Latest News

August 10, 2020


As AHPA continues to work on behalf of all beekeepers, one of our initiatives is advocating with the FDA in Washington D.C. to update honey labeling guidelines.  As part of this effort, we need your help to collect pictures of honey labels from around the United States.  Our goal is primarily to find honey that is mislabeled according to current FDA guidelines.  Secondarily, we need examples of any labels which misrepresent country of origin or are purposefully confusing to consumers so that we can advocate for positive changes and updates. 

Search the App Store or Google Play for "AHPA app”.  We need to collect as many pictures from honey on the store shelf as possible.  Please take a few minutes to help collect this data.

Food Chemical Codex (FCC) draft version

Food Chemical Codex (FCC) draft version of the USP honey standard is now open for comment thru Sept. 30, 2020.

The link for comment:

  1. Click on the link above

  2. Click on “Access FC Form”

  3. Sign in

  4. Enter Search: “Honey” The June 2020 standard should be the first item in the results list.

  5. The Green area above the Honey standard is the “Feedback Comment Period Access” just click on the green arrow.


You may also submit your comments to the AHPA and we will forward them to USP. Submit your comments to:


Download the Full Document HERE


Honey. Because there is no existing FCC monograph or identity standard for this food ingredient, a new

FCC Identity Standard is proposed based on information and data received.


  1. This proposal is the fourth proposal of an Identity Standard and the first to describe commercially available types of Identity Standards are documents designed to help users determine the identity or authenticity of a food ingredient (particularly agricultural materials) for which an monographdoesnotexist.ThepurposeoftheIdentityStandardistogiveusersadescriptionofthe ingredient as well as a series of tests with representing parameters typically found in the ingredient described and may be sourced from comments and data received or publiclyavailabledata.AllIdentityStandardsshouldbeconsideredinformationalonlyandarenot meant to be confused with monographspecifications.


This proposal is targeted for publication in the Second Supplement to FCC 12. (FI: G. Clapper) C237917




Honey is the natural sweet substance produced by species within the Apis genus from the nectar of plants or from secretions of living parts of plants or excretions of plant-sucking insects on the living parts of plants which the bees collect, transform by combining with specific substances of their own, deposit, dehydrate, store, and leave in the honeycomb to ripen.

Honey consists primarily of simple sugars, predominantly fructose and glucose, as well as other substances such as organic acids, enzymes, and solid particles derived from nectar collection by bees, including pollen. The color of honey varies from nearly colorless to dark brown. The consistency can be fluid, viscous, or partially to entirely crystallized. These parameters are dependent upon the botanical origin of the honey, processing, specific composition, storage temperature, and related factors. Most honey eventually crystallizes naturally. The flavor and aroma of honey are variable, mainly depending on its botanical origin.

This standard applies to all honeys produced by species within the Apis genus and covers all styles or presentations intended for direct consumption, including honey used as an ingredient in other foods. It is important to note that the product totally or partially produced by bees when foraging external sources other than nectar or honeydew (e.g., juices, syrups, etc.) or derived from products used for artificial feeding is not considered honey according to this standard. In addition to meeting the requirements within this Identity Standard, honey sold as such should meet all other applicable global, national, or local standards as required. [NOTE— The term “honey sold as such” applies to honey sold without addition or modification and does not apply to other finished products that use honey as an ingredient or honey that is combined with other ingredients. Those final products are not considered honey according to this Identity Standard, though they may be subject to national or local regulations.]


