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ABF E-Buzz: July 2020

In This Issue:




President’s Greeting

by: Joan Gunter, ABF President

Welcome to the July issue of ABF E-Buzz. We hope things are well for all of our members. Beekeeping has its challenges in a normal year, but 2020 has proven to be above and beyond. Resiliency seems to be a requirement in the beekeeping industry these days. Clearly, our members are good at it.

I am sure our membership is curious about moving forward with our annual conference in Las Vegas. Just to put everyone’s mind at ease, the ABF staff is looking at and considering all angles to make sure it will happen with the best possible results. As you know, the ABF makes a large majority of its income from our conference, so positive results are extremely important. The conference planners at Meeting Expectations have been dealing with Coronavirus issues since March with their other management teams. As a result, they have a lot of experience in handling any issues that should arise. I have complete confidence in our staff and how they will handle anything that will arise. So far, everything is going forward as planned. The South Point Hotel has been very helpful and will continue to be with all of the upcoming issues we may have. Please continue to support the ABF, and we will continue to support you. As registration opens later this month, sign up! We need you at the conference to support the ABF and to learn from some of the brightest and best.


The EPA Office of Pesticide Programs is hosting a two-part webinar series on July 21 and July 28 as part of a series dedicated to pollinator health and habitat. The webinars will focus on advancing the science of assessing risks to bees from pesticides.

The first webinar, Designing and Conducting Bee Studies, will explain the basic elements of the studies EPA uses to assess risks when registering or re-evaluating a pesticide. The second webinar, Assessing Risks to Bees from Pesticides, will provide a brief overview of EPA’s tiered process for assessing risks to bees.

This is something all beekeepers should take advantage of. It doesn’t come around every day, so let’s show EPA how important this issue is and be on these webinars.


Part 1: Designing and Conducting Bee Studies - July 21, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm ET
Part 2: Assessing Risks to Bees from Pesticides - July 28, 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm ET


Vice President’s Message

by: Dan Winter, ABF Vice President

I hope everyone is looking at a good summer crop. It is dry in the Northeast, but hot.

With COVID-19 still looming, unfortunately, progress is slow. However, Cornell University had a great study I would like to touch on briefly. This study was to research the potential adverse impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides and develop a risk-benefit analysis of their usage in New York State.

Click here to read the 432-page report is available at pollinator.cals.cornell.edu.

For more information, you can contact Travis Grout, Agriculture Economist at tag227@cornell.edu or Scott McArt at shm33@cornell.edu. I know many ABF members are not from New York, but many of these neonicotinoids are used nationwide and have an impact on almost all beekeepers in the lower 48 states. I found this study highly informative and feel it’s something we should all take note of.


Neonics Found to Impair Honey Bee Growth and Development

by: Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog

Research published in the journal Scientific Reports uncovers new ways that neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides hamper the growth and development of honey bee colonies.

The present study, led by German scientists at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, uses new video techniques to observe the behavior of honey bees behind a glass-pane hive. Researchers filmed their study from start to finish, focusing on the effect of chronic sublethal doses of the neonciotinoids clothianidin and thiacloprid. Colonies were fed these chemicals in a sugar syrup over the course of three weeks in May and June.

Even at low levels, scientists found significant changes to brood rearing and development, and the behavior of nurse bees. Nurse bees play a pivotal role in honey bee colonies. These young worker bees clean out old brood cells (where larvae develop), feed larval bees after a queen lays its eggs, and finish by capping a brood cell with wax. Within capped cells, larval bees undergo metamorphosis and turn into fully developed honey bees.

Results showed that nurse bees exposed to low doses of neonics fed larvae less often, causing larval development to take up to 10 hours longer than hives without exposure. “For the first time, we were able to demonstrate that neonicotinoids also change the social behavior of bees,” study coauthor Paul Siefert, PhD, said in a press release. “This could point to the disruptions in nursing behavior due to neonicotinoids described by other scientists.”

The mechanism researchers discovered may help explain why neonic-exposed honey bee colonies are at increased risk of varroa mite infestation. In addition to depressing grooming behavior in adult workers, delays in brood development—and thus longer periods where larvae are uncapped—makes it easier for varroa mites to invade a hive and feed on pupae and larvae.

The new method of study design and observation is an important step forward. “Our innovative technology makes it possible to gain fundamental scientific insights into social interactions in bee colonies, the biology of parasites, and the safety of pesticides,” said Dr. Siefert. However, political institutions like EPA are unlikely to include studies like these into consideration when conducting registration reviews for pesticides like the neonicotinoids. EPA is only required to review studies required to be submitted under the nation’s pesticide law, the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). These studies are not performed by independent academic institutions from colleges or universities; they are conducted by industry and industry-contracted labs by the company that intends to register the pesticide. In the case of neonicotinoids, Bayer and Syngenta/ChemChina provided the bulk of scientific studies to support registration.

