In This Issue:
by Tim Tucker, ABF Past President and ABF E-Buzz Editor
It was one of those March days
When the sun shines hot
And the wind blows cold
When it is summer in the light
And winter in the shade.
- Charles Dickens
Here in Kansas, we have had so many days where the bees have
flown this winter, and then on the same night, it crashes to below freezing for days at a time. It is difficult to get anything done and get through the bees because of the weather and because it is so wet. Without four-wheel drive,
it is difficult not to get mired down in the mud. It has been a number of years since we have gotten so much rain over the winter months. I'm not sure when we have only received precipitation from rain. We are soaked!
There is no doubt that the climate has changed dramatically since I was a kid—and a huge change here in southern Kansas since my generation's grandparents were growing up a hundred years ago. My grandfather, who was born in 1900,
always talked about growing up on the farm. The same land that we own now.
Growing up, my grandfather would skate the rivers to the towns upstream and down during the winter. He would say that the ice was always thick enough to support them. Their parents didn't worry as they knew things were solid enough,
because they were chopping ice for their livestock on the ponds and tanks. The little town upstream from my land would have big bonfires where people could have a hot cup of water, usually, to warm their insides up and get refreshed
to head back to their own little house miles away. Every kid owned a sled that they would hook up to their horses and travel to the neighbors or sometimes to the little Birch Creek schoolhouse for the days instructions in reading,
writing and arithmetic!
My family and others would hunt squirrel, coon and rabbits and hang them all winter in the cedar trees in front of the house, as they would remain frozen for months. These cedar trees on our land still stand in front of the old
house today, with all their own memories of summers, winters and falls of years past. I know this all sounds just a little too quaint. It was, no doubt, a difficult life in those days, but they still made the most of winters that were
very harsh here in southeastern Kansas. We have not had a winter like that since 2000, where I had to chop ice for the cows and horses.
The snow sleds are all in flea markets, rusted and antique with kids wondering what they are for, I guess! I know that there is research into the effects of this warming on the species of plants and trees that the bees utilize
for brood rearing and making honey, but I wonder if we really understand how much this climate change is affecting the length of season for our bees and everything they rely on. There is no doubt that bees can endure large ranges of
temperature differences and can survive in some of the hottest areas on earth right now with adaptations to ensure their survival. Without adaptations, they could not begin to survive and reproduce.
The same goes for the cold—without
man and his adaptations to the cold, bees don't survive in the northern extremes, and we are losing species every year. I came across this report in the Bio Bulletin on their website at www.biobulletin.com. There are some very important evaluations going on regarding climate change and its effects on bees. It states, "Climate change can have an
impact on honey bees at different levels and it can have a direct influence on honey bee behavior and physiology. It can alter the quality of the floral environment and increase or reduce colony harvesting capacity and development.
Climate change may lead to a sharp increase in rate of extinction." There is little doubt that we are experiencing a climate-affected extinction of great magnitude around the world. "Thomas et al., (2004) studied five regions of the
world and predicted that if the present rate of climate change continues, 24% of species in these regions will be on their way to extinction by 2050."
"Climatic changes led to formation of new biotypes from ecotypes which may or may not be resistant to various parasites and pathogens."
"As temperatures rise, the southern limits of many North American and European bumblebee species' ranges are moving north—by as much as 300 kilometers in some cases, researchers report today (9 July) in Science. But the northern
edges of the bees' ranges are staying in place, leading to an overall contraction of the insects' habitat."
Honey bees are changing too, constantly, and we do not have the bees that we were working with 30 years ago when they were much more resilient to the mites that we were beginning to experience in first the trachael and then Varroa.
We had mites, lots of them, in the 90's and still raised 100-pound crops of honey in the same yards we are using today, where we are lucky to get 40 pounds on average.
I know that with further study, we can find solutions to many of our bee problems such as varroa and the many diseases and pests that plague our honey bees. I know that with time some of these problems solve themselves and through
selection, species learn to become more interdependent and establish survival techniques that do not eliminate their hosts entirely. I think this has happened with the trachael mite, which is no longer a real problem for us. I hope
that we can also deal with the climate change issue and find our own survival metrics that don't allow our big issues to wipe us out. Climate change is one of those, and I have faith that we can find the answers if we really face it
head-on and admit fully that we have to do something. Click here for another good article
on climate change and its effects on bees.
