Your Source For Beekeeping News, Information and Entertainment
Aug. 15, 2022

Bee Culture October Event with Jerry Hayes (S5, E9)

Bee Culture’s Annual October Event is back. After two years of dealing with Covid delays, Editor Jerry Hayes has put together a two day event in Medina, Ohio that you will not want to miss. On today’s episode, we talk with Jerry about the thirteen...

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Bee Culture’s Annual October Event is back. After two years of dealing with Covid delays, Editor Jerry Hayes has put together a two day event in Medina, Ohio that you will not want to miss.

On today’s episode, we talk with Jerry about the thirteen fantastic and inspiring leaders scheduled to talk of their journeys to get to where they are today, and a close look at the projects they are involved in now.

The list is long and diverse, including researchers, business leaders, industry professionals, commercial beekeepers, state bee inspectors, bee breeders, professors and more. You can (and really you should) attend in person, or tune in for live Zoom presentations, or tune in later for recorded zoom presentations.

Listen today and find out the speakers and all the rest of the information you will need to be apart of this fantastic event. And check out even more info at

In this week's Bee Books Old And New, Kim reviews the reissued book by Lesley Goodman, "Form and Function In The Honey Bee", available directly from Northern Bee Books or Amazon.

We hope you enjoy the episode. Leave comments and questions in the Comments Section of the episode's website.

Thank you for listening!

Links and websites mentioned in this podcast: 

Honey Bee Obscura


This episode is brought to you by Global PattiesGlobal PattiesGlobal offers a variety of standard and custom patties. Visit them today at and let them know you appreciate them sponsoring this episode! 

We welcome Betterbee as sponsor of today's episode. Betterbee’s mission is to support every beekeeper with excellent customerBetterBeeservice, continued education and quality equipment. From their colorful and informative catalog to their support of beekeeper educational activities, including this podcast series, Betterbee truly is Beekeepers Serving Beekeepers. See for yourself at

We welcome HiveAlive back as an episode sponsor. HiveAlive is the #1 liquid feed supplement for honeybees worldwide.  It contains a unique blend of seaweed extracts, thyme and
lemongrass. HiveAlive has been proven to increase bee strength, produce more honey, improved bee gut health and improved overwinter survival. Ask about HiveAlive and new HiveAlive Fondant & Pollen Patty at your local beekeeping store or visit the website for more information. Listeners of the podcast can claim a special discount online using the code "BTP" at the checkout!

Thanks for Northern Bee Books for their sponsorship of Bee Books: Old & New with Kim Flottum. Northern Bee Books is the publisher of bee books available worldwide from their website or from Amazon and bookstores everywhere. They are also the publishers of The Beekeepers Quarterly and Natural Bee Husbandry.

Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of Beekeeping TodayStrong MicrobialsPodcast. Find out more about heir line of probiotics in our Season 3, Episode 12 episode and from their website:

We want to also thank 2 Million Blossoms as a sponsor of the podcast. 2 Million Blossoms is a regular podcast featuring interviews with leading bee and insect researchers in the world of pollination, hosted by Dr. Kirsten Traynor.


We hope you enjoy this podcast and welcome your questions and comments in the show notes of this episode or:

Thanks to Bee Culture, the Magazine of American Beekeeping, for their support of The Beekeeping Today Podcast. Available in print and digital at

Bee Culture Magazine

Thank you for listening! 

Podcast music: Be Strong by Young Presidents; Epilogue by Musicalman; Walking in Paris by Studio Le Bus; A Fresh New Start by Pete Morse; Original guitar background instrumental by Jeff Ott

Beekeeping Today Podcast is an audio production of Growing Planet Media, LLC

Growing Planet Media, LLC


S5, E09 – Bee Culture October Event With Jerry Hayes


Jeff Ott:Welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast presented by Bee Culture. Beekeeping Today Podcast is your source for beekeeping news, information, and entertainment. I'm Jeff Ott.

Kim Flottum:I'm Kim Flottum.

Global Patties:Hey, Jeff and Kim. Today's sponsor is Global Patties. They're a family operated business that manufactures protein supplement patties for honey bees. It's a good time to think about honey bee nutrition. Feeding your hives protein supplement patties will ensure that they produce strong and healthy colonies by increasing brood production and overall honey flow. Now is a great time to consider what type of pattie is right for your area and your honey bees.

