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ABF E-Buzz: September 2020

In This Issue:




President’s Greeting

by: Joan Gunter, ABF President

I hope this edition of ABF E-Buzz finds you well and safe. We are busy extracting and bottling our honey crop here in North Dakota. It hasn’t been the best year we’ve ever had, but it hasn’t been the worst either. And, there is always next year!

The ABF has successfully negotiated a new management contract with Meeting Expectations. After much deliberating and sacrifices from both sides, our 2020-2021 operating budget is finally finished.

The cancellation of the annual conference will make things difficult financially for ABF. We will be sending out a mailer packet asking for donations to help supplement the loss of income resulting from this cancellation. We all will miss the face-to-face experience we are used to, but the information we are used to receiving will be delivered virtually. The details of this virtual meeting will be released later this month, but go ahead and plan to login January 5-7, 2021.

The ABF team is working diligently on finding outside income to help fund our organization’s activities. We have been conference-driven for too long. It is time to find another way to generate income for our group. This is something we can continue year after year. It will be good policy to continue down this path.

Legislative Update

We continue to fight the fight on Sulfoxaflor. The Pollinator Stewardship Council and the ABF are working with Earth Justice to prove Sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees and should not be released for general application use. This has been an ongoing battle with Dow and the EPA.

ABF and AHPA are working jointly to counter a petition submitted by Xerces and the U.S. Forest Service along with several other NGOs to stop beekeepers from using Forest Service land. Our chances are good to win this one since the science they are using is weak and easily challenged.

H2A visas have been extended due to the effects of COVID-19 in our country and in the countries that the workers are returning to. Our foreign workers come from Nicaragua and are being required to be COVID-free before returning to their country. If you have foreign workers, you may want to check with the return airline to be sure your workers can go home. There is a Zoom meeting coming up this week that will address this issue. I will let the membership know of any changes.


Vice President’s Message

by: Dan Winter, ABF Vice President

As fall fast approaches for us beekeepers, we begin to prioritize what comes first. We pull and extract the honey, treat the hives for mites, feed and transport to better wintering areas. We even begin to plan for spring pollinations. There’s never enough time in the day. I always have the feeling that I’m behind right at the end of the honey flow.

Since my last ABF E-Buzz message, there have been three primary legislative updates.

1) The U.S. will continue the farm worker visa program extensions amid COVID-19. Law 360 reports, legislators have stated that foreign farmworkers can extend their H2As for their temporary work visas. This was considered vitally important to securing harvesting labor and, in turn, will help protect U.S. food suppliers. I know this is good news for beekeepers.

2) Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) is working on a bill to address a Standard of Identity for honey. Rep. Armstrong’s office has reached out to the ABF with questions about some issues with its writing. We know it’s important for a federal standard to come first before the states. Problems occurred in some states that did adopt a standard. We at the ABF look forward to helping with this effort.

3) And finally, a federal court overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the use of Bayer’s dicamba herbicide (commonly known as Roundup). This will make it illegal to use this herbicide. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the EPA “substantially understated the risks” of the dicamba herbicide and “failed entirely to acknowledge other risks.”

As most ABF members know, we have decided not to hold the 2021 ABF Conference & Tradeshow due to the ongoing pandemic. This was a very difficult decision to make, especially considering how vital the conference is to raising money that supports the ABF’s work on issues associated with beekeeping legislation and research.

I strongly urge members to keep memberships current and please continue to donate to the Honey Queen Fund. These folks work very hard, raising awareness for our industry even in these uncommon times. Anyone wishing to donate can logon to ABF’s website at www.abfnet.org/donate.


Online ABF Store Launched

Love Bees? Love Honey? Love Beekeepers? Shop ABF!

The new line of ABF merch is here! Stock up on all the fun items we’ve made available like shirts, hats and our must-have ABF jacket that comes in both yellow and gray. You’ll be thrilled with the quality of these products as well as the ease of purchasing online. Get yours today!


2022 ABF Conference & Tradeshow Dates Announced

It has been a whirlwind of a year, and while we’ve all been inundated with bad news lately, the ABF has a bit of GREAT NEWS to report!

