ABF Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinars and Archived Sessions Available

American Beekeeping Federation (ABF): New Conversation with a Beekeeper Webinars and Archived Sessions Available 

Primetime with Honey bees: Beekeeping, Honey Bees and More! - Part One

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 3:00 p.m. AKST / 2:00 p.m. HST

Tim Tucker, ABF President and owner of Tuckerbees Honey

“Bee educated” about honey bees and how you — yes, you — can help reverse their population decline. Join the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) for a free, public three-part webinar series about the basics of beekeeping and honey bees. Sessions are 90 minutes each and allow you to interact with expert beekeepers and ABF members! The first session is on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, at 8:00 PM ET. ABF President Tim Tucker shares an overview of honey bee biology and an explanation of how and why we keep them the way we do today.

Click here to download the session! (Coming Soon)

Primetime with Honey bees: Beekeeping, Honey Bees and More! - Part Two  

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
9:00 p.m. ET / 8:00 p.m. CT / 7:00 p.m. MT / 6:00 p.m. PT / 5:00 p.m. AKST / 4:00 p.m. HST
Blake Shook, ABF Board Member and owner of Desert Creek Honey

The second session is on Wednesday, September 23, 2015, at 9:00 PM ET. Blake Shook, ABF board member and a commercial beekeeper, speaks about the necessity of pollination to the honey industry specifically and the farming industry more broadly (we’re talking economic impact in the billions of dollars!). Pollination is one of the honey bee’s largest and most pressing tasks, so this is a session you won’t want to miss.

Click here to download the session!  

Primetime with Honey Bees: Beekeeping, Honey Bees and More! - Part Three  

Wednesday, November 11, 2015
10:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. CT / 8:00 p.m. MT / 7:00 p.m. PT / 6:00 p.m. AKST / 5:00 p.m. HST
Gene Brandi, ABF Vice President and owner of Gene Brandi Apiaries 

This last session is on Wednesday, November 11, 2015, at 10:00 PM ET. ABF Vice President Gene Brandi shares challenges that beekeepers face and the effects of pesticides on the honey bee population. Beekeepers are losing 30-50% of their hives each year, so this is a pressing issue for all who are interested in the population. Gene will update us on everything that ABF board members and leaders are doing to help reverse the trend, and provides insight into how everyone can lend a helping hand.

Click here to download the session!

Why do honey bees like dirty water? 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015
8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Rachael Bonoan, Foundation Scholar 

Beekeepers have observed that honey bees tend to forage from dirty water sources over clean ones. While the mechanism by which honey bees find dirty water sources is likely scent, the reason they look for these dirty sources in the first place has yet to be examined. Since micronutrients are essential for many physiological functions (e.g. muscle movement and immunity), and are only found in nectar and pollen in trace amounts, Rachael Bonoan hypothesizes that to obtain a well-rounded diet, honey bees selectively forage in soil and water for minerals that the colony may lack.

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.

Next Generation Beekeepers Initiative 

8:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. CT / 6:00 p.m. MT / 5:00 p.m. PT / 4:00 p.m. AKST / 3:00 p.m. HST
Sarah Red-Laird, a.k.a Bee Girl, ABF Kids and Bees Program Director; and Zac Browning, co-owner of Browning Honey Co. Inc. 

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.

The sessions will be conducted via the GoToWebinar online meetings platform, which means the presenter will have a visual presentation, as well as an audio presentation. Upon entering the session online, you may choose whether to listen to the presentation through your computer's speakers or through your phone.
Reserve your spot today by going to our Education & Events Page/Conversation with A Beekeeper Webinar Series. You must log into your ABF membership account to register. Registration will close 24 business hours before the scheduled session. Twenty-four hours before the session the registered participant will receive an e-mail confirming participation, along with the necessary information to join the session. If an e-mail address is not provided, the ABF will call the participant with the information. 
If you are unable to make the session, don't fear! Each session will be recorded and available on the ABF Web site for ABF member-only access.
Have you missed out on any or all of the great webinars we have hosted over the past year?  Good news!  All of the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinars are archived on the ABF website and you can easily access them at your convenience.
You will need to log into your account to access the sessions.  If you don't remember your username or password, please contact Valerie Lake at valerielake@abfnet.org

 Have you missed out on any or all of the great webinars we have hosted over the past year?  Good news!  All of the ABF's "Conversation with a Beekeeper" webinars are archived on the ABF website and you can easily access them at your convenience.  You can catch up on the following sessions: 

  • Dr. Marion Ellis – Diseases of Honey Bee Part Two
  • Dr. Roger Hoopingarner – Beekeeping 101 Series
  • Blake Shook – Beginning Beekeeper Six part Series
  • Environmental Protection Agency Series

Most sessions are uploaded to the website within the next day or two after the live presentation, so the page is updated at least one a month with new sessions.  Click here to access the sessions.  Scroll down to the "Archived Sessions" section and choose the session you would like to listen to.  

Crisis shift? Bees may not be facing apocalypse but what about beekeepers?

