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ABF E-Buzz: August 2019

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

"Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right
kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can
become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world."
-  Ada Louise Huxtable

Welcome back!

I hope you are busy harvesting the excess honey from your hives and that the averages this year will be up for a change across the country! It has been a better than average year around our part of the country, and I hear good reports of colonies stacked with five and six supers. It was a mild July, as July’s go around here, and we have not hit 100 degrees yet. The moisture has been above normal, and we still have white dutch clover blooming in the yards, however it is retreating. The sumac is done blooming as well which usually signals the end of the nectar flow in our parts.

The bees are starting to hit my hummingbird feeders, as well, to try and steal a bit of nectar from the birds. The hummingbirds dining at our feeders has quadrupled in the last week as there is less and less to find in the fields. I am hoping that the tall rigid goldenrod will begin blooming in the next week or so. That always provides a bit of summer forage after we have pulled our honey. There is a lot of it this year, and with all of our heavy June and July rains, it should produce a good amount of forageable nectar to start rearing those fall bees. They will be necessary to make a good winter supply of healthy bees to keep our colonies alive during the cold winter months.

August is always a good month to provide feed for your bees so that they don’t shut down brood rearing altogether. That first round of winter bees that will make for second and third cycles of brood really raise your possibilities of survival. So check your bees for stores and provide what feed they need.

I always try and put on a box of fresh comb after pulling honey and provide a light syrup of 2:1 water to sugar to encourage them to pull it in August. Just a practice I have used successfully in the past and something to consider.

One of our buzzmakers this month is a story about Jeff Anderson and his issues with raising bees in a world of pesticides and the decline in his operation and health of bees over the past 15 years. It is difficult to raise the honey needed to keep operations viable in intensely farmed areas of the Upper Midwest honey belt for many and Jeff is, like many of us, having a tough time surviving.

It is also about the elimination of funding for the NASS data collection process for polling beekeepers about the number of bee colonies kept and maintained by beekeepers across the country. Funding for the process has been removed by the Trump administration. This vital information has provided a good assessment of the health of bees as it tracked the number of splits that beekeepers were making in attempts to keep up their numbers as well as the overall number of colonies. It has been a great tool in helping us get an accurate number on the actual losses occurring each year and the expense to us all. I really feel that it is a vital tool and that we all need to begin calling our representatives in Washington to express our concern about the loss of this valuable tool.

We need to raise our voices loud in response to this and to the other issue in the recent ruling of the EPA to again allow Sulfloxaflor back on the market. This is not going to help our bees or other pollinators, and we all know about the impact that this and other neonicitinoids have on many aspects of bee health and survival. I am hoping that during our fall meeting with the Pesticide Programs Dialogue Committee we will have some discussions about this and other pollinator health issues that are affecting us all.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is inviting public comment on a petition from Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. (Pioneer), seeking deregulation of a corn variety genetically engineered (GE) for enhanced yield potential and resistance to glufosinate-ammonium herbicide. The petition will be available for public review and comment for 60 days. 

APHIS is interested in receiving comments regarding potential environmental and interrelated economic impacts to assist in assessment of the petition as it relates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The public comments received, along with the best available scientific documents, will assist APHIS in determining the appropriate environmental documents to prepare in accordance with its petition process to make a fully informed decision on the regulatory status of this GE corn variety. 

Members of the public will be able to submit comments through September 23, 2019.

For more information and to submit a public comment, please click here visit the APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services News and Information web page.

I sincerely hope you will read up on these recent developments and reach out to all of your state and federal people about these two issues. It is not time to be silent.

Again this month we have some great articles from ABF President Tim May with more on the NASS survey and from Vice President Joan Gunter on her travels this past month to the joint summer meeting for the Minnesota Honey Producers and the North Dakota Beekeepers.