January 2022… Las Vegas… The nation’s beekeepers together again… Live and in person… See you there…

January 5-8, 2022
South Point Hotel, Las Vegas


On-Demand Beekeeping Education:
Fall (For Winter) Management

Presented by: Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University


By following the natural behavior of the honey bee colony, a beekeeper can prepare his colony to better survive winter. Learn all the tips and tricks that help a colony survive the long, cold winter.


Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, got his start in beekeeping as a boy scout over 65 years ago. With that interest, he went on to receive his B.S. degree from Michigan State University in Entomology and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His doctoral research was on the genetics and environmental factors in queen rearing.

After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University’s Entomology Department, where he remained doing research, teaching and extension in insect physiology and apiculture for 38 years. His research interests involved fruit pollination, disease transmission, population dynamics and insecticide interactions with insects and animals.

Click Here to View the Presentation!


Honey Queen Buzz

by: Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

August was the first of many months to come for the American Honey Queen and Princess to highlight the fruits of our labor—the many unique varieties of honey found from coast to coast. Mary and Sydnie’s “Coast to Coast Honey Experience” video series premiered on the American Honey Queen Program’s Facebook page on August 1 (you can also find these videos on the American Honey Queen Program’s YouTube channel). Part of the queens’ role is to promote the use of honey and increase consumer consumption. With this year’s absent fairs and festivals, a video series was the next best virtual way to achieve this program goal. The queens highlight a variety of facts about various producers’ honey in these short and unique videos.

Watch for new videos to be premiered every few days for the next few months, highlighting many unique kinds of honey that our members and supporters have graciously donated for this campaign. We will still gladly take donations of honey for this video series, which will be ongoing for weeks to come. Contact me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com if you are interested in having your honey highlighted. As of the end of August, we have received honeys from 18 states to highlight. We’d love to highlight a honey from every state!

Another exciting video project premiered in August. Local Hive Honey, based in Colorado, collaborated with the American Honey Queen Program to create a video series teaching consumers about our industry. The first video was released in late August and is available to view on the American Honey Queen Program’s Facebook page as well as the ABF’s Facebook page. Stay tuned for additional educational videos. We thank Local Hive Honey for their support and collaborative efforts!

Additional in-person and virtual promotions were a part of August for Mary and Sydnie. Both queens provided a video and live content for a virtual University of Maryland summer camp. Mary presented virtually to the Big Island Beekeepers Association in Hawaii about ABF and virtual honey promotions. Sydnie traveled in late August to Kentucky for a series of beekeeping and governmental meetings.

As schools resume this fall, the queens are eager to provide live virtual presentations throughout the country. Given the nature of our promotional year, we are hopeful of scheduling the queens to speak and present virtually in every state this year. We need your help. Please forward our program information to your local school, to your teacher friends and colleagues and to your family members’ schools. With many in-person promotions canceled this fall, let’s keep the queens busy throughout the upcoming months, teaching the public about our industry. Contact me to discuss options in your state and region at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414-545-5514. Happy promoting!


Kids and Bees & Minecraft: Education Edition

by: Sarah Red-Laird

Big news from the virtual bee bubble! Kids and Bees has partnered with Minecraft: Education Edition to produce a new world and a number of lessons to introduce students to bees’ dynamic and fascinating roles in their own hives and in broader ecosystems.

Minecraft: Education Edition is a game-based learning platform that promotes creativity, collaboration and problem-solving in an immersive digital environment. Educators in more than 115 countries are using Minecraft: Education Edition across their curriculum! Through project-based lessons, students build critical 21st-century skills like collaboration, creative problem solving and digital citizenship.

Being someone who is from the dark ages of tech innovations in the classroom, I didn’t know how to react when I got an email from someone at Microsoft asking if I’d like to collaborate on a Minecraft video game to teach kids about bees. My childhood era is one of overhead projectors and playing Oregon Trail on an Apple II (remember “the turtle”?!).

