Home | Contact Us | Print Page | Sign In | Join Now
ABF E-Buzz: April 2019

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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


April springs forth green
Turning the grey and brown pales
Into joy and hope.

– Tim Tucker

Welcome back!

I hope your days are passing more slowly than mine. It seems I just get started and the month is gone and I am paying bills again and a whole new month awaits with its own chores. It is now time for almost all of us across the country to plant a garden of some kind. I can’t wait to get my tomatoes in and going along with the zucchini and peppers. My plans for gardens are always bigger than they should be, but I’m going to start scaling back.

We have had a wonderful spring with no late frosts to knock the fruit off our trees, so we are hoping for a harvest this fall as the bees did their job well, perhaps too well. It has been several years since we had any plums to pick for making jelly. Our customers love our Sand Hill Plum Jelly. This year we did have an amazing bloom of Red Buds. We have been making Red Bud jelly, and it is a very pretty red. The dogwoods have been as pretty as I’ve ever seen them as well, and so I am thankful for the season that we have been experiencing.

Swarm season has arrived here in the Midwest, and I have already had a call but it left the tree before we could get there. It is so amazing how bees communicate and how they can find a home to go to so quickly! There has been so much written about bee pheromones that I’m sure most seasoned beekeepers have a good understanding that communication is obvious within the colony or swarm. The really amazing thing is the scouts actually arrive at a consensus, and the colony all fly to a future home that has been selected for volume and security. To me, this is one of the most amazing aspects of honey bee communication. Dr. Tom Seeley writes about this in his book “Honeybee Democracy,” and I would highly recommend it.

If you are wanting to catch swarms, you can use a lure pheromone to attract swarms to your hive. Many suppliers sell these bait or lure pheromones, or you can make one yourself with essential oils. This resembles the Nasonov pheromone, which is sometimes referred to as the “come-hither” scent used by worker bees to attract nest mates to the colony entrance or a food source. It is produced by the bees in their Nasonov glad which lies between the sixth and seventh abdominal tergites. You can see bees attempting to lure swarms into a box, as they stand at the entrance with their heads toward the box opening with their tails stuck up into the air while fanning their wings to spread the scent. It is a very powerful pheromone.

The key to making a lure yourself is citral which is found in lemongrass and lemon essential oils. You can use it by itself or combine with geronial, which is found in rose, lemon and geranium oils which will make it even more effective. You can make a tincture with a ratio of two to one lemon oil to geronial oil. Placing this on cotton balls or strips of cardboard to place in your potential hive will attract bees for a week or more, and if you replace it a few times, you should get through the swarm season. I have used it successfully and then not so successfully at times!

Honey bee communication and pheromones are truly interesting, and I hope to talk a bit more about them in the coming months. I hope you keep coming back for more food for your information files and that you can use some of this in your communication with the public when asked questions about how bees get along.

In a week, I travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee on May 8-9, so if there is anything you would like me to refer to the EPA, I will be happy to, once again, take your questions or information to them. Just send me an email, and I will try and deliver your expressions and concerns at that time.

This month, again, we have some great contributions from our President Tim May and our Vice President Joan Gunter. This year, the ABF is partnering with the Bee Informed Partnership to help you monitor your colonies through the Sentinel Apiary Program, and Tim details that in his report. Joan reports on her travels in support of the ABF to state meetings this past month.

Our Queen Chair Anna Kettlewell provides us with an update on Queen Hannah and Princess Nicole’s travels. They stayed busy all month long, teaching countless people about honey bees and promoting our industry’s wonderful products! Most of the month included presentations on a more local scale. The queens reached hundreds of students in grades K-12 through school presentations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Sarah Red-Laird updates us on the Kids and Bees program with her report on whether or not to charge for the programs we schedule for schools and community programs, and that is always a tough question.

Thank you, all, for your contributions this month. We have lots of other information in our buzzmakers section and a great new recipe for you to try. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope it was time well spent for you. As always, if you have anything you would like to add, drop me an email at tuckerb@hit.net. Have a great month, and I hope your bees are staying in the box!


