn has definitely arrived – the weather is cooler (in most parts of the country!), the leaves are falling, fall crops are being harvested, and Honey Queen promotions are shifting in focus! October brought the American Honey Queen Program into a new season as well.

As autumn begins, the Honey Queen and Honey Princess start to wind down their work at fairs and ramp up their presentations in schools. That was the case this October. Fair season wound down in October, with stops in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Texas, and Florida for fairs and festivals. Fall fairs, festivals, and farmers’ markets are all welcome events for the queen and princess.



Princess Elena with Beeswax Candles

They are great ways to show off the products of our industry, including honey, beeswax, and value added products, such as lip balms and cosmetic products. Consider having the Honey Queen or Honey Princess promote at your event or even the local grocery store that carries your honey to help ramp up your sales. People love learning about different recipes and how to use products, and these venues are perfect. Elena demonstrated honey recipes during her visit to the Texas State Fair, showing fairgoers how simple it is to add honey to your holiday tables. She also spoke to hundreds of students during the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts. This fair annually brings in student groups and the Essex County Beekeepers Association arranges for special presentations for the school groups. Any fair can implement an educational program like this, regardless of the time of year, as fairs are often the stop of field trips for school groups, daycares, and day camps!

School visits became increasingly numerous in October. Susannah spent a week in the Tri-cities area of Washington, speaking to thousands of students in area schools with the local beekeeping organization. The Mid-Columbia Beekeepers Association annually invites the queen to help teach area students about honeybees’ importance. The group collaborates on setting the schedule and providing transportation to make the queen’s visit a success! Susannah also spoke with thousands of students a week later at the Northern International Livestock Exhibition (N.I.L.E.). Each year, Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom puts on an annual event teaching area students about Montana agriculture, and the queen takes part, speaking to hundreds of students a day. It is a great example of how working with your local Farm Bureau can yield great promotional and educational results for our industry! Elena also kept busy with school visits, speaking to students in Virginia and West Virginia the last week of October.

2014 is flying by, but Queen Susannah and Princess Elena still have two more busy months of promoting honey and the beekeeping industry throughout the country. Stay tuned to their latest endeavors on the American Honey Queen Facebook Page, the Buzzing Across America children’s blog, and the American Honey Queen YouTube Channel! Both Susannah and Elena are eager to visit your states, and we are also taking requests 2015 promotional years!   Please contact me at 414.545.5514 or honeyqueen99@hotmail.com to discuss the options!  Happy promoting!

Kids N' Bees: On the Move!

by Sara Red-Laird, Bee Girl

Last month I had the great pleasure of attending the “World Honey Bee Day” in New Orleans, LA, as the guest speaker of this kid-driven event. First grade teacher, Mary Lee Saucier, had the idea that would grow into this event last August when she read the Time magazine article, “The Plight of the Honeybee,” to her students. Yes. I did say first grade. The students were inspired to learn not only what is killing our bees, but also how they could be part of the solution in their survival.

Mrs. Saucier contacted me in early January 2014, with this impressive message:
“Our class theme this year is the honeybee. We are now completely involved in determining what we as a class can do to educate our community and help the honeybees in our area. At this point our class is divided into four teams, each working on a  solution or way to    help  the bees. One group is focused on    encouraging the community to plant bee attracting flowers in their gardens. A second group is working on encouraging people to become local beekeepers. Another group is learning about  pesticides and looking for alternative  natural  pesticides to suggest to the public. Finally, we have a group working on  preserving and creating homes for the bees, such as providing hollow wood or bee blocks. We would love to have your input,  suggestions, and ideas! Is there any possibility that we could  Skype with  you? Maybe the class could ask you some of their questions as well!”

 I corresponded, “yes!” with delight – how inspiring!! I encouraged Mrs. Saucier to register with the International Bee Research Association’s BEEWORLD Project to share her findings, and garner ideas from the world at large. And that she did! Not only did   the kids connect  with other students, learning about bees near and far, they decided they wanted to host a “World Honey Bee Day.” The event was set in motion. They began work in the Idea Lab with Director of Innovation and Design, Garrett Mason, and   before long a grand vison of an  event that would be broadcast to the world came into focus. Lucky me, I was invited to be their guest speaker, and then facilitate activities for the whole primary school for the rest of the day.

   Being part of this event is something I’ll not forget soon. In fact, I’ll most likely carry this day with    me for the rest of my life. Why? Because these kids showed me that not only are they our future,   they are our present. Kids don’t have to “grow up” to take  action and make change!

   They can, and are,  doing that right now. Even the smallest ones. The second best part? The whole     primary school dressed in honeybee costumes, and if you’ve heard of the Beekeepers Ball, you know   I’m a real big fan of  people in  bee attire, especially little  people!
   Thank you to Bob Danka and the USDA Honey Bee Lab in Baton Rouge for loaning us your bees and beekeeping equipment for the day. Please visit our Kids and Bees page for more pictures of the event, and click here for a fantastic video report from the Louisiana Farm Bureau.