But the message couldn’t have come at a better time. I had already set a goal with the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees to create more online curriculum for kids, to increase reach and accessibility. There is so much knowledge buzzing around in my head that I love to share with kids, but there is only one of me and such a big world. Little did I know, in early January, the whole world would bunker down and “go online” in just a couple of months.

As I sat and watched my live education events being canceled and delayed, one knocking into the other—going through my calendar like dominoes—I was dumbstruck. I had planned to teach more than 700 kids about bees and about 50 adults how to teach kids about bees in the coming year. In addition to our summer programs and classroom events, my plan was to throw up a couple of cheeky videos for kids online and work on V2 of the Kids and Bees Handbook as my contribution to the virtual learning space. I had not anticipated pivoting to 100% online education in 2020 and had no clue how I would pull that off.

Learning of the potential capacity and accessibility of Minecraft was a sanity-saver. Millions of students and teachers already have access to Minecraft: Education Edition through their schools and this possible reach is what my dreams are made of!

So, I said “YES!” and set off on a journey to conceptualize “Build with Bees.” My collaborator, Minecraft: Education Edition Program Manager Bryan Bonham, asked me to think of some ideas for the game “world” and to throw out a few suggestions for lesson plans. I proposed three different worlds, each with a different focus: A beehive, a farm and a wild space. I also thought up a few lesson plan outlines to pair with each world. Thinking he would pick one world and the three or four lessons plans that paired with it, I was overjoywhelmed (yes, that’s a word now) when he accepted ALL of them!

I immediately hired Tara Laidlaw to help me write the curriculum for the project. I had met Tara at a workshop for environmental educators in the before-COVID times (I’m not sure when, it’s all a blur at this point). Having been so impressed with her smarts and enthusiasm for teaching kids about soil and farming, we were already wading into the shallow end of creating a new curriculum for Kids and Bees together. When this project came up, I grabbed her and threw her into the deep end with me! When Tara suggested we also create teacher’s guides and worksheets to pair with all the lesson plans, I knew I had chosen the perfect overachieving partner for this endeavor.

Also in cahoots was the video game design team, Lifeboat, which consists of a management team here in the U.S. and a squad of designers in Serbia. I will be forever thankful for their patience as I did my best to learn how to play Minecraft and learn Minecraft-speak like “NPC” and “MOB,” while simultaneously giving direction on how the game should look and what it should do. Basically, they were the go-between my imagination and a tangible, yet virtual finished product. Not understanding the limitations of the game, I obviously just assumed there were none *wink* and relied heavily on them to “make it work.” Being a recovering perfectionist, I tend to fall off the wagon in times of high stakes. I’d just like to extend a direct thank you to Cory Stadther, Lifeboat’s Lead Content Producer, for putting in 14-hour days right beside me and being kind, responsive and committed, while I was not as cool as a cucumber.

Did I mention that we were muddling through all of this during the rise of a global pandemic, the start of the third Civil Rights era and a historic time of civil unrest in the U.S.? Alongside this, we had completely pivoted BGO’s scope of work for 2020 from primarily educational programs to almost all research and conservation projects. I’m forever thankful for the ability to do this, but in front of myself and the team sat a stack of doing-everything-for-the-first-time, which is incredibly hard, no matter how much you love it. Oh, yes… and homeschooling. Truth be told, I really wanted to be curled up on my couch—eating a corndog, drinking a marshmallow milkshake and binge-watching Fleabag for the fourth time.

With all that being said, I couldn’t be more proud or more impressed with the finished product. The game has been translated by Lifeboat into eight languages, so that alone catapults my goal of reach and accessibility for kids bee education into space! Um, and did I mention that Lifeboat made me into an “NPC” (Minecraft for Non-Player Character)? Yes, I’m a video game character now! All I need is an action figure, and my life will be complete.

The new “world” has three different lands to explore and learn from: The Beehive, Beetopia and The Farm. Each has a suite of lesson plans and teacher guides, that can be used in both the classroom and homeschooling. I’ll also mention here that this game isn’t just for kids. I think adults will also get a kick out of foraging for honey on a giant bee and creating a regenerative bee pasture. I know I do!

