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ABF E-Buzz: October 2019

In This Issue:

Welcome to ABF E-Buzz

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

Crispy air and azure skies,
High above, a white cloud flies,
Bright as newly fallen snow.
Oh the joy to those who know October!
- Joseph Pullman Porter

Welcome back!

I hope your month has been a spectacular one with the bees getting ready for the coming winter, raising enough brood to build strong clusters. Ours seem to be looking strong, and we have had good nectar flows. The weather has been so erratic and unpredictable this year. It seems that the weatherman is always wrong.

We have had our Saturday farmers market affected by rain more often than any year I can remember. I’m sure it is becoming more difficult to predict the weather because it is so erratic, and with the storms we have been having, it can be raining excessively in one bee yard and totally dry 10 miles away. I think the weather is going to be one of our big challenges in the coming years, along with the issues of mites and pesticides.

I was talking with a seasoned beekeeper with over 60 years of keeping colonies who said the past two or three years, it has been difficult for the bees to collect nectar during our spring flow because of the amount of rain and the patterns of rain that seem to be mostly storms instead of the good soaking rains we used to have 30 years ago. I think we are going through a paradigm shift in all things today, especially beekeeping and keeping our pollinators alive and healthy. It seemed that even our hummingbirds were confused this year. They showed up in much smaller numbers, and while there were a few weeks where we had the usual population of several dozen, the next day there would only be three at the feeders. It was very unusual.

I also noticed, with the night-flying insects, we had a resurgence in numbers, and I have had a difficult time keeping the front of our vehicles and windshields clean. It had not been that way for 15 years, and we also had nights when we could not keep the porch lights on because of the swarms of small bugs attracted to the house. I want to see if this larger number of insects will provide for better bird populations in the coming years or if it was just a one-year aberration. It might be that our heavier than normal rainfall and cooler temperatures here helped negate some of the effects of pesticides helping some insects and hurting others, or it might not be that at all! Who knows?

One of the great joys in my life has been the many numbers of people who I have met over the years because of being a beekeeper. I have to tell you that people are always interested in talking about bees and flowers and all that affects honey and our wonderful little friends. I hope I can continue doing our farmers markets where we see our Wednesday and Saturday morning families. Each week brings a new acquaintance or three and new stories!

The other day we were restocking one of our stores, and the owner came out and greeted us. He is one of the most positive people I know. He is also a school teacher and the coach of the high school football team here in our little town of Caney. He is always excited to see us and loves to talk about honey and the bees! He said the other day that the greatest thing about our honey is the variation in the taste from different bottles he buys. He loves the fact that we do not blend our honey in big vats to standardize flavor. We work in small batches, or lots, and each honey that comes out of different barrels can vary slightly in flavor. He is a real connoisseur of honey.

Before we started putting honey in his store 10 years ago, he bought honey at the grocery store, and it was always the same. It was primarily sweet with little variation unless he went from one brand name to another. Now, he loves that he can’t wait to see what simple difference there is between his newly opened jar of honey and the last.

We had just had a two-pound bottle of honey returned to a health-food store because the customer did not like the taste and was disappointed in the flavor. We have only had that happen once or twice that I can remember in over 25 years of selling honey. I told my store owner that when I was a kid, my father always bought Buckwheat honey as he liked the taste. Us kids hated it! If all honey tasted like those flavors I experienced as a kid, I would never have eaten honey again.

We have had state meetings here and in Texas and around the country where there were dozens of honey samples for tasting, and I have judged honey shows where each bottle had slight differences in flavor or nectar variety, as well as the color difference. That is a wonderful aspect of honey, and I love sampling any and all. Perhaps not all have the taste buds to savor the differences!

Again this month, we have some great contributions from ABF President Tim May who attended the recent Apimondia in Montreal, and there is also a legislative update from ABF Vice President Joan Gunter. Joan, who also had the opportunity to attend Apimondia, has updates on the H2A program and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which is providing the opportunity to comment on the definition of agriculture commodity, a critical element of the agricultural exemption to the hours of service (HOS) rules for truck drivers. Several coalitions are working on this and have come up with a letter that supports the needs of agricultural drivers and drivers for our industry.

