ABF Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar January 19, 2016

Join Sarah Red-Laird and Zac Browning in this live, interactive webinar to discuss issues, solutions, and consequences of inaction in the beekeeping industry.

What's a "Next Generation Beekeeper"? “Next Gen” is defined as, “The step forward that perpetually propels us into our impending destiny.” We are the next generation in our family of beekeepers, we are the drivers of the next stage of development in the products, services, expertise, and knowledge our industry provides. This beekeeper is a commercial or small scale beekeeper, or works as an educator or researcher. They are passionate about bees, and want to be involved in future beekeeping innovation, research, policy, technology, advocacy, or community leadership. In the near future, we need a functional model of collaboration and diversification. You tell us what that needs to be done, we’ll listen and help to develop a positive action plan.

Please log in to your ABF membership account and visit the 'Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinar Series" section of the website to register for this webinar.


CSBA Annual Convention - Recap!


The 126th California State Beekeepers Association Annual Convention was held November 16-19, 2015, at the Hilton Arden West in Sacramento, CA. Every year the CSBA chooses a different city within the state to serve as the convention host city. This year, Sacramento, California's State Capitol, welcomed the beekeeping community for three full days dedicated to the issues currently facing honey bees, urban and commercial beekeepers, and the beekeeping industry. 

The California State Beekeepers Association was organized in 1889 to serve the beekeeping industry of California. 

"The purpose of the California State Beekeepers Association is to educate the public about the beneficial aspects of honey bees, advance research beneficial to beekeeping practices, provide a forum for cooperation among beekeepers, and to support the economic and political viability of the beekeeping industry."  

Carlen Jupe, CSBA Sec/Treas reports, "We had over 380 attendees, including speakers but not those exhibitors who were always at their tables, another 50 or so." 

There were over 30 speakers from across the country: Agricultural Organizations, the Almond Board, California Farm Bureau Federation, US Geological Surveys, biologists, entomologists, scientists, and researchers from leading University Entomology Departments, the USDA-ARS programs, Scientific Beekeeping, Project Apis m., Pollinator Partnership, Bee Informed Partners, and experienced beekeepers.


California Farm Bureau Federation President, Paul Wenger, speaks on California Ag "We're All in this Together," while CSBA President, Brad Pankratz, listens. 

Last year, Bill Lewis (LACBA past president) had the honor and privilege to serve as the 2014 President of the California State Beekeepers Association. A major responsibility of the office of president is to chair the CSBA Convention. Bill praises the efforts of Brad Pankratz, 2015 CSBA President, for an excellent job. At this year's convention, Bill had the good fortune to introduce some of our the excellent presenters at the Concurrent Sessions.  

Dr. Marla Spivak reported on "News and Research from the University of Minnesota Bee Lab." "A special highlight was the presentation of a $10,000 check from CSBA Research funds to Marla Spivak for the U. of Minnesota’s new bee lab," Carlen Jupe. 

Dr. James Tew, a beekeeper for over 40 years, emeritus associate professor at the Ohio State University where he worked for over 30 years, spoke on "Bargain Hunting Forager Bees."

"Randy's Take on Current Bee Topics," Randy Oliver (Scientific Beekeeping), Commercial Beekeeper, Biologist. 

Research Luncheon Speaker, James Frazier, PhD, previously a scientist at DuPont Agricultural Products, has served for ten years as department head/professor of Entomology, Penn State University. Professor Frazier shared his recent research on the impacts of pesticides on honeybees. 

Honey and Pollination Center table at the CSBA Convention. Amina Harris, Director of the Honey and Pollination Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute developed the Honey Color Wheel. Here with Bernardo Nino, Research Associate at the E. L. Nino Bee Research Lab (UC Davis Dept. of Entomology)

The Exhibit Hall is always a great gathering place to catch the latest buzz, hear what's going on with fellow beekeeper, mingle with presenters, and talk with the many vendors selling bee-related equipment, supplies, and services. This year there were over 380 attendees. A lot of buzzing going on.

The "Next Generation Beekeepers Breakout" held off-site at "The Brick House" was packed with 20-30 year old beekeepers. Co-facilitators for the evening were next gen beekeepers, Sarah Red-Laird (Bee-Girl), Katie Lee, Elizabeth Frost, and Steve Marquette. They had a great time.