Genetic Literacy Project   By Jon Entine   September 25, 2015

Scientists are now in agreement that we are not facing a beepocalypse as many in the media environmental activists and journalists have been predicting. Bee populations aren’t declining; they’re rising. According to statistics kept by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, honeybee populations in the United StatesCanada and Europe have been stable or growing for the two decades

But the latest statistics have not stemmed the tide of dire warnings. The focus has shifted from the pollinators themselves to beekeepers. Tim Tucker, president of the American Beekeeping Federation recently said: “It’s not the bees that are in jeopardy. …. I believe we’ll always have bees. … [But] unless things change, what’s in jeopardy is the commercial beekeeping industry.”

University of Maryland bee researcher Dennis van Englesdrop echoed the sentiment: “We’re not worried about the bees going extinct …. We’re worried about the beekeepers going extinct.”

Beekeeping is challenging

“Beekeepers are indeed “working nearly twice as hard as ever,” as Tucker has said. Beekeepers report having to split their hives more often to make up for losses, entailing more work than in previous decades.  And for commercial beekeepers maintaining thousands of bee hives, all of this additional work means more employees, more salaries, and more expenses.

The major driver of these challenges is the near-global spread of parasites...

Continue reading... http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2015/09/24/crisis-shift-bees-may-not-facing-apocalypse-beekeepers/

Drought is Driving Beekeepers and Their Hives From California

 NPR Radio   Ezra David Romero   September 29, 2015

ABF President Tim Tucker and ABF Vice President Gene Brandi were on NPR this morning.

The drought in California over the past four years has hit the agriculture industry hard, especially one of the smallest farm creatures: honeybees. A lack of crops for bees to pollinate has California's beekeeping industry on edge.

Gene Brandi is one of those beekeepers. He has a colony of bees near a field of blooming alfalfa just outside the Central California town of Los Banos. He uses smoke from a canister of burning burlap to calm the bees.

"It evokes a natural reaction, as if there were really a fire. And smoke helps to mask the pheromones that they communicate with," Brandi explains.

Brandi has worked with bees since the early '70s. He has more than 2,000 hives across the state, with around 30,000 bees in each one.

"I'm going to pull out this next frame here," says Brandi, showing me some of his hives. "Looking for the queen again — there she is. She's still laying eggs."

The lack of rain and snow has reduced the amount of plants the bees feed on, which in turn limits the amount of pollen and nectar that bees collect. Normally, there are crops and wildflowers blooming here at any given time. This year in the state, there are just not enough plants and trees in bloom to keep many commercial beekeepers profitable.

But Brandi is managing to keep his head above water by strategically placing his bees in the few spots where there are both crops and water.

A well pumps water into a canal on this farm. Thistle blooms on the banks. Nearby, cotton and alfalfa crops are growing. It's enough to keep his bees happy. But fallow farmland surrounds the area.

"In the drought years we just don't make as much honey," says Brandi. "I mean, we're very thankful that we have places like this, where the bees have made some honey this summer."

Brandi says because of the lack of natural food for the honeybees, many beekeepers have to feed their colonies processed bee food, which is a mixture of pollen and oil. They're also feeding the bees a honey substitute made of sugar syrup.

"If there's not adequate feed, we need to supply it. Otherwise, they're not going to make it, they're going to die," Brandi says.

The quality of these meal substitutes isn't as good as the real deal. They're expensive, and it's like eating fresh versus canned vegetables. Beekeepers are also supplying bees with water.

Tim Tucker, president of the American Beekeeping Federation, says the expense in providing food and drink to the bees is causing more beekeepers to take their bees out of California and into other states.

"Commercial beekeepers are having difficult times keeping bees alive, and they're kind of spread out," Tucker says. "They're going to Montana and they're going to North Dakota."

That raises concerns among farmers who rely on those bees to pollinate the 400-plus crops grown in California's Central Valley. It's especially important to have them here in the spring, when the region's 900,000-plus acres of almonds bloom.

"They're scrambling, trying to figure out as many options as possible to make sure their bees stay healthy and are prepared for next year," says Ryan Jacobsen, CEO of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. "That includes trying to move to newer areas and trying to plant new feed sources."

Jacobsen also notes that this drought is really the second punch to the beekeeping industry in the past 10 years. Each winter, as much as 40 percent of the honeybees in the West disappear due to the unexplained colony collapse disorder.

The expense of moving bees and the fear of weakening colonies are reasons why beekeepers like Gene Brandi have taken the risk of not sending their bees out of state.

"Bees are like cattle, in the sense that the pasture can be overcrowded. And even though we have less forage then normal, it's still more forage than other parts of the state," says Brandi.

And just like every other farmer in the region, Brandi and his beekeeping counterparts say rain and snow are the only true answer to reviving the California beekeeping industry.


Are Honey Bees In Trouble Or Not?

Mother Nature Network   By Tom Oder   July 31, 2015

The state of these important pollinators is a good news, bad news situation.

You may have read recently that the number of honeybee colonies is at a 20-year high. At first, that sounds like a reason to cheer. After all, most of the news of late about this critically important pollinator has been about its decline. Unfortunately, the increase in honeybee colonies is good news in only a false-positive sort of way.