Global offers a variety of standard patties as well as custom patties to meet your needs. No matter where you are, Global is ready to serve you out of their manufacturing plants in Airdrie, Alberta, and in Butte, Montana, or from distribution depots across the continent. Visit them today at

Jeff:Thanks, Sherry and thank you, Global Patties. Each week, we get to talk about how much we appreciate our sponsor support, and we know you'd rather we get right to talking about beekeeping. However, our great sponsors are critical to help making all of this happen. From the transcripts, the hosting fees, the software, the hardware, the microphones, the subscriptions, the recorders, they enable each episode.

With that, thanks to Bee Culture Magazine for continuing their presenting sponsorship of this podcast. Bee Culture has been the magazine for American beekeeping since 1873. Subscribe to Bee Culture today. Hey, everybody. Thanks for joining us. We're really happy you're here. Before we get started, just a quick reminder to subscribe or follow Beekeeping Today Podcast and give us a five-star rating. It really does help. Also, we are now adding complete transcripts of each episode on the website after the show notes, check them out.

You can also leave questions and comments online under each show. You can leave a comment, ask a question, reply to a question, ours or our listeners, click on "Leave a comment" at the top of the episode's show notes to join the discussion.

Have you listened to an episode and thought, "That person sounds really interesting and I'd like to know more about them"? Well, now you can. Each episode links to a guest profile. Each profile has a guest photo, bio, contact information, including Instagram and Twitter details if they have them. Check it out and finally share the podcast with your beekeeping friends, email them links, or mention it at your next beekeeper meeting.

Hey, everybody. Thanks for listening. We have an informative show set for you today with Bee Culture editor, Jerry Hayes, who is here to talk about the October event BEEing Diverse, held this coming September 30th and October 1 in Medina, Ohio. New this year is the option of attending live via Zoom. This is the first time back for the event since COVID. Everyone is excited to get this going, but more than that in just a few moments.

It is August and for many of you, it is honey harvest and extracting season. Of course, many of you have also been extracting all along because you are fortunate to experience some strong regional and local nectar flows or because you're separating different varietal honeys. I've always believed that taking the time to provide and create varietal honeys to be a great differentiator.

Just as people prefer local honey, they also seek out and are drawn to specific honey varieties. For more on that topic, listen to our two episodes with Marina Marchese on honey tasting from October 2018 and October 2020. Varietal honeys are a largely untapped area of honey marketing you should explore. Anyways, for most of you, the honey harvest is the primary reason you got into bees, perhaps not the only reason, but a primary driver. It's truly a great time of year.

I have a question for you. For those of you with smaller extractors you set up in your garage or other workspace, especially if you have a motorized extractor, how do you keep the extractor from walking with an unbalanced load, much like a closed washer during the spin cycle? Do you try to balance the extractor baskets as you load it?

Perhaps heavy frames on the opposite sides, or do you bolt it to the floor or other solid platform, or have you devised a platform on caster wheels that gives and moves as it spins? It is a perennial problem every beekeeper with an extractor faces. Let us know what you do in the comments section of the episode webpage. Kim has a great new book review for us, but first, a quick word from our friends at HiveAlive.

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Kim:Jeff, I have a surprise book review today. The International Bee Research Association, commonly known as IBRA and our good friend, Jeremy Burbidge, from the Northern Bee Books have together released a new edition of an outstanding book titled Form and Function of the Honey Bee by Lesley Goodman.

It was originally published by IBRA, but after it went out of print, they weren't in a position to reprint so it has been missing for a bit. Dr. Lesley Goodman, the author, completed her PhD work at Liverpool University, moving on to become a reader in zoology at Queen Mary university in London. Until her retirement in 1996, her research interests were primarily in the fields of neurobiology and insect physiology, specializing in honey bee flight and visual systems.

Her special interest was a now how insect thoracic flight motor machinery was influenced by commands from the brain. She used honey bees to map the route of visual input to certain flight motor neurons. Her work with bee scientists and beekeepers led her to produce this book that is readable by both non-scientists and students. Though incomplete, when lung cancer overtook her work, she set up a fund to ensure the book was completed and published.