Nectar or honeydew collected by bees must undergo a series of complicated processes in order for it to be transformed into honey. This transformation occurs in the beehive, and it implies the production of a stable food source for the bees that is suitable for long-term storage in the hive. Transformation of nectar/honeydew into honey requires a certain amount of time, and the process is referred to as ripening. Honey maturation starts with the uptake of nectar and/or honeydew in the bee honey stomach while the foraging bees complete collecting their load of nectar in the field and during their return flight.1 Honey maturation is inseparable from the drying process and involves the addition of enzymes and other bee substances, the lowering of pH through the production of acids in the bee stomach, and the transformation of nectar/honeydew substances.2 A considerable microbial population exists at the initial stages of the maturation process that could be involved in some of these transformations, such as the biosynthesis of carbohydrates.3 The transformation of nectar into honey is the result of thousands of years of evolution by bees to achieve a long-term provision of food for their own use when there is no nectar flow from the surroundings of the colony. The reduced water content, the elevated concentration of sugars, the low pH, and the presence of different antimicrobial substances make honey a non-fermentable and long-lasting food for bees. An eventual fermentation of food reserves is an undesirable process for bees because it produces ethanol, which is toxic to them, and affects their behavior in a manner similar to effects noted in certain vertebrates.4 During the ripening process, bees also add enzymes including invertase, which helps to convert sucrose into more stable simple sugars, glucose, and fructose; and glucose oxidase, which is essential for the production of gluconic acid and hydrogen peroxide, and, in turn, prevents fermentation.

As nectar is passed from bee to bee, more enzymes are added and more water is evaporated.5 The allocation and relocation of the content of many cells before final storage is an important part of the ripening process, and it needs sufficient space in the beehive for its normal occurrence.6 Bees eventually cap the cells when they are full of mature honey. Evidence7 is provided for the occurrence of both passive and active mechanisms of nectar dehydration inside the hive. Active dehydration occurs during "tongue lashing" behavior, when worker bees concentrate droplets of regurgitated nectar with movements of their mouthparts. By contrast, passive concentration of nectar occurs through direct evaporation of nectar stored in cells; the concentration inside the beehive is faster for smaller sugar solution volumes that display a larger surface area.8 As the nectar is dehydrated, the absolute sugar concentration rises rendering the ripening product increasingly hygroscopic. Bees protect the mature product by sealing off cells filled with honey with a lid of wax.

The ripening process concludes when capping has already started, suggesting the possibility of a race against honey dilution and unwanted fermentation due to the high hygroscopic nature of ripe honey.7 The process of drying normally continues until the honey contains less than 18% water. Honeys from very humid areas or produced during humid seasons may cause exceptions because bees may cap honey containing more than 18% water.5

Drying of honey requires ample space in the hive. During an abundant honey flow, the “honey hoarding” instinct of the bees increases if a storage space in the hive is plentiful.9 The time that bees need to ripen and cap honey greatly varies depending on climate conditions and the strength of the honey flow. In any case, sufficient time in the hive and multiple manipulations by bees are considered necessary for the transformation of nectar into honey.5,8,10[NOTE— Frames with fresh nectar that can be shaken out of the cells like water should not be harvested by the beekeeper.11 In areas of very low humidity, it is normal for frames to contain uncapped cells with mature honey of 18%–20% moisture that can be harvested by the beekeeper. However in tropical areas where humidity is high, only fully capped frames should be harvested.12,13]

Continued: Download the Full Document HERE

Information About the Asian Giant Hornet

Learn about the Asian Giant Hornet and where to report a sighting from the US Department of Agriculture:

Maybe she’s born with it, maybe she’s a honeybee—How insects survive without antibodies

In ‘Every Creature Has A Story’, Janaki Lenin writes about how hard-working bees avoid disease while living in densely-populated hives.

Janaki Lenin 9 August, 2020 12:42 pm IST

When bacteria, virus, or other pathogens attack our bodies, we produce vast quantities of antibodies.

Secreted by blood, these proteins stick to the invaders and aid their destruction. This is our primary defence mechanism. Insects, however, lack antibodies, but they don’t keel over and die at the first symptom of a disease.

Social insects such as honeybees live in densely packed hives and ought to be prone to infection. Queen bees rarely, if ever, leave the colony. Hard-working worker bees range far and wide to gather

pollen and nectar. While they go about their business, they pick up germs. Back at the hive, they use the contaminated pollen to create royal jelly to feed the queen. These pathogens could blaze through the nest and destroy it. How do insects survive disease?

