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ABF E-Buzz: November 2019

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.

- Elizabeth Coatsworth

Welcome back!

Well, I guess the earth rests, but us beekeepers don’t get much of a break! Seems like there is always something to do, and the winter months provide us with some time to catch up on equipment repair and, of course, the winter meetings along with the ABF annual conference and tradeshow. It takes place January 8-11, and I hope everyone can spend a week clustering up in Schaumburg, Illinois, for a great time of education and festivities!

One of our keynote speakers is Dr. Jonathan Lundgren from Estelline, South Dakota. He is an agroecologist and director of the EDCYSIS Foundation and Blue Dasher Farm. Dr. Lundgren was a top scientist with USDA-ARS for 11 years before being fired for his controversial views. His research has focused on evaluating and assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies. He has written more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, and his latest one, he co-authored with scientists from South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota.

The study, with results published in March, showed that white-tailed deer with high levels of neonicotinoid pesticide in their spleens developed defects such as smaller reproductive organs, pronounced overbites and declined thyroid function. Fawns with elevated levels of the pesticide in their spleens were found to be generally smaller and less healthy than deer with less of the chemical in their organs. The study marks the first time that neonicotinoid pesticide consumption has been linked to birth defects in large mammals. “These (neonicotinoids) were deemed to be safe for higher organisms, and the fact that we saw so many diverse impacts on white-tailed deer, that was a big thing, and then, the fact that white-tailed deer are not that far off from our livestock or even humans suggests that maybe we need to be examining these insecticides’ risks a little bit more closely.”

Neonicotinoids can make their way into the human food chain when unabsorbed pesticides from farm operations become airborne or are carried into waterways and onto other crops by rain and run-off. According to a paper published in September 2019, researchers with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found traces of the chemical in 49.1% of the urine samples collected from people during the 2015-16 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Based on the survey data, CDC researchers estimated that roughly half the U.S. population had recently been exposed to neonicotinoids. A study published in January 2019, called “Trends in neonicotinoid pesticide residues in food and water in the United States, 1999–2015,” found low levels of neonicotinoid pesticides on nearly 60% of cauliflower, 45.6% of spinach and 29.5% of the apples intended for human consumption in the U.S.

Lundgren, who in addition to being a working scientist, is director of the ECDYSIS Foundation, a non-profit agriculture research organization that promotes sustainable farming practices, said the SDSU study is further evidence that scientists and farmers need to take a deeper look at pesticide use on mammals, including humans. “The planet is losing biodiversity at an alarming rate, and pollinators are an indicator of this loss and its implications. Agroecosystems currently occupy 35% of the terrestrial land surface of our planet, and decisions made on farms have important implications for the health of biological communities. We can solve the biodiversity crisis and the bee problem, but only if we focus on reforming food production systems along ecological principles. This requires involving farmers as actors of change.”

When I was President of the ABF, Dr. Lundgren and I were speakers at a USDA conference in Washington, D.C., and I will have to say that he is one of the most informative scientists and speakers today! I am sure you won’t want to miss out on this chance to hear him. So, get your registration completed at www.abfconference.com as early-bird registration ends on November 23! I hope to see you all there! On a lesser note, I will be speaking at the Producer-Packer SIG meeting on Wednesday afternoon about different products to market along with your honey and hive products that will help expand your business and hopefully your profits!

This month we have reports from President Tim May and Vice President Joan Gunter about their recent travels to the 19th Annual NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign) Conference at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. NAPPC is a large collaborative of researchers, conservationists, government officials and other volunteers who are dedicated to protect all species of pollinators.

Tim addressed the conference about the state of the beekeeping industry. Joan traveled to the Honey Bee Health Coalition in Portland, Oregon, in October. George Hansen, Past President of the ABF, sponsored a tour of his operation, Foothills Honey Company. He gave a presentation on the importance of pollinators and on pollinating specialty crops such as almonds and fruit trees. We also have an update on the Honey Queen and Princess’s travels from Anna Kettlewell, our chair for the American Honey Queen Program. The queens focused on educational presentations throughout the month, speaking to students in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

There are lots of new Buzzmakers and a wonderful recipe for Soft Honey Cookies that I know you will love! Thanks again for stopping by and spending some time with us. If there’s anything you would like to add to the next issue of ABF E-Buzz, just drop me an email at tuckerb@hit.net. I hope you find your time here each month informational and helpful to your beekeeping experience.

See you soon, and don’t forget to get registered for the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow!