It was completed by Prof. Richard Cooter, chair of the LJ Goodman Insect Physiology Trust, and Dr. Pamela Munn, then the deputy director of IBRA who finally published the book in 2003. Lesley's goal was to describe some of the topics that would attract a wide audience rather than a smaller group of insect specialists ans in my opinion, she did exactly that. That remains the goal in this edition by contributors and publishers.

This edition sold very well for several years, but as I said, eventually went out of print and has been unavailable for some time now. I published a review of this book that year when I was editor of Bee Culture. If I recall, then monthly contributor, Dr. Mark Winston, provided a detailed review that was highly supportive of both the work and the author and even IBRA for providing support for Dr. Goodman's project.

In my office, while editor, were three reference books on my desk that I used almost exclusively: Lesley's book, the most current The ABC & XYZ of Bee Culture, which was edited by Dr. Shimanuki and Ann Harman and myself, and the most recent Hive and the Honey Bee, which then ABJ editor, Joe Graham, put together. Between those three, I could find almost anything honey bee, beekeeping, insects, flowers, or whatever I needed.

The current ABC edited by Keith Delaplane and Lesley's book are the two that sit on my desk now. The book covers essentially the form or anatomy and the function of the various anatomical parts she looks at. Basically, it's an anatomy and physiology book looking at honey bees. It's a big book in every way. It measures 12 by 8.25 inches, has 221 pages, over 340 diagrams, paintings, SEM photos, and line drawings. I'll share a bit of the quotes on the back of the book.

Mark Winston said, "I might have titled the book Elegance, Beauty, and Reverence because this is an astoundingly beautiful and evocative work of art as much as a scientific discourse about the anatomy. It is accessible to beekeepers, inexpensive, and comprehensive." Tom Seeley said, "It is gorgeous in its superb use of line drawings, SEMs, and original artwork and important because it updates the classic books on sensory physiology. She has given all of us interested in the behavior and physiology of honey bees an amazing gift."

Jeff, there's only nine chapters in this book, but each is a PhD's worth of information. The first studies the antenna sense organs, sorting out the sense of smell and the olfactory receptors, how tasting works for bees, sensing humidity, temperature, and carbon dioxide, how the antenna work with hearing and finally using them to interpret the dance language. Next comes vision. Looking closely at the compound eye, how colors are seen or not, and using polarized light to navigate to and from anywhere they are. Chapter three is short and to the point, looking at the ocelli or the simple eyes. Chapter four focuses on how gravity affects the bees and what organs are used to measure this force. Neck hairs, pedial hairs, and leg hairs seem to make this work. Mouth parts are next, all of the mouthparts and what each of these parts does. How do bees drink anyway? There's a short chapter on collecting pollen, followed by a chapter on breathing, getting oxygen to every cell that needs oxygen all of the time.

Flight was one of Goodman's specialties and it shows in Chapter seven. She looks at the evolution of flight aerodynamics, structure of wings, why pairs of wings, how they are moved, which studies in detail the anatomy of the thorax, flight muscles, distances, mating flights, and muscle temperature of allowing flight. Chapter eight looks at the pheromones of honey bees, nasanovs, queen, tarsal, glands, footprint, pheromone, and bees wax, making it its composition to getting it outside the body, and then comb building.

Her book finishes with defending the colony, the sting, venom, lancet movement, alarm pheromone, and why the whole apparatus is so complicated. Like I said earlier, Jeff, if there's something you want to know about honey bee anatomy or physiology, you will find it in this book, beautifully detailed in art, SEMs, or line drawings. It's the only book you will need. I really wish I could have met her.

I would like to have been able to tell her in person how fantastic her book is and how much it has helped me and thousands of beekeepers better understand our honey bees. Form and Function, it's available from Northern Bee Books or Amazon, check it out.


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Jeff:While you're at the Strong Microbial site, make sure you click on and subscribe to The Hive, the regular newsletter full of interesting beekeeping facts and product updates. Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the show. Sitting across the virtual Zoom table right now is none other than the legendary editor-in-chief of Bee Culture Magazine sitting in Kim's old seat. I hope you've changed the mat. Jerry Hayes, welcome to Beekeeping Today Podcast.