In the Beehive section of the “Build with Bees” world, the player is as small as a bee. She flies from the hive to collect nectar and pollen and returns to the vast world of the honey beehive. Inside the hive, the bee raises brood, makes honey and bee bread, builds wax comb, learns about the waggle dance, seals the hive with propolis and more!

Students will venture from the honey bee hive and get to know a few other bees. In the “Beetopia” section of the world, the player will explore the habitats of bumble bees, sweat bees and mason bees. They will learn all about the unique ways bees build their homes as well as the challenges bees face.

In the “Farm” section of the world, players can raise bees, build beehives, plant food, fiber, flowers and talk with farmers and beekeepers about bee-friendly and regenerative agriculture. They will learn all about the science of pollination, the importance of bees and how we can all contribute to bees’ survival.

The game was published on August 10 and has already created a buzz. Last week, the “Build with Bees” world was the “Download of the Week,” and this week our “Life Cycle” lesson plan is Minecraft: Education Edition’s “Lesson Plan of the Week!” I was also honored to be a guest on this season’s M:EE Podcast—listen here.

Although the game, lesson plans and teacher’s guides are finished, my work with this project is far from done. I’m going to be using it as a teaching tool for years to come. We’ve already been brainstorming ways to incorporate it into the 2021 virtual ABF conference’s Kids and Bees event.

In the meantime, you can find more information about Minecraft: Education Edition here, how to download the game here, all of the lesson plans and teacher’s guides are here and a guide to know which curriculum goes with which game (and the suggested order they go in), is here.

Note: If you aren’t a classroom teacher with a M:EE license, here is a blog on how to get M:EE for homeschoolers. Check to see if you have an account or learn how to get a free demo here.

So much gratitude to Bryan Bonham and the team at Microsoft and M:EE for giving me this opportunity, to Tara and Annika for all of your hard work on the curriculum and the new Kids and Bees website, to Lifeboat for making our bee world as real as possible and to the Bee Girl and ABF and Foundation boards for all of your support.

Also, be sure to check out Kids and Bees’ brand new website here!


Rogue Ales & Spirits Honey Kolsch
Wins Gold at Honey Beer Competition

The National Honey Board made the call for the best made-with-honey beers in the nation, and the Beer Judge Certification Program sent 12 judges to taste, smell and rate 228 submitted beers. When all was sniffed, tasted and assessed, a beer from Newport, Oregon’s Rogue Ales & Spirits came out on top: A general ale named Honey Kolsch. This was the third time in six years Honey Kolsch has won the competition.

The two-day competition was a bit different this time around, with COVID-19 measures ensuring the event was safe for everyone involved. Safety measures included plexiglass dividers between the paired certified judges, temperatures taken during check-in procedures each day and gloves and masks worn by stewards of the event. Once judges removed their masks, the submitted beers from breweries from across the country were judged on their aroma, appearance, flavor, mouthfeel and the overall impression of the role honey played in the beer.

Additionally, for the second year in a row, the competition featured a design/packaging category. Speciation Artisan Ales’ Polymorphism’s bottle won gold with its floral/hive label design. Rounding out the best in show honors were Roy-Pitz Brewing Company’s Honey Sucker Pils (silver) and Alvarium Beer Company’s Honey Shot (bronze).

Winners of the 2020 Honey Beer Competition

Best in Show Winners
• Gold Medal: Honey Kolsch – Rogue Ales & Spirits, Newport, Oregon
• Silver Medal: Honey Sucker Pils – Roy-Pitz Brewing Company, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
• Bronze Medal: Honey Shot – Alvarium Beer Company, Newcastle, Maine