President's Greeting

by Tim May, ABF President

ABF Vice President Joan Gunter and I attended the 19th annual NAPPC (North American Pollinator Protection Campaign) Conference at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. NAPPC is a large collaborative of researchers, conservationists, government officials and other volunteers who are dedicated to protect all species of pollinators. I was able to give a presentation on the current state of the beekeeping industry in the U.S.

Dr. May Berenbaum was one of the main speakers on the first day. She presented “The Insect Apocalypse: Loss of Biodiversity in the Insect World.” Dr. Berenbaum will be one of the keynote speakers at the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow in January. Much of the NAPPC Conference has the attendees break up into various task-force groups to discuss action items for the following year. These task forces include topics such as Bee-friendly Farming, Pesticide Education, Pollinator Gardens and more. NAPPC is managed by the Pollinator Partnership.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Shelby released the Senate version of the Ag Appropriations bill on October 22. It is expected that the ag bill with three others will come to the Senate floor soon. The Senate bill contains ELD delay language as well as the language below.

SEC. 131. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Department of Transportation by this Act or any other Act may be obligated or expended to implement, administer, or enforce the requirements of section 31137 of title 49, United States Code, or any regulation issued by the Secretary pursuant to such section, with respect to the use of electronic logging devices by operators of commercial motor vehicles, as defined in section 31132 (1) of such title, transporting livestock as defined in section 602 of the Emergency Livestock Feed Assistance Act of 1988 (7 U.S.C. 1471) or insects.

This is great news for our industry. We will keep you up-to-date as things continue to develop.

It is time to register for the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow. The early-bird discount has been extended to November 23. For more information, go to www.abfconference.com.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.


Government Relations

by Joan Gunter, ABF Vice President

Snow has come early to the Dakotas. Our first blizzard came and went in mid-October. The weather channel even named it Aubrey! It left significant amounts of snow in our area leaving the farmers, ranchers and beekeepers stuck with a major cleanup. Fields are left unharvested, hay has not been hauled and bees are not to their winter destinations. Roads are closed with no travel advised, so we couldn’t have escaped if we wanted too.

Meanwhile, it has been busy for the ABF. We are finalizing our upcoming conference. The Sioux Honey Association annual meeting was in September in Sioux City, Iowa. I received an update on the markets and future honey prices at this meeting.

The Honey Bee Health Coalition met in Portland, Oregon, in October. George Hansen, Past President of ABF, sponsored a tour of his operation, Foothills Honey Company. He gave a presentation on the importance of pollinators and on pollinating specialty crops such as almonds and fruit trees. The Honey Bee Health Coalition and George took us on a tour of a pear processing plant in conjunction with this fall meeting. The actual meeting took place on October 2 in Portland. Once again, Matt Mulica, Julie Shapiro and Alli Langely did a fantastic job.

The National Honey Board held its annual meeting in Colorado on October 17. The meeting proceeded with the annual Honey Industry Summit. It was nice to catch up on honey industry news. Some good news for honey producers is the food and beverage industry seems to be turning to natural sweeteners, which includes honey. The alcohol industry is turning to honey to drive their sales. And, it seems that honey is the go-to for a healthier drink. The food and beverage manufactures participated in a panel discussion on why they use honey and how the consumers respond to products made with honey. It was a well-attended meeting with lots of information.

NAPPC 2019 was held in Washington, D.C., on October 22-24. This year's meeting was held at the Department of Interior at the Sydney R. Yates Auditorium. There was an introduction by President and CEO Laurie Davies Adams, a presentation by Bryan Arroyo from Fish and Wildlife, Dr. May Berenbaum, Department of Entomology, spoke to the loss of biodiversity in the insect world. Dr. Diane Cox Foster, Research Leader, USDA-ARS, spoke on pesticides and pollinators and Dr. Clint Otto, USGS, reported on changing the agricultural landscape for pollinator health.

Margret O’Gorman, Wildlife Habitat Council, reported on strategic corporate planning for conservation. Our own Tim May reported on the current state of the beekeeping industry and Laurie Davies Adams spoke to bees, butterflies and your well-being.The afternoon consisted of reports from individual task forces from 2018. Thursday consisted of 2019 task force meetings and evaluations.The ABF’s Fran Boyd commented on the proposed changes to the H2A program. He also mentioned the federal government is funded through November 21.