What appears to be a dramatic increase in the number of hives — 2.4 million in 2006 to 2.7 million in 2014, according to one report that attributed the numbers to the USDA — is largely the result of commercial beekeepers splitting their hives to increase the number of colonies, said Tim Tucker, a beekeeper in Niotaze, Kansas and president of the American Bee Federation (ABF). They're doing that, he said, just to try and stay even in two areas. One focus is to replace the alarmingly large number of bees that are dying each year from a variety of causes, says Tucker. The second push is to meet the demand for the million-plus hives that California almond growers need to pollinate their trees every spring.

The efforts he attributes to the commercial growers, Tucker is quick to point out, is not to discount the yeoman work that backyard beekeepers and the large number of hobbyist beekeeping clubs around the country are doing to sustain honeybees. But, make no mistake, bee enthusiasts, commercial farmers, environmentalists and others concerned about the 50-year decline in the nation's honey bees can thank commercial beekeepers for the increase in the number of honeybee colonies, said Tucker.

"Commercial beekeepers account for 80 percent of the number of honeybee colonies," said Tucker. "Not said in recent news reports," he stressed, "is what difficulty commercial beekeepers are having in sustaining honeybee populations. They are working nearly twice as hard as ever. We're still not caught up in replacing the bees lost during last winter and commercial beekeepers are already splitting hives now to get ahead of the annual winter losses they know are coming.

"It used to be what we talked about were the winter losses of honeybees," Tucker said. "Now we’re having losses in July and August. That used to never happen to a colony when there was a good queen. I just picked up 22 dead hives the other day. This is not normal."

Splitting the hives helps ensure that California almond growers will have the 1.3-1.4 million hives they need to pollinate the trees in their groves, according to Tucker. The trees are not self-pollinating and their light pink and white flowers need help from the bees to produce the nuts. It's an annual ritual that Tucker said is the biggest pollinating event in the world. Sometime between February and March, 75-80 percent of the country's commercially produced honeybees are busy pollinating the almond trees to ensure a late summer harvest that will produce 80 percent of the world's almonds, according to the California Almond Board. It's a six-week event that ends about the middle of April, the exact timing depending on when the trees flower.

"It's not the bees that are in jeopardy," said Tucker. "I believe we'll always have bees." The issue, as he sees it, is whether we will have enough bees to pollinate critical food crops and for honey production. "Unless things change, what's in jeopardy is the commercial beekeeping industry," Tucker said.

How important is commercial beekeeping? Pollinators are responsible in some part for a third of global food production volume, and the tiny honeybee pollinates more than 90 crops, according to the California Almond Board's website. Without honeybees to pollinate crops such as apples, cucumbers, broccoli, onions, pumpkins, carrots and avocados that, like almonds, simply won't grow without them, U.S. farmers could lose $15 billion worth of America's favorite fruits and vegetables, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council website.

"Even now there's not enough money to be made in making honey even if you could sell it a semi-truck load at a time," Tucker said. In the last 20 years, commercial honey production has been down about 80 million pounds annually, he said. About 20 years ago commercial beekeepers produced 220 million pounds of honey a year. Two years ago, it was around 150 million pounds. Last year, he noted, honey production rose to 170 pounds, and while that's good news, the output was still about 50 million pounds below production in the 1990s.

The loss of bees, Tucker contends, is not totally due to the much-publicized colony collapse disorder (CCD), which beekeepers first noted in 2006 and resulted in mass losses of 30-50 percent of the nation's honeybees. Tucker calls CCD a short-term phenomenon. "We haven't seen that since 2009," He said. "What we’re seeing today is a failure of bees to thrive as well as they did 20 years ago." He blames the honeybee's struggle for survival on habit loss, pesticide use, climate change (which he said is affecting their ability to collect nectar and pollen) and the drought in the Western states (which is affecting the blooming cycle of oranges and sage).

Environmental indicators show it's more than the honeybees that are in what Tucker calls serious trouble. He cites populations of frogs and night-flying insects as both being on the decline and said there is a significant decrease in biodiversity.

The result from CCD and environmental factors is that even with the increase in hives we are nowhere close to the honeybee population of the 1960s-1980s, Tucker said, pointing out that other bees are struggling, too. "I haven't seen a bumble bee all year."

Still, all is not gloom and doom for the little honeybee. Lots and lots of new beekeepers are starting in business to supply bees to what Tucker calls sideline beekeepers, which he describes as people who make a bit of money from beekeeping but still working a daytime, usually full-time job, and to hobbyist beepers, those who keep bees to enjoy the honey the little creatures produce. Both of these types of beekeepers, Tucker points out, are increasing the demand for bees.

Tucker also has some good news for hobbyist beekeepers and those who would like to learn how to start backyard hives. The American Bee Federation is planning a free and open-to-the-public fall webinar series on the basics of beekeeping. Called "Prime Time With Honeybees," the webinar will cover such topics as honeybee biology, the basics of how to get started in beekeeping and honeybee pollination. The ABF will post information about the webinar on its website when the details are finalized. ABF's archived information about beekeeping, including a series on beginning beekeeping, is available on the website to ABF members. For information about how to join ABF, visit the website.

Read more: http://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/are-honeybees-trouble-or-not#ixzz3hzEBnDCr