Category Winners
• General Lagers: Honey Sucker Pils – Roy-Pitz Brewing Company, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
• General Ales: Honey Kolsch – Rogue Ales & Spirits, Newport, Oregon
• Amber/Brown Ales: Stardog – Mathews Brewing Company, Lake Worth, Florida
• Belgian-Style Ales: Dance Language – Oxbow Brewing Company, Newcastle, Maine
• Fruit/Vegetable/Spiced: Archer – Launch Pad Brewery, Aurora, Colorado
• IPAs: Honey Shot – Alvarium Beer Company, New Britain, Connecticut
• Braggots: Tow City – Obscurity, Maple Park, Illinois
• Stouts/Porters: Dark Nectar – Grist House Craft Brewery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• Wheat Beer: Honey Weiss – Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
• Sours: Microburst – Grist House Craft Brewery, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
• Barrel Aged: Wood Ya Honey – Jackie O’s Brewery, Athens, Ohio
• Other: Honey Double Maibock – South Shore Brewery, Ashland, Wisconsin
• Ciders: Rose Cider – Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Houston, Texas
• Hard Seltzer: Blackberry Mojito Hydromel – Whistle Hop Brewing Company, Fairview, North Carolina
• Design/Packaging: Polymorphism – Speciation Artisan Ales, Comstock Park, Michigan

The NHB team is excited to see this competition grow year over year, and we can’t wait to see what sweet innovations come out of next year. For more information on the Honey Beer Competition, please visit www.honeybeercompetition.com.


Request for Applications
Christi Heintz Memorial Scholarship Award

In 2006, Project Apis m. began working diligently on behalf of beekeepers and growers by investing in projects to solve honey bee health challenges. Founders contributed funds to support applied research to answer the highest priority questions. We strive to be the go-to resource for science-based answers. We are proud of where we are, excited by where we are going, and we know that none of this would have been possible without the vision, hard work and tireless enthusiasm of Project Apis m.’s founding leader—Christi Heintz. Christi served as PAm’s executive director for ten years and laid a strong foundation including the tradition of funding scholarships for future exceptional scientists. We encourage applicants who may not have met her to read her memorial.

Many generous donors have contributed to this award recognizing and honoring her contributions to the beekeeping industry and the legacy she left through her leadership and friendship. A scholarship award of $20,000 will be provided to one master’s student doing research aligned with PAm’s mission, who can also demonstrate their embodiment of Christi’s spirit of curiosity, collaboration and fearlessness.

Project Apis m. has become the largest non-governmental, nonprofit honey bee research organization in the U.S. Established by beekeepers and almond growers in 2006, PAm has infused over $8.5 million into 119 practical bee research projects to provide growers with healthier bees resulting in better pollination and increased crop yields and $2.9 million in restoring habitat to provide nutrition to honey bees.

Priority Areas for Funding
The purpose of the Christi Heintz Memorial Scholarship Award is to ensure the continuity of honey bee health scientists and specialties in the academic and research world. It also intends to develop innovation and sustainability for the beekeeping industry and assure its future contributions to agriculture, where many crops depend upon pollination for success. The award will recognize and support an outstanding graduate student who is, or will be, pursuing a master’s degree in fields within the Project Apis m. mission of enhancing honey bee health while improving crop production.

Qualifications: Candidates must be accepted into an M.S. degree program in the U.S. or Canada. It is preferable the candidates have working experience with bees, crops or pollination. The individual must demonstrate potential for significant achievements, innovation and bridging industry needs in honey bee health science and research.

Financial Support: $20,000 of support in a one-time payment to the university or college will support the selected candidate’s education and research. Project Apis m. scholarships do not cover administrative overhead, appropriate costs covered include student’s stipend, tuition, books, fees, research supplies and testing and reasonable travel to present results.

Applications must be submitted to Project Apis m.’s online portal here by midnight (PDT), October 1, 2020. Copies of proposals will be distributed to a select Review Committee which may include representatives of Project Apis m., the beekeeping and almond industries and Christi’s family.

Approval and Funding
PAm will notify the successful candidate shortly after approval by the Review Committee.

PAm assumes projects will be executed as stated in the application, specifically with reference to the defined objectives, timeline and budget. Successful candidates and their university will sign an agreement with PAm. Two reports per year will be provided to PAm by the candidate through the completion of their degree.

Questions? Contact patty@projectapism.org with brief questions concerning submission of applications to Project Apis m.