EPA at best may consider Dr. Siefert’s study as supplemental to its overall review. On balance, this means the study will carry little effect on the agency’s ultimate decision whether to continue registration, which is not based purely on the science, but on a mixture of politics, science, and public opinion.

This is unfortunate, as Beyond Pesticides, alongside other beekeeping and environmental groups in comments to EPA show in painstaking detail, the independent science (the science not funded by the pesticide industry) is abundantly clear that neonicotinoids pose unacceptable adverse impacts on pollinator populations and other wildlife.

Those frustrated about the continued allowance of bee-toxic neonics in our environment are encouraged to express their concerns to EPA.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Sources:  Goethe University Frankfurt am Main Press Release (Phys.org)Scientific Reports


On-Demand Beekeeping Education:
Honey Bee Removals - The Ins and Outs

Presented by: Darren Jewell, Honey Bee Removal Specialist


This presentation covers the definition and distinction of different types of honey bee removals. We then focus on cutouts and try to give enough information on how cutouts are done so that anyone watching the presentation will feel confident enough to perform a cutout on their own. Lastly, information is presented regarding the practice of exterminating honey bees with persistent pesticides, and we make a case for the superiority of live removal versus extermination.


Darren Jewell is a beekeeper specializing in honey bee removals since 1987. He currently runs a honey bee removal business with his wife Lan in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He exclusively does live removals and donates most of the rescued hives to amateur beekeepers in the local community. Darren is active in the local beekeeping community and currently developing "best practices" for honey bee removal.

Click Here to View the Presentation!


Field Rates of Sivanto™ (flupyradifurone) and Transform® (sulfoxaflor) Increase Oxidative Stress and Induce Apoptosis in Honey Bees (Apis mellifera L.)

Research article by:
Priyadarshini Chakrabarti, Emily A. Carlson, Hannah M. Lucas, Andony P. Melathopoulos, Ramesh R. Sagili


Pesticide exposures can have detrimental impacts on bee pollinators, ranging from immediate mortality to sub-lethal impacts. Flupyradifurone is the active ingredient in Sivanto™ and sulfoxaflor is the active ingredient in Transform®. They are both relatively new insecticides developed with an intent to reduce negative effects on bees, when applied to bee-attractive crops. With the growing concern regarding pollinator health and pollinator declines, it is important to have a better understanding of any potential negative impacts, especially sub-lethal, of these pesticides on bees. This study reports novel findings regarding physiological stress experienced by bees exposed to field application rates of these two insecticides via a Potter Tower sprayer. Two contact exposure experiments were conducted—a shorter 6-hour study and a longer 10-day study. Honey bee mortality, sugar syrup and water consumption, and physiological responses (oxidative stress and apoptotic protein assays) were assessed in bees exposed to Sivanto™ and Transform®, and compared to bees in control group. For the longer, 10-day contact exposure experiment, only the Sivanto™ group was compared to the control group, as high mortality recorded in the sulfoxaflor treatment group during the shorter contact exposure experiment, made the latter group unfeasible to test in the longer 10-days experiment. In both the studies, sugar syrup and water consumptions were significantly different between treatment groups and controls. The highest mortality was observed in Transform® exposed bees, followed by the Sivanto™ exposed bees. Estimates of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species indicated significantly elevated oxidative stress in both pesticide treatment groups, when compared to controls. Caspase-3 protein assays, an indicator of onset of apoptosis, was also significantly higher in the pesticide treatment groups. These differences were largely driven by post exposure duration, indicating sub-lethal impacts. Further, our findings also emphasize the need to revisit contact exposure impacts of Sivanto™, given the sub-lethal impacts and mortality observed in our long-term (10-day) contact exposure experiment.

Click here to read the complete article.


Honey Queen Buzz

by: Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

In June, the American Honey Queen Committee regrouped to discuss a plan to maximize promotional potential in 2020. Our group is moving forward with several social media initiatives, amping up virtual presentations and seeking out any events that are moving forward, including smaller events like farmers markets, local festivals and educational events. Over the next few months, our committee members may reach out to you to seek out events, participate in your virtual events and help with our social media campaigns.

I extend thanks to all the ABF members who have had canceled events who are working to find alternative events and virtual presentations in their areas for Queen Mary and Princess Sydnie. Your continued support for the Queen Program will help us reenergize promotions in 2020 and beyond. Additional thanks must be given to the American Honey Queen Program’s Alumni Association. Our members, including queens from the early years of the program, have provided significant support and encouragement for our ABF representatives this year. They are also looking for opportunities for our queens.