 The ABF Kids and Bees event at the Disneyland Hotel will be January 9th! Send an email to sarah@beegirl.org if you would like to volunteer at this fun and fantastic event!!

Bee Thinking

Last Month's Riddle was "Sitting on the porch step? saying bye bye. I'll laugh and sneer till I wither and die. So many faces, shadows and light. My favorite hours are all through the night."  Gene Lindner got the correct answer:  A Carved Halloween Pumpkin. Congratulations Gene!

Here is another riddle for you to ponder over.

Riddle:  What does this say?






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 American Bee Project Makes Land Available. The Pollinator Advocate Award, given each year by the Pollinator Partnership and NAPCC, recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to pollinator protection, conservation, and issue outreach resulting in increased awareness of the importance of pollinators and pollination. Learn More 
  • President Obama Honors Nation’s Top Scientists and Innovators. Congrats May Berenbaum!  President Obama today announced a new class of recipients of the National Medal of Science and National Medal of Technology and Innovation—our Nation’s highest honors for achievement and leadership in advancing the fields of science and technology. The new awardees will receive their medals at a White House ceremony later this year. Read More
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the implementation of a new Farm Bill initiative that will provide relief to farmers affected by severe weather, including drought.. Learn More  
  • On June 20, 2014, President Obama issued a directive to federal agencies to create a federal strategy to promote honey bee and other pollinator health.  The President’s leadership could not come at a more critical time.  Commercial beekeepers across the country experienced extremely high colony losses this past winter, and their hives have yet to recover to full strength as they now continue to pollinate a multitude of crops around the country.  Native pollinators, such as bumblebees, have also suffered alarming population declines, and two species now have petitions pending for protection under the Endangered Species Act. There are currently over 40 pollinator species Federally-listed as threatened or endangered, and most recently, the iconic monarch butterfly has declined by 90 percent.  Read More 

  •  Australia’s European honey bees (Apis mellifera) are at risk of breeding themselves into extinction by mating with the invading Asian honey bees (Apis cerana). The Western Australia Farmers’ Federation says beekeepers are being warned about the risk of unnatural matings with a new study showing honey production and pollination services could be at risk due to the presence of Asian honey bees in Queensland. Learn More

  • Beekeepers Speak Up at the Forage and Nutrition Summit: The Honey Bee Forage and Nutrition Summit, sponsored by USDA, was held October 20-21, in Alexandria, VA. The Summit was postured to seek input from stakeholder groups on issues concerning the interaction of nutrition and available forage on honey bee health. The Summit was organized and hosted by a true friend of the honey bee, Dr. David Epstein of USDA’s Office of Pest Management Policy.  Read More

ABF Welcomes New Members — September 2014

Raymond Alley, Ohio       
Valerian Lutidze
 Linda Anderson, Illinois Sueanne Mosley, Missiouri
 Ramona Anselmo, California     Steven Page, Georgia
 Melissa Bondurant, Georgia Barbara Phillips, Georgia
 Angela Burrage, Georgia Janet Poe, Georgia
 Jonathan Dudzinski, Wisconsin         Stephen Prather, Indiana
 RJ Easton, Virginia Desmond Rabinowitz, Washington
 Shelly Fifield, California Juliana Rangel, Texas
 John Forte, Washington, D. C. Clint Ready, Georgia
 Matt Halbgewachs, Texas Ann Shelton, Georgia
 Cindy Hodges, Georgia Pam Sprague, Iowa
 Kathleen Johnson, Florida Rick Sprague, Iowa
 Kathi Jones, Washington Bruce Sprague, Nebraska
 Berman Kent, Georgia Mark Toshner, Wisconsin
 Roger Kicklighter, Georgia Troy Wagner, Washington
 Paul Kudyha, Georgia John Wingfield, Georgia
 James Kurth, Texas 


Recipe of the Month: Skinny Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Source: National Honey Board

Source: National Honey Board


  • 2 large- chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 12 oz- green enchilada sauce
  • 1/3 cup - honey
  • 1/4 cup - lime juice (about 2 times)
  • 1 tablespoon - chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon - garlic powder
  • 8 medium - whole wheat tortillas
  • 2 cups- Mexican cheese, shredded
  • 3/4 cup - 1% milk
  • 4 tablespoons - cilantro 
  • 1/3 cup- light sour cream

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour a few ounces of enchilada sauce to slightly cover the bottom of your dish. Set aside. 

    2. Whisk together the honey, lime juice, chili powder and garlic powder. Pour this marinade over the shredded chicken and stir so all chicken gets covered in marinade. Let sit for 30 minutes. 

    3. Place chicken into middle of tortilla and top with cheese. Roll tightly and place into baking dish. Repeat. 

    4. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Coat the enchiladas with the leftover marinade using a pastry brush. Bake for 20 minutes or until tortillas are slightly brown.

    5. While enchiladas are in the oven, make the enchilada sour cream sauce by placing the milk, remaining enchilada sauce, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and 2 tablespoons sour cream in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir frequently until thoroughly heated.

    6. Drizzle the enchilada sour cream sauce as desired onto enchiladas which can also be topped with leftover sour cream and cilantro.