We also have a great report from Anna Kettlewell on where the Honey Queen and Princess have been and what’s up with their program. Sarah Red-Laird has information on the upcoming Kids and Bees event at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, in Schaumburg, Illinois, on January 10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. To participate in the Kids and Bees program, please contact Sarah if you are able to help! We also have a great new recipe for Peaches and Honey along with some great new buzzmakers for your information. Again, I hope you find your time spent here at the E-Buzz helpful to your beekeeping experience and information base. If there’s anything you would like to see added, please drop me a note at tuckerb@hit.net. See you next month!


President's Greeting

by Tim May, ABF President

I was able to attend the 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress in Montreal along with many other ABF members. It is quite an event, and I recommend it to all beekeepers at least once in their lifetime. I would like to thank the ABF members who helped work in the ABF booth during the event. We received a tremendous amount of interest in the ABF and registered quite a few new members. I would also like to give Debbie Sieb a special thank you for bringing up all of the ABF materials and coordinating the booth schedule.

The program was industry-based and would be of interest to all levels of beekeeping. The exhibit hall included vendors from all over the world along with countries showing off their beekeeping methods and the honey they produce. Being able to have discussions with other beekeepers from around the world was fascinating.

If you like to eat and drink, Montreal is a great city. There are so many small restaurants and bars on St. Paul Street in the “Old Montreal” section of the city along with really interesting street musicians. It makes for a great place to visit. The 47th Apimondia will take place in Ufa, Russia, in 2021.

In July, the EPA dropped restrictions on highly toxic sulfoxaflor which will be used on about 190 million acres of cropland. Not only is this chemical toxic to honey bees at all life stages but also other native bees and pollinators. Earthjustice filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit on behalf of the Pollinator Stewardship Council and the ABF which argues that the EPA decision is “contrary to federal law and is unsupported by substantial evidence.” The petition also states the agency relies too heavily on industry-based research. I will keep you up to date as this situation evolves.

I hope everyone had a great summer season. I am looking forward to seeing you all in Schaumburg, Illinois, at the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow, January 8-11, 2020.


Government Relations

by Joan Gunter, ABF Vice President

Tim May and I have been busy traveling this fall. Montreal was a close destination for Apimondia, so we made the trip. Thank you to all who attended in support of the ABF. We had a wonderful time in a beautiful city with tremendous people who have a dedicated interest in our industry. Life doesn’t get any better than that. A special thank you to Debbie Seib for going the extra mile to make things smooth.

Legislative News:

Fran Boyd and I have been working feverishly on the ABF's comments on the H2A notice of proposed rulemaking (Docket No. ETA 2019-0007). We have a draft that responds to the changes we want made in favor of migratory beekeepers as employers and are ready to send it in.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is providing the opportunity to comment on the definition of agriculture commodity, a critical element of the agricultural exemption to the hours of service (HOS) rules for truck drivers. Several coalitions are working on this and have come up with a letter that supports the needs of agricultural drivers and drivers for our industry. ABF will support this endeavor.

ABF will also be represented at several events in October. The Honey Bee Health Coalition held its fall meeting in Portland, Oregon, with ABF Past President George Hansen as our host. George gave a tour of his beekeeping operation as part of this meeting.

The National Honey Board will host its fall meeting in Denver, Colorado, along with the Honey Summit. The meeting is a tremendous marketing tool for the honey industry and is always well attended by beekeepers and all aspects of the honey industry.

North American Pollinator Protection Conference (NAPPC) and the Pollinator Partnership will hold its 19th Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The NAPPC event is sponsored by the US Department of the Interior. The ABF has always enjoyed working with this group and hope to continue into the future.

Foundation News:

The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees has been very busy this summer. Our current work is preparing for the annual conference and gathering applications from graduate students. We will be finalizing our results soon. I always look forward to meeting these new scholars and reading their ideas. Our future depends on these future researchers.


2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow:
Meet Dr. Jonathan Lundgren

Dr. Lundgren is an agroecologist, director of the Ecdysis Foundation and CEO for Blue Dasher Farm. He received his PhD in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 2004 and was a top scientist with USDA-ARS for 11 years. His research and education programs focus on assessing the ecological risk of pest management strategies and developing long-term solutions for regenerative food systems.