How to Apply
To apply, please follow these instructions:

1. Submit your application materials in PDF format and your video in MP4 format.

2. Use the following file naming conventions for the submitted documents.

a. Application – [Date(YYYY_M_D)_Lastname_Firstname_Application]
b. Video – [Date(YYYY_M_D)_Lastname_Firstname_Video]
c. Curriculum vitae – [Date(YYYY_M_D)_Lastname_Firstname_CV]
d. Recommendations – [Date(YYYY_M_D)_Lastname_Firstname_Recommd1] …2, …3
e. Other documents – [Date(YYYY_M_D)_Lastname_Firstname_Name of Document]

3. Applications submitted after October 1, 2020, 11:59PM PDT will not be considered.

4. Documents required:

i. Application (items 4-9 below not to exceed 350 words each). Use this number convention in your application:

    1. Name, address, phone, email, date
    2. University information – for both graduate and undergraduate colleges provide college, academic department, major, overall GPA, research advisor name, phone and email address
    3. University where student has been accepted or is currently enrolled in a masters program
    4. Proposed field of study and description of research project, including its relevance to healthy bees, crops, and PAm’s mission
    5. Financial requirements and detailed budget for use of funding
    6. What ambitious goals do you have for the industry for the next 5 years?
    7. Beekeeping experience
    8. Personal statement about your interest in PAm’s mission and how you plan to use your degree
    9. Christi loved learning new things and conquering new challenges. Tell us about a personal challenge you have faced and overcome, or a goal or accomplishment that required vision and tenacity (like logging hundreds of miles hiking in a year, breaking your leg but still riding motorcycles or teaching yourself a whole new expertise in something).

ii. Video – Provide a 3-minute video that shows your spirit of curiosity, collaboration and fearlessness. Include examples of innovation in your life as well as addressing your interest in Project Apis m. and bee health. Your video should be snappy, surprising, in good taste and convince our Review Committee that your qualities and determination will benefit the beekeeping industry. Videos over 3 minutes will not be accepted.

iii. Curriculum vitae – 2 pages maximum

iv. Letters of recommendation

    1. Submit two, one must be from a graduate advisor, not to exceed 1 page each

v. University transcripts

vi. Other documents

    1. Other documents may be considered, however they should be carefully chosen and directly related to the application

5. An interview by phone or video may be requested.


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

Environmental Groups Want to Block Honeybees from Utah’s National Forests

Ground-breaking Study Finds Honey Bee Venom Can Kill Breast Cancer Cell

A Honeybee’s Tongue Is More Swiss Army Knife than Ladle

Honeybees Are Able to Calculate Probability and Use It to Find Food

National Honey Board and U.S. Food Manufacturers Launch Honey Saves Hives


ABF Welcomes New Members: August 2020

Cushman, Philip - AZ
Dickerson, Irene - MT
Dupuy, Amy - LA
Grigsby, Robert - TX
Janick, Stephen - DE
Nobles, Kenny - GA
Noyer, Robert - MA
Pickett, Valarie - IN
Ross, Andrea - VT
Thayer, Jeremy - RI


Spicy Glazed Shrimp and Vegetable Kabobs

Recipe by: Southern Living
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Buffy Harget

Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Other Time: 30 Minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 Servings

• 16 wooden skewers (7- to 8-inch)
• 2 tbsp honey
• 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
• 1½ pounds peeled, jumbo-size raw shrimp with tails (16 to 20 count)
• 1 tbsp Caribbean jerk seasoning
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• ¼ tsp salt
• 3 yellow squash, cut into ¼- to ½-inch slices
• 2 zucchini, cut into ¼- to ½-inch slices
• 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1½-inch pieces
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It
Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Stir together honey and spicy brown mustard. Toss shrimp with Caribbean jerk seasoning, olive oil and salt. Thread onto skewers. Thread squash slices, zucchini slices and red bell pepper pieces onto remaining skewers. Brush vegetable kabobs with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Grill kabobs, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Grill vegetables 15 minutes or until tender, turning occasionally. Grill shrimp two minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink. Baste shrimp with honey mixture. Serve immediately.