President's Greeting

by Tim May, ABF President

Spring is finally here, and for many small-scale beekeepers, it is time to replace those colonies that were lost over the winter. The cost of bees keeps rising every year. When I speak to those beekeepers and ask them what happened, I usually get the same response. “I don’t know, there was plenty of feed, but there were hardly any dead bees in the hive.” Having to replace your bees every year is very frustrating. Not knowing why they are dying is even more frustrating.

This year, ABF is partnering with Bee Informed Partnership to help you monitor your colonies through the Sentinel Apiary Program. This program will help check your Varroa mite load, Nosema level and general health of four of your colonies throughout a six-month period. Sample kits are sent to participants and then returned to the University of Maryland for analysis. You will receive a report on your colonies once a month.

Along with receiving a report every month, the analysis will help you determine any potential problems before the colony is lost. It will also help you develop better management practices which will result in healthier bees! The results will also become part of a national database regarding bee health. ABF has decided to sponsor 50 members to participate in the program. ABF participants will receive a $100 discount off the regular cost of the 6-month program.

The Sentinel Apiary Program is a great way to share information with the other members of your local bee club. There are still sponsorships available for this year. Click on the following link for more information: https://www.abfnet.org/mpage/sentinel

I hope everyone has a successful year with healthy bees. I am looking forward to seeing you in January at the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow. If you ever have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me directly.


Webinar of the Month:
Biology & Behavior of Honey Bees

Presented by: Gary Reuter, University of Minnesota

Understanding the biology and behavior of the honey bee is the first step towards being able to manage them. Beekeepers need to understand the biology and behavior of bees, to understand why bees swarm, abscond or why hives have not been colonized. The world of the honey bee is complex and fascinating and is different from most of the other animals people farm because it is a social insect. This fact has some far-reaching practical consequences that need to be taken into account for beekeeping to be successful.

Gary Reuter holds the position of Scientist in Apiculture at the University of Minnesota. He has been at the University of Minnesota since 1993. His responsibilities include field management of the 150 University honey bee colonies, raising and evaluating queens for out breeding program, repair and construction of beekeeping and research equipment, data collection and assistance with data analysis, laboratory work, computer input and programming and teaching short-courses in Honey Bee Management and Queen Rearing. He does speeches at various beekeeper meetings about research results, honey bee management and disease as well as talks to pesticide applicators, growers and the general public. Gary has been a sideliner beekeeper since 1984. He is also the past president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers and past president of the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association.

Click here to view the webinar!


Government Relations

by Joan Gunter, ABF Vice President

Spring! Finally! We have waited patiently for you. Now that you are here, we anticipate the work laid out before us.

Nucing, otherwise known as splitting hives, is usually the largest item on the agenda. Once that process is complete, then it is all about trucking and moving bees to summer locations. Early mornings and late nights with little sleep in between. If you show up at our place in Mississippi during this time, you are guaranteed a free breakfast. It’s just part of that southern hospitality I’m always talking about.

The Mississippi beekeepers have kept me very busy this spring. I had the opportunity to travel to Jackson and speak with the Mississippi State Legislature about ABF and the importance of bees in the state. The Mississippi beekeepers are known to place a jar of honey on each legislators desk during the session to help get the point across. They always wait for the beekeepers to show up with their free honey. It is much appreciated.

I had the opportunity to speak to beekeepers in Jackson, Perkinston and Laurel, Mississippi. Beekeeping in this state has become very popular. There are several commercial beekeepers that have become larger over the years. Many have jumped on the pollination bandwagon and are taking their bees to the almonds in California. Others would rather stay local, to pollinate in Mississippi.

