|ABF E-Buzz: April 2020|
For the second year in a row, the ABF and the Bee Informed Partnership have come together to help ABF members monitor their colonies through the Sentinel Apiary Program. The first 50 ABF members who sign up for Sentinel will get $100 off
their testing kit! That brings the cost of processing each sample down to about $8 each. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind.
The ABF Discount Expires on May 15!
Use Coupon Code: ABF2020
If you haven’t signed up for the Sentinel Apiary Program yet, make sure you do that soon! Sampling begins in May, and spring is right around the corner.
Ready to sign up for Sentinel? You can do that here: beeinformed.org/sentinel-sign-up
The citizen science Sentinel Apiary Program provides monthly sampling kits with instructions for monitoring Varroa mites, Nosema and health metrics in four colonies once a month for six months, along with an inquiry about demographics and management practices to collect the most useful data possible. Learn more about the program here: beeinformed.org/citizen-science/sentinel-apiaries
Participating beekeepers sample colonies and ship those samples and corresponding colony health and management information to the University of Maryland. Within two weeks, the beekeeper receives a report containing their own data back in a monthly report that includes a comparison to other beekeepers in the U.S. We encourage participating beekeepers to share their reports with their local clubs, and heat maps can be viewed on BIP's public map for all to see regional results.
by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair
I start this article by wishing you all good health, both physical and mental, during this difficult time for our country. Know that you are all in our prayers. Let’s pray for things to resolve and normalize quickly!
March started off with some excellent events for Mary and Sydnie. Mary spent a week in Kentucky, participating in a variety of events with the Bluegrass Beekeepers as part of their Bee Friendly Frankfort celebration. She had a variety of great promotional opportunities during her stay, including radio and television interviews, school presentations and legislative visits. Her visit concluded with the organization’s annual Bluegrass Bee School, where she promoted membership in the ABF.
Sydnie continued her training through the University of Florida’s annual Bee College. She not only had the opportunity to expand her bee knowledge and learn more about southern beekeeping but also participated in Dr. Jamie Ellis and Amy Vu’s podcast “Two Bees in a Podcast!” Check out the American Honey Queen Program’s Facebook page for some additional highlights from her visit to the University of Florida Bee Lab.
Soon after, however, travel and promotions came to a halt for the queens, with the COVID-19 pandemic. The queens are staying busy at home, focusing on social media, YouTube video creation and other behind the scenes work. The Queen Committee is working with them to reach out to online learning venues and virtual schools to schedule school presentations to all the new virtual learning students throughout the nation. Do you have a school that has students learning virtually? Please direct them to the American Honey Queen Program to schedule a presentation!
We hope the nationwide pandemic comes to a close soon, so Mary and Sydnie can resume in-person promotions. As sanctions ease, let’s work together to get them back on the road promoting a product that should be in high demand. You may reach me at email@example.com or 414-545-5514. Please pass along my information to your local schools. Happy promoting!
by James Cagney
I’ve had my share of problems, and who hasn’t? I learned when I was young to try to face them and to work them out before they got too big.
My father, a saloon keeper in New York City, died in the flu epidemic after World War I. There were four of us Cagney brothers from 19 down to 14 years old, and soon after his death, our baby sister Jeanne came along. We had no money. We four boys went to work, supported ourselves, our mother and sister and kept going to school too. Two of my brothers worked their way through medical school and are successful doctors today.
I remember one year I got home from school at two in the afternoon. I’d do my homework and take a nap before going to work as a bellhop at the Friars’ club. I worked until three in the morning and had to be back in school at eight.
During one vacation, I wrapped bundles for Wanamaker’s department store during the day. At night, I was a switch-board operator and attendant (and sort of a general bouncer) at a pool hall. On Sunday, my day off, I sold tickets for the Hudson River Day Line.
It was good for me. I feel sorry for the kid who has too cushy a time of it. Ultimately, he has to come face to face with the realities of life without any papa or mama to do his thinking for him.
Of course, it’s natural for parents to want to protect their youngsters. But this can be overdone sooner or later; life gives everybody troubles, no one gets away with smooth sailing all the way.
I think if you learn how to take the knocks when you’re young, you’re a lot better able to handle them later on. I’m not saying that because I had it tough when I was a kid, I don’t make mistakes. I’ve made lots of them and still do. But the kind of training I had taught me to face my problems head-on and as soon as possible.
