2023-24 Winter Loss Report

WVBA members are encouraged to complete a web-based survey document in a continuing effort to define overwintering losses/successes of backyard beekeepers in Oregon. This was the 15th year of such survey activity. I received 171 reports from Oregon beekeepers keeping anywhere from 1 to 41 colonies; Willamette Valley members sent in 13 surveys, less than […]

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PNW =honeybeesurvey OPEN

The pnwhoneybeesurvey is OPEN. The members of WVBA have been especially supportive of this annual survey of Oregon and Washington backyard beekeepers.  Please participate before May 1st @   If you want a quicker survey experience please print the note sheet @  which is a great tool just to have in your bee

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Varroa control— what’s NEW?

The Varroa mite is a formidable foe? As my April PNW survey shows, our annual loses, most specialists agreeing due to varroa mites, continues around 40%. We need better tools (better bees/weaker mites/better controls) to combat the mite. Here are three promising developments that might help.   Weaker Mites: Greenlight Biosciences of Rochester, NY

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In-Hive Drone Behavior

While the importance of the male drone is often dismissed, we can definately state that drones are important for a colony’s reproductive success. The virgin queen receives sperm from more than a single individual leading to diverse patrilines – a critical contribution for colony-level function. A study of a group of German scientists from the

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Hawking wasps

There is a new pest in the US – the yellow-legged hornet Vespa velutina. It is a hawker.  Last month when I travelled to Georgia to assist with their Master Beekeeper training and speak at the Georgia fall statewide bee meeting, this new pest was the hot topic. New Discovery On August 9 a beekeeper

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Another Bee Book

Do you have enough bee books?  Is there room for one more on your shelf? If yes, consider Raising Resilient Bees by Eric and Joy McEwen. (Chelsea Green Publishing. 2023. 254 pages). Eric and Joy McEwen live on a 35 acre farm in the remote Illinois River valley of SW Oregon close to the California

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Robber bees are foraging honey bees gone bad! Robbing bees take the fast track to riches – they  invade another colony to steal insufficiently protected stored honey reserves or sugar water being fed to a colony other than their own.  Robber bees aren’t trying to destroy another colony, rather they seek to save their own

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What an interesting spring

Spring – the busiest bee season! Like the other four seasons (swarming, supering, harvesting, fall), spring  comes with varying activities for beekeepers depending on weather conditions and our beekeeping objectives.  Beekeeping is a continuous learning experience. In spring, bee colonies need to grow their colony population and rebuild their stocks of honey. Our “reluctant” March

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