Pennsylvania State
Beekeepers Association

PSBA Winter Loss Survey

Please participate in this year's Winter Loss Survey. Results will be made available here once the survey is complete.

"Researchers at Penn State's Center for Pollinator Research have been using the data provided by participants in previous surveys to develop models to predict overwintering success for honey bee colonies in a particular landscape. This will allow beekeepers to select higher quality areas for their apiaries or know what steps to take to improve the quality of their current landscapes. Based on previous survey results, Penn State researchers have found that beekeepers that treated for Varroa had 20% greater overwintering survival than beekeepers who did not, and survival was positively correlated with landscape forage quality and negatively correlated with pesticide use/toxicity levels and colony density. The more data available, the better - and more predictive - these models can become."
  Christina M. Grozinger
  Distinguished Professor of Entomology
  Director, Center for Pollinator Research

Welcome! From PSBA's new President...

As I begin to write this column, my first as the newly elected PSBA president, I can’t proceed much further without acknowledging and thanking Yvonne Crimbring for her 42 years of outstanding service to the PSBA. Along with some help from her husband and daughter, the newsletter was sent out on a regular basis without flaw. Her duties as secretary/treasurer should also not be forgotten as she kept us on track over those many years! I’d also like to thank Charlie Vorisek for his four years serving as president. PSBA has become more involved on larger issues and stepped up our game because of the passion and dedication that Charlie demonstrated so well. Thank you Charlie for taking us in the right direction!

Some of you know of me but have never met me, so let me tell you a little about myself. I’ve been "keeping" bees since I was about 4 years old. I grew up on a small farm in southern Armstrong County where we raised chickens and sheep and of course kept bees. It was much easier then — I distinctly recall seeing swarms in the grapevines near the hives, my dad putting supers on in the spring and taking them off in the fall and traveling to another beekeepers’ house where we extracted honey in his large extractor. This went on into my teen years. These experiences led me down the road in life where I eventually received my B.Sc. degree in Wildlife Science from Penn State. It had been a few years since I had kept bees due to school and work but eventually it all came back — ten fold. I now run around 100 colonies of bees, produce and sell local queens, nucs and honey and wear a number of hats within the beekeeping community. I received my Master Beekeeper certification through the Eastern Apiculture Society in 2011 and a few years later I wrote my first book entitled Swarm Essentials that was published through Wicwas Press. I also sit on the Board of Directors for the American Beekeeping Federation (ABF) and am a member of the Pennsylvania Apiary Advisory Board, the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research Advisory Board and am the current president of Burgh Bees, the local beekeeping club for Allegheny county.

I just recently returned from the North American Beekeeping Conference in Galveston, Texas where nearly 1500 beekeepers, ranging from backyard hobbyist to the largest commercial beekeepers in the nation, joined to learn about the latest, greatest and what to be concerned about in the future. Whether you owned 2 hives or 20,000 you were treated the same. It was difficult to pick a speaker to listen to because they were all so good. Some of the major discussions coming out of this conference were the new label requirements for honey, that states that “added sugar” must be placed on the label. This added lively discussion and plans to engage the FDA to remove or amend this language. There are now new laws in place, as of January 1, 2017, that restrict the use of certain antibiotics to control foulbrood—a Veterinary Feed Directive or a prescription is now required to obtain these antibiotics. “Mite bombs” is a phrase that has been gaining popularity the last couple of years and new research is showing that these do exist! Research conducted by Dennis VanEnglesdorp out of the University of Maryland show that workers marked with paint in a heavily mite infested hive were showing up in bee yards 2 miles away! As Kim Flottum points out in February 2017 issue of Bee Culture – you are your neighbor’s beekeeper so take care of your bees!

We have a lot of excited events coming up over the next several months!

I want to also encourage everyone to become a member of the PSBA. We have 4500 registered beekeepers in Pennsylvania yet only about 900 of them are PSBA members. The more members we have the more weight we have in Harrisburg when it comes to legislative issues and getting things done. Thanks for all that you continue to do for the beekeeping industry.