By Sarah Red-Laird
Hello, dearest ABF E-Buzz readers. As I write this, many of you are currently “sheltering in place” around the country as we take every day as it comes. Most of us have never experienced something like this before, and it’s not
easy finding the tools you need to navigate through this time. My sweetheart’s littles are four and six, and while they love being at home with us 24/7, the exhaustion factor for us (boredom for them) is at an all-time high.
Thankfully, resource lists are popping up everywhere, providing parents with ideas to keep the family learning and having fun together. I’d like to add to this trend with a few of my favorite things to watch and do from home. I know my list isn’t exhaustive, so if there is something that you’ve discovered or created, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll share it on our Kids and Bees Facebook page.
Beekeeper’s Lab: 52 Family-Friendly Activities and Experiments Exploring the Life of the Hive
Fill the year ahead with weekly activities from around and about the hive, including art projects, recipes, experiments, garden activities and more! If you keep bees or are interested in keeping bees, Beekeeper’s Lab is the book for you—filled with 52 beekeeping and hive-inspired projects to keep you involved with your bees and hive all year long. The tutorials are brief, accomplishable and rewarding. Try a new technique each week with how-tos and sidebars with tips that are perfect for including the whole family! Beekeeping is fun and educational for the whole family to enjoy and is a highly impressive skill to possess!
The Amazing Adventures of Sweet Sophia
Meet Sophia, a sweet little girl who travels through time, meeting famous people from history and learning about the times in which they live. Along with her trusty stuffed bee, Bizzy, she also learns about and shares information about honey bees.
Kids LOVE looking for queen bees in a pattern of worker bees! Journey into the heart of the hive and meet the incredible queen bee! In QueenSpotting, experienced beekeeper and professional “swarm catcher” Hilary Kearney challenges readers to “spot the queen” with 48 fold-out visual puzzles—vivid up-close photos of the queen hidden among her many subjects.
The Bees in Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees
This is my favorite book for doing a little research before a grand backyard bee hunting adventure. The Bees in Your Backyard provides an engaging introduction to the roughly 4,000 different bee species found in the United States and Canada, dispelling common myths about bees while offering essential tips for telling them apart in the field.
The Little Book Of Bees: An Illustrated Guide to the Extraordinary Lives of Bees
Bees continue to fascinate and charm us all—from novice gardeners and nature-lovers to dedicated environmentalists. Today, bees need our help more than ever. Discover the story of these incredible creatures with The Little Book of Bees.
Flight of the Honey Bee
A lovely book for storytime before bed, follow the flight of a honey bee as she searches for nectar to sustain her hive and, along the way, pollinates flowers to produce seeds and fruits.
Films and Video
The Last Honey Hunter
In the steep mountain jungles of Nepal’s Hongu River Valley, members of the isolated Kulung culture have risked their lives for generations scaling dangerous cliffs to collect wild and exotic honey. Deep and dark, the film glides through a misty world of forest spirits, dreams and woodsmoke to share the story of the leader of the harvest and his final journey.
This film has subtitles, so it might not keep the attention of the little ones, but is beautifully shot none-the-less. Nestled in an isolated mountain region deep within the Balkans, Hatidze Muratova lives with her ailing mother in a village without roads, electricity or running water. She’s the last in a long line of Macedonian wild beekeepers, eking out a living farming honey in small batches to be sold in the closest city—a mere four hours’ walk away. Hatidze’s peaceful existence is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of an itinerant family, with their roaring engines, seven rambunctious children and a herd of cattle. Hatidze optimistically meets the promise of change with an open heart, offering up her affections, her brandy and her tried-and-true beekeeping advice.
TED ED: The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees
In the past decade, the U.S. honeybee population has been decreasing at an alarming and unprecedented rate. While this is obviously bad news for honeypots everywhere, bees also help feed us in a more significant way—by pollinating our nation’s crops. Emma Bryce investigates potential causes for this widespread colony collapse disorder.
The Pollinator Popcorn Game
The game is now live on Kickstarter. Click here to pre-order it and support the campaign! Pollinator Popcorn is the game that teaches you how to recognize and admire the unsung heroes of our world: Pollinators! Players choose between two card decks that will challenge them to either identify a pollinator or answer a trivia question. Each right answer earns you a card. Make it to 12, and you win the game, but watch out—other players can steal from you! You’ll also have the chance to gamble cards which could set you back or hand you the victory. In the meantime, you can play a free, online version.