2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow:
Meet Dr. May Berenbaum

May Berenbaum, Ph.D. has been on the faculty of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 1980, serving as head since 1992 and as Swanlund Chair of Entomology since 1996. She is known for elucidating chemical mechanisms underlying interactions between insects and their hostplants, including detoxification of natural and synthetic chemicals, and for applying ecological principles in developing sustainable management practices for natural and agricultural communities. Her research, supported primarily by NSF and USDA, has produced over 230 refereed scientific publications and 35 book chapters. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she has chaired two National Research Council committees, the Committee on the Future of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture (2000) and the Committee on the Status of Pollinators in North America (2007). Devoted to teaching and fostering scientific literacy through formal and informal education, she has authored numerous magazine articles and six books about insects for the general public. She graduated summa cum laude, with a B.S. degree and honors in biology, from Yale University in 1975 and received a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University in 1980.

Dr. Berenbaum is set to give the Friday morning keynote during the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow.

Early-bird registration extended - SAVE $50 thru November 23!


Call for Auction Donations!

Each year we have a blast supporting the ABF and American Honey Queen Program with a little light-hearted competition between auction bidders during the ABF Conference & Tradeshow. Please help us keep things interesting with an awesome array of must-have auction items!

Do you have something fun to donate? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

• Bee-related artwork such as paintings, stained glass and hand-carved statuettes
• Honey and honey-related products
• Unique clothing items
• Beekeeping supplies and instructional books
• Antique beekeeping items like smokers and hive tools
• Household items in a bee motif including coffee mugs, glasses, platters and plates

Your contribution is instrumental in funding the ABF programs that serve our industry and preserve and protect honey bees. If you are interested in donating an item to either the silent or live auction, please let us know via email at info@abfnet.org.

We CANNOT accept auction item donations at the ABF headquarters office. You may ship directly to the conference hotel or bring your donation with you to the event. Auction items must be dropped off by 10:00 am on Wednesday, January 8. Our expert fundraisers need time to inventory all the wonderful donations and prepare for the various events.

Thank you for your support!


2020 American Honey Show: Call for Entries

Gift Box Theme: “To Your Health”

We invite you to enter the 2020 American Honey Show, which will be held during the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow in Schaumburg Illinois. This is a prime opportunity to showcase your bees’ abilities to produce the purest honey, the best wax and the most goodies.

The American Honey Show will showcase the best examples of honey and beeswax. It includes 18 classes—12 for honey, four for beeswax, one for beeswax art and the gift box class. The gift box theme for 2020 is “To Your Health.” After the entries are judged, they will be auctioned to benefit the American Honey Queen Program.

How to Enter:

The official show rules and regulations and entry form are available on the conference website at www.abfconference.com/american-honey-show. It also includes helpful honey show hints and tips!

Before Friday, December 13, you may send your entry form and fee payment to the ABF headquarters office (500 Discovery Parkway, Suite 125, Superior, CO 80027). Alternatively, you may submit your entry form and fee payment onsite at the conference.

You MUST ship directly to the hotel or hand-deliver your show entries. No entries will be accepted at the ABF headquarters office.

Questions? Contact us at 404-760-2875 or via e-mail at info@abfnet.org. Good luck!


2020 Board Elections Take Place in Schaumburg

Are you interested in serving on the ABF Board of Directors?

Directors commit to monthly board meetings via conference call and some committee and board work beyond the conference calls. Board meetings are typically held at 8:00 pm Eastern Time.

We are seeking candidates to run for the following board seats. A great candidate is someone who wants to learn the ins and outs of the ABF and has ideas for improving the organization. If you are interested in running for one of the open board seats, please contact the ABF headquarters office for next steps. You may be nominated, or you may nominate yourself. Nominations may also be made from the floor during elections.

• Director Representing the State Delegates Assembly (two open seats)
• Director Representing the Commercial Beekeepers SIG (one open seat)
• Director Representing the Small Scale-Sideliner SIG (one open seat)
• Director Representing the Package Bee & Queen Breeders SIG (one open seat)
• Director Representing the Honey Producer-Packer SIG (two open seats)

First, you must attend the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow. The ABF bylaws require you to attend the conference to be considered and/or elected.

Any State Delegate seeking election to the ABF Board of Directors must attend the ABF State Delegates Assembly Luncheon on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, from 12:00 to 1:30 pm. You will need to be prepared to give a two-minute talk about yourself, what you have done for your state association and why you would be a great member of the ABF board.

If you are a member of a SIG, you will need to attend your SIG meeting on Thursday, January 9, 2020, from 1:30 to 3:15 pm. Elections are held in the breakout room. The candidate collecting a simple majority of votes from SIG members present wins the election.