Members of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association: Jon Reese, Bonnie Reese,
Clyde Steese, Bill Rathfelder, Marguerite Keating, Ron Strong, and Bill Lewis enjoy
the CSBA Annual Convention Banquet.
We would like to say thank you to all the members of the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association who volunteered their time and energy at the 2015 Los Angeles County Fair - Bee Booth. Through your efforts, each year we use funds raised at the Bee Booth to donate support for ongoing research and other activities for the benefit of honey bees. At our November meeting, the members voted to provide funding to the following organizations. During the CSBA Convention, the LACBA was privileged to present checks to:

American Beekeeping Federation - American Honey Queen Program
Bee-Girl Organization
Bee Informed Partnership
California State Beekeepers Association Research Fund
California State Beekeepers Association - Right to Farm Act
E.L. Nino Bee Lab - UC Davis
Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility
Pollinator Partnership 
Project Apis m. 

Kids and Bees Resources, Just for You From The Bee-Girl


MARK YOUR CALENDARS: This year the Los Angeles County Beekeepers Association is honored to host Hayden Wolf, the 2015 American Honey Princess, at the LA County Fair Bee Booth. Hayden will be joining us from September 21-27. Come meet this beautiful princess and learn about honey bees! The booth will be abuzz with activies, beautifuly photography, and a real live Honey Bee Observation Hive. Come find the Queen Bee and meet the American Honey Princess! There's so much to learn about bees - and it's so much fun!

A Problem Adequately Stated is a Problem Solved: The Next Gen Beekeepers Initiative

Bee-Girl    By Sarah Red-Laird    April 14, 2015

The latest numbers from a Bee Culture survey show beekeepers under forty years old making up a mere eight percent of our industry.  What’s more, a January 23rd article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “More Beekeepers Sour on Profession as Winter Die-Offs Continue,” is an all-too familiar sentiment moving through the beekeeping industry.  That’s not great news, as the future is upon us and the time is now to ensure the survival of our livelihood and passion.  This is, however, an exciting time to be a beekeeper.  Society, government, science, and the food industry have their eyes turned to us and are poised to offer support, perhaps more generously than any time in modern history.  So what do we do?

Read more at Bee-Girl Blog-Next Gen Beekeepers

Kids and Bees Resources, Just For You

A student catches bees in the Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, California.

American Beekeeping Federation e-buzz  April 2015


Kids and Bees Resources, Just For You
By Sarah Red Laird


Engaging kids in the wonderful world of bees has probably never been so popular! Teachers, home school groups, and clubs are really realizing the potential of educating kids about math, science, engineering, technology, and the arts using the bee hive. Have you been asked to do a talk or a program to a group of kids, and aren’t sure where to start? Do you already lead a kids’ program, but are looking for new and fresh ideas? Then this article is for you! I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite resources for you.


Edible School Yard

“Bees in the Edible Schoolyard: With Hives”

 In this lesson, students study bees in the garden and the important role of pollinators through three stations: beehive; catch, observe, and release; honey tasting. Students will be able to feel comfortable around honey bees and native bees in the garden, and explain the benefits of having a hive in the garden. Read More.


“Bees in the Edible Schoolyard: No Hive”

 In this lesson, students discuss bees and the important role of pollinators. They then catch and observe bees in the garden. Students will be able to state at least two facts about bees and pose a relevant question. They will be also be able to describe the process of pollination and how it relates to plant reproduction and food production. They will execute catching and releasing a bee safely in the garden.

They will also explain the role that bees play in the garden and exhibit appropriate behavior around bees. Learn More.



 The BEEWORLD Project is an innovative new program that builds a network of schools and communities across the world taking practical action to protect and conserve bees. The project raises awareness of the role of bees, issues affecting them, honey research and the need to connect with and shape their own environment through creating bee-friendly spaces. Through interactive mapping and social media, our education pack, website and bee-related conservation events in communities / schools, the project will create a real “buzz” around bees – and a global network of relevant bee-friendly habitat. Read More.


The Bee Girl Organization

The Bee Girl mission is to inspire and empower communities to conserve bees and their habitat. Bee Girl’s website hosts the page for the American Beekeeping Federation’s Kids and Bees Program. Visit this page for a history of the program, upcoming events, and even more resources. Learn More.


The Pollinator Partnership

The Pollinator Partnership’s mission is to promote the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research. Their “Education” page under “Useful Resources” is chock-full of curricula, educational tools, cool facts, activities, and more to teach our kids about bees and other important pollinators. Read More.


Kids and Bees on Social Media

Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook! These pages are managed by myself and Tim Tucker, ABF President. We scout out great articles, pictures, stories, and teaching ideas for you, and post them almost every day! Like, follow, comment, share, and keep our community buzzing! 


If you have any resources I haven’t mentioned, I’d love to hear about them. Please send me an email at sarah@beegirl.org. Until next time, have fun and bee safe!


