February 2024 Meeting Minutes

Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

Meeting Minutes

February 26, 2024


President Rich Farrier opened the meeting at 7:03. He thanked the following people who helped with bee school, while Anna handed out thank you notes: Debbie B, Terry H, Nathan R, Randy E, Helen H, Joan MW, Todd B, Jeremy M, Rich F, and Anna A.


Rich pointed out that the text book for bee school, “The Beekeepers Handbook” is an excellent book for beekeeping information. The fees for bee school cover club dues for the year.


A preliminary membership list was handed around for everyone to proof read  their information and make necessary corrections.


In the most recent edition of Bee line from the Oregon Beekeepers Assn, author Mike Rhodia pointed out that folks need a burning permit from the fire department to burn painted woodenware.


A recent Bee Culture article showed how to use a laundry bag as a swarm catching bag.


Walt Bogue in Grande Ronde would like to purchase some bees.


Rich found a saying, “It takes 1 cell of honey, 1 cell of pollen, and 1 cell of water, to make 1 bee.”


Anna mentioned that Eleanor Schumacher in March issue of ABJ wrote an article about using a boiling lye bath to sterilize woodenware from AFB spores. The general concuss of opinion was that nobody wanted to be boiling lye!


There is a new Varroa treatment “VarroxSan” which is oxalic acid in slow release strips coming soon. There is also a pelleted form of oxalic acid, in 1 gram pellets coming soon.


Rich stated that the Xerces Society is concerned that diseases from honey bees will be passed to native bees. That is why they are sort of “anti-honey bee” now.


Jeremy M from Flying Bee Ranch spoke on “Putting it all Together”. He boiled it down to 2 management practices 1) Feed your bees, and 2) Treat for mites.


Responsible beekeepers feed using any style of feeders in spring 1:1 syrup for new packages and nucs, fall 2:1 syrup for all colonies, and candy boards or dry sugar in winter.


For mite management go to the “Tools for Varroa Management” from the Honey bee Health Coalition, for the most up to date information.

Viruses kill, varroa are vectors for viruses

Monitor for mites, alcohol wash is best

Treat for mites, synthetic, mechanical, organic acids


Responsible beekeepers provide water for their bees. He talked about the need to be a good neighbor by treating for mites and managing for swarm prevention.


Hive inspections to be performed when temperatures are greater than 50 degrees, when you see the bees flying. You may look every 7 – 10 days during spring and summer. Inspections are as needed in fall. One of the reasons for inspections is to verify that the queen is present because queens just are not long-lived now. It is not unusual to have a laying queen in fall and have her gone a couple of months later. Why? There is low genetic diversity in the U.S., chemicals in the environment, low diversity of pollen and nectar, and Varroa mites.


What to look for in an inspection? Queen, or evidence of the queen by seeing eggs, certainly, as well as larvae & capped brood. Honey and pollen in adequate amounts so bees are neither honey bound or starving. Look for signs of disease, swarm cells, and robbing activity.


Local bee suppliers are Flying Bee Ranch in Salem, Hive and Garden in West Linn, and Shonnards in Corvallis.


After a break, Rich spoke about inspecting an overwintered colony when it gets warmer this month. 


Start inspection by separating hive body down to the bottom board. Clean the board or replace it with a dry one, then inspect bottom deep looking at every frame, following an inspection sheet. Count the number of frames of brood and seams of bees for each colony. This is an easy way to tell if your colony is growing from inspection to inspection. Six to eight frames of brood and 12 seams of bees is a strong colony.


Finally inspect the top box repeating everything looked for in the bottom box. This is a good time to remove old frames and replace them with new frames and foundation. Write down your notes for each colony in whatever method works for each particular beekeeper.


Bob mixes pollen sub into his candy boards and the bees are devouring the candy. Time will tell if this is just a recipe for making swarms.


8:55 meeting adjourned after raffle.


Submitted by Anna Ashby for Elaine Timm

March 2, 2024