Jerry Hayes:Well, no, thank you, Jeff. Thank you, Kim. Yes, I think the legendary editor of Bee Culture was the one who retired three years ago actually.

Jeff:[laughs] Anybody sitting in that seat is legendary.

Kim:It's good to see you again, Jerry.

Jerry:Good to see you.

Kim:But then I get to see you quite a bit because you're just down the road here and I stop in every once in a while, so trust me, I'm not checking on you.

Jerry:Well, no, that's fine. Everybody else does, so go right ahead.

Jeff:Well, thanks again for joining us, Jerry. It's a pleasure to have you on and I'll just publicly state here, thank you for your continued support of the podcast as our key sponsor. We couldn't do it without Bee Cultureand Root's support.

Jerry:Well, I'm glad to help out, but by the same token, between you and Kim's amazing historical and contemporary knowledge of the beekeeping industry, and people, and what have you, your podcast has gotten more attention and grown and grown and grown and so I thank you for allowing us to support you. This is terrific.

Kim:Let me back up a half a step, several years ago, we started at Bee Culture something called the October event. It was supposed to be in early fall after the summer meetings were over but before the winter meetings began. It was supposed to be a multi-day event at the A.I. Root Company, Bee Culture Magazine company, and bringing in several speakers, tours of the factory, and that sort of thing. We ran it for three or four years.

The first one we did, we had Dave Hackenberg come with a load of empty supers and we practiced loading a truck using bobcats and everything and tying it down and then untying it and unloading it so people could see how it was supposed to work and it went on from there. We've done several topics over the years. When I left, COVID came and that put a dent in the October event for a couple of years, but now it's back and it looks like it's going to work.

I'm looking at the two-page spread you've got in the August issue of Bee Culture Magazine. I got to sit down. I'm really impressed. Tell us what you're thinking of and what you hope to get out of this event this year.

Jerry:Thank you, Kim. There, again, you started this event, and when you retired and I was learning how to be an editor and October event was coming up, I had this aha moment. Having been in the industry for so long, I wanted to focus on those researchers, those leaders who are predominantly female in our industry. They have done, not only in research but in business and in inspection and what have you, just a tremendous job.

Three years ago, I wanted to highlight that and focus on that, that they may not have gotten the attention that I thought they deserved over the years of the decades. Then as you said, COVID hit and we couldn't do it. Then COVID, again, we couldn't do it. Now, we can do it. I'm excited. The speakers are excited. Thank you for taking time to advertise this for you, because I think this is going to be not only interesting, fun because you can interact with not only speakers but with each other.

This is a small event, maybe 100 people or so. We're going to Zoom it and we're going to provide that Zoom afterwards. Tell me when to be quiet, but these speakers, I already talked to them and told them that, one, I want them to speak about their journey. How did they get to be leaders in the beekeeping industry or the business or the research community? What was their journey like? What did they have to do? What hurdles did they have to cross? What swamp did they have to slog through?

How did they do this? The only thing that counts at well, here, athletic players, the only thing that they can do is effort. That's the only thing. They can run faster or jump higher, or what have you. It's the same in beekeeping or business or entrepreneurs. The only thing that you can do to be the best is effort. All these speakers have done that, whether they are aware of it or not, they outworked, outperformed other people, and it's exciting.

I want to hear about their journey, and then we're going to let them talk about the research project or business direction or what they want to do in their life and what have you. Then hopefully, they can tie all these things together and motivate not only the people in attendance there but those people that might be Zooming in, or looking at this later because I think this is unique. I don't know that anybody has ever done this and I got so excited.

I probably have too many speakers, but they're all amazing. We're going to listen to all of them. If we don't have to make a trip to the bathroom and miss something, we're going to hear them all, so it'll be great.

Jeff:Well, I think it's a great opportunity to remind everybody that the theme of the October event is BEEing Diverse, inspiring leaders in beekeeping and get away from the trope or the meme of the old beekeeper in a flannel shirt is what you're trying to do. I think that's kudos to you and to Bee Culture.

Jerry:Yes, because I want to advertise the horizon if you will, and how these great leaders did things that the clouds parted and the light beams came down and they were successful. That's what we all want to be. We all want to be successful.

Kim:Each of these speakers, Jerry, is going to give two talks in these two days.