This month again, we have great articles from President Joan Gunter, who reports on March Madness and an early spring as well. We all need to be screaming at our congress people about proposals that are being considered. Read
her article and then call your representatives. Vice President Dan Winter talks about another topic we need to be screaming about, and that is the price of honey, especially imports that are way below the cost of production.
Our report from Anna Kettlewell will keep you up to speed on our new Honey Queen and Princess and their activities this month. The queens started in February with their official job training, focusing on media interviews and school
presentations. Thanks for the help from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, she scheduled the queens to speak in several Milwaukee public schools. If you would like to have them come to your state for your special events, contact Anna to get
your dates reserved.
There is a great report from Jocelyn at the National Honey Board about two huge food trends heading into 2020 being the "snackification" of meals throughout the day and plant-based offerings. When speaking about food trends, we
tend to focus on the demographic segments of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials—the adults. However, kids are, indeed, some of the most influential consumers in the United States, even if Mom and Dad hold the wallets. And finally,
there is a link from Project Apis m. to a guide for indoor storage of bees! Lots of buzzmakers for your time to explore new ideas and a great recipe that we are going to make this week—Golden Honey Pan Rolls and, oh yeah, a book report
about Keeping Bees Alive by Lawrence John Connor you won't want to miss.
Again, I hope you find your time here well spent. If there's something you would like to add to ABF E-Buzz in the coming months, send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Till April, when we hope
to see you again, enjoy the bees!
by Joan Gunter, ABF President
March Madness is upon us. Beekeepers
are busy moving bees in and out of orchards and keeping the roads hot with trucks. And, for those that don’t pollinate, splitting is right around the corner.
It is an early spring in the South. The bees are building up quickly. There have been reports of some beekeepers having trouble with swarming as early as the end of February. This has pushed our queen and cell-raising schedule
up about two weeks just to keep up with the local beekeepers in our area.
Here in Mississippi, the Azaleas are already blooming. Granted, we are a little further south than most beekeepers are, but it is still very early. Unfortunately, the Yellow Jasmine is blooming as well. This flowering vine is known
to be toxic to honey bees. It blooms when the bees are out collecting pollen for their stores, which means the effects can be long-lasting. We definitely see a difference in our cell builders when the Yellow Jasmine is in bloom. The
bees are less productive and seem to abandon the cells. As a result, our cell average drops significantly.
Ag-transportation has been a hot topic in Washington, D.C., this past month. Our Agricultural Transportation Working Group has informed us that Jon Samson, the Executive Director for the American Trucking Association (ATA) Agricultural
and Food Transporters Conference shared intel that Environment & Public Works Chairman John Barasso and Senator John Cornyn will be contacting the GOP members of the Senate Finance Committee seeking support for a truck-only vehicle
miles tax as a means of funding the highway trust fund.
The vehicle-miles-traveled tax on trucks is a discriminatory tax on America’s truckers and raises the specter of a government “trucking tax” that monitors drivers’ every move and informs the IRS. This tax is being floated as a
key funding mechanism for a new surface transportation bill. Senators Barrasso and Cornyn are discussing a new tax on trucks as one of three pillars to fund Barrasso’s five-year, $287 billion highway bill, along with indexing the motor
fuels tax and creating a new tax on electric vehicles. This bill is (S. 2302).
Other news on the Hill: The USDA unveils a program to reduce the environmental impact of farming.
Have a great spring!
by Dan Winter, ABF Vice President
As we wind down the 2020 almond pollination
season, many beekeepers start on finding mated queens or grafting for splits. But, in the back of our minds, we continue to think about low honey prices—partly due to the incredibly low prices of imported honey. Many of us continue
to sit on drums of honey, waiting for a slight chance a buyer will call. In all reality, we realize it won’t likely happen until beekeepers get proactive. This means there’s work to be done in Washington, D.C., to get closer to any
ABF has made it our top priority for 2020. Joan and I have organized a committee of motivated and outspoken beekeepers to work together with legislators working towards a solution, including a former National Honey Board member.