Scientists thought if insects didn’t have antibodies, they must have a primitive immune system. Crystal cells in the hemolymph (or insect blood) immobilize the invading microbes, and plasmocytes (like our white blood cells) swallow them. But that’s not the only defence.

After the researchers injected bacteria into fruit flies, the hemolymph ignited with antibacterial activity. A fat body (similar to our liver) within the circulatory system produced quantities of infection-fighting peptides. Even dead bacteria triggered this reaction.

Some insects, like mealworm beetles, red flour beetles, and cabbage leaf hoppers, don’t stop with putting up a fight against pathogens. They confer the resistance they develop to their brood, similar to children inheriting antibodies from the mother. What is the mechanism of this antibody-free immunity?

Scientists led by Dalial Freitak, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, found the key is vitellogenin, a hormone-like protein found in egg yolk and the hemolymph of insects.

Within the egg, it is a nutrient for developing embryos. But it is vital in healing inflammation and injury. It also dictates lifespan – the hemolymph of short-lived worker bees has concentrations of up to 40 per cent of vitellogenin while longer-lived queens have up to 70 per cent.

Freitak met Heli Salmela, who was working on vitellogenin for her doctoral thesis, at a group meeting at Helsinki University, Finland. ‘She presented her data on the capacity of vitellogenin to bind with bacterial pieces,’ says Freitak.

Since it is also an egg protein, could vitellogenin transmit immunity to the next generation? Together with Gro Amdam, at the Arizona State University’s School of Life Sciences, they designed an experiment to test that theory.

They applied vitellogenin to some dissected ovaries of queen bees but not others, and then introduced fluorescent fragments of Escherichia coli to all of them. The ones that didn’t get the protein didn’t absorb the microbial pieces. When the researchers saw the vitellogenin-treated ovaries sucking up the fragments, they grew excited.

‘I felt like I had won the lottery!’ says Freitak. ‘I don’t think I have ever been as happy as when I saw the images of ovaries, full with fluorescent bacterial pieces in the vitellogenin treatment. We danced in the lab with Heli.’

The researchers also proved vitellogenin, and not any of the other proteins in the hemolymph, played the leading role in triggering an immune response.

‘What we found is that it’s as simple as eating,’ Gro Amdam said in a statement. When honeybee workers bring pathogens back to the hive and feed the contaminated jelly to the queen, she digests and stores them in the fat body. Her hemolymph carries the protein-wrapped microbial strands to the developing eggs in the ovaries, priming the immunity of the next generation. Bees are born vaccinated and ready to fight diseases in their environment. These insects had evolved a vaccination system millions of years ago. The mystery of how insects inherit immunity that had vexed scientists for a long time had been solved.

Vitellogenin bonded more strongly with gram-positive bacteria like American and European foulbrood diseases than with gram-negative bacteria like E.coli. Spores of the bacteria that causes American foul brood disease spread quickly through hives, wiping out entire colonies. The researchers suggest the intense reaction to these gram-positive microbes may reflect the severity of threat they pose to honey bee larvae.

This inherited immunity probably doesn’t last long in the bloodline and may be replaced by specific antidotes to other diseases as they occur in the bees’ environment.

Bees and other pollinating insects are crucial for agriculture, fertilizing the flowers of fruit and nut trees and vegetable crops. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 90 per cent of food in 146 countries is supplied by more than 100 crop species, most of which are pollinated by insects.

Now that the researchers have figured out how this defence mechanism works, they can develop an edible vaccine to deadly diseases like the foulbrood and feed it to honeybees. Conversely, they can also interfere with this acquired defence to control pest insects and their damage to crops.

Freitak says her team is testing and patenting a harmless vaccine against American foulbrood disease that can be introduced into bee hives in an edible cocktail. ‘They would then be able to stave off disease,’ she says. This would not only shore up honeybee immunity but also reduce the threat to human food security.