As schools have finished for the year and virtual presentations are starting to become common in our world, presentation opportunities have surfaced for Mary and Sydnie. Throughout June, the queens have had media interviews, school presentations, library presentations and beekeeping organization presentations through virtual means. They have also finalized more YouTube videos for the AmericanHoneyQueen channel on YouTube. Check them out and be sure to subscribe to this YouTube channel to increase the potential viewership of these promotional and educational videos.

The queens are also working proactively in planning phases for some virtual and live presentations upcoming in July and August and working on social media campaigns. One significant campaign that will begin in early July is a honey-focused video series that we hope will extend through the end of the year. For its success, we need YOUR help! The queens’ goal is to feature honey from every state of the nation through this series, so we are seeking honey donations. Part of this process will help bring the travel experiences to the queens’ homes—sampling new honey from different regions of the nation is one of the many exciting perks of being the American Honey Queen and Princess. With our travel being limited, this unique experience is also limited. You can help change this by donating a bottle of your unique varieties of honey. We will not only teach the public about the over 300 unique varieties of American honey but also promote the purchase of your region’s honey. Contact me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com for more details on this promotion and how you can help. Thank you to the many members and former queens who have already contributed to this campaign!

We are still taking your requests for in-person promotions through the summer and fall months. Please contact me to discuss events that are open in your area—small, medium and large event ideas are welcome! If you can arrange a virtual presentation in your area, please reach out to me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414-545-5514 as soon as possible. Happy promoting!


10 Ways Kids Can Get Activated to Help Bees

by: Sarah Red-Laird, Kids and Bees Program Director

“In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” — Baba Dioum, 1968

1. Plant flowers: This is a positive and fun-filled task. Early blooming bee-friendly flowers, for late in the school year, are phacelia, crocus and hyacinth. Flowers that will boom at the beginning of the school year are buckwheat, cosmos and sunflowers. Observe bees on these for a citizen science project! (see #10).

2. Write a skit or a song for your school’s talent show or YouTube: Who doesn’t love a bunch of little kids dressed up as bees and beekeepers!? No one, that’s who! Work with your kids to write a bee-themed skit or a song. The skit could be: The day in a life of a bee, the day in a life of a Varroa mite, the friendship between a flower and a bee or even bee collapse. Find some inspiration from Mrs. Sauchier’s first-grade class at Saint Martin’s Episcopal School in Metairie, Louisiana.

3. Organize an art and poetry contest and show: After using the “Bees in N. America” lesson on page 14, or observing bees in your school garden, encourage students to express their feelings and knowledge about bees through art and poetry. Display the work at a local library, a community center or partner with a local shop for a “First Friday Art Walk”-type of event and host a show for the community to ooh and ahh at the students’ talents.

4. Buy local honey: Buying local honey to share in class, or bring with you if you are a “fly-in” educator, is essential! It supports local beekeepers, encourages kids to do the same and does an amazing job creating a positive connection between bees and kids. Make up a story about how the flowers’ essence from the whole landscape they can see from the classroom are in that very jar!

5. Eat sustainably and regeneratively grown food: Supporting sustainable and regenerative agriculture is essential in supporting our bees. Encouraging your students to participate in the sustainable farming movement by joining a local Farm-to-School group or taking a field trip to the local farmers market will help to inspire them to support farmers who support our bees!

6. Keep bees! You can take up beekeeping at your school (see page six of the handbook) or encourage students to keep bees as part of a 4-H, FFA or Scouts project.

7. Have a kids’ corner at your booth at the state or county fair: Fairs are an awesome way to interface with thousands of people to spread the word about the importance of bees. The vast majority of people at fairs have kids in tow, and it’s a great place to engage them, too! Simple ideas are honey sticks, local variety honey tasting, beeswax candle rolling, foundation rubbing with beeswax crayons and an observation hive. But the sky is the limit—think total interactive experience! Make a life-size hive for people to walk through or huge flowers to “pollinate” in a fuzzy bee costume!

8. Start a youth program in your beekeeping club/association: Texas Beekeeper Blake Shook has this down to a science! Become a member of the American Beekeeping Federation, then access his “Conversation with a Beekeeper” presentation titled “Starting a Youth Program” from June 12, 2014.

9. Participate in “Ag Days”: Regional 4-H clubs and state agricultural departments all over the country host “ag days.” This is an event where students are bused into local fairgrounds, or similar venues, to learn all about the agricultural industries in their area. Setting up a booth with an observation hive, honey sticks and a few quick honey bee facts is always a big hit!

10. Conduct citizen/community science: Community science is a practice where ordinary people collect data and submit it to scientists. Citizen science is important because it gives kids the opportunity to participate in the natural world around them, It gives them a chance to have some hands-on experience with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) and helps them to feel empowered to make positive change. It also helps them to understand that good science is relevant and important. A few great projects are Bumble Bee Watch, The Great Sunflower Project and Bee Germs.