Dr. Lundgren received the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering by the White House and has served as an advisor for national grant panels and regulatory agencies on pesticide and GM crop risk assessments. He has written 107 peer-reviewed journal articles, authored the book “Relationships of Natural Enemies and Non-prey Foods” and has received more than $3.4 million in grants. He has trained five post-docs and 12 graduate students from around the world. One of Dr. Lundgren's priorities is to make science applicable to end-users, and he regularly interacts with the public and farmers regarding pest and farm management and insect biology. His ecological research focuses heavily on conserving healthy biological communities within agroecosystems by reducing disturbance and increasing biodiversity within cropland.

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.

Dr. Lundgren is set to give the Thursday morning keynote during the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow.

Early-bird registration extended - SAVE $50 thru November 22!



Project Apis m. and the National Honey Board Announce a Request for Research Proposals to Support and Enhance Honey Bee Health

Scientific research provides us with the foundation of knowledge we rely on in order to understand honey bee health threats and address them.

Project Apis m. and the National Honey Board are requesting research proposals to support and enhance honey bee health. Proposals will be accepted between September 23 and October 23, 2019. Please visit www.ProjectApism.org/rfps to view the full RFP.

In June 2016, Project Apis m. (PAm) and the National Honey Board (NHB) announced that PAm would begin administering the NHB Production Research funds in 2017. This collaboration has streamlined efforts to support the beekeeping industry, by merging the NHB research funding opportunities with several other efforts coordinated by PAm. This collaboration allows opportunities to consider a broader spectrum of efforts linked to supporting the industry, to support collaborations and synergy, and harmonize and access deeper resources when necessary for projects that need larger time or money commitments. Merging efforts has also resulted in one less round of work for all of our hardworking bee researchers who write proposals, the scientific reviewers who read them and selection committees and administrators who see these processes through.


Archived Webinar of the Month:
Fall (For Winter) Management

Presented by Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University


By following the natural behavior of the honey bee colony, a beekeeper can prepare his colony to better survive winter. All the tips and tricks that help a colony survive the long, cold winter.


Dr. Roger Hoopingarner, Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University, got his start in beekeeping as a boy scout over 65 years ago. With that interest he went on to receive his B.S. degree from Michigan State University in Entomology and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. His doctoral research was on the genetics and environmental factors in queen rearing.

After a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, he joined the faculty at Michigan State University's Entomology Department where he remained doing research, teaching and extension in insect physiology and apiculture for 38 years. His research interests involved fruit pollination, disease transmission, population dynamics and insecticide interactions with insects and animals.

Click here to download the webinar!


Kids and Bees

by Sarah Red-Laird, Kids and Bees Program Director

School is back in session, and planning is well underway for the Kids and Bees event at the 2020 ABF Conference & Tradeshow. If you are attending and bringing little ones along, this event is designed just for them—to learn, explore and have fun.

If you have some time, bee knowledge and a few smiles to lend, we would love to have you as a volunteer. If you would like to sign up as a volunteer, contact us at thehive@beegirl.org or 541-709-1127.

This no-charge event has been a tradition with the ABF conference for over 20 years and is a “don’t miss” opportunity, as we travel to different states every year. This program allows local, elementary-aged classrooms and homeschool groups to be welcomed to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, in Schaumburg, Illinois, January 10 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, to participate in the Kids and Bees program.


Kids and their teachers or parents can expect a room full of hands-on exhibits under the themes of “The Art of Beekeeping,” “The Science of Beekeeping,” “The World of Beekeeping” and “The Future of Bees: It’s Up to You!” Favorites such as beeswax candle rolling, bee finger puppet making and hive displays will be there. The highlights this year will be face painting, a photo booth with costumes and an ultraviolet “Bee View” demonstration. Students will make their way through each station, engaging with beekeepers and Honey Queens from around the U.S. and activities that will harness their senses and imaginations.

We will have about 25 stations/exhibits set up in a large room. About 500 kids and their parents and teachers will come through the exhibits. I am looking for about fifty volunteers to host the stations. The stations need 2-4 volunteers each and include face painting, honey tasting, pollination, habitat, microscopes, arts & crafts and more. We have such a wonderful time on Friday morning, and it’s truly a highlight of the conference for many attendees!


Click here to learn more about the event and register your kids:

Click here to join our Facebook event page for the latest updates:


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Honey Queen Buzz

by Anna Kettlewell, American Honey Queen Program Chair

Your American Honey Queen and Princess promoted the best gift from the hive all month in 10 states throughout September! What a kick-starting month for honey promotions. The queens’ travels took them from coast to coast, from fairs and festivals to television stations and schools.