National study documents U.S. specialty crop farmers can increase yields through improved pollination

Largest study of its kind highlights opportunities to improve food security.

Joy Landis - July 29, 2020

Crop yields for apples, cherries and blueberries across the United States are being reduced by need for more pollinators, according to new research. The study is from the Integrated Crop Pollination Project coordinated by Michigan State University and was led by Rutgers University researchers.

Most of the world’s crops depend on bees and other insects for pollination, so the reported declines in honey bees and wild bee populations raise concerns about food security, notes the study in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

“We found that many crops are pollination-limited, meaning crop production would be higher if crop flowers received more pollination. We also found that honey bees and wild bees provided similar amounts of pollination overall,” said senior author Rachael Winfree, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. “Managing habitat for native bee species and/or stocking more honey bees would boost pollination levels and could increase crop production.”

Pollination by wild and managed insects is critical for most crops, including those providing essential micronutrients, and is essential for food security, the study notes. In the U.S., the production of crops that depend on pollinators generates more than $50 billion a year.

Through the multi-state Integrated Crop Pollination Project, scientists collected data at 131 farms across the U.S. and in British Columbia, Canada, on insect pollination of crop flowers and yield for apples, highbush blueberries, sweet cherries, tart cherries, almond, watermelon and pumpkin. Of those crops, apples, sweet cherries, tart cherries and blueberries showed evidence of production being limited by pollination, indicating yields are currently lower than they would be with full pollination. Wild bees and honey bees provided similar amounts of pollination for most of the crops, though almond was highly dependent on honey bees.

The annual production value of wild bees for all seven crops in the U.S was estimated at $1.5 billion-plus. The value of wild bee pollination for all pollinator-dependent crops across the nation would be even greater.

“Our findings show that pollinator declines could translate directly into decreased yields for most of the crops studied,” the study says. The results suggest that adopting practices that conserve or augment wild bees, such as enhancing habitat to support blooming trees and shrubs and wildflowers, or using managed pollinators other than honey bees, is likely to boost yields. Increasing investment in honey bee colonies is another alternative growers can consider to reduce the risk of limited pollination.

The study included data from fruit farms across Michigan, including those growing blueberries, cherries and apples. Teams from the Department of Entomology at MSU sampled these farms over multiple years, recording insect visitors to flowers and the fruit produced in each farm.

“This study highlights the potential to increase yields on existing farms through improved pollination management,” said project director Rufus Isaacs, who led the blueberry research. “Our research and extension programs will continue to help growers make pollination decisions that result in high yields.”

The Integrated Crop Pollination Project was funded by the USDA-NIFA Specialty Crop Research Initiative. The project included students, postdocs and faculty at 15 organizations across the U.S. and Canada. To learn more about other aspects of the project:

AgCenter entomologist studies physiological pathways’ role in honeybee health, controlling pest populations

Olivia McClure

(07/30/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — In the fight against viruses that have devastated honeybee colonies in recent years, an LSU AgCenter researcher is eyeing a physiological pathway as a potential solution.

Entomologist Daniel Swale is working to learn more about a pathway that carries potassium ions through insects’ bodies and could help combat ailments such as deformed wing virus in bees.

“We’ve found a new physiological pathway that can help boost bees’ immune system,” said Swale, who recently was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to study the pathway in bees. He also has received a second NIFA grant to study a similar pathway in aphids and stink bugs that could offer a way to control populations of the pests, which wreak havoc on agricultural crops.

In the bee project, Swale is focusing on the potassium-transport channel’s connection to antiviral defenses.

Much research has been done on factors negatively affecting bee colonies, Swale said, such as being exposed to pesticides and having limited foraging opportunities. But less is known about how to take advantage of bee physiology to mitigate the damage caused by those stressors.

“This study aims to bridge knowledge gaps that increase our understanding of bee immune system regulation as well as reveal novel intervention points to increase colony health and sustainability,” Swale said.

He’s collaborating with Troy Anderson, an expert in insect biochemistry and toxicology with the University of Nebraska, and Michael Simone-Finstrom, a USDA honeybee biologist.

