CATCH THE BUZZ: All Around The Beeyard

CATCH THE BUZZ October 4, 2019


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Have  you figured out a way to fix it, move it, make it, shake it, show it, know it, record it, get to it, or anything else that has made what you do with bees easier, faster, smarter, better, cheaper, or just plain more fun? You can’t buy these in a catalog, they are the GREAT ideas that everyday beekeepers see, do, make, discover, uncover that makes what they do more fun, cheaper, easier or faster.

We’ll bet you have one of those ideas, tricks or tips or maybe 2 or 3 or 10. Share them with the world with a short write up, a photo or two or a drawing or two and we’ll share them with our thousands of readers. Everyone that gets picked every month gets a free 1 year subscription, and the best one each month gets a $100 prize.

Send your tips and tricks and best ideas, along with a short write up and a photo or 2 or 3 to kim@beeculture, with BEEYARD in the subject line, and we’ll share them with the world. Hurry, somebody somewhere needs and wants that best idea you have, and you can give them a hand. And thanks.

Join Kim And Jim In The Beeyard, And On The Front Porch Of The A. I. Root Homestead On June 18th At Noon EST (9 AM PDT)

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Check out the next LIVE KIM&JIM Show, on June 18, 2018. Kim and Jim are first going to take a look at the 4 bee hives on the A. I. Root Company property, right next to A. I. Root’s Home. There are 2 overwintered colonies, and 2 were installed as packages this spring. What’s up with the old and the new this spring? We’ll find out. Then, they’ll take a look at the new polystyrene hive just installed this spring to begin looking at thermal efficiency in a beehive. A new hive, with a new package will be the center of attention for a bit.

Then, because it’s Pollination Week, KIM&JIM will take a breather after all that work, and sip a cool one on the A. I. Root’s front porch and talk about all of the historical figures that have come and gone from that porch over the years, sort of a sneak preview of THE HISTORY OF AMERICAN BEEKEEPING event coming your way in October. And, because it’s pollination weeks, they’ll discuss a bit about the pollinator gardens, that they will visit later this summer, and about some of the activities going on around this most important subject.

KIM&JIM. Tune in, Tuesday, June 18, 2018 from noon to 1 PM. Look at bees, look at beehives. Sip a cool one on A. I. Root’s front porch. What better way to spend the first week of summer.

Please Register for Kim & Jim Visit the hives at A. I. Root’s home. on Jun 18, 2019 12:00 PM EDT (9:00 AM PDT) at:…/8037399612017492493

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Kim & Jim Show: 9/21/18 and 9/25/18

Kim Flottum, Editor-in-Chief, Bee Culture Magazine and Dr. James "Jim" Tew, Emeritus Professor, Entomology, OSU will be bringing you their 21st "Live" and 22nd "Live" show. 

9/21 @ 5pm EST (2pm PST)- Jim Tew in Auburn, Kim in Ohio talk wintering, south and north: Register

9/25 @ 12pm EST (9am PST) - Next Generation of Beekeeping: Register

Pollinator: Judgment Day

University of Maryland: (NPR) March 27, 2018

Mohammed Abed/Getty Images

The continued decline of bee colonies — they fell by a third from 2016 to 2017 — has inspired some criminal enterprises.

honeybee heist in California led to the discovery of a “beehive chop shop” and thieves scheming to pinch pollinators.

And then there’s honey. “Foods that can’t be differentiated by sight will often be faked, and honey fills the bill,” writes Larry Olmsted, who investigated food fraud for a book.

Complex global trades can obscure the true source — and composition — of the gooey goods in our cupboards. So when we buy a bottle or a bear, how do we know we’re getting the good stuff?


Kim Flottum Editor, Bee Culture Magazine

Eric Wenger Chairman, True Source Honey

Margarita Lopez-Uribe Assistant professor of entomology, Penn State University; she studies how environmental changes impact the bee population.

Gene Brandi Past president, current board member at the American Beekeeping Federation; owner, Gene Brandi Apiaries

How To Make Sure Your Honey Is Real

1. Inspect the label. By law, it must include the honey’s country of origin. The highest-quality honey typically comes from Argentina, Canada, and the United States. And as for the location of the packer: if it’s a distant place you’ve never heard of, that’s a red flag.