I played a prototype of this game and was really impressed with the real-world beekeeping knowledge that went into the design! Victory never tasted so sweet! It’s a beautiful spring day, the flowers are in bloom and there is an epic battle waging beneath the petals. Honey Wars is a card and dice game with a strong “Take That” mechanic. You and your fellow players control hives of bees, working to build your army while blocking your opponents’ efforts to do the same. Use cards to attack your opponents, defend your hives, harvest honey and WIN THE WAR!
The Queenspotting Puzzle
Puzzle fanatics will get a buzz from this challenging jigsaw puzzle of the queen bee in her hive. This ambitious image of one of nature’s most wondrous patterns will confound even the most experienced puzzlers. It’s easy to get lost in the patterns of the honeycomb!
Honey Bee Tree Game
The Honey Bee Tree Game is a quick-play game that teaches concentration and cooperative play! Players take turns pulling leaves from the oak tree, just don’t wake the bees or they will fall out onto your tray!
Kids and Bees Handbook
The Kids and Bees Handbook is a guide for educators to begin, or build on, their own kid’s bee-centered lessons, programs and events. Author Sarah Red-Laird, American Beekeeping Federation Kids and Bees Program Director, shares stories from her adventures working with kids and bees across the U.S. and beyond. Sarah highlights some important roles youth can play in bee conservation. She addresses those awkward-to-answer questions (stings, mating, the bee crisis, etc.), and gives easy steps to create your own kids’ program to engage our littlest potential bee advocates. Teachers and beekeepers will find an abundance of ideas and inspirations nestled in this handbook.
The Honeybee Conservancy
From lessons on the environment and zoology to nutrition and biology, a beehive is a science class in a box. Educators play a critical role in the recovery of our bees. These educational materials are 100% free of charge so that you can educate youth about the importance of bees and what can be done to save them.
These lesson plans are designed to help you convey the wonder of the honey bee to students. The five lessons can be used as presented, in any order or individually. The lesson landing pages include high-level summaries, links to resources and guided activities; the full lesson PDFs include more background for teachers, all the readings and resources and step-by-step instructions for lesson delivery.
This is a program local to Southern Oregon, to help parents and teachers give kids activities to do in the backyard. However, plenty of lessons are applicable to backyards beyond Oregon. Over a dozen local organizations and education providers are coming together for “Outside Everyday,” an online education series to provide tools and inspiration to help get your students outside and exploring.
Additional Resources (Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.)
Many local bookstores and game shops are still open and doing free home delivery or curbside pick-up. I encourage you to try your local shops first before ordering from a large retailer. Often times, our local shops can deliver same day! Our small communities need our help now more than ever.
I wish you all the best in these challenging times and hope for an abundance of health and honey in your lives.
Book by Dr. Larry Connor; Review by Tim Tucker
The report on this book by Larry continues from last month’s ABF E-Buzz. I have to say that the information covered is very wide in scope. There is a lot of meat in this book, and my only criticism would be there are some things that I would like to know more about! Nevertheless, it provides a good basic understanding of most topics, and the illustrations are excellent!
I left off last month after only reporting on two of the first chapters. Chapter three begins with the selection of mite-tolerant stock. I have to agree that utilizing queens that are showing good survival rates and behaviors such as mite biting behavior and hygienic behaviors are critical to long term survival of bees and the beekeeper. He goes on to talk about artificial insemination of queens and the first person to develop a device for the procedure Dr. Lloyd Watson, who came up with this tool in 1926. I had no idea it was that early! He goes on to discuss the possibilities for developing better bees for better mite resistance and a possible gene for mite resistance before ending the chapter.
The fourth chapter deals with the means of obtaining bees. I will let you read that in its entirety before talking about sustainable biology, honey bee anatomy and even testing for mites. There’s a section on queen problems and replacement failures and what to do in those instances.
Section III deals with whole-hive nutrition during bee development and the rearing of good quality queens. I wish I had this book twenty years ago as it’s simply explained and so well illustrated. I have learned quite a few things that I had not read anywhere else. The last few sections of the book deal with the biodynamics of beekeeping, along with some personal reflection on Larry’s beekeeping life. And there’s a great section on the pros and cons of going natural in your beekeeping experience.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it for most beekeepers, especially those beginning their new careers.