  Steve Repasky, PSBA President

Yvonne Crimbring Retires from PSBA

After 42 years as Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Beekeepers' Association, Yvonne Crimbring has announced her retirement from the association. Yvonne was first introduced to the PSBA by her father-in-law, Robert (Bob) Crimbring, in the 1960’s when he was elected Secretary/Treasurer of the association. It was the responsibility of the Secretary/Treasurer to publish “The Pennsylvania Beekeeper” newsletter. In 1966 Bob and wife Betsy decided to start spending their winter months in Florida, and gave up the role as Secretary/Treasurer to Russell Wentz, but kept the role as publisher of the newsletter with Yvonne’s help. Russell remained in the position of Secretary/Treasurer and Yvonne continued to help Bob with the newsletter until 1974 when she was nominated and elected as the PSBA Secretary/Treasurer, replacing Russell. Yvonne has sure seen a lot of changes during her 42 years of service.

Back in the 1960s, Bob and Yvonne typed the articles and advertising onto a stencil, Bob using a manual typewriter and Yvonne using a “modern” electric typewriter, then ran the copies off on a mimeograph. For you younger generation out there, the mimeograph was the forerunner to the copier machine. Once the 18 pages were printed, 9 stacks of approximately 500 papers were sorted by hand into complete newsletters. A table was set up in the family living room so, while the several hours of sorting took place, Yvonne could watch TV. After sorting, each newsletter was folded and stapled. The address of each member was then imprinted on the completed newsletter using an addressograph. Growing up we can remember the addressograph being very heavy and you had to “slam” down the big handle so the address would show up on the newsletter. The finished product was then put into boxes and taken to the post office to be mailed.

Here it is, 50 years later and Wow have things changed! When Yvonne took the Secretary-Treasurer position in 1974, to keep track of the members of the association, each member had an index card with their name and address, when annual dues were paid, expiration date all written by hand. If the expiration date passed, Yvonne didn’t discard your card, she simply moved your card to a “delinquent file” and reused it if your membership was paid at a later date. Along with writing on each membership card, Yvonne recorded the information into a notebook as a cross reference of payment. Yvonne still uses this system of recording membership today. Putting out the newsletter was a laborious undertaking and the office looked more like a machine shop with industrious looking machines like the mimeograph, addressograph, electric typewriter and trays of steel plates with the names and addresses.

Now almost 5 decades later there is a Mac computer, copier and Yvonne’s card files. Call her old-fashioned, but she prefers to go to a file located at her fingertips than to look up the information on the computer. because she still prefers the card files over electronic databases. Debbie, Yvonne’s daughter, continues the family tradition of assisting putting out the newsletter. With Yvonne continuing as editor, Debbie creates the newsletter using Adobe InDesign which makes the “copy and pasting” a whole lot easier. The newsletters are bursting with information for the reader, and if space is available some delicious recipes from The National Honey Board’s website are incorporated. One thing time hasn’t changed is the challenge of fitting the advertising and articles into 24 pages! With the lease of a copier, printing, sorting and stapling are completed all at once, and over the last few years, Glenn has also assisted by folding, affixing labels and mailing the newsletter. To keep up with the times, Debbie has been entering the membership information into a computer for ease of sorting, pulling statistics and printing address labels.

The Pennsylvania State Beekeepers’ Association has had 17 President’s during Yvonne’s position as Secretary/Treasurer. Being knowledgeable of the PSBA’s constitution and by-laws, she has assisted each of the officer transitions by guiding and answering questions. She has also traveled across the state attending most PSBA annual meetings and picnics, not only to “take minutes” during the executive meeting but for the fellowship and friendship with members and their spouses that has developed over the years. In recognition of Yvonne’s achievements, she was awarded “Beekeeper of the Year” in 2009, and the years of service to the PSBA was presented a beautiful plaque at this year’s Annual Conference held in November.

Yvonne’s personal life also saw many changes during her service to the PSBA. She and husband, Glenn, raised three children, Debbie (Morse), Wade, and Betsy (May). She was kept busy raising her family along with helping with the farrow-to-finish hog farm that she and Glenn started in 1980. In 2002 they “retired” as farmers due to Yvonne needing and receiving a kidney transplant. Currently in her free time, she enjoys knitting, reading and spending time with her growing family, which includes 6 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.

   Debbie (Crimbring) Morse, Wade Crimbring & Rachel (Morse) VerHow

PSBA 'Waggle'

PSBA Waggle is an emailed posting that expedites information that needs to be more timely or specific than the newsletter. Everyone that receives the state newsletter by email, will also receive these posts. They are also available here on the website:
New  Waggle from 11-22-16
Old Waggles are archived along with regular published newsletters.