Anna Kettlewell, our Queen Committee Chair, would like to hear from you if you have an event this fall that the Honey Queen or Princess might attend in your state. They have been busy in North Dakota, Wisconsin and South Carolina this past month, visiting the Minnesota Honey Producers Association and the North Dakota Beekeepers Association for their annual joint conference. Princess Nicole attended this event, promoting ABF membership and the Queen Program! We appreciate their efforts on behalf of the industry in education efforts across the country.

We also have a host of buzzmakers and a great new recipe to try out! So again, thank you for stopping by and sharing some time with us at the ABF E-Buzz. I hope you find it informational and helpful to your beekeeping experience.


President's Greeting

by Tim May, ABF President

As most of you are already aware, the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) has decided to terminate the National Agriculture Statistic Services (NASS) report on honey bee colony loss. Although the survey had issues, it was an important tool in reporting on the current health of managed honey bees. During our recent trip to Washington, DC, Vice President Joan Gunter and I met with Dr. Scott Hutchins from the USDA. Dr. Hutchins was appointed by President Trump to head scientific research for the USDA. He is an entomologist who has spent his career at Dow Agroscience’s pesticide and seed division now known as Corteva Agriscience.

We discussed the NASS report and how some of the questions were very difficult to answer accurately, particularly for the commercial beekeeper. I have heard this from beekeepers across the country. Some of the questions are answered with just a guess or an assumption.

We explained how the survey is very important to our industry and that editing it may make the results more accurate. Dr. Hutchins informed us that the USDA is considering the termination of the report, but nothing had been decided at that time.

Soon after our visit, we received notice that the report had been terminated due to budget cuts. I then received a call from Brandon Honeycutt. Mr. Honeycutt is the Staff Director for the House Ag Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research. He said he had no advanced notice that the survey would be terminated. He also was shocked to hear that budget cuts were the cause since the funds were already appropriated for the project. He informed me that he will continue to investigate the situation, and we will remain in contact with each other throughout the process. I will continue to keep you updated.

I hope everyone is enjoying a prosperous summer. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in January.


Government Relations

by Joan Gunter, ABF Vice President

I had the opportunity to attend the joint summer meeting for the Minnesota Honey Producers and the North Dakota Beekeepers. The meeting was held July 11-13 in Fargo.

Thursday evening consisted of board meetings for the two groups being represented, followed by a general session with Dr. Larry Conor titled “Drone Essentials and Why They Are So Important.”

Friday began with a welcome from both groups. Randy Oliver was the keynote speaker. Randy spoke to his recent research projects and took questions on these projects.

Pete Berthelson and Clint Otto presented on The Bee and Butterfly Project work being done in the Dakotas and Minnesota. Pete spoke to the growth of this project and the desire to expand to other parts of the United States.

Bee Squad was the topic for the next presentation. Becky Masterman and Bridget Mendel presented on the strength of this program. Beekeepers agree that this program has become an essential part of the beekeeping industry.

Kerry Scott reported on H2A and the changes we can expect to make things easier for beekeeping employment issues.

Saturday opened with ABF Honey Princess Nicole Medina speaking on behalf of the American Honey Queen Program. Nicole also gave a rundown on her year so far as the ABF Princess. Indoor wintering was the topic for John Miller from Gackle, ND. He spoke to the advantages of a better program for overwintering bees in the northern climate and getting some help for this. Dr. Marla Spivak closed out the meeting with “The Latest and Greatest Research Updates” from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.

The joint meeting was followed by a trip to Sundberg Apiaries in Fergus Falls, MN. It 
was a huge success for both states.

Legislative News:

Tim May and I visited the 2020 convention site in Schaumburg, IL. The facility is wonderful and will prove to be an excellent venue for our convention. We continued on to Washington, DC, for our annual visit with the legislature and the different agriculture committees. Pollinator Week was in session during our time in DC. We pushed for opening up public and private lands as a key issue. We also discussed the implementation of the Farm Bill.

Added sugars has become an issue once again. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still trying to find a way to implement their label on single-ingredient sweeteners. So the fight continues!