“Troy and Michael bring significant expertise to this project that make our team uniquely qualified to address a range of questions that can lead to the development of products to reduce the burden of bee viruses to the apiculture industry,” Swale said.

The aphid and stink bug project focuses on targeting channels that transport potassium ions across cell membranes as a way to interfere with salivary gland function — which would prevent the pests from feeding on crops and ultimately kill them. In that effort, Swale is working with AgCenter entomologist Jeff Davis and AgCenter Medicinal Plants Lab researcher Zhijun Liu.

“They are world experts on integrated pest management and chemical solubilizers, which are critical components of the project that will facilitate translation from fundamental research into commercialized products for pest control,” Swale said of Davis and Liu.

The channels could represent a new target site for chemical control products, Swale said.

Changes in global weather patterns have caused aphid and stink bug populations to spike, making the research all the more urgent, he said.




Appalachian Beekeeping Collective

Position: Staff Beekeeper and Educator

Organization: Appalachian Headwaters

Location: Lewisburg, West Virginia

Position Overview:

Appalachian Headwaters is a nonprofit organization focused on sustainable economic development and restoration of native ecosystems in central Appalachia. The organization is home to the Appalachian Pollinator Center and Appalachian Beekeeping Collective, both of which are major initiatives dedicated to the advancement of sustainable beekeeping and pollinator education in central Appalachia.


We are hiring a Staff Beekeeper and Educator to join our team. This position will focus on work with the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective (ABC), a beekeeping training and support program throughout the region. Our program provides education, technical assistance, and a collective distribution and marketing program for new and experienced beekeepers in our region. The ABC is dedicated to following a natural/chemical-free beekeeping protocol. We support approximately 100 partner beekeepers in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia each year. Headwaters staff also manage several breeding yards and a queen rearing program. The program operates from a site in Summers County, West Virginia, in the big bend of the Greenbrier River. The site serves as the primary extraction and distribution hub, an education center, and a location for conferences and events.


The new hire will work with the ABC to help educate people in our region, analyze beekeeping data, and assess/further develop our natural beekeeping protocol. The new hire will work closely with current staff of experienced staff beekeepers and consultants considered to be national experts in apiculture, including Dr. Rick Fell (Virginia Tech) and Dr. Debbie Delaney (University of Delaware). 


In addition to working with the ABC, this position may help as we develop programs to protect and support native pollinators in our region through the newly formed Appalachian Pollinator Center.


Our ideal candidate will have a Masters level education, but we will consider strong candidates without graduate degrees. The candidate must be compatible with our program mission, including a dedication to environmental protection, natural beekeeping methods, organic plant growing and restoration of native ecosystems. The candidate should also be able to work closely and respectfully with our members and communities throughout rural West Virginia and Virginia.



  • Work with team to implement the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective program

  • Analyze data to help team refine our natural beekeeping methodology and program protocols

  • Help to conduct educational programming on the art and science of beekeeping throughout central Appalachia

  • Help develop educational programming and other projects focused on native pollinators in our region

  • Travel to, visit, and advise individual beekeepers throughout the region

  • Recruit and educate new beekeepers to Appalachian Beekeeping Collective

  • Help maintain apiaries with beekeeping team



  • Masters in entomology, apiculture, or related field

  • Significant beekeeping experience required, preferably without chemicals

  • Commercial beekeeping experience preferred

  • Facility with basic data analysis

  • Experience with social media preferred but not required

  • Teaching experience preferred but not required

  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to relate to people of diverse backgrounds

  • Strong organizational skills with the ability to handle multiple and diverse tasks

  • Willingness to commit to natural, low-chemical beekeeping methods


Salary: DOE, includes strong benefits package


Please submit a resume, two or three references and cover letter to

Position open until filled

Start date: ASAP

American Honey
Producers Association

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Cassie Cox
Executive Secretary
PO Box 435
Mendon, UT 84325