2. Look for a stamp of approval. Certification programs like True Source Honey investigate honey supply chains abroad. If honey passes the test, you’ll be able to tell by the certified logo on the label.

3. Do your research. If you’re curious about a honey product or ingredient, you can call the collector or manufacturer and find out more information.

4. Check out your local farmer’s market. That way, you can talk to the beekeeper in person.

The National Honey Board Announces the Re-Launch of the Sweet Truth Behind Honey

CATCH THE BUZZ     By Kim Flottum    November 12, 2014

The real food movement isn’t going anywhere as 57 percent of people have reported searching for foods made with simple, real ingredients. Honey—a natural sweetener often used for tea, baking and on toast—is pure and simply harvested from honeycombs with no added ingredients or preservatives. With more than 300 varietals of honey in the United States and a multitude of culinary uses, honey is becoming an even more popular ingredient for those seeking a more natural approach to their foods. However, the story from honey bee to table is sometimes misunderstood so misperceptions on authenticity, sourcing and bottling exist. The National Honey Board (NHB), a federal research and promotion board with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) oversight, has compiled The Sweet Truth Behind Honey educational platform to provide reliable resources and sustain consumer confidence in this versatile everyday pantry staple.

The NHB conducted an Attitude and Usage (A&U) study and learned first-hand that a majority of current users, past purchasers and non-purchasers report it is important for honey to be pure. Honey is just that, made by honey bees from the nectar of flowers and plants, not from pollen. This is just one of several myths that need clarification, according to the NHB.

“Honey is produced by honey bees from the nectar in flowers. Some plants have flowers with nectar, some that just have pollen, and some have both,” says 40-year veteran beekeeper Gene Brandi. “Nectar is a sugar-water solution that is found at the base of nectar-producing flowers. The bees collect the nectar and bring it back to the colony, store it and dehydrate it, and eventually turn it into honey.”

Consumer confusion doesn’t stop once honey reaches the honeycomb. The bright color of typical honey in the supermarket is a result of filtering, which improves clarity. Research supports that filtering honey doesn’t impact the nutrient content or antioxidant activity. Honey is made by honey bees from nectar of flowers and plants, not pollen. Pollen grains are seen as an accidental guest in honey, brought back as a food source for the baby bees. While filtering honey, the air bubbles, fine particles, other material in suspension and pollen grains are removed. Honey without pollen is still honey, nutritionally and in flavor.

“U.S. honey packers are filtering out the impurities and the particles because that is what causes honey to crystallize. One of the things that we’re doing through the filtering step is extending the shelf life of honey, which is also a quality of honey that is important to consumers,” cites beekeeper and honey packer BrentBarkman, Chairman of the NHB. “From research we know that consumers like a clear, golden product that’s also free of particles and won’t crystallize in the pantry. We're always looking for the highest quality product that we can provide to the consumer.”

While more than 83 percent of consumers are aware of the wide range of more than 300 honey varietals in the United States, most respondents actually buy honey for use in baking, tea or on toast. “In terms of functionality and how to use honey in recipes the list is very long,” notes Marie Simmons, award-winning cookbook author and spokesperson for the NHB. “Honey is a natural flavor booster that works well in both sweet and savory dishes. It adds distinctive flavor notes, rich golden colors, balances the taste and holds and attracts moisture, especially important in baked goods. Additionally, honey is naturally antimicrobial, and therefore helps to prevent foods from spoiling.”

Honey is a natural product that contains just one ingredient: honey. The versatility of honey makes it easily accessible for consumers to use in their daily routines. Honey is a whole food, and as a carbohydrate, is considered a natural energy booster. Honey also has other uses outside of the culinary realm. With humectantproperties, honey draws and retains moisture to help hydrate the skin. It is also recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization as a natural cough suppressant in children after their first birthday.

The National Honey Board is an industry-funded agriculture promotion group that works to educate consumers about the benefits and uses for honey and honey products through research, marketing and promotional programs. For more information and recipes, please visit

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Apis Newsletter From Malcolm T. Sanford: September 2014

The September 2014 Apis Newsletter from Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford is hot off the press and chock full of great BEE information.