Jerry:Well, we got two days and so that's what I'm jumping around right now. It's either two talks over two days or give them an hour to go through their journey and their direction. Truthfully, I haven't totally decided, and we're going to talk to them about it too. I didn't know if I should break it up or move it together so that it would function like a jigsaw puzzle and everything would come out the big picture at the end.

Kim:[laughs] Well, I'm counting here-- I think I count 13 speakers.

Jerry:Yes, 13 of-- golly, wonderful people. Yes, 13 wonderful people in our industry that have led our industry and are leading our industry now.

Kim:Jeff, I don't know if you had a chance to look at the guest list, but several of them, we have talked to in the past on our podcast, and listeners are encouraged to go back, if you want to find out even more about these people and listen to those podcasts are on our website.

Jeff:It's an exciting list. In fact, Kim, do you have a current list there? Maybe you could just read off real quickly who the speakers are at Jerry's event.

Kim:Absolutely. Well, I'm looking at the list the way it's in the magazine. Sue Cobey, who's been here with her husband Tim, talking about bee breeding, Barb Bloetscher, who's the Ohio State Bee inspector. Dorothy Pelanda, I don't know her at all. She is the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture and I'm really looking forward to hearing what she has to say. Julianne Grose, she's the associate professor in Microbiology and Molecular Biology at-- I think that's Brigham Young. Is that right?

Jerry:It sure is.

Kim:Sure. Jackie Park Burris is a commercial Queen producer. Tammy Horn Potter has been here a couple of times on our podcast. She's a state inspector of Kentucky, and she's written several books. Nina Bagley is an urban master beekeeper. She's from Ohio, but I don't know much about her, Jerry.

Jerry:She's also a county inspector in Ohio.

Kim:Okay. Well, that makes sense that she should be here. Geraldine Wright, is a whole professor of entomology in the department of Zoology at the University of Oxford in the UK. Is she coming over, or is she going to be Zooming in?

Jerry:Yes. We're talking about that right now. She actually is from the States, and she has-- I think her mother lives in Arizona or something. She's trying to see if she can get there, and then come here and visit. If not, we can Zoom it because we've all learned how to do that over the last two years.


Kim:Kim Skyrm is a Chief Apiary Inspector out of Massachusetts. Tracy Farone is a professor of biology at Grove City College in Pennsylvania, but her role is not a professor of biology in this particular instance, because she's one of the leaders of the Honey Bee Veterinarian Group. Is that correct?

Jerry:Yes, Honey Bee Vet Consortium. Since we had that veterinarian feed director that came out a few years ago, that you have to have a relationship with a veterinarian in order to get antibiotics in some cases to treat American foulbrood or European foulbrood, she's been kind enough to write monthly articles.

Jeff:Just to let you know that Tracy is going to be on our show on the podcast in a week or two.

Kim:Okay. I get to talk to her again. I enjoy her articles. How do I say this? I don't want to say a breath of fresh air but a very different voice I hear from her article every month, and it's always engrossing, and educational, and entertaining to read her article.

Jeff:You're right, yes.

Kim:Also, we've got Maggie Lamothe Boudreau, a commercial Canadian bee inspector who owns Rayons de Miel, a 350-colony operation and produces about 4,000 Queens a year from Canada.

Jerry:Yes. I wanted to bring someone down from Canada, obviously, because we're all the same beekeepers and we all share resources and information and what have you. The Canadian Honey Council is actually supporting her travel to Medina and back. We have really good relationship with our compatriots in Canada

Kim:It will be interesting to hear about Canada's winter last year. It was a tough year for Canadian beekeepers last year, and I'm interested in hearing it from her firsthand.

Jerry:In some places, they had 50% loss, and it's interesting that as I talked to Canadian beekeepers about this, they had done the same thing for Varroa control for several years, sample, treat, sample, and everything worked out for them. For some reason, this past winter, when they did exactly the same thing, they had significant losses.

There's some concern that maybe some of those viruses that Varroa is either vectoring or causing to grow, when they shut down the immune system of a honey bee is somehow impacting them in a different way than it had in the past.

Kim:It'll be productive to find out, I'm sure.