Fairs and honey festivals are two things that make September so special and memorable for the American Honey Queen Program each year. Queen Hannah and Princess Nicole promoted at the Minnesota and Maryland State Fairs over the busy Labor Day weekend. They continued on after the holiday to the Lithopolis Honey Fest outside Columbus, Ohio, and to the Los Angeles County Fair in California. Hannah used her beekeeping skills during her visit to Ohio, giving open hive demonstrations and participating in a bee beard demonstration during the festival. Nicole had the unique opportunity to put her Spanish language skills to excellent promotional use at the Los Angeles County Fair, reaching thousands of consumers through this skill! The queens crisscrossed the country, next putting Nicole in the Midwest, promoting in Iowa throughout the Dubuque area and at the Plagman Barn Festival, and having Hannah visit northern California for the Palo Cedro Honey Bee Festival and many community visits in the Redding area.


The end of the month focused primarily on educational presentations in schools, civic organizations and local beekeeping meetings. Fall months are a great time of year to present in schools, as many students are learning about ecosystems, insects, pollination and many other topics this time of year. School visits abounded for Hannah and Nicole in Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and New Jersey at the end of the month. Consider inviting the American Honey Queen or Princess to speak at your local beekeeping organization's meeting in the fall months, like Hannah did during her recent visit to Virginia. Beyond the beekeeping meeting, the queen and princess can visit venues and media outlets in your region, expanding the promotional value of her visit! Contact me for more details on how to coordinate such a trip.

Finally, the month of September closed out with another fair visit, kick starting the fall fair schedule. Hannah visited the Fryeburg Fair in Maine. Despite cooler weather, this fair offers a wide variety of promotional opportunities, particularly working with 4-H participants. Be sure to check out the American Honey Queen Program’s Facebook page for more details about these events and the many more to come over these next several months!

It’s not too late to coordinate a visit from Queen Hannah or Princess Nicole this year! Contact me if you have events or ideas for promotions in your area. They are eager and willing to promote our sweet products throughout the country! Contact me at honeyqueen99@hotmail.com or 414-545-5514 with your promotional ideas. Happy promoting!


Eyes on Amitraz

by Danielle Downey, Executive Director, Project Apis m.

Varroa mites are a plague to all honey bees and beekeepers in the U.S. and most of the world, but beekeepers have limited tools available for Varroa control. One widely used tool is Amitraz/Apivar strips. Although Amitraz has been effective for almost two decades, we know from experience that using synthetic compounds puts pressure on Varroa populations and can lead to mite resistance. As we pass those landmarks using Amitraz for Varroa control, beekeepers and scientists are on the lookout for treatment efficacy and any signs of resistant mites.

Photo courtesy of the USDA Bee Lab, Baton Rouge, LA.

This year Project Apis m. (PAm) selected two projectsboth funded by the National Honey Boardto follow up and gather the scientific data where beekeepers have reported that Amitraz treatments may not be working. Dr. Jeff Pettis and Dr. Shelley Hoover and Dr. Ramesh Sagili will all be applying standard, repeatable, timely methods to test resistance in Varroa populations in the U.S. and Canada. This will confidently determine if treatments are working and provide tools and information to act quickly if resistance is developing. Because of Varroa’s historic ability to become treatment-resistant, PAm is also funding several other projects to develop effective alternative tools and treatment options for Varroa.

Ulrike, Technical Manager for Veto Pharma, offered a seminar to share information about the history and reports of resistance to Amitraz at Apimondia 2019.

The company that manufactures Apivar, Veto-pharma, has also been proactive about this concern. During last month's international Apimondia conference, Veto-pharma offered a seminar to share information about the history and reports of resistance to Amitraz. They are helping researchers by sharing reported incidents of resistance and giving financial support to PAm to fund these important projects. You can view the slides from Veto-pharma’s presentation at Apimondia here.