From Dr. Sanford: 
"The Apis newsletter is delayed this month due to my attendance at the Western Apicultural Society's meeting, just concluded at the University of Montana , Missoula, MT, which not only hosted the event, but put on a honey festival.  To much cannot be said about this convention, billed by the organizers as “Not your Grandfather's Bee Conference.”  Several attendees considered it one the best one they have ever attended.  You can see the lineup in the August issue  of this newsletter.  No doubt we will be hearing much more about this event in the near future.  
Editor Kim Flottum and co-editor Kathy were on hand in Missoula, and we are promised something on the Bee Culture  blog  fairly soon.  Bee Culture sponsored the kickoff event, The 2nd International Workshop on Hive and Bee Monitoring, by plumping for refreshments at the breaks and a down-home meal for speakers at Ekstrom's Stage Station .  Thanks Bee Culture!
A major topic of the monitoring workshop was the use of scale hives.  Wayne Esaias, recently retired from the NASA Goddard Sapce Flight Center, has perhaps had the most press exposure with his honeybeenet initiative , which he created in an effort to provide beekeepers and others evidence of climate change's impact on the honey bee plants.  A description of this work was published in NASA's Sensing Our Planet Series (2010)..."  

To continue reading this September 2014 Newsletter go to the Archives Section at:
More about Dr. Malcolm T. Sanford
APIS Information Rescource Center at Squiddo:
To Subscribe to the Newsletter go to:   
Keeping Honeybee by Malcolm T. Sanford and Richard E. Bonney

The ABC's of the Bee-a-Thon (August 21, 2013)

Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World   By Kathy Keatley Garvey   8/20/13

What Emmet Brady describes as "the wonderful world of pollination" will come to life on Wednesday, Aug. 21. 

Brady, a cultural entomologist, hosts the Insect News Network on KDRT 97.4 FM Radio, Davis, and every year he hosts a "Bee-a-Thon" to spotlight honey bees.

So, get ready for Bee-a-Thon 3!

The free multimedia event will beginonline with a series of videos about honey bees and other members of the Microcosm, including videos created by Brady and clips from previous Bee-a-Thons... 

Read more and get the full schedule...

“The interdependence we have with insects — especially bees — is profound and complex and most people are only discussing half the story," said Brady, who holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hiram (Ohio) College. "The key word is biocomplexity — how human behavior fits into the global ecology. It’s also about how insects inspire and amaze our society. That will all be covered on the show.”

Brady described the Bee-a-Thon as timely; Time magazine just published a cover story on  “beepocalpyse.”

Visit the Kathy Keatley Garvey Bug Squad blog at:
Visit the Kathy Keatley Garvey website at:

Webinar: The Buzz at OSC - Setting Up the Honey House, Big & Small

OSC Webinars  By Denise Ellsworth  6/19/13
The recording of today's webinar "Setting up the Honey House" with Kim Flottum is now posted at this link.,_Big_and_Small.htm

Join OSC Webinars on July 17th for their next webinar: 

"Green" Honey Harvesting with Alex Zomchek.

"Green" Honey Harvesting is intended as a whimsical yet purposeful play on unique honeys, honey harvesting and processing. There are literally green colored honeys from various thistle plants.  Unripened honey is sometimes referred to as "green".  Alex will discuss how to properly assess if your honey is ripe enough for extraction using the shake method and the more sophisticated refractometer.  Lastly, he will discuss using "green" energy tips and tricks to process honey and wax including building a solar wax melter and using your car to decrystallize honey and remove the bloom from wax candles.

Webinar: The Buzz at OSC - Setting Up the Honey House, Big & Small

REMINDER: Wednesday, June 19th at 9AM (EDT)   6AM (PDT)  Kim Flottum is editor of Bee Culture magazine. Join us as Kim discusses the fundamentals of setting up your honey house, no matter the size of your operation. To Join this free webinar, follow the link and LOG IN AS A GUEST at about 8:55(EDT) 5:55(PDT). 
To access via iPad or iPhone, download the Adobe Connect app.
This and each monthly webinar will be recorded and archived on the OSU Bee Lab website the day of the session. 

