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: Next Gen Beekeepers Breakout - Nov 18

Calling all beekeepers in their 20's and 30's! There's a Next Gen Beekeepers Breakout session at the California State Beekeepers Association Conference, and we want you there! Join us for free beer, some desert, live music, and an opportunity to connect with other young beekeepers.

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. To keep a colony thriving, recruitment must outnumber loss. With the average age of beekeepers nearing 70, and only 8% under the age of 40 (Bee Culture, 2007, Flottum), we are not headed for success. The Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative is aiming to amend this trend, by not just simply listing problems in the beekeeping industry, but identifying real solutions and pairing them with action.

The night will kick-off with beer, desert, and live music by beekeeper Ben Sallmann's jazz/funk band - then we'll get down to the nitty gritty. I'll share what the group came up with in Missoula and Boulder, then we'll spend time putting our present thoughts and experiences down, and come up with the building blocks of a "strategic" plan and a few action items for the coming year.

Your co-facilitators for the evening are next gen beekeepers, Sarah Red-Laird, Katie Lee, Elizabeth Frost, and Steve Marquette. See below for bios, and we hope to hoist a pint for bees and beekeepers with you in November at CSBA!

Join and share our Facebook event here.

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

Sarah Red-Laird (Bee Girl) Poses Questions to Beekeepers

Yesterday (Nov. 19) at the California State Beekeepers Association conference, as part of our Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative, I facilitated a panel regarding bridging the gap between "commercial" and "backyard" beekeepers. Now, I'd like to open the floor to you for comment. 

This is a three part question. Answer just one part, two, or all three.

1) What are the differences between the two groups, as well as the similarities? 

2) What DO we do presently to help each other in a POSITIVE way? 

3) What CAN we do in the future to help each other in a POSITIVE way? I'd love to hear specific action items. 

Thank you SO much for participating!!

CSBA Annual Convention - Sarah Red Laird, the Bee Girl

CSBA Annual Convention  http://www.californiastatebeekeepers.com/   November 18-20, 2014

Sara Red-Laird, the Bee Girl, transformed a childhood fascination with honeybees into an impassioned career as a research scientist, educator, conservationist and revered beekeeper. She brings her love of honey bees and joy of beekeeping to the CSBA Annual Convention with her "Educating the Educators" presentation, on the Panel: "Bridging the Gap Between the Beekeeping Industry & the Urban Beekeeper," and with her Special Movie Night screening: "We Can Save the Bees Together." 

Sarah Red-Laird is the founder and Executive Director of the Bee Girl organization with a mission to inspire and empower communities to conserve bees and their habitat. She brought her affinity for beekeeping to fruition at the University of Montana, Missoula. She chose honey bees and Colony Collapse Disorder as her Davidson Honors College research thesis. 

Sarah's affinity for Apis mellifera was apparent to Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk at the UM Honey Bee Lab, and he gladly put her to work in research. Sarah finished her time as a student at UM with a presentation on her CCD and beekeeping findings at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research titled, "How to Keep 100,000 Girlfriends, the Careful Relationship of a Beekeeper and Her Honey Bees." She graduated with honors, and as a University Scholar from UM's College of Forestry and Conservation with a degree in Resource Conservation, focused on community collaboration and environmental policy. 

Sarah is also the US Ambassador of the International Bee Research Association's (IBRA) BEEWORLD project, the Kids and Bees Director for the American Beekeeping Federation, a mentor in the Oregon State Master Beekeepers Program, Apiary Manager for Southern Oregon University's Center for Sustainability, the Oregon Outreach Coordinator for the Bee Friendly Farming Initiative, and is on the advisory board of the New York Bee Sanctuary. When she is not tirelessly working with bees, beekeepers, kids, farmers, land managers, and policy makers, Sarah heads for the hills with a camera, large backpack, fishing rod, bike or snowboard, and her best friend, Sophie the Yellow Lab.