If you’re thinking your board service will come a little further down the road, be sure to join a committee and get your feet wet! Volunteer opportunities are available on the following committees:

• Conference
• Education
• American Honey Queen Program
• Honey Show
• Marketing & Membership
• Research
• State Delegates

The word “volunteer” is derived from the Latin word “volo” which means to freely offer to do something or commit to an undertaking. Volunteer and make a difference in the ABF!

Questions? Contact ABF Executive Director Molly Sausaman at msausaman@abfnet.org or 404-760-2875.


In Memoriam: Randolph “Randy” Furbert

We share our deepest condolences with the family of Randolf “Randy” Furbert,
a 34-year member of the ABF. Randy was, perhaps, Bermuda’s best-known
beekeeper. His love of family, faith and bees was always evident even up to his
last days. He was a great ambassador for Bermuda and the local beekeeping industry.

Mr. Furbert’s love of bees took him to meetings and conventions all over the
world. His record of attending the ABF annual conference was impressive, even
pondering one year whether to attend the conference or his daughter’s wedding.
Randy’s many beekeeping friends around the world will miss his laugh, his
smile and his passion for bees.


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Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Autumn is officially upon us! What a great time of year to promote honey! Schools are back in session, with students often engrossed in environmental, insect or plant units. Farmers markets are in full harvest swing. Fairs continue, and as an industry, we are starting to come together to celebrate (or lament) the honey harvest. Hannah and Nicole were busy throughout the country in October with a wide range of activities.

The queens focused on educational presentations throughout the month, speaking to students in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. From in-classroom presentations in Maryland, New Mexico, Georgia and Wisconsin, to specific Ag in the Classroom sponsored presentations in Montana, the month was never short of the opportunity to teach about the wonders of the honey bee.

Hannah presented regularly to school groups popping into the Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts, priming them for what they would see throughout the Essex County Beekeepers Association’s amazing Bee Building at this New England fair. Nicole had presentations in rapid succession, teaching thousands of students in a short three days in Montana and the annual Northern International Livestock Exposition’s Ag in the Classroom event in Billings, Montana.


The queens made stops at the Topsfield Fair, Oregon Ridge Nature Center Honey Harvest Festival (Maryland), Albuquerque Balloon Festival, Texas State Fair and the Sunbelt Ag Expo (Georgia). Each event offered different opportunities to promote. At the Oregon Ridge Nature Center event, Nicole taught attendees how honey is extracted through daily demonstrations. The Texas State Fair allowed Hannah to show fairgoers how to easily incorporate honey into recipes, along with pointing them where to go to purchase pure Texas honey to make these dishes. At the Sunbelt Ag Expo, Hannah worked with Rossman’s Apiaries discussing the challenges in the beekeeping industry with agricultural enthusiasts. Nicole’s stop at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival gave her a unique opportunity to reach a large group of people about a true flying wonder – the honey bee!

As October closed out, Hannah promoted in preparation for the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association convention, speaking to thousands of area residents from students in elementary and middle school to seniors and environmental groups. She also had multiple media interviews to promote this annual conference. Nicole also promoted in anticipation of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers Association convention, once again putting her Spanish language skills to great use speaking to students and college groups prior to this convention.

We're entering into the last couple of months of the promotional year, and the Honey Queen Committee is now looking into 2020 promotions. Please send me your 2020 promotional requests at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or by calling 414-545-5514! Happy promoting!



Honey Spirits Summit Attracts Top Distillers
from Around the Country

The distilled spirits industry has evolved in the last five years, with smaller, craft players establishing operations and tasting rooms in cities large and small. It’s very similar to the craft beer boom, which witnessed unbelievable growth from the early 2000s to today, when the number of breweries jumped from around 2,000 to more than 7,000.

Today, there are more than 1,800 craft distillers in the United States and the National Honey Board (NHB) welcomed 35 of them to Louisville, Kentucky, for the third annual Honey Spirits Summit.

The goal of the Honey Spirits Summit is simple: Inspire distillers to use honey to craft quality spirits. You’ve most likely seen honey’s use in spirits in the whiskey and bourbon category, where honey-flavored versions of Jack Daniel’s, Jim Beam and Wild Turkey have been dominating the flavored whiskey market. In fact, check out these impressive stats from 2018:

• Jim Beam Honey increased volumes 14.9% to 292,000 cases
• Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey sold 747,000 cases, an increase of 5.4%
• Wild Turkey American Honey sold 401,000 cases, a 6.1% jump in volume

Although honey has made its mark on the whiskey and bourbon category, it represents just the tip of the iceberg when looking into honey’s potential in the spirits category.