Every time of day is tea time in America, and honey has been a traditional all-natural sweetener in teas for hundreds of years. The ready-to-drink (RTD) tea market is booming, thanks to the functionality, nutritional benefits and varying flavor profiles that come with varieties of teas combined with varietals of honey.
Beverage Industry reports that half the U.S. population drinks tea, amounting to 158 million people. Refrigerated RTD teas capped $1.6 billion in sales in May, a 9.1% increase from the year before. Mintel’s Tea and RTD Tea US Report findings of 2018 still ring true today: The RTD category “offers a variety of product formats and flavors and is suitable for numerous drinking occasions and serving options. This diversity appeals to a wide swath of consumers. Beyond broad appeal, tea also enjoys strong frequency of consumption.”
RTD teas garnering popularity on grocery store shelves include kombucha, sparkling tea, refrigerated offerings and those with “ongoing recognition of its healthy properties,” Beverage Industry noted. Consumers are shifting needs to products that provide a health halo, and an all-natural honey is a familiar ingredient that carries positive consumer perceptions.
The future is bright for RTD teas, and through 2024, IBISWorld predicts beverage manufacturers that adapt to consumer health trends and expand into premium versions of existing lineups will thrive. Let’s take a look at some made-with-honey RTD teas on the market that are both delicious and functional.
Teakoe Fizzy Black Tea
Mordor Intelligence reports that black tea is the most consumed variety of tea in North America, and Teakoe’s RTD Fizzy Black Tea is right on-trend. Made with honey, this tea is cold brewed with lemon juice and contains only 30 calories per can.
Honest Tea Jasmine + Honey
Debuted at Natural Products Expo East and on select shelves in January, this brand-new Jasmine + Honey tea is the latest in Honest Tea’s RTD line. The 46-ounce, made with honey cold brew is in multi-serve PET bottles and is said to have “a smoother taste than non-cold brews.”
Argo Tea Carolina Honey
Honey lovers don’t have to have an Argo Cafe nearby. Carolina Honey is available in more than 15,000 stores nationwide, and the company says the reason for the RTD expansion is because it’s one of the most popular tea flavors. Carolina Honey is made with wildflower honey, black tea and lemon.
EnerBee Organic Energy Honey Infused Sparkling Hibiscus
EnerBee’s made-with-honey RTD tea line expanded with a new can design and 6-packs of the 12-ounce cans of energy tea. The made-with-honey varieties include Sparkling Hibiscus and Sparkling Lemon.
Herbal Mist Citrus Honey
Citrus Honey is part of Herbal Mist’s new low-calorie line, only containing 70 calories per bottle. Honey, citrus, Yerba Mate and white tea combine to make this all-natural energy RTD tea.
The NHB team is keeping a pulse on the latest consumer, foodservice and ingredient manufacturer trends, so be sure to follow its blog on honey.com for more trend stories like this one.
Presented by Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University
Join us as we learn more about what to look for on your first spring inspection and the hive manipulations to ensure a strong colony for the honey flow.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Dr. Roger Hoopingarner got his start in beekeeping as a boy scout 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.
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Recipe from Joy with Honey by Doris Mech.
1 Cup carob powder
1 Cup non-instant powdered milk
1½ Cup finely grated coconut unsweetened
¼ Cup bee pollen
¼ Cup chopped raisins
¼ Cup chopped dry apples
¼ Cup toasted sesame seeds
¼ Cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/3 Cup oil
1½ Cup honey
Dash of allspice
Dash of cardamom
2 to 3 Cups chopped almonds or filberts
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the carob powder, powdered milk, coconut, bee pollen, chopped raisins, chopped dry apples. Add the toasted sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, which you have lightly toasted in an un-oiled skillet, stirring constantly over medium heat. Stir in with the other dry ingredients. Blend the honey and oil together in a small bowl with your mixer. You may need to use your hands to get the candy evenly mixed. A dash of allspice and also a dash of cardamon will add just the right flavor. Allow the mixture to cool in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Then form into little bars or bite-sized pieces, rolling each one in chopped almonds or chopped filberts. Keep handy in the refrigerator for a quick snack. They’ll be a hit with any joggers in your family! Yields about 3 dozen bars.