The ABF has had a few sponsor companies come forward pledging support to help us move forward. As we move ahead, we can already see the solution could get expensive. Joan and I are hoping to work with as many legislators as possible
in hopes of a speedy solution without a high financial burden on the ABF.
I had my first meeting in Albany, New York, on March 2. I was invited to attend a lobby day with legislators by the New York Farm Bureau. I made honey prices my main topic of conversation. I pointed out current import prices that
are lower than $1.00 per pound. I stressed that U.S. beekeepers cannot even come close to producing honey domestically for that price, let alone compete at that price.
Honey bees are our livelihood. It’s our job. Something needs to be done. I will continue to keep members informed of progress monthly in my legislative committee report.
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.
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
by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair
Winter continues in the Upper Midwest, but that hasn’t stopped our amazing honey promoters and their work for our industry throughout February.
The queens started February in their official job training, focusing on media interviews and school presentations. Thanks for the help from the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, we scheduled the queens to speak in several Milwaukee public
schools—several of them located within highly urbanized areas. Wisconsin’s Ag in the Classroom coordinator was especially helpful in identifying schools that would be receptive to presentations from the American Honey Queen and Princess.
I recommend reaching out to your local Farm Bureaus and Ag in the Classroom programs to see how you can tie in beekeeping presentations to youth in your state and coordinating Honey Queen presentations into such visits.
Promotional trips and media interviews rounded out the queens’ work in February. Mary spent a week in Florida, speaking to beekeeping organizations about the American Beekeeping Federation, presenting in elementary schools and
college classes and promoting honey at the Florida State Fair. Sydnie visited Indiana to participate in additional educational presentations working with area FFA chapters. The queens also spoke in elementary schools in Wisconsin and
participated in various media interviews at home and in their promotions.
Training and more educational events continued throughout February. Both representatives participated in the University of Minnesota’s Beekeeping in Northern Climates course, taking advantage of additional training on beekeeping
practices and promoting the ABF. Mary was a guest speaker at the Indiana Bee School. I thank all the different organizations hosting bee schools and colleges for giving the American Honey Queen and Princess additional learning, speaking
and networking opportunities.
Check out the American Honey Queen Program Facebook page for more details on Mary and Sydnie’s travels. We are starting to schedule second-quarter events now, so don’t forget to make your requests today! You may reach me at
email@example.com or 414-545-5514. Happy promoting!
Indoor storage of honey
bee colonies for winter is not a new idea, but it is rapidly becoming a more widely-used practice, with many potential benefits to explore.
This guide was developed and created as a part of the Healthy Hives 2020 Initiative to provide an overview of best practices and scientific information for beekeepers who store their colonies indoors or want to learn more about
this management option.
You can download the complete guide for free at the Project Apis m. website.
Book by Dr. Larry Connor; Review by Tim Tucker
Dr. Connor’s latest book was just released
in 2019. I viewed the dedication to a list of his mentors and educators as a list of who’s who in beekeeping. It is always a delight to know people that are actually on this list. I was very interested to see that Victor Thompson was
listed amongst the beekeeping masters. Victor was a friend of mine who lived in Kansas and always attended our spring and fall meetings with his wife.
Victor was a wonderful man with a great smile and a friendly and warm greeting. I had no idea who he was or where he had worked until many years after meeting him. I just always thought he was a very good beekeeper, which he was
(and was from Kansas). He had worked at The Ohio State University and helped Walter Rothenbuhler design and build the bee lab there. He also was fundamental in many of the studies that Walter did. He did a lot of the legwork that resulted
in many published articles. One of the papers that Victor co-authored was Resistance to American
Foulbrood in Honey Bees. I. Differential Survival of Larvae of Different Genetic Lines. It was published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 49 in 1956.
It was good to know Victor and his wife, and we all miss them here. But on to the book!