Of particular interest to attendees was crafting spirits distilled 100% from honey. These once rare spirits are gaining momentum as millennial consumers seek unique, high-quality spirits with a story. To teach our attendees about creating spirits distilled from honey, we enlisted the services of Randy Mann Jr. from Up North Distillery in Post Falls, Idaho. During a technical session, Randy detailed the process his distillery goes through to create distilled from honey spirits.

In concept, the process is simple; mix honey and water, then pitch yeast and wait for fermentation. Fermentation creates a mead, which is then distilled to the desired proof. Although this may sound straight-forward, the nuances in making a spirit like this results in amazing flavors and aromatics that are truly unlike any other product on the marketplace. In addition to talking about his products, Randy also gave attendees samples of various spirits distilled from honey and aged in barrels.

The process of distilling from honey was covered by Adam Quirk of Cardinal Spirits. This Bloomington, Indiana, distillery adds a unique twist to its products by using yeast from beehives to trigger fermentation. Plus, Cardinal Spirits back sweetens its Honey Schnapps with honey from its own beehives.

It was another enlightening presentation among a busy two days of learning about honey, honey bees and how to use honey to flavor spirits and create unique 100% distilled from honey spirits.

As usual, we capped off the Honey Spirits Summit with an apiary tour and send-off lunch at Jeptha Creed, where we were able to tour their distillery and sample their excellent Honey Vodka.

Be sure to keep an eye out in your local grocers for new and innovative honey spirits!


Webinar of the Month:
No Fear - Starting Colonies in Mini
Hives & Taking Them through Winter

Presented by Albert Chubak, Owner of Eco Bee Box


  Photo Credit: Eco Bee Box
Mini hives are not a new concept in beekeeping, as mating nucs are regularly used in queen breeding and in science labs. The new concept is how they can be used as training wheels for beekeepers of all ages and various degrees of handicaps. The mini hive also can be an advanced system of apiary management.

Depending on how a mini is begun, mite levels can be zero. Locally raised queens can always be handy. Wintering mini hives is simple, even in frigid conditions. Swarming is a common myth but, if wanted, is a healthy natural activity.

The mini frame is both natural and universal with other beekeeping hives.



Albert Chubak attended University of Saskatchewan, University of Three Rivers in Quebec, University of Utah and is an Alumni with the Golden Key International Honor Society. He has served as the Program Director for both the Wasatch Beekeepers Association and the Greater Salt Lake Beekeeping Association. He also is serving as the Western Apicultural Society Director for Utah and is the State Delegate for Utah at the American Beekeeping Federation. While keeping more than 250 of his own hives Mr. Chubak started a bee removal business – a blending of his three loves – bees, construction and problem solving. Mr. Chubak has an Eco Bee Box hive at Research Triangle Park in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has his unique design of Eco Bee Boxes in every state in the U.S. and many countries around the world. Videos of his equipment are in National Geographic. Eco Bee Box was awarded Most Innovative Company in Utah for Best of State 2014 and was also nominated in 2015 as Utah Inventor of the Year.

Click here to download the webinar!


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

Using Probiotics to Protect Honey Bees from Fatal Diseases

Use of Neonicitinoids in Rice Paddies Linked to Fishery Collapse in Japan

Decade-long Drought in Chile Wipes Out Hives as Bees Are Left without Flowers

Ex-Goldman Trader Who Ran LSE Bets on Bees for Family Winery

Nearly 40% Decline in Honey Bee Population “Unsustainable”


ABF Welcomes New Members

Thomas Henderson, VA
Walt Schroeder, IN
Michael McDaniels, NY
Dawn Mello, WA
Danny Ritchey, KY
Kimberly Crast, NY
Cheney Strohbusch, WI
Marcia Parker, IL
Chris Stephens, IL
Grant Farrell, IL
Craig Bradley, IL
David Gil, CA
Charles Carmichael, IL
Timothy Hamilton, IL
Henry Tomasiewicz, WI
Randall Eisenhauer, NC
Robert Gramzinski, MD
Paula Sharp, IN
Andy Robinson, IL
Nancy Deason, AL
Edward Deason, AL
Kirry Gamber, PA
Sharon Collins, IL
Collin Kulbacki, Canada


Recipe of the Month: Soft Honey Cookies

Courtesy of: Taste of Home, www.tasteofhome.com


1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large egg
3 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon saltt


Step 1: In a small bowl, beat sugar and oil until blended. Beat in egg; beat in honey and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture and mix well (dough will be stiff). Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Step 2: Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool for one minute before removing from pan to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts:

1 cookie: 77 calories, 2g fat (0 saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 29mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 starch.