There are other groups studying Amitraz efficacy, including Dr. Frank Rinkevich at the USDA-ARS Baton Rouge Bee Lab, and the Bee Informed Partnership also helps gather information about mite treatment efficacy in the field. By working together, we can hope for early detection and rapid response to resistance. Amitraz has been used to control cattle ticks for over 40 years, with very low occurrence of resistant ticks. As we hope for the bestthat this treatment will remain effective for many decades, we can also prepare for the worst and support research to follow up on concerns about Varroa resistance to Amitraz. PAm is glad to support timely, relevant projects like this on behalf of beekeepers and the healthy bees we all rely on!


Made-with-Honey Protein
Snacks & Drinks are All the Buzz

Protein is popular with consumers, and major food and beverage manufacturers are responding by developing high-protein products. The only problem: High-protein foods can sometimes carry off-flavors. That’s where honey comes in, adding a touch of sweetness that rounds out the flavors of food and beverage products that are high in protein. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite power-packed, made-with-honey protein snacks and drinks. Be sure to check them out on your next trip to the grocery store.

Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter, RXBar
Looking for on-the-go protein? RXBar’s Honey Cinnamon Peanut Butter is the perfect product to conveniently add more protein atop bread or in a smoothie. Sweet like cinnamon, smooth like honey, this protein spread comes in a convenient squeezable package.

Oats, Honey & Chocolate Soft Baked Biscuits, Belvita Protein
Pack your mornings with protein with Belvita Protein Soft Baked Biscuits. These delicious anytime snacks pack 10 grams of protein and contains flavors of oats, honey and chocolate baked into every bite.

Special K Protein Honey Almond Ancient Grain Cereal, Kellogg’s
Kellogg’s Special K Protein Honey Almond Ancient Grain Cereal combines the delicious sweetness of honey with the crunchiness of wholesome flakes made with a blend of whole grain wheat, rice, soy, ancient grains sorghum and black rice flakes.

Smart Snacks with Honey & Oats, Fairlife

A smarter way to enjoy your protein. Fairlife Smart Snacks with Honey & Oats is a smooth, delicious combination of fair life ultra-filtered milk and real oats and honey. Each bottle contains 15 grams of protein and comes in chocolate, French vanilla and strawberry varieties.

Oats & Honey Protein Granola, Nature Valley
Nature Valley’s Oats & Honey Protein Granola takes clusters of hearty whole grain oats and sweetens it with honey for an energy boost with 14 grams of protein per serving.


Buzzmakers: Beekeeping Industry News

Bees Are Dying at an Alarming Rate. Amster Yeahdam May Have the Answer.

Scientists Warn of Insect 'Armageddon' After Dramatic Drop in Populations

Diesel Exhaust Pollution May Disrupt Honeybee Foraging

A Hive of Research and Education

Researchers Discover how Honey Bees 'Telescope' Their Abdomens Entomological Society of America

The Buzz on Bees in the Brazos Valley From the Brazos 360, Fall 2019 Series


ABF Welcomes New Members

Fred Ammerman, PA
Darcey Bailey, FL
Jim Barry, AL
Robert Couchman III, WI
Peter Dodich, IL
Todd Fador, CT
Mark Fiegl, NY
Candice Galek, FL
Nancy Gay, TX
Mihaela Gutman, FL
Jennifer Hartmann, IL
Alvin Johnson, AL
Raymond Knapp, IA
Ray Latham, AL
Michael Magyar, MI
Chris Martinez, NJ
April Misseri, OH
John Rogers, WI
Francis Ruthkosky, PA
Christine Shiel, IL
Paul Slagle, MD
Marty Stedem, MO
Jonathan Wertz, WI
William Wilson, IL
Andrew Wood, Ireland


Recipe of the Month: Honey Roasted Peaches

From: In The News


- 3 Large ripe peaches, halved and pitted
- 1/4 Cup raw honey or pure maple syrup
- 1 Vanilla bean, seed
- 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 Teaspoon ground nutmeg
- A pinch of sea salt

Optional topping ideas: Greek or coconut yogurt, whipped coconut cream, chopped walnuts, chopped pecans, granola, fresh mint leaves, etc.


Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk honey, freshly scraped vanilla seeds, cinnamon, clove and sea salt.

Step 3: Place your halved peaches cut side up into a baking dish that’s just big enough to fit them all, as shown.

Step 4: Spoon your syrup or honey on top of the peaches, making sure they all get coated.

Step 5: Bake peaches in your preheated oven, uncovered, for 25-30 minutes, or until golden and tender.

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!