Larry makes some great observations throughout the book that I agree with; the first one is that most of the beekeepers in the country are not associated with a club or organization that can provide them with the basics. They just
jump into it and wonder why their bees all die. It is always necessary for beginners to be learning as much as they can about bees BEFORE they make the plunge into buying packages or nucs and making that big investment.
Many beekeepers today are following the internet gurus that have all of the answers because they have been keeping bees for two years and have six hives. It is amazing how, today, everyone is an expert. He also makes a good point
in that, “An income from bees, helps keep bees alive.” This is so true, and if a new beekeeper can get to the point where he can realize even a small return in the form of honey, pollen or beeswax, there is money to invest in treating
and feeding the bees. There is a realization of economic loss if those investments are not made and the bees die. He reports that one beekeeper he knows spends $100,000 per month feeding bees supplements.
It takes a continual investment today to keep bees alive. He also suggests that new beekeepers start with standard Langstroth equipment. Once you learn the basics then one might experiment with other non-standard hive arrangements.
Ideas like the flow hive and top boxes that have you place empty jars on top can “result in colony death in the hands of an inexperienced beekeeper.” I could not agree more and have often told new beekeepers the same thing. He also
suggests starting with four hives. I think this is a great idea. I have always said two or three but think it is a good idea with losses being what they are—with last year in 2019 being 41%. It does give one a better chance to survive
on your own without having to buy bees every spring. All great advice, and this is just the introduction to the book!
Dr. Connor suggests in the first chapter of the book to use “three styles of learning and three versions of each one.”
Try and attend three bee schools or classes and invest in three good basic books about beginning at bees and all of the basics. I think one can become a member of the ABF and access our dozens of webinars, some of which are six-
to ten-part series by different people giving a variety of perspectives. This is a great idea, and Dr. Connor gives some great ideas for purchasing new books, which include some of his other books and books by Diana Sammataro and Dewey
Caron. He also talks about different universities and bee supply houses that have great programs. The thing is to invest the time in three different sources so that you are not myopic in your view and have a more diverse perspective,
which gives an advantage. Really a great idea!
Chapter two is a great chapter on “Apiary Sites” and offers advice on where you want to place your bees once you decide that beekeeping is what you want to do. This is one of the most important things in keeping bees alive, and
I know that early on, I made plenty of mistakes that killed bees. There is no doubt that if I had better advice on this one thing, my early experiences with the bees would have been much more profitable. All of the standard considerations
such as wind and seasonal variations, sun and hive temperature, floodwater and bears, pesticide exposure and disease exposure are all addressed here. It is a must-read. I am going to delay the review of the rest of the book until next
month, as there is just too much to say other than this is another great book for your beekeeping experience, especially starting out.
Two huge trends heading into
2020 are the “snackification” of meals throughout the day and plant-based offerings. When speaking about food trends, we tend to focus on the demographic segments of Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials—the adults. However, kids
are, indeed, some of the most influential consumers in the United States, even if Mom and Dad hold the wallets.
Luckily, honey is an all-natural sweetener that parents can choose for their kids without feeling guilty. Check out how honey plays a role in snacking and plant-based offerings via products developed and marketed to kids.
Kids and Snacking
Bakery and Snacks reports that snacking has become an “all-day habit,” a positive trend amongst children when the snacks are healthy. And, according to the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, that seems to be the
case. They released a study showing that “snacking between meals is improving the overall nutritional quality of American children’s diet.”
This hasn’t always been the case, as for years, snacking has been synonymous with poor eating habits. However, a shift is happening away from bad-for-you snacks over into better-for-you snacks. Food manufacturers are tasked with
finding a happy medium of taste versus nutrition, and several made-with-honey products are answering the call for snacks that kids will beg for in grocery aisles.
Breakfast cereal is now an all-day eating option, and Kashi by Kids Honey Cinnamon cereal gives kids a great breakfast with milk or an all-day snack by the handful. The Kashi by Kids line was developed by five kids who possessed
skills in culinary arts, healthy eating and sustainability. The cereal is made with honey, red lentil flour, oat fiber and apple puree concentrate.