The majority of beekeepers seem to be beginners or small-scale. They are enjoying the honey they produce. Farmers markets and roadside stands are filled with homegrown products from all over the state. Honey fills a large part of these markets. Most beekeepers I have spoken with say they can’t keep enough on the shelf. This is a growing trend. Everyone wants to live a healthier lifestyle, and honey is becoming a part of that lifestyle. It seems that marketing strategies for choosing honey over sugars have been working!

On a side note: Our hearts and prayers go out to the people in the flood plains of Nebraska, South Dakota and all of the affected Midwest states. Many of you are members of this organization, and we are thinking of you during this trying time.


Call for Presentations Is Now Open!

2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow

Schaumburg, Illinois  |  January 8-11, 2020

Do you have important beekeeping research to share, a best practice in beekeeping or a proven track record with keeping hives alive? We want to hear from you!

Please complete the online Call for Presentations submission form no later than Friday, June 14, 2019.

Your engaging and novel presentation should include a how-to component, best practices and an innovative approach. Educational sessions may not include product or company-specific sales initiatives.

The conference committee will review all submissions, and you will be notified of your acceptance in early August. As a reminder, all presenters receive complimentary registration to the conference. All other expenses are the responsibility of the presenter.

Mark your calendar and plan now to join us for the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow!

Exceptional education, spirited networking and constructive resources are what make this event special for beekeepers of all skill levels. From the smallest small-scale beekeepers to the largest commercial operations, we hope to see you in Schaumburg!


The Honey Bee-stro Buzzes into the Epcot
International Flower and Garden Festival

The National Honey Board (NHB) is excited to announce that the Honey Bee-stro has returned to the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival for the 2019 season! Voted a guest favorite, the Bee-stro returns to continue telling the sweet story of honey bees, the plants they pollinate, the food they produce and the delicious honey they make.

The return of the Honey Bee-stro comes with a larger footprint throughout the event, including more tables in the Bee-stro area for visitors to partake in the delicious food and beverage offerings and a coveted spot on Spike the Bee’s “Pollen-Nation Exploration” Map. The NHB is excited about the extra crowds this fun scavenger hunt will bring into the Bee-stro, allowing the bee-utiful story of honey to be seen by even more festival goers.

While last year’s Honey Bee-stro focused primarily on honey’s journey from blossom to bottle, this year the NHB is sharing a brief look at the story of honey and exploring the vital role of honey bees in our eco and food systems, giving visitors tips on what they can do at home to help the honey bees in their area.

With three menu items landing in the Top 10 dishes at the 2018 festival, the Honey Bee-stro is returning with its popular food and beverage options, tweaked slightly to include more ingredients that benefit honey bee pollination, such as Coriander Flowers in the Roasted Cauliflower, Micro Citrus Greens on the Honey Tandoori Chicken Flatbread and Petite Lavender Shoots on the Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake. The popular Honey-Peach Cobbler Freeze is also returning with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options to enjoy.

The story of honey bees and all they produce is truly magical, and we can’t think of a better partner than Disney to bring it to life. The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs March 6 through May 3.

Can’t make it to the festival? We’ve got the recipes on www.honey.com so you can try them at home!


Funding Your Program

by Sarah Red-Laird

To charge, or not to charge, that is the question! This is a very controversial subject in the bee education world. The first school of thought is to offer programs for free, to relieve stress on school budgets. The second school of thought is to charge for the program, to cover your time and expenses.

I am with the second school of thought. Let me count the ways:

  1. Bee education is a job. Without an income source coming from another career, family money, etc., I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills without charging. This is the case with quite a few folks in the bee education sector. Being compensated for your time and materials is necessary to keep you in “buzzness.”

  2. People place value on something they pay for. Time and time again, I have undervalued my educational services and given programs and talks for free or asked for nearly nothing in compensation. In these scenarios, my host was more often than not disrespectful and unorganized, and the program went poorly. Once I raised my prices, demand for my programs increased, and my hosts were much keener to work with me to make sure I had what I needed to make the valued program a success.