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Kim:Joan Gunter, past president of the American Beekeeping Federation, and a commercial beekeeper will be here. It'll be interesting to hear from her because she is coming from two perspectives, and President of ABF, certainly is something to be proud about a commercial beekeeper. Then Anne Marie Fauvel from the Bee Informed Partnership is going to be talking about the people that she works with, the ladies that she's hooked up with there.

Jerry:Yes. BIP, as we all know, and unfortunately you and I have enough gray hairs to remember when Dennis vanEnglesdorp started BIP, and it's grown to be the go-to place for data and survey statistics for the US. Really, really a strong advocate for the beekeeping industry and insights into things that we didn't know.

Kim:Their annual survey may be out by the time they get here, I think.

Jerry:Yes. In fact, today, I got a preliminary report, and they said it was preliminary, and they thought they would have the actual final survey results and data from that here in a couple few weeks, yes.

Kim:Okay. Hopefully, some time in September, so she'll be able to talk about it when she's here. Well, this is, like I said, a pretty outstanding list of speakers. I don't know how you're going to squeeze all those into two days.

Jerry:Well, we thought we'd take some home to your house, if we got the choice, so we would do that .

Kim:[laughs] We can do that. We can do that. I got a room out on the deck.


Jeff:With the chickens and ducks.

Kim:Yes, there we go.

Jerry:And 500 plants. It's like going to the Amazon. It's amazing. It's just incredible.

Jeff:Yes, you've got a down pillow, but the downside is it moves. It has feet.


Kim:Makes life interesting. Well, Jerry, tell me more about what you think you're going to get out of this, hopefully from Bee Culture's perspective? What are you going to be able to take home from this?

Jerry:Well, there again, and I hate to sound like I'm patting you on the back all the time, but over your 30-plus years at Bee Culture, you truly built Bee Culture to be the best beekeeping magazine in United States. I wrote for American Bee Journal for years, and they're a terrific magazine too, but your approach, your direction, your writers who did the educational outreach, were fantastic, and you built it. I'm just standing on wonderful shoulders.

What I want to do is add to that history, if we can, that Bee Culture is connected to the industry strongly in different ways, and that we are here to help, not only the industry, but our readers, people in agriculture, big ag. We're here for everyone. I think this particular event in October, hopefully, will put this under the microscope to show that Bee Culture after a few years of not having been able to do this is the leader and bringing those leaders in beekeeping to Medina to share their lives and information with all of us.

Kim:That's an outstanding goal, I have to admit. I appreciate the comments, but I don't think I ever looked at this event in this depth and breadth. Like I said, I'm very impressed with the lineup here.

Jerry:That's because I'm still learning and I don't really know what to do, so I just put picked them .


Kim:Well, I was still learning when I left. Jeff, like I said, have you had a chance to look at this? Are you going to be able to make it, Jeff?

Jeff:Yes, I've looked at the magazine, I have not had a chance to read through it, and to get up to speed with everything that's on, especially for the October event. No, I will not be able to make the October event this year. I promise I will get there next year. [laughs]

Jerry:There again, we're going to have it available afterwards. It's going to be there, whether you can come in person or not, we're going to hopefully and everybody who's listening today will consider that option as well.

Jeff:It'll be available live on Zoom and then later recorded.

Jerry:It will be linked later that you can access, yes.

Jeff:These are definitely a great line-up of speakers that you have. When you were putting together who you wanted to invite to the October event, was there a common theme or a common denominator?

Jerry:All individuals with individual stories that are the same, but they're different. I want to be able to do that broad swath of we don't have blinders on, we're not all the same, and we can use our knowledge skills and abilities in so many different ways, not only to grow that passion in honey bees, but everything that honey bees impact in the environment and honey production and pollination and-- Oh my gosh, everything else.

Because-- here we go, I'm going to get behind the podium here, without honey bees, our diet was going to change dramatically. When you walk into the big box to go grocery shopping, do you walk in to the aisle with the toilet paper and the insecticides and stuff? No, you don't. You walk into the produce section because that's where the color, nutrition, and honey bees are responsible for the vast majority of those nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and say, lettuce. If somebody would say, "Well, geewiz, honey bees don't like lettuce," well, yes, honey bees pollinate the flower of lettuce that makes a seed that allows a grower to plant the seed to make the lettuce.