ABF Webinar: Conversation With a Beekeeper" April 7, 2015

American Beekeeping Federation

Don't miss another "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinar. Tuesday, April 7, Sarah Red-Laird, better known as the Bee Girl, will discuss "Conserving Honey Bees by Sharing the Love with the Littlest Community Members." Sparking an interest for our honey bees in the “next generation” is imperative in the survival of our industry. Sarah Red-Laird, the Bee Girl and ABF’s Kids and Bees director, has developed an open source strategy for engaging preschool through college-aged youth. Join this entertaining webinar to hear about her adventures in the US and beyond, garner some tips for your own kids’ program, or maybe get inspired to launch your own program to conserve our favorite charismatic minifauna. Come join your fellow beekeepers at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time this coming Tuesday. It is FREE for ABF members.


On the Flow Hive

Bee-Girl    By Sarah Red-Laird   February 18, 2015

The Flowwwwww Hive! Its the latest bee hive design taking the internet by storm! So here's my two cents: First, I think it's very pretty and I think the father son team that developed it are adorable. Will it revolutionize beekeeping as we know it and release bees from our medaling to feed the world a healthy sugar alternative? I mean, is it "scalable"? I don't think so. However, is this a possible fun gadget to add to your backyard apiary, see how it works? Totally! 

But.......... here's my Debbie Downer red flag: ROBBING (when hungry bees attack an open honey source in a violent, angry, horde). If your honey flow is epic and nectar is more then prolific, robbing may not be an issue. However, as I sit here writing this, in a pickup truck waiting on an almond grower, in Bakersfield, CA - I'm surrounded by drought, lack of diverse forage, and soon to be hungry bees. I just keep thinking about lack and hunger and robbing. And the whole West, and how hot and dry and flowerless it's becoming. So. Would I use this hive and risk ensuing the horde that would result? Nope. 

But if you live in a land of plenty, experiment away - but please don't forget to think about the bees first in your beekeeping adventures. 

I also want you to consider a couple more thoughts in this new potential hobby.  Do we really need beekeepers in all of the backyards?  And do you want to be a beekeeper, or a bee reaper?  

Honey bees are awesome.  They are a joy, they do amazing work, and they also have stingers.  One percent of the population will have a systemic anaphylactic reaction when they are stung.  That is one out of every one hundred people.  How do people get stung?  Yes, by being an idiot and swatting at them.  But also by sitting on one, grabbing a gardening tool where one is resting, or taking a swig of soda that a bee may have nosedived into.   

Bees can also become aggressive and sting for “no reason” when there is turmoil inside the hive.  This could be an infestation of the Varroa destructor mite, aggressive wasps picking off their babies, or the common neighborhood four legged hive terrorizers: skunks and raccoons.  This is where the difference between “bee havers” and “beekeepers” comes in.  

Keeping bees, and keeping bees alive and healthy is harder than it has been then any time in modern history.  I already mentioned Varroa and mammal pests.  But oh… let me count the other ways: Nosema ceranae, Nosema apis, Israeli acute paralysis virus, black queen cell virus, hairless black bee syndrome, acute bee paralysis virus, deformed wing virus, sacbood, chalkbrood, stonebrood, American foulbrood, European foulbrood, IIV6.  Oh wait.  And then there are pesticide poisonings, chilled brood, dysentery, starvation,  and as I mentioned above, extreme weather. 

So what’s your plan to manage your bees and make sure these animals you have decided to adopt are cared for?  What is your strategy?  Denial and neglect are not a strategy. 

One last thought.  It takes about 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey. What does your neighborhood look like?  Is there enough for the honey bees, and also for their native polinator cousins? 

If you feel called to beekeeping – awesome!!  If its because you want to be a beekeeper.  If it’s because you saw a cool thing on Youtube where you can get free pancake syrup, don’t even.        

For further thoughts, here's a write up from my friends at ANU in Australia.  

Visit Bee-Girl: http://www.beegirl.org/#!Oh-the-Flow-Hive/cswu/54fe35a80cf2458597907506

[Note: Sarah, Thank you for this insightful, informative, bee-care-full take on the Flow Hive. Kudos to you Sarah, keep up the great work! Webkeeper!!]

Kids 'n Bees: Kids and Bees and Disneyland

American Beekeeping Federation   By Sarah Red-Laird, Bee Girl   November 2014

Kids and Bees and Disneyland.  I don’t think there are many more words that are more fitting in a sentence together. The annual American Beekeeping Federation Kids and Bees event will be Friday, January 9th from 9am to noon, in the Mark Twain room at the Disneyland Resort.     

This no-charge event has been a tradition with the North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow for over 20 years, and is a “don’t miss” opportunity for school groups, home schooled kids, scouts, and clubs. Kids and their teachers or parents can expect a room full of hands-on activities 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 US, and activities that will harness their senses and imaginations.    

Read more... http://www.abfnet.org/?page=ABFEBuzzNovember2014#KidsNBeesNovember