Honey’s Add a Touch of Gold to the Candy
Industry with Made-with-Honey Confections

Almost everyone has a sweet tooth, and thanks to honey, we can do it with a little less guilt while trying to keep our summer bodies in shape.

Like honey, candy has a long history. The National Confectioners Association (NCA) says that candy has been produced in the United States for over 100 years, and the industry now amounts to about $37 billion. That’s a lot of chocolate! It’s expected to grow around 2.4% by 2024, and there are many reasons that honey fits right into the category. Consumers, Confectionary News reports, are looking for specific attributes in their confections: All of which these new made-with-honey products fit into perfectly.

Better ingredient information. What’s the calorie count? Is it organic or gluten-free? Ritual’s Honeycomb Toffee dark chocolate bar has a clean label with clear ingredient listings: Wildflower honey, honeycomb toffee and organic cacao. The 75% chocolate bar’s description contains information about ingredient sourcing, sure to delight consumers.

Social responsibility and transparency. Sixty-two percent of consumers said, “The way a brand behaves will have an impact on their purchases.” They also want to be able to source chocolate and other ingredients back to their origins. CocoaBee’s new Dark Chocolate Whole Almonds bar is sweetened with honey in an 85-gram bar. The bar is clearly labeled as Fair Trade Certified and made with 73% cocoa.

Sustainability. Does the product harm the planet? What about packaging waste? Companies that can answer these questions are faring much better in the confectionary world. Godiva’s Belgian Truffles are part of the “Our Latest Innovations” lineup, and there are two made-with-honey truffles that are perfect for mixing and matching assorted chocolate gifts either for yourself or a loved one. The Truffe Mousse Vanilla Miel pieces are made with wildflower honey, infused ganache, light vanilla mousse and dark chocolate. Truffe Amande au Miel are almond pralines with honey and almond pieces, encased in a milk chocolate shell and rolled in caramelized roasted almond pieces. For more information on Godiva’s sustainability efforts, visit https://www.godiva.com/godiva-cares.

The NHB team is keeping a pulse on the latest consumer, foodservice and ingredient manufacturer trends, so be sure to follow it’s blog on honey.com for more trend stories like this one.


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

Colony-Level Genetics Predict Gentle Behavior in Puerto Rican Honey Bees

Group Genomics Drive Aggression in Honey Bees

How Honey Bees Keep Their Hives Cool in the Summer

Horned-Face Bees Sublet in a Honey Bee Colony

The Buzz Behind Helping Local Honey Bees


ABF Welcomes New Members: June 2020

Wesley Berninger, GA
Phyllis Birdwell, LA
Eric Blase, CO
Josh Brodfuehrer, KY
Thaddeus Denthriff II, IL
Jessamyn Fairchild, KS
Eli Ferguson, FL
Tim Foster, TX
Stephen Onayemi, WA
Michele Passarella, NY
Megan Richofsky, CA
Caleb Rieger, IL
Tony Shaw, MA
Amanda Skidmore, NM
Daniel Sorg, WI
Rebecca Swanson, VA
Bradly Taylor, VA
Robert Tilley, FL
Andree Walker, UT
Erica Watford, GA
Mark Whelchel, AK
Jon Zeh, NV


Easy Honey Garlic Chicken

Recipe provided by: Karina Cafedelites


6 chicken thighs, bone in or out, with or without skin*
Salt and pepper, to season
2 teaspoons garlic powder, to season
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup water (or chicken broth)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or any white vinegar)
1 tablespoon soy sauce


Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder; set aside. Heat a pan or skillet over medium high heat; sear chicken thigh fillets or breast fillets on both sides until golden and cooked through.


Reduce heat after searing on both sides, cover skillet with a lid and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through, while turning every five minutes until done. Alternatively, see notes for oven method. Drain most of the excess oil from the pan, leaving about two tablespoons of pan juices for added flavor.


When chicken is done and cooked through, arrange chicken skin-side up in the pan (if cooking with skin); add the garlic between the chicken and fry until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the honey, water, vinegar and soy sauce. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook until the sauce reduces down and thickens slightly (about 3-4 minutes). Garnish with parsley and serve over vegetables, rice, pasta or with a salad.


*For chicken breasts: Use three breasts, sliced horizontally in half. Sear breast fillets on each side until golden and cooked through (about six minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your fillets). Continue directions from the sauce, onwards.

**For oven baked, bone-in thighs: Preheat oven at 400°F or 200°C. Sear chicken in an oven-proof skillet or pan, skin side down first for three minutes. Flip and sear for a further three minutes until browned each side. Then bake in the oven for a further 20-25 minutes, until completely cooked through and no longer pink inside. Continue directions from the sauce, onwards.


Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 281mg | Potassium: 336mg | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1.2mg