We can all go back to a diet that our ancestors ate when pollinated plants, corn, rice, wheat, rye, and what have you, but my goodness, it would change remarkably, and with our population growing in the world from 7 billion to 8, 9, and 10, and what have you, nutrition is important. If you watch the six o'clock news, you can see where world events are impacting many people's nutrition.

Jeff:Well, in the climate change that is upon us and everybody is experiencing this summer is going to have a profound impact on the entire food system, the food ecosystem, honey bees included.

Jerry:Well, in almond, there's already some almond growers that are moving into Idaho surprisingly enough in Colorado just to test it out because California's climate and drought and what have you and what do you do. That's the big question.

Kim:Well, Jeff, I'm going to be sitting quietly in the back listening to all of this, and if time and opportunity present, I may get to talk to one of these people on the side and the back of the room and we can-- especially if there's a topic that is really interesting and we can explore further. I may be able to get with some of those people and share that on a podcast on the road.

Jeff:That'd be great. That'd be real good. Hey, Jerr, I wanted to ask you, if we may off topic of the October event. I know you've been speaking and traveling and talking with the beekeeper groups around the country this summer. Any common themes? What's the common topic of discussion?

Jerry:Everybody's getting tired of hearing about it, and I tell everybody there's three words I want them to remember, Varroa, Varroa, Varroa, and so we're still as the BIP numbers at least the preliminary ones I saw today are showing a 39% loss and that's primarily from the Varroa virus legacy and we've been talking about this for years, for decades.

I've been trying to share with them the tools for Varroa Management Guide from the Honey Bee Health Coalition is a great resource because they need to be proactive. They need to be a better beekeeper than when I started because when I started, it was American foulbrood and you could go hunting or fishing the rest of the year. Now, you have to be proactive and if you're not proactive, your bees are going to die. That's just the way it is.

Yes, we want to do better and I want to aggravate people enough so that they will pay attention and actually look at the resources that are out there, vetted resources, not those things, and I shouldn't say this but I will. That third-year beekeeper who's now the global expert and has a website and telling you that put green Jello in your colonies to control Varroa. We'd know. We know what to do.

Jeff:It's the orange Jello that works not the green.

Jerry:I messed up already.

Jeff:[laughs] Just kidding, just kidding.

Jerry:I know.

Jeff:Yes, you can feed bananas to the bees but not Jello of any color. As you're talking to beekeepers, what are you hearing about the honey crop this year?

Jerry:There again with the drought out west, honey crop is being impacted. We're used to get the sweet clover and what have you, that is down and American Honey Producers Association has been really pushing to get some awareness of imported honey and low prices that are being supported by other governments and maybe honey that's not even honey and everything else because we all want to support US honey production, Canadian honey production because we try to follow the laws of regulations and produce a great product.

Jeff:Has there been much talk about the loss of habitat and forage area due to the increased planting of corn and other crops like that?

Jerry:Yes. Certainly, a lot of corn production that has certainly grown over the years, and then there's some touchy issues with the Forest Service not wanting to allow commercial beekeepers to temporarily put their colonies on that federal property saying that those honey bees are somehow impacting native bees and negatively and data out they show that that's not the case.

I think that the bigger message and we've all said this for years again, is I don't know that the general public is really aware of the value of managed honey bees and beekeepers. Not only commercial beekeepers but just think of-- well, we all have bees in our backyard but those bees are foraging in that 2, 2.5 mile radius and helping neighbors food trees, helping their gardens, helping the environment, those-- what we call our native plants to produce, not seeds, and what have you that feed squirrels and deer and what have you.

I don't know that anybody's put a number on that value, and so I want those people that live in urban environments and the suburban environments that have all those manicured lawns to realize how important the beekeeping industry is to their health and welfare.

Kim:I think you just summed it up nicely. Those numbers that you were asking if anybody's figured him out, people are beginning to look at them and being able to put a value on wildlife, food production, what happens to the deer if there's not enough food and if there's not enough food, why isn't there enough? Those things are beginning a secondary level problems, so I really suspect that once it's realized that there is problems out there producing food.

You mentioned corn and that's mostly ethanol. Do we need that much ethanol, that sort of thing? This is a group of people here that you've got coming to your backyard that may have some answers in this on what's happening and what we can do to make it better.

Jerry:Absolutely, because these 13 that are coming-- and I'm going to say this broadly, are the encyclopedia of the beekeeping industry. I think you can ask them just about anything and somebody will have an accurate answer, not something that somebody made up, so, yes, you're absolutely right.

Jeff:Sounds like an outstanding event and I encourage our listeners if you're anywhere near Ohio, or if you want to go to Ohio and attend this event, that it'd be time well spent. You'd learn something, meet the other beekeepers, and hear first-hand from the experts.

Jerry:Yes, I know absolutely and if you want to register for either in person, or Zoom, or a link, or what have you, you can go to store.beeculture-- one word, .com/events/ and you can purchase tickets there.

Kim:Speaking of purchasing tickets, what's this going to cost me once I get to Ohio? If I understand it, you also have on that web page a list of local hotels that you can touch base with to reserve a room.

Jerry:Yes, we have hotels and as you know, there's all sorts of restaurants in the area we're going to be, of course, providing some lunch and we're going to have one of the evenings you know a barbecue brought in or cooked out in the parking lot or something like that. This is going to be a low-key, there again, family event because I think we're all in the same family in the beekeeping industry. Yes, we're going to have a good time.

Kim:Well, sounds like fun. September 30th and October 1st is coming up in the next month or so. Mark your calendar, get registered, and get your room reserved and your ticket bag. What have we missed, Jerry?

Jerry:Well, Kim, you asked earlier about what's it going to cost you to come and for you, it's going to cost nothing because we want you there and you're needed to be there and we'll even give you a free lunch. How about that?

Kim:[laughs] Well, I couldn't ask for more. Jeff, thank you.

Jeff:A free lunch you'll have him there both days.


Kim:Well, Jerry, this has been very enlightening and I'm looking forward to being there. Thank you for spending some time with us. I know that you've got places to go and things to do yet today and tomorrow, so thanks again.

Jerry:No, golly, thank you both for your support and for your friendship, and for us being beekeepers. This is wonderful. Thank you.


Jeff:It's good having Jerry back on the show, having him on a regular basis, find out what's going on at your old stomping ground is a good thing for us.

Kim:Definitely is, and he's coming up with a lot of good ideas. I'm really looking forward to this October event he's got planned. I hope to be there. I hope to be able to talk to some of the speakers and get them recorded so you and I can share that with the people who listen in here and just to sit in the back and listen to them. He's got 13 outstanding people.

Jerry:Yes, it's a great lineup of folks. I wish I could be there as well and like I said earlier, I encourage anybody who has any chance of getting there to get your tickets and attend the October event of Bee Culture.


Jeff:Well, that about wraps it up for this episode. Before we go, I want to encourage our listeners to rate us five stars on Apple podcasts, wherever you download and stream the show. Your vote helps other beekeepers find us quicker. Even better, write a review and let other beekeepers looking for a new podcast know what you like. You can get there directly from our website by clicking on reviews along the top of any webpage.

As always, we thank Bee Culture, the magazine for American beekeeping for their continued support of Beekeeping Today Podcast. We want to thank our regular episodes sponsor, Global Patties, check them out at Thanks to Strong Microbials for their support of this podcast. Check out their probiotic line at We want to thank Betterbee for their long-time support, check out all their great beekeeping supplies at

Thanks to Northern Bee Books for their support of Bee Books old new with Kim Flottum. Check out all their books at Finally, and most importantly, we want to thank you, the Beekeeping Today Podcast listener for joining us on this show. Feel free to leave us comments and questions at "Leave a comment" section under each episode on the website. We'd love to hear from you. Thanks a lot, everybody.

[00:41:20] [END OF AUDIO]

Jerry HayesProfile Photo

Jerry Hayes

Editor, Bee Culture Magazine

Old...getting Older and Wiser
Editor, Bee Culture magazine
VP Vita Bee Health
Honey Bee Health Lead Monsanto
Chief of Apiary Section , Florida Dept. of Ag. and consumer Services
Dadant and Sons, Product Dev., AR
ABJ Classroom column , 40 years
Classroom the book
Co-Author or Author on 23 papers
Misc. articles in ABJ and Bee Culture over the decades