2016 Annual Conference News and Photos

Beekeeper of the Year
Charlie Vorisek

Kayla Fusselman was selected and crowned at the conference as the new Honey Queen for 2017. Samantha Stouffer was chosen to be the 2017 PA Honey Princess. See our Honey Queen Program page and the Honey Queen Program's Facebook page for details.

The PSBA 2016 Beekeeper of the Year award was presented to Charlie Vorisek at the conference banquet. Congratulations Charlie!

Conference Photos   (Photos by Ken Hoover)

PSBA Bee Friendly Initiative recognizes Bellefonte

Bellefonte has been declared "Bee Friendly"! Read the article at the the Centre Daily Times website.

The Bee Friendly PA Program is an effort designed to recognize communities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for their efforts in supporting honeybee health through legislation, education, pest management, green space care and community support. Municipalities are now encouraged to apply for the Bee Friendly PA designation. Application and further details available at the Bee Friendly Cities PA website. Additional sponsors are also being sought.

2017 PA Farm Show Photos

The PA Farm Show was a success and photos have been added to our Farm Show page. Photos courtesy of Charles Vorisek - used by permission.

Varroa Videos

The Honeybee Health Coalition has posted a series of videos to help beekeepers combat varroa.

Honey contains added sugars?

The Labeling Information released by the FDA indicates that honey sold at retail will need to list "Added Sugars" in the Nutritional Facts label (see item #16). The honey industry fears this will create massive consumer confusion regarding adulteration. Sugars are not added to honey, they are naturally occurring. Adding sugars to honey implies adulteration. Concerns regarding this may be addressed to: Blakeley Fitzpatrick, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (HFS-830), Food and Drug Administration at 240-402-5429 or and the FDA Food Labeling and Standards Staff at 240-402-2371.

2016 PA State Apiary Inspection

Inspections for the year have ended and are expected to resume in Spring 2017.

Landscapes for Honey Bees Project - Beekeepers wanted!

PSBA will be a sponsor of a new beekeeper-scientist partnership project, "Landscapes for Honey Bees"! The goal is to identify landscape features (land use, forage quality, microclimate) that best support honey bee populations, by working with a network of cooperating beekeepers that cover a wide variety of landscapes, from urban to agricultural to rural.

"The Penn State Center for Pollinator Research is recruiting beekeepers from Pennsylvania and surrounding states to assist in research on how landscape features affect the quality of apiaries. The Landscapes for Bee Project will inform land managers, growers and beekeepers about how to find and create optimum resources for bees." Read more...

Project Website & Registration   More about pollinators

"Why did my honey bees die?"

Wondering what happened? Read the article at

Sentinel Apiary Project

Bee Informed Partnership is looking for beekeeping groups from across the country who manage 8 or more colonies and are interested to participate in their Sentinel Apiary Project. If you chose to participate, your club will receive monthly disease reports of Nosema and Varroa levels as well as colony health monitoring with hive scales. Data collected can be shared among those in your group, as your Sentinel Apiary will represent beekeeping conditions specific to your region. All personal data collected will remain confidential; however hive scale and disease data from Sentinel apiaries will be on a shared, public website. Subsidies available for the cost of hive scales for qualifying groups. Details and application available at

State declares "Pollinator Week"

June 15-21 designated as Pollinator Week.

Pennsylvania Honey Queen Program

The Pennsylvania Honey Queen Program may be able to provide a speaker for your event. See details and contact information on our Honey Queen page. The honey queen also writes a monthly article detailing her past activities.

Bee Behavior Expert Studies Honeybee Swarms

Read the Smithsonian article about Thomas Seeley: "The Secret Life of Bees".

Pesticide Information

A list of Pesticide descriptions and information is available on our Current Research page.

Protecting Honey Bees from Chemical Pesticides

Documents and Brochures Available in PDF Format

WHO: BTi (used for mosquito control) not toxic to honey bees

Are Honey Bees pollinators and beneficial insects or pests?

Value of Honey Bees in Pennsylvania

Give Honey Bees a Helping Hand

Beekeeping Basics

Zoning Ordinances, Gardens and Honey Bees

Best Management Practices  (updated 3/21/17)

(see the 'Publication Quick Links' below for even more...)

Interested in joining PSBA?

For a list of membership benefits and a form to join the association, see our Membership page.

Publication Quick Links

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