What's Killing the Bees

By Kim Flottum, Special to CNN   updated 6:06 PM EDT, Tue April 2, 2013

Editor's note: Kim Flottum is the editor of Bee Culture magazine.

(CNN) -- That honeybees die is not new. And that beekeepers accept that on average 30% or more of their livestock will vanish each spring isn't new either. But when more than half of all the honeybees in this country die almost at once -- that is new. And that's what happened this spring.

Scientists have given this disaster the catchy, all-inclusive name Colony Collapse Disorder. It describes symptoms, but not cause.

The symptoms are straightforward. When examined in early spring, one day the colony has ample adults, an acceptable queen and a healthy number of juvenile bees ready to emerge and become adults. A week later -- the adults are gone. Poof. They vanish into thin air, leaving the juveniles to emerge into a dying world.

Up to now, the disappearance of the bees has been attributed to a cluster of causes, with no single definitive culprit.

Working in concert, malnourished, unhealthy bees are subject to the physical damage of blood-sucking Varroa mites that add insult to injury by sharing a host of immune-suppressing viruses with every bee they bite. Add to this an intestine-eating bacterial disease that destroys a bee from the inside out, and you can see that the end is near.

Beekeepers have expensive controls for mites, viruses and the intestinal disease, and when appropriately applied, those can curb the worst of these problems to an acceptable level -- if the bees are healthy to begin with.

With humans, if we get too little sleep, have a poor diet, and take on too much pressure, our stress levels rise and we succumb to ailments our otherwise healthy immune system could easily handle. And we get sick.

So it is with the bees. Their world is overrun with stress.

Riding on trucks affects their ability to produce food the young need. Varroa damage shortens their lives by double-digit percentage points. And the viruses subtract more days of being a bee. Throw in the intestine-eating disease and their fragile lives grow still shorter. And don't forget the compounds that beekeepers must use to keep Varroa from overrunning a colony. They are killing a bug on a bug. Our honeybees are surrounded on all sides by the means to their own end.

But by my reckoning, it's the stress that neither the bees nor the beekeepers have control over that is a major issue.

To thrive, any organism needs to be 100% strong, and that begins with a healthy diet. Beekeepers have a saying: Enough good food in the right place at the right time and your bees will be healthy, wealthy and wise. Basically, the food system in this country for honeybees is broken, and it needs fixing.

The Plains states, the Midwest, the Mountain States -- all were once a gastronomic paradise for honeybees. Millions of acres of Conservation Reserve Land bloomed, supplying a healthy mix of blossoms to thousands of honeybee colonies.

Today, much if not most of that dietary reserve has been plowed under to make way for 100 million acres of ethanol-producing corn. This sterile desert has nothing to offer -- except perhaps a tiny bit of the thousands of tons of agricultural pesticide applied to the corn, way back at planting time, that makes its way to the pollen collected by the bees, which is stored and eaten later. That's not enough to kill a bee, but it adds another layer of stress. And, some suspect, the tipping point stress.

Florida was a suburb of that paradise, before the trees were sprayed night and day, turning whole counties into a honeybee no-trespassing zone.

Everywhere, people are covering the land. Concrete, says John Miller, a North Dakota commercial beekeeper, is the last crop. When people put concrete down for parking lots, roads or houses, nothing will ever grow there again.

Without good food there is no future for a beekeeping industry in this country. Farmers, state and federal governments all must provide safe land for bees. All of this has been said again and again by pollinator supporters for years.

Without enough good healthy food, beekeeping is destined to become a concentrated feed lot enterprise. Stress wins. Varroa wins. We all lose.

CNN: View comments: 

Almond pollination prices, pollinators and growers heat up - An Editorial

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 

It’s been a somewhat contentious pollinating season in California this season so far. Growers have been reluctant to dig deeper to get good colonies, and beekeepers have had a tough time getting colonies in good shape at the prices offered. 

Future shortages were apparent last summer, even last spring at the end of the season when I was there because water was already a problem in many foraging areas…not only in California but in much of the country. Nutrition, or basically sources of enough good food was one of the keys in a season-long struggle to just keep up.