Spudkins Honey Barbecue Fry Cuts also appeals to kids with its fun potato-caricature-wearing-sunglasses packaging. The gluten-free snack is cut like French fries and is crunchy with no artificial colors or flavors. They’re made
with real Russet potatoes, honey and honey barbecue seasoning.
Kids and Plant-Based Foods
During last year’s Food for Kids Summit, plant-based eating was a much-discussed topic. Linkage Research & Consulting Founder and President Michele DeKinder-Smith told the audience that there is
“an immense untapped opportunity in plant-based food and drink products targeted toward kids.” Her focus was on Millennials who are now becoming parents, and 25% of Millennials in 10,000 consumer interviews said that plant-based is
“a top criteria they factor into the food they want to eat.” Basically, the Millennials driving the plant-based food trend are bringing the youngest Gen Z children into the fold.
DeKinder-Smith said that the most popular plant-based categories with kids are non-dairy milk alternatives, non-dairy yogurt and plant-based snacks. Nearly 60% of households with kids, as reported by Food Navigator, are buying
plant-based food alternatives. An astounding 80% of those are feeding these products to their children. DeKinder-Smith noted that products in today’s market are geared toward mainstream adult audiences, leaving huge potential to market
to children—something that the surveyed parents asked for in terms of plant-based foods. Taste and texture are two traditional aspects that never change with children—if both aren’t present they won’t pass the test.
Love Beets Honey + Ginger pass the flavor and texture test, offering parents and kids the opportunity to enjoy eating vegetables! The beets are marinated in orange blossom honey and ginger and contain no artificial colors or preservatives.
They also are ready-to-eat, which is great for on-the-go families.
If parents are still looking to add more veggies to their kids’ diets, they can shop for Fruitlove’s Strawberry Banana Twirl smoothie, which contains rhubarb and carrots along with strawberries, bananas, raspberries, Greek yogurt
and, of course, honey to top it all off.
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
Presented by Melanie Kirby, Professional Apiculturist & Queen Honey Bee Breeder
how a farmer, a beekeeper and a scientist were inspired to collaborate looking for a natural remedy that could help bees and farmers. This presentation stems from a 2017-2018 NMDA-NMSU Speciallity Crop Block Grant that promotes pollinator
health and value-added farm products.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
Melanie Kirby began beekeeping by assignment—as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer 20 years ago. She has learned from bees and their keepers from the Americas, the Pacific and Caribbean islands to Europe, the Mediterranean
and North Africa. She is humbled to participate in these exciting yet challenging times of American beekeeping and continues to encourage the unity of knowledge and collaborative real world, living laboratory research efforts. In 2005,
she established Zia Queenbees in northern New Mexico, where the desert and the plains meet the mountains, to breed and share bees that can endure.
Click Here to Download the Webinar!
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Recipe by: Taste of Home
A cousin in North Carolina gave me the recipe for these delicious honey-glazed rolls. Using my bread machine to make the dough saves me about two hours compared to the traditional method. The rich, buttery taste of these rolls is so
popular with family and friends that I usually make two batches so I have enough! - Sara Wing, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Prep: 35 minutes + rising
Bake: 20 minutes
Yield: 2 dozen
• 1 cup warm 2% milk (70 to
• 1 large egg, room temperature
• 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
• 1/2 cup canola oil
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
• 3-1/2 cups bread flour
• 2-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 large egg white
• Additional honey, optional
Step 1: In bread machine pan, place the first eight ingredients in order suggested by manufacturer. Select dough setting. Check dough after five minutes of mixing; add one to two tablespoons of water or flour if needed.
Step 2: When cycle is completed, turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. Punch down; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 24 pieces; shape each into a ball. Place 12 balls each in two greased 8-inch, square
baking pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Step 3: For glaze, combine sugar, butter, honey and egg white; drizzle over dough. Bake at 350°F until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Brush with additional honey if desired.
Editor's Note: We recommend you do not use a bread machine's time-delay feature for this recipe. To make ahead, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to four days.
Nutrition Facts, One Roll: 139 calories, 6g fat (2g saturated fat), 22mg cholesterol, 168mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein