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ABF E-Buzz: May 2020

In This Issue:




President’s Greeting

by Joan Gunter, ABF President

We have a new change within the ABF family to report. Tim Tucker has decided to step back as ABF E-Buzz editor. His life has taken many new directions, and time commitments have shifted. Tim has been an important part of our family for a very long time. His dedication and volunteerism are key ingredients of what keeps the ABF strong. Tim, we will continue to value your expertise. You will certainly be missed by our ABF E-Buzz followers.

Thanks again from all of us!

The American Beekeeping Federation continues to be on the front lines for its membership. We are busy working on an advertising campaign for an increase in honey prices. The United States has fantastic honey and should be considered the first choice for consumers. It is a priority for us to make this abundantly clear. Knowing your beekeeper and the general knowledge of where your honey comes from is an aim for the advertising campaign. As members of the ABF, we hope you throw your full support behind this effort by spreading the news and volunteering when necessary to this campaign.


The North American Mite-A-Thon is running May 2-17 and August 15-30. The Pollinator Partnership has been sending out beekeeping resources every Monday leading up to the start of the Mite-A-Thon. Help them reach as many beekeepers as possible by sharing this information with your fellow beekeepers. For more information on this and other programs sponsored by Pollinator Partnership, go to their website at www.pollinator.org.

Legislative News

Rumor has it that Secretary Purdue will be working on an agriculture relief bill. Senator Hoeven from North Dakota introduced an agriculture relief bill through the USDA to provide $16 billion in direct assistance to farmers and ranchers. $9.5 billion will be secured in the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act as well as $6.5 billion in the Credit Commodity Corporation (CCC). This also includes $3 billion in purchases of agriculture products, including meat, dairy and produce to support producers and provide food to those in need. Senator Hoeven is the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee Chairman.

The American Beekeeping Federation, along with the American Honey Producers Association, sponsored a webinar with Amy Mitchell, USDA-FSA, on the new ELAP rule and what it means to beekeepers. It was the best-attended ABF webinar to date and was very informative and well received. Thanks to all who made this possible. If you missed the webinar, you can access it on the ABF website at https://www.abfnet.org/2020-ELAP.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced that it is providing some flexibility for H-2A employers during the Coronavirus pandemic to protect the nation’s food supply chain. This is good news for beekeepers and their employees.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on everyone. Many beekeepers have experienced the inability to get their supplies as needed. Many beekeeping supplies come from overseas and aren’t considered essential at this time. Our industry is fortunate that we social distance for a living, but certain things do need to be made available. The future is unpredictable. There will be an end—we are just not sure when. Hang in there.


Vice President’s Message

by Dan Winter, ABF Vice President

In the unprecedented times of Coronavirus/COVID-19, I hope my update finds members and your families safe and well. Beekeeping is essential to our agriculture, and as spring comes, it's “business as usual” here in New York. Beekeepers tend to naturally social distance in the field, but we have added masks to our daily attire as we work with farmers and landowners to ensure safe spots for our bees. I only bump the hive as needed to ensure safe social distance is maintained.

Over the years, I have met some great people through Cornell University’s bee programs and research. Recently I met Travis Grout, an Agricultural Economist who has started working with beekeepers. Travis is now helping beekeepers develop best-management practices and financial advice. Some businesses may find it eye-opening what a pound of honey costs to produce after factoring in depreciation of equipment and other expenses. For more info on Travis and other current bee topics, check out Cornell’s Dyce Lab for Honeybee Studies on Facebook or contact Cornell Cals to chat.

Apimondia's working group on ‘Adverse Effects of Agrochemicals and Bee Medicines on Bees’ is asking for information from beekeepers to include in its Worldwide Registry of Honey Bee Toxicity Events. There is a short online questionnaire to complete in order to record any toxicity events by plant protection or veterinary medicinal products observed in your colonies. You can view the web page and survey here.

If you've been on the internet over the past week, you're sure to have seen extensive media coverage of the Asian giant hornet. We've been provided with USDA pest response guidelines that you can download here.

Again, I hope you all stay safe and well. Here’s hoping for large honey crops this summer.


2021 ABF Conference & Tradeshow:
Submit Your Presentation Idea by May 18!



Mark Your Calendar:
January 6-9, 2021 :: South Point Hotel :: Las Vegas, Nevada

We're in this together! The wealth of beekeeping experience among ABF members is endless, and we know each and every one of you has a story to share. Don't be shy!

Hearing a variety of perspective is why beekeepers attend ABF. Here are some of the things they’d enjoy:

- Talk about how you run your business and take questions.
- Run through your operation and show photos.
- Do you transport bees to California for almond pollination?
- How about cranberries and apples?
- How do you move your bees?
- What is your extracting system?
- What do you do with the honey you extract?

Presentation Proposal Deadline: Monday, May 18, 2020

Submit Your Presentation Here!

$100 ABF Discount Expires May 15:
Monitor Your Hives for Varroa Mites and Nosema




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.

Sign Up Here & Use Coupon Code: ABF2020



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.


On-Demand Beekeeping Education:
Save a Bee, Plant a Tree

Presented by: Mike Connor, Certified Arborist, Nursery Grower and Beekeeper

Despite all the talk and programs established to maintain or restore bee habitat, trees are often overlooked in the vital role they play in providing pollen and nectar resources for honey bees and many of our native bees. In fact, throughout most of the country, spring build-up, colony strength and major honey flows depend on trees. This talk covers some of the major tree species that may play a vital role in your success as a beekeeper.

Mike Connor is a certified arborist, nursery grower and experienced beekeeper. He grew up on an orchard and Christmas tree farm in Michigan and purchased his first hive of bees from Sears when he was 12 years old. He is in a unique position to understand the relationships between plants, trees and bees.

A graduate of Cornerstone University (Religion, Biology) with post-graduate studies at Calvin College and MSU, Mike became a branch manager of Dadant and Sons Bee Supply in 1977. At Dadant, he received a real education in beekeeping from some of the best beekeepers in the world. He left Dadant in 1985 to start his own tree nursery and operate 200 hives of his own. Including a 7-year commitment as a municipal arborist and park superintendent, Mike has spent his entire career growing and caring for plants, trees and bees.

Click Here to Download the Webinar!


Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Stay at home orders throughout the nation have stifled face-to-face honey promotions and beekeeping education events for our American Honey Queen and Princess. During these last many weeks, Mary and Sydnie have focused on serving on the front lines through their jobs at home in service industries as well as helping with home education and food delivery for family and friends. In between these new at-home responsibilities, the queens have been working diligently on YouTube video development, social media posts and other behind-the-scenes work for ABF.

We are hopeful of sending Mary and Sydnie back on the road as soon as events open and our members are prepared to host! Several of you have contacted me about your fairs in several months, and we are grateful for the confirmation that your events are still planned. For those of you whose events have already been canceled, please confirm with me as early as possible.

In the interim, if you have any events at which the Queen or Princess can be of benefit, such as your farmers markets, grocery store promotions or virtual presentation opportunities, please contact me to arrange these visits. Mary and Sydnie are very eager to visit you in your state whenever it is deemed safe to do so!



As we continue to operate in a virtual promotion world, the Honey Queen Committee will continue to help the Queen and Princess develop social media content. We would love to highlight different varieties of honey or different, unique products of the hive through our social media channels over the next few months. Do you produce a unique variety of honey that you’d like us to showcase? Our social media channels reach consumers throughout the nation, and we’d love to highlight what makes our industry so unique. We are interested in promoting as many unique varieties of honey, especially those beyond wildflower varieties and those that vary from the region, in color and in flavor. Contact me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com if you are interested in having your distinctive honey highlighted on our social channels.

As always, if you have promotional events at which you’d like the Queen or Princess to promote, please contact me at your earliest convenience at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414-545-5514. Happy promoting!


Kids and Bees: Resources for Families Sheltering in Place

By Sarah Red-Laird, Kids and Bees Director

As most of the country is staying home to keep themselves and their families safe, I thought it might be a great opportunity to engage in a community science bee project with your kids. Below are a few of my favorite projects, plus some information on a new one in the works!

The Great Sunflower Project

Goal: To identify where pollinators are declining and improve habitat
Task: Watch a plant, record pollinators, report online
Where: Global, anywhere on the planet

Description: The Great Sunflower Project has three programs. The Safe Gardens for Pollinators program uses data collected on Lemon Queen sunflowers to examine the effects of pesticides on pollinators. The Pollinator Friendly Plants program is designed to identify the key plants to support healthy pollinator communities. And, the Great Pollinator Habitat Challenge allows citizen scientists to evaluate and improve gardens, parks and other green spaces for pollinators.

Some bee populations have experienced severe declines that may affect food production. However, nobody has ever measured how much pollination is happening over a region, much less a continent, so there is little information about how a decline in the bee population can influence gardens.

The Great Sunflower Project makes it easy to gather this information. Find a plant you know (or a Lemon Queen Sunflower), observe it for five or more minutes and record all pollinators that visit and contribute data online. You can make as many observations as you want while your flowers are in bloom. Plant, Watch, Enter and Repeat. That’s it. And, who doesn’t like sunflowers?!

Try it: https://www.greatsunflower.org/



Bumble Bee Watch

Presented by: The Xerces Society, Wildlife Preservation Canada, University of Ottawa, Montreal Insectarium, York University, BeeSpotter and The Natural History Museum in London
Goal: Help track North America’s bumble bees
Task: Take and submit photos of bumble bees near you
Where: North America

Description: Bumble Bee Watch is a collaborative effort to track and conserve North America’s bumble bees. This citizen science project allows individuals or groups to 1) Upload photos of bumble bees to start a virtual bumble bee collection; 2) Identify the bumble bees in your photos and have your identifications verified by experts; 3) Help researchers determine the status and conservation needs of bumble bees; 4) Help locate rare or endangered populations of bumble bees; 5) Learn about bumble bees, their ecology and ongoing conservation efforts and 6) Connect with other citizen scientists.

Try it: https://www.bumblebeewatch.org/

Bee Germs

Presented by: StudentDiscover
Goal: Map sites of ground-nesting bees and monitor their diseases
Task: Collect bees, send GPS data and ship specimens
Where: North America

Description: The “Bee Germs” project is focusing on learning more about bees that live underground. We know very little about bees that make their homes underfoot. By learning more about their germs (or pathogens), we will be able to understand what diseases they are suffering from and, eventually, find ways to help them.

Try it: http://studentsdiscover.org/lesson/bee-germs/



Nativars Research Project

Presented by: Project Budburst, the Chicago Botanical Garden
Goal: Do cultivated versions of wild plants attract the same pollinators?
Task: Plant a garden, observe pollinators in your garden, submit your data
Where: United States

Description: We know that native bees, butterflies and other pollinators have a preference for native wildflowers and trees.

One of the questions many of us in the garden business get is about cultivated varieties of native plants, sometimes called “nativars.” Nativars can be different from their native parents in flower color and scent, the shape or number of flowers and petals, phenology, foliage color and more. Since color, scent, timing and size of flowers are very important to pollinators, it is easy to imagine that nativars might be more, or less, attractive to pollinators than the wild (native) species. They may even attract a different group of pollinators altogether. Gardeners and scientists alike are wondering: Do nativars provide the same resources for pollinators as their wild cousins?

Scientists need your help to answer this important question.

Try it: http://budburst.org/projects/nativars

World Bee Count

Presented by: The World Bee Project
Goal: To create an online map to display bees from around the world on World Bee Day (May 20) and beyond
Task: Take photos of bees and upload them to a free app
Where: Worldwide

Description: World Bee Count is a global citizen science and awareness movement on the role of bees and other pollinators in the health of people and planet.

World Bee Day has been celebrated since 2018 on May 20, the birth date of pioneer beekeeper Anton Janša. This year, the event, which is hosted by the U.N., will be taking place mostly online due to the COVID-19 crisis.

World Bee Count is being launched as a celebration of all that connects us across the world and all the ways in which we can collaborate (even in difficult times) to share knowledge and overcome challenges together.

Try it: https://beescount.org/


Clean Labels, Artisanal Bread,
Flatbreads Top Recent Bread Trends

Honey and bread have been a magnificent pair since the first loaf of leavened bread was baked. In bread, honey provides excellent flavor, functionality and moisture. It helps naturally extend shelf life and gives consumers what they want: All-natural sweetness. There are countless reasons why bakers have used honey in bread for thousands of years. However, there also are many current bread trends that position honey as a go-to ingredient in 2020.

Trend: Clean Labels and All-Natural Ingredients

With clean labels being on the forefront of consumer demand, all-natural honey’s single ingredient—honey—is a welcome addition to products in the bread aisle. In addition to providing a familiar ingredient, honey also performs multiple functions in bread, including inhibiting mold formation.

Zingerman’s Bakehouse has developed State St. Wheat, a hearth-baked sliced bread with just a few ingredients, including honey, wheat, olive oil, rye and sea salt. Freshly milled soft white wheat is combined with stone-ground, high-extraction hard red spring wheat flour. Then, the naturally leavened dough is mixed with a touch of honey and olive oil for a same-day fermentation. Loaves get a gentle bake in convection ovens to achieve a thin, relatively light-colored crust.

Trend: Ingredients with a Story

Innova tapped storytelling as the top product trend of 2020, and made-with-honey breads offer a great narrative. Innova estimated that 56% of global consumers say stories about a brand influence purchase decision. “Companies can tell stories by positioning ingredients in the context of culture and tradition, sourcing methodologies, or describing how ingredients are processed.”

What ingredient has a better story than honey? From the bee to the facility, honey is an all-natural, unprocessed ingredient straight from nature. In addition to honey bees, food and beverage manufacturers also can tell the story of beekeepers as part of their marketing pitch. Beekeeping is an art and a craft that connects honey bees to humans and our entire food system, from hive to table. A recently launched video from the National Honey Board, Celebrating Beekeeping: A Labor of Love, provides a narrative of the beekeepers who ensure bees are healthy and honey flowing.

BUK Foods is one manufacturer that uses the ingredients, mainly honey and sprouted buckwheat, in its Gluten-Free Honey Nut Bread, to tell a great story. The company’s use of buk seed in its products pays benefits to the land by being regenerative and also helps as a pollinator-friendly crop.

Trend: Artisanal and Flatbread Bread Demand

Consumers want to “have it their way” when it comes to bread, and personalization is extending from artisanal bakeries into grocery stores. U.S. Foods reports that there is no technical definition to “artisanal,” “natural” or “homestyle” bread. In fact, the open cell structure, thick crust, intense flavor and chewy texture of an artisanal loaf ensures that no two products look exactly alike. Sara Lee’s Artesano Golden Wheat Bakery Bread is the newest addition to the Sara Lee Artesano bread family. Made with a touch of honey, olive oil and sea salt, this artisan-style bread contains no artificial colors or flavors.

Finally, flatbreads seem to be the largest trend that ties all of the others together, changing the way we view the traditional bread aisle. Inanna Eshoo, head of food service at commercial bakery California Lavash, says that the packaged bread aisle at grocery stores across the country is seeing a bit of a revamp.

“Flatbreads like lavash, naan and pita are so hot right now because people want to eat bread with a story, and these ancient breads have a cultural connection baked in. The authentic connection to ancient cultures also satisfies today’s appetite for authentic foods. And then there’s the flexibility. Flatbreads can fit into just about any lifestyle and diet,” she says.

Not only are flatbreads versatile, but they are also fun and exciting, according to Eshoo. “The commercial bread aisle has looked the same in the U.S. for as long as we can remember. Flatbreads give busy consumers new options that are tasty, convenient and healthy.”

Additionally, flatbreads are also an excellent product for manufacturers. Chris Koetke of Complete Culinary says, “Flatbreads are exceptional vehicles for adding creative flavors to the dough. They also represent a low-cost product that, when prepared well, can drive business and create food memories.”

One such product is Joseph’s Honey Wheat Lavash Bread, a once-dubbed flatbread renamed for its soft texture and authentic flavor. The honey wheat variety is a versatile product that is high in fiber and omega-3s and low in fat.

The NHB team is keeping a pulse on the latest consumer, food service 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

Hunt Is On for Giant, Bee-killing Hornet in Washington State

Honey Bees 'Can Communicate Danger Better than Any Other Insect'

How Apis mellifera Became Our Go-to Honey Bee (Podcast)

The Top 6 Raw Honey Benefits

Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce


ABF Welcomes New Members: April 2020

Dixon Benz, WI
Ryan Bogers, MT
Brian Cline, TX
John Coleman, VA
Brent Fox, IN
Horton Fox, NY
Lynn Gambino, NY
Corina Gasner, NY
Brandon Hawkins, ID
Derek Mittleider, FL
David Nawoor, OH
Daniel Payne, GA
Alyssa Piccolomini, MT
Mary Reed, TX
David Sperow, KY
Chuck Travis, WV
Daniel Valjevac, NC
Bob Wiederhoeft, WI


Recipe of the Month: Honey Banana Bread

Recipe provided by: 2020 American Honey Queen Mary Reisinger


1½ Cups all-purpose flour
1½ Teaspoons baking powder
¼ Teaspoon baking soda
¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 Teaspoon salt
1 Egg
1 Cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
3/8 Cup honey
4 Tablespoons cooking oil
½ Teaspoon vanilla
½ Cup chopped nuts and/or chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and sides of an 8x4x4-inch loaf pan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center and set aside. In another bowl, combine egg, bananas, honey, cooking oil and vanilla. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir until just moistened. Fold in nuts and/or chocolate chips. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out cleanly. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.