Beekeepers were faced with either unavailable but good mite control, or expensive but good mite control, but either way the cost of keeping a colony alive kept increasing. Moreover, just the overall cost of getting a colony to strong-enough-strength has gone up, and growers have been unwilling to accommodate those costs, even considering the fact that the price of almonds just keeps increasing…both because of worldwide demand and a short crop last year because of water shortages.

Without adequate compensation there is little incentive for beekeepers to spend more money on colonies ahead of time unless some provision is made to cover those expenses. Several have said it’s safer to work hard on fewer colonies than to gamble on providing more colonies…recall our article last year comparing almond pollination, producing an almond crop, and a game of 5 card draw.

So this season some colonies are in California weaker than they were planned to be, some colonies are in California empty of bees altogether, and some colonies of bees are in California that weren’t planning on being there at all just to fill the gap of fewer colonies and the promise of gold in the orchards fixing the problems created by weaker colonies and more almonds that got planted this year. Florida has sent something like 100,000 colonies this year, up about 20% according to Ag. officials there. Not enough to threaten the orange honey crop, or the orange crop itself, but a bigger chunk than ever….from one coast to another. 

So forever, honey bee colonies in almond orchards have been viewed as a commodity by almond growers…no more and no less than fertilizer, water or insecticide. Simply one more input to a successful crop. So what happens when that input says NO? With honey heading towards $3+/pound, shipping going up (those Florida beekeepers picked up the tab for sending those bees to California you know, which comes right off the bottom line of the profit column…what the heck happened to cost plus freight?), other crops vying for the attention of all those bees on the east coast in good shape, and the price of a pollinating colony going up about 15% in the last year generally… I don't care what the Almond folks think...this is 2013...not 1993.

It’s been a tough year so far and it’s going to be another tough year, even if everything goes right, because it costs a beekeeper lots of money to catch up, and even lots of money to stay even, and there will be still more almonds to pollinate next year. From where I sit the beekeepers have just seen your call, and raised.   And the answer better be right because lots and lots of almond customers are watching your next move. Screw it up, play hard ball, and the demand goes south because they won't know if there will be a crop next year and they won't bet on you again...see the bet, spend the money and you can be pretty sure customers will feel safe in putting in orders. 

Your call.... 

Good Advice For Every Beekeeper, from A Successful Beekeeper

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 11/30/12

The most basic and essential advice for anyone with hopes of becoming a successful professional beekeeper is to “ignore” the ideas and advice commonly circulated by small-time beekeepers, especially those who try to be different and make things more complex than necessary and follow only advice and suggestions from successful professional beekeepers.

That good advice is generally offered quietly and without the evangelism that accompanies the propaganda circulated by the various beekeeping cults.

The main keys to achieving success in any business that depends on livestock are very simple:

The first rule for anyone who keeps livestock and is serious about doing a proper job, with profitability and success as the goal, is to ensure his/her livestock is properly fed at all times, with feed reserves on hand.

The second rule is to keep all livestock in good health and avoid wasting time and resources on livestock which does not show promise.

Culling losers promptly is essential to success – in the beekeeping world it is not simply letting all the bees die, but requeening with better stock.

Colony starvation begins long before the bees run right out of feed.  As the amount of stores in the hives dwindle, bees forage more desperately and brood rearing is cut back, resulting in disease and reduced populations.

Failure to feed livestock that is approaching starvation is an indication of the worst sort of ignorance and lack of competence.  In advanced societies, starving livestock is illegal, and even criminal.

For some reason, bees seem to be an exception and many incompetent beekeepers promote various abuses of honey bees.  Maintaining inadequate reserves in hives is one of the most widespread abuses and the cause of a great deal of colony loss and disease.

Beekeeping basics are really simple -- too simple for many it seems.

 * Keep the colonies healthy and treat, eliminate or requeen any which are not.

 * Provide good housing for the colonies with appropriate room for the population and time of year.

 * Feed any colonies that may come anywhere close to running out during a dearth generously, and well in advance.  The time to feed for dearths and/or winter is as soon as any honey flows are over and any surplus is removed.  The weights should be checked again routinely.