  3. There is money. If you are working with a school district that doesn’t have the money to hire you through their classroom budget, suggest that the teacher work with the PTA – they often have extra funds. Alternatively, suggest that the kids fundraise – then they have buy-in to your program!


On the flipside of the honeycomb, there are always other scenarios. Say you are planning an event that is already fully funded and has a budget for kids’ education, or you are working with a grant giver that wants to help you provide kids with education for free. That’s awesome! If you are being supported to provide no-cost education, that is great. Just make sure the participants know it’s a special event that’s being provided for them by “XYZ” funder.

What if you have family money or a good retirement and don’t need the extra cash? I still suggest asking for some kind of fee, and then you can donate it to your favorite bee-centered nonprofit or bee lab!


Image result for crown clipart
Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Queen Hannah and Princess Nicole’s schedules weren’t interrupted like spring was for many of us with blizzards and snow! Our representatives stayed busy all month long, teaching countless people about honey bees and promoting our industry’s wonderful products!

Most of the month included presentations on a more local scale. The queens reached hundreds of students in grades K-12 through school presentations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Also, on the docket were presentations to local government bodies, 4-H clubs, a senior center and college classes. The queens’ presentation skills have been well received by these different organizations, and the various group leaders have been impressed with Hannah and Nicole’s passion and knowledge.


As we move throughout the year, Hannah hopes to reach many more 4-H clubs in different parts of the country. As she comes to your state, consider reaching out to your local county 4-H extension agent and offer a presentation from her in your area. One of Nicole’s focuses is to give presentations in Spanish. Consider reaching out your local English as a second language programs in schools or even Spanish classes, where Nicole could present about honey bees in Spanish! We’d also love to schedule her to present on Spanish-language radio and television stations in your areas.

The queens each had out-of-state travel. Princess Nicole visited Connecticut to present to hundreds of second-grade students. This was possible though a local Rotary club that received a grant, with the aid of 2018 American Honey Queen Kayla Fusselman. The grant was to provide education on honey bees to area students. Princess Nicole spoke on our behalf to the students as part of this educational program. Queen Hannah promoted in Oregon during GloryBee Foods Bee Days, teaching people about honey bees, greeting beekeepers buying their packaged bees and giving educational presentations in the community.

The Queen Committee is working tirelessly on the summer promotional schedule. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me with their proposed promotions and dates. We still have opportunities available, so contact me to arrange a visit to your area from Queen Hannah or Princess Nicole (honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414.545.5514)! Happy promoting!


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

How Honeybees Read the Waggle Dance

Neonics Hinder Bees' Ability to Fend Off Deadly Mites

11 Health Benefits of Honey

Is Honey Better for You than Sugar?

Honeybees at Home


ABF Welcomes New Members: March 2019

James Baker, Tennessee
David Bond, Illinois
Jaclyn Breidenstein
Dan Demers, Connecticut
Jane Dunstan, Maine
Richard Dycus, Florida
Dennis Finnegan, Illinois
Dale Goad, Massachusetts
Zachary Gussert, Wisconsin
Dorothy Hammett, North Carolina
Daniel Hiller, Ohio
Bradley Kosiba, North Carolina
Erika Larson, Massachusetts
Tyler Lulich, D.C.
James Lyssy, New Mexico
Chris Michel, Texas
Herminia Moon, Florida
Tracey Racen, Missouri
John Sallay, Massachusetts
Lynn Spencer, Pennsylvania
Timothy Woller, Wisconsin
Cheryl Wright, Oregon


Recipe of the Month: Honey Pork Chops

Recipe By: Leigh Ann Rebholz, from Allrecipes.com

“Hands down, these are the best pork chops I have ever had.”


  • 5 (1-inch thick) boneless pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Glaze:
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper, or to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
  2. Season pork chops with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Brown pork chops 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
  3. Whisk honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic and butter together in a bowl and pour over the pork chops in the baking dish.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let pork chops sit in the baking dish 5 minutes more to soak up juices.
  5. Serve pork chops topped with extra sauce.