2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow
Registration Opens Tomorrow

Experience the future of beekeeping during the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow,
January 8-11, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel.

VISION OF THE FUTURE is our theme this year, and we are partnering with exhibitors
and speakers to bring you the latest in beekeeping technology, care and progress.

January 8-11, 2020

Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel
1551 N. Thoreau Drive
Schaumburg, Illinois 60173

Click Here to Visit the Conference Website!


The State of California Almonds

Without honey bees, there would be no almonds. Some would argue the reverse, as well. All agree that commercial beekeepers and almond growers are important partners.

Every February in California, almond blossoms open and the greatest facilitated pollination event in the world takes place. Over two million honey bee colonies are placed in almond orchards, some of which are moved to the region on semi-trucks from as far as New England and Florida. Beekeeping and almonds are closely linked US industries, and as almond acreage continues to grow, the almond industry is increasingly driving changes in the beekeeping industry. It is estimated that over 80% of the commercial honey bee colonies in the US are contracted for pollination in California almond orchards each year (Estimate based on two honey bee colonies per bearing acres of almonds and number of honey bees in operations with five or more colonies in the US. Sources: USDA-NASS 2018 California Almond Acreage Report and USDA-NASS 2018 Honey Bee Colonies Report).

Left: Honey bees and almonds dominate the landscape in central California during the almond bloom. Almond acreage in California has increased 50% in the past 10 years. Right: Young, non-bearing orchards offer ideal opportunities to plant cover crops that improve soil health and provide supplemental forage for bees.

California produces about 80% of the world’s almonds, and 2019 marks the highest acreage of almond orchards in California’s history at around 1.1 million bearing acres. This year also marked the highest demand for honey bee colonies to perform the important service of pollination which is essential to the production of a good almond crop. Global demand for almonds is only expected to increase in the coming years, adding incentive to growers and the almond industry to plant more orchards and produce more nuts. These increases in acres and pollination demand leave a shrinking margin between having enough healthy bees for almond pollination and having a serious shortage.

PAm board member John Miller, a commercial beekeeper and owner of Miller Honey Farms put it this way, “The supply of robust colonies to pollinate almonds is limited. I haven’t had a conversation with anyone in 2019 with extra bees for rent and I’ve had a lot of calls from almond growers and beekeepers seeking hives to rent.” And Joe Traynor, a beekeeper of over 50 years and highly respected bee broker told us that “If a grower wants strong bee colonies there has always been a shortage – there has been a shortage every year for the past 50 years. But this year there has probably been more of a shortage partly because of problems in North Dakota this last year. They had dry weather and bees didn’t do nearly as well there as they usually do. The whole [almond] industry gets a tremendous number of bees from North Dakota, and they weren’t in nearly as good a shape as they usually are, so we had to make up for this with bees from other states.”

The Cold, Wet Weather

Along with the increased demand for pollination rentals, the weather put pressure on beekeepers and growers in 2019. Mid-February brought heavy rain and flooding to California, washing away colonies and creating difficult conditions in the fields. Beekeepers were faced with muddy (or worse) conditions, often resulting in stuck equipment and inaccessible hives. John Miller told us, “We had a really hard time working in the bees because it just kept raining. Flooding issues north of Sacramento just destroyed hives that literally floated away. We can’t find them.” PAm board member Pat Heitkam, a queen breeder and pollinator in Chico, California, lost over 80 hives to flooding.

Left: Stuck equipment makes placing hives in muddy, flooded orchards difficult. Right: Beekeepers have made extra efforts to protect their colonies from rising flood waters, trying to keep bees alive to pollinate for the almond growers who also must manage their crops amidst the water and try to minimize the damage.

The cold weather and rain also delayed the bloom in some areas, leaving bee colonies without natural sources of food among the largely monoculture almond crop, and requiring more supplemental feeding than usual. George Hansen, a beekeeper from Oregon with about 7,000 colonies pollinating almonds this year, had to send work crews down to California just to feed his bees while they waited for the weather to clear and the almonds to bloom and provide a source of food for his bees – something he has never had to do before. These extra inputs were universally needed this year and increased beekeeper inputs of time and money. According to Pat Heitkam, during the almond bloom, “On a year like this, anyone who had marginal hives when they put them in – they are sub-par now. The colonies have actually shrunk since they put them in. That’s not normal, it’s because of the weather. This is a particularly bad year.”

When weather conditions like this persist, cool temperatures and rain affect bee flight hours in the orchards. This means that this year, even the strongest colonies had limited hours to fly, and the weather rendered smaller weaker colonies much less effective at pollinating. An already strained supply of honey bees along with inclement weather may have worked two-fold in some orchards and limited the success of pollination if a grower rented colonies that were not high-quality, or if bees were not able to increase in strength because of an inability to gather food.

Despite the challenges of this year, eventually the weather warmed up and many colonies were able to rebuild as flight hours improved late in the bloom. Preliminary crop reports from a USDA-NASS survey also show that production per acre is forecasted to increase 2.4% from last year – a testament to the dedication and hard work of growers and beekeepers, along with the amazing resiliency of the honey bees doing the work of pollination.

Almond Pollination Drives Some Key Honey Bee Management Changes

Beekeepers have been moving bees for pollination jobs for a long time. Apples, seed crops, squash and pumpkins, blueberries and stone fruits are just a few of the crops that bees travel to pollinate each year. But migratory beekeeping patterns have changed, largely due to the expansion of the almond industry. Back in the 1980s and 90s beekeepers didn’t usually cross the Mississippi in a year. East coast pollinators travelled from Florida to the Northeast, and Texas beekeepers travelled to the Dakotas. Now, the same beekeepers transport their bees thousands of additional miles to pollinate almonds. Trucking bees requires drivers to keep moving from dawn until dusk. If they stop for more than a tank of gas, the bees might overheat, or escape and be lost. Transporting bees is stressful for colonies – overheating or cold temperatures can both be detrimental to a colony, and despite 65mph highway speeds, bees must still work to keep their hives at about 92 degrees in order to maintain queen quality and keep brood alive.

The lifespan of a honey bee queen has greatly diminished in recent years, and though scientists and beekeepers are still making inquiry into fully understanding why, queen failure can partially be attributed to things including exposure to sub-lethal doses of pesticides (including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides), poor nutrition and pathogens. Transportation stress also impacts the lifespan of a queen bee. Replacing lost queens is labor intensive and expensive for beekeepers, and it also makes for much less productive hives.

To understand how the almond industry influences beekeeping practices year-round, we need to look back to the summer before the bloom. Project Apis m. board member and beekeeper Dr. Gordon Wardell says, “Beekeepers start planning for the almond bloom back in the summer – in the previous June and July, and when the honey comes off in late July and August – that’s when beekeepers are starting to plan for February. It’s become a process now for seven or eight months leading up to almonds. During almond pollination we are seeing the results from the last year and the money and time beekeepers have put into medications, mite control, feeding, transportation and monitoring.”

In most places, February is winter – a time of year honey bees are naturally small in numbers. Almond pollination requires strong colonies for good pollination, so beekeepers must take their bees out of the natural overwintering process and strengthen them for pollination, using artificial diets because there is no natural forage.

Honey production is another management practice that is changing with the almond pollination demands. Commercial beekeeper Chris McClure explains how the two fold challenge of Varroa control and preparing colonies for pollination affects honey production, “If you leave your supers on late in the year and try to get those last pounds of honey, you get behind on your mite control and are trading those 20 pounds of honey for pollination.” (Many commercially available Varroa treatments cannot be applied during honey production.) Often, beekeepers must choose between treating for Varroa in time to winter a strong colony, or a good honey crop. Some beekeepers are even considering abandoning honey production altogether, so they can focus on growing strong colonies primarily for almond pollination.

Honey Bee Health – A Bigger Picture

Reportedly high winter losses this year likely contributed to the lack of strong colonies for 2019 almonds. Commonly called the “4Ps” Parasites (Varroa mites), Pathogens, Poor Nutrition and Pesticides work in concert to put pressure on bees and their keepers.

Varroa – The #1 Threat to Honey Bee Health

George Hansen, a honey producer and pollinator summarized how Varroa impacted almond pollination in 2019, “This past summer in multiple areas around the country, there was a huge spike in Varroa populations that in many cases beekeepers didn’t recognize in time, and in other cases they simply couldn’t keep up with it using the available treatments. So, many of the bees went into winter in a compromised condition, and didn’t do very well. The underlying issue is that we don’t really have good control over our mite situation – and I think something has shifted.”

That “shift” could be related to reports of many beekeepers that the available mite treatments are not working as well. Varroa are historically very good a developing resistance to miticides, and research is being initiated by PAm and others to study the efficacy of Amitraz, as well as to develop alternative solutions.

Varroa not only feed on the fat bodies of honey bees, but they are responsible for vectoring viruses like deformed wing virus, black queen cell virus and Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, that exacerbate Varroa’s damaging impact on a honey bee colony.

Supervisory Research Entomologist at the USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge, Dr. Bob Danka, PAm Executive Director Danielle Downe, and Biological Science Technician Garrett Dodds (also from the USDA Bee Lab in Baton Rouge), look at a Varroa resistant HilΩ queen bee. This breeding project selects for bees that control Varroa with a behavior of removing infected brood. This trial also assesses the stock for other qualities like overwintering success, gentleness, and honey production with the goal of a commercially adoptable Varroa resistant bee.

The Landscape and Honey Bee Nutrition

Lack of forage is another top concern of beekeepers. Farming has become increasingly efficient, creating very successful and productive crops, the side-effect of which is drastically reducing the availability of natural habitat on the landscape in California and in other key places for honey bees like the Upper Midwest. All pollinators need adequate nutrition in order to thrive and even just to survive, but land use changes and expansion of croplands, even crops that rely on pollinators, are threatening pollinators’ ability to collect the resources they need for food.

Over time, beekeepers have adjusted their management practices to counteract widespread habitat loss and management changes by feeding their bees with sugar water and pollen patties. During the almond bloom, tanker trucks of sugar syrup are brought into almond growing regions and sold by the thousands of gallons to beekeepers to feed their hungry bees. This quickly becomes expensive for beekeepers and is not an ideal substitute for blooming plants. In the same way that humans need diversity in their diet, honey bees thrive with a diversity of blooming plants to forage on (click here for more about supplemental feeding and artificial diets for honey bees). Without supplemental planting, there is little else blooming on the landscape while beekeepers are staging hives for almond pollination, or while bees are waiting to be moved out of orchards after the almond bloom.

In the light of a global insect population decline, with honey production steadily decreasing per bee colony, CRP (Conservation Reserve Program) acreage dropping drastically, and an increasing demand for healthy bees for pollination of the food we eat, we need to be paying close attention to what is happening on the landscape.

PAm board members George Hansen and Pat Heitkam stand in a Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund planting in Jamestown, North Dakota. This initiative is working with landowners and growers in the Midwest to plant habitat for honey bees, monarch butterflies, and other pollinators. The Midwest is where many migratory bees spend their summers to build strength. Bee & Butterfly Habit Fund’s Next Gen Habitat seed mixes increase the duration, diversity, density, quality and cost efficiency of pollinator habitat.

What can we do?

Organizations like Project Apis m., the Almond Board of California, the Bee Informed Partnership and many more, along with many almond growers and beekeepers, are working together to address the health of honey bees. These collaborations, focused on research and data, communication and forage, are a critical component to the long-term sustainability of beekeeping and almonds.

Along with these collaborative efforts, almond growers must play a key role in supporting the health of the bees they rely on. Rory Crowley, COO and VP for Research and Business Development at Nicolaus Nut Company, a family farm that grows almonds and walnuts, is committed to doing everything he can for the bees that pollinate his orchards, “When I started looking at how these bees work and started understanding what they are and the symbiotic relationship that growers (humans) have with this small little creature that is just amazing, I adopted a passion for making sure that given all the multi-faceted challenges that the honey bee faces, it was very clear to me that almond growers have a responsibility to make sure at every level possible that this little bee is as healthy as possible.” Read our full interview with Rory Crowley here.

Honey bees (and people!) need every grower of almonds, along with growers of all crops, to adopt such an attitude and commitment to better understanding the struggles of bees, and to implement practices that protect and support them. Beekeepers must also advocate for the health of their bees and help with the bigger picture where they can. Solutions include putting more habitat on the landscape, planting cover crops, continuously improving our understanding and practices of pollinator safe pesticide management, supporting research, and increasing communication between beekeepers and growers.

Honey bees are important in and of themselves, but they are also a “canary in the coalmine,” that can indicate bigger problems in the way we manage our resources. Other pollinators and important species, water and soil health are also being affected – and though they may not have the same voice and public attention as the honey bee, many of the solutions to honey bee health problems also positively impact these other species and environmental factors. We need to listen to the buzzzzz from the bees and continue making improvements that support them, and that support long-term sustainability in agriculture. For the love of almonds and for the love of bees!

Project Apis m. (PAm) was founded by beekeepers and almond growers nearly 13 years ago to address concerns about honey bee health. For more information about the research and habitat programs PAm funds and directs, visit ProjectApism.org.

Click here to read the Almond Board of California’s Best Management Practices for Honey Bees.


Archived Webinar of the Month:
How to Process Honey for the Small Scale Beekeeper

Presented by: David Kelton, Lookout Mountain Honeybees

Join this demonstration of how to extract honey from the hive and the tools needed. This webinar shows you how to remove the honey from the frames without damaging the comb so they can be put back on the hive. You’ll also learn how to properly label your honey for market.

David Kelton has been keeping bees for nearly 40 years. He began teaching the Boy Scout Beekeeping merit badge in the 1960s and still teaches beginning beekeeping, advanced beekeeping and queen rearing. He has served on the Alabama Beekeepers Association Board of Directors and currently serves as the Alabama State Delegate for the American Beekeeping Federation in addition to volunteering on the ABF research and education committees. David is the author of the Alabama Master Beekeeping Program, and he continues to advise for the program. He owns Lookout Mountain Honeybees with his wife Lynne and son Lane where they sell beekeeping equipment, queens and packages.

Click Here to Download the Webinar!


NHB Hosts: Top Bakers at
Annual Honey Baking Summit

The National Honey Board (NHB) recently welcomed 18 of the most influential bakers in the United States to its 9th annual Honey Baking Summit in Providence, Rhode Island. At the event, attendees received a comprehensive education on honey, honey bees and how to craft exceptional breads and pastries with honey.

Here’s a list of the top things talked and learned about during the NHB’s annual Honey Baking Summit.

1. Honey offers more than sweetness in baking. This is one of the most surprising things to convey to bakers and consumers about using the all-natural ingredient in baking. Although honey adds sweetness to breads and baked goods, it also extends the shelf life of baked goods, naturally coats, binds and thickens products, contributes natural color and so much more!

2. We love honey, and so do consumers. Consumer preferences and expectations for clean label products continue to drive innovation in the food industry, and it starts with ingredients. Kerry Group, a global flavor company, conducted a survey of more than 760 American consumers in the United States to understand their sweetener preferences, and honey was recognized as the #1 preference. You can learn more about the study and download the white paper here!

3. There is a honey varietal for everyone. It is known that each honey offers unique colors, flavors and viscosities based on the flowers bees forage for nectar. At this year’s summit, bakers tasted honeys from around the world, including lavender, blackberry, sage and meadowfoam honey. While tasting flights of honey, you could see the bakers reformulating recipes in their heads, developing ideas about how to maximize honey’s unique flavor in bakery foods!

4. You’ll always leave Providence with a full heart and stomach! This was the NHB’s sixth year hosting the Honey Baking Summit in Providence, and the city never fails to inspire-from its historic feel to its beautiful river walkways to streets filled with boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. On the last day of the summit, attendees tasted their way through countless variations of honey brioche, honey seven-grain bread, honey panforte, honey granola and more!

It is always a pleasure to work with such influential members of the baking industry. We always come out of each summit just as inspired as our attendees (if not more so). Be sure to check out your local bakery for delicious made-with-honey goodies.


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Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

July is teeming with promotions for the American Honey Queen and Princess! Traditionally the start of what we dub the busy season, Queen Hannah and Princess Nicole are in for a wealth of amazing promotions and experiences over the next several months. July proved to be a successful promotional month for ABF and the nation’s beekeeping industry!

Queen Hannah Princess Nicole

The beginning of July focused on beekeeping education, as the queens attended beekeeping meetings and conferences in North Dakota, Wisconsin and South Carolina. The Minnesota Honey Producers Association joined forces with the North Dakota Beekeepers Association for their annual conference, and Princess Nicole attended this event, promoting ABF membership and the Queen Program! She took her ABF promotions south immediately after this, participating in the annual Eastern Apicultural Society’s annual conference in South Carolina. She participated in a variety of activities during this weeklong conference, including children’s programs and promoting ABF. Queen Hannah returned home to be a guest speaker at the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association’s annual summer meeting mid-month.

Fairs and festivals are in full swing now for the next several months. The queens made stops in Arizona, Delaware, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey and Ohio throughout the month, speaking to thousands of consumers through product demonstrations, meet and greets, civic presentations, fair booth work and many other activities. Be sure to check out their unique events on the American Honey Queen Program’s Facebook page!

Queen Hannah and Princess Nicole are eager for a busy promotional summer and meeting many of you along the way. While summer schedules are nearly full, we have several openings in the fall and early winter. They’d love to come to your events! You can reach me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414-545-5514 to make arrangements. Happy promoting!


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

Bees and Beekeepers Feel the Sting of Trump Administration’s Anti-Science Efforts

On the Trail of Tupelo Honey, Liquid Gold From the Swamps

Oregon’s Strategic Plan for Bees Creates a Buzz

Bees Are Able to Understand Mathematics, Study Reveals

London to Build Seven-Mile ‘Bee Corridor’ to Boost Dwindling Numbers of Pollinators

Gardeners Urged to Let Lawns Run Wild and Count Flowers to Help Save Bees


ABF Welcomes New Members: June 2019

Deneane Beard, Tennessee 
Nick Griepenburg, New Jersey 
Pat Harrison, New Jersey 
Gena Karpf, Illinois 
Victoria Kleber, Pennsylvania 
Steven Lesniak, Indiana 
Claudia McGaughey, Florida 
Nancy Mulford, Massachusetts 
Stephanie Pacillo, Alaska 
David Pack, New York 
James Roccasecca, Pennsylvania 
William Rowe II, Alabama 
Joseph Selby, California
Philip Spieth, California
Jan Spieth, California 
Wilson Surratt, Hawaii 
Nat Wasserstein, New York 
Dennis Wisnosky, Illinois 
Andrea Young, Virginia 


Recipe of the Month:
Grilled Plums with Ricotta and Honey


• 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
• 6 Plums
• 1 Cup ricotta cheese
• 1 Teaspoon orange zest
• 2 Tablespoon honey
• 1/4 Cup shelled pistachios


Step 1
Heat grill to medium. Sprinkle the sugar over the cut side of the plums and grill, cut-side down, until slightly charred and beginning to caramelize, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook, covered, 2 minutes more.

Step 2

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta and orange zest.

Step 3

Transfer the plums to plates, spoon the ricotta mixture over the top, drizzle with the honey and sprinkle with the pistachios.