March 2015

3/23/15 – WVBA Meeting

  1. General
    1. Rich welcomed everyone, including all participants in the Master Beekeeper program.
    2. A reminder – you must be a member to check out books from the library and you can only check out two at a time. Laura has forms for dues.
    3. No parking permits for Chemeketa this month, it is spring break.
    4. How are everyone’s bees?
      1. A general consensus of good
      2. Good weather lately, except today
      3. One member had a swarm already – they split the hive to prevent losing the bees
    5. Maple is currently flowing – put supers on!
    6. Oregon grape/Mahonia and scotch broom also blooming. Scotch broom is two months early.  Ash trees are also providing pollen.
    7. Don’t feed now, will cause swarming. You can feed if you plan to split.
    8. If you really need to have snail mail reminders for meetings, sign up with Rich. Otherwise you will receive emails.  Regular mail costs money for stamps, paper, printing, etc.
    9. Trevor Riches has the swarm list, which Erin will post online so that people who find swarms can directly contact beekeepers.
    10. Linn-Benton group now meets at the Corvallis Waldorf School on Conifer Blvd and Hwy 20 in the gym. Every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:30pm.
    11. There is a donation jar at the refreshments table. Throw in a dollar anytime and the money will be used for tea, coffee, goodies, etc.
      1. If you want to be in charge of refreshments, the post is up for grabs. Talk to Mona Kanner.
      2. You can also bring extra goodies, even if you are not in charge of refreshments.
    12. We also need an equipment person. They would be in charge of keeping track of and housing extractor, sieves, etc.
    13. The new governor has requested that the bees at Mahonia Hall stay.
    14. A HUGE thank you to Steve Rice and Fred Mann, from Erma Hamilton and the club, for helping out at the Ask the Expert Day at the Salem Public Library!!
    15. WVBA now has flyers to hand out, if you know someone who is interested.
    16. Cozy Bee Project – Jim Fanjoy from Tillamook County Beekeepers
      2. They have received money from the OSU Bee Lab for research, but need some more for humidity and temperature sensors in hives.
      3. Trying to find which hive set-up is the driest.
    17. The Treasurer’s report from 2014 and an updated 2015 report were sent around.
    18. Randy Oliver says Hopguard II is not good.
    19. Oxalic acid is now legal for use. You can either use in a drench or vapor.  The vapor is more effective.
      1. Oxalic acid is already present in small amounts in hives, so not a totally foreign chemical.
      2. It will not kill mites in cells.
    20. Homeland Security confiscated 660 barrels of honey that were reportedly coming from Latvia, who does not produce any honey, and were later found to be Chinese honey.
    21. France has lowest honey production in years, and it is still going down, even if the hives are strong.
    22. Lots of pollinator bills currently in Oregon. Mike Rodia and Fred Vannatta know more on this topic.
      1. House Bill #2653 will develop guidelines, set by beekeepers and OSU, by which cities can base their regulations, encourages cities not to regulate honeybees, but cities are balking at the state telling them what to do.
      2. Other pollinator bills are coming as an effect of the bumblebee die off and have to do with pesticide usage. Still others would provide OSU with $1.5 million for a new research facility
    23. To Help with the bills –
      1. Still a lot of processes to go through before the bills would pass. Committees and legislators can be sensitive if you push them to hard, so be careful if you do email/contact them.
    24. More than Honey, the film from last month’s meeting, has been purchased for the library.
    25. Erma Hamilton is our volunteer of the month! Congratulations!!
    26. Yamhill Historical Society wants a skep for their museum, if anyone is interested.
    27. Directions for Bee Day are on the website. Bee Day will be on April 11 from 9:00-12:00 at 2775 Ballard Rd, Dallas OR.
      1. Bee Day involves getting into a few hives, and explaining some basics, but it is still fun for everyone! Bring protective gear, but the level of protection is up to you.  At least a veil is recommended.
    28. Trevor Riches is now a certified Welsh Honey Judge! Congratulations!!
  2. Dewey Caron – Bee Loss Survey
    1. This will be the 7th year of the Pacific Northwest Survey.
      1. Commercial beekeepers are mailed this survey, but hobbyists and small scale beekeepers are still needed.
      2. Info on how to find the survey will be on the WVBA website.
      3. If you want a paper copy, see Dewey.
      4. Last year, according to the survey, WVBA had a 36.5% loss.
      5. This year, the survey is expanded, with 10 sections.
    2. National Survey
      1. Open during the month of April.
      2. Part of BeeInformed –
      3. 221 Oregon beekeepers completed the national survey last year.
      4. Ellen is part of the BeeInformed tech team in the Pacific Northwest.
        1. The tech team follows commercial beekeepers around and performs frequent tests on their bees, giving the data back to them to help with their health management programs.
      5. Natalie, a visiting student from University of Maryland, emphasizes that all data is good and will be used!
  3. Karessa Torgeson – The 5 Mistakes of Beekeeping
    1. Mistake #1 – Wrong Feeding
      1. Feeding incorrectly leads to starvation.
      2. Bees start foraging in March, when there may or may not be any food.
      3. If they have lots of brood, then they have to feed a lot, and could starve.
      4. You can feed dry sugar (drivert is best, although you can feed granulated as well) if the temperatures are below 50°, as you do not want to feed liquid sugar then.
      5. You want your bees to be strong enough to utilize nectar flows. Our biggest flow is the blackberry flow.
      6. There should be an arch of pollen above the brood on a frame. If there is not, you should feed a pollen patty.  You can buy pollen patties, or make them yourself, but you should ask around for a recipe that works.
      7. Inadequate protein leads to 75% of hive loss.
    2. Mistake #2 – Wishy-Washy Mite Management
      1. Mites spread viruses like mosquitoes (deformed wing virus is an example).
      2. Treat mites by August 15 and mites can travel between hives. 58% of beekeepers do nothing to prevent mites.
      3. When you medicate for mites in your hives, you are helping your neighbors, too.
      4. You can take samples before and after treatment to test mite loads, and see if you need to medicate more than once.
    3. Mistake #3 – Not Understanding Swarms
      1. In spring, bees want to swarm to reproduce their hive.
      2. A swarm usually consists of the old queen, 50-60% of bees and a week’s worth of food.
      3. For the next three weeks, you will still have emerging bees and will not notice an effect of the swarm.
      4. During the second three weeks, the new queen has hatched but not yet started laying, and you will have no emerging bees. The hive will experience a drop in bee numbers.
      5. An excellent mite treatment opportunity three weeks after a swarm because all the mites will be on adult bees, because there will be no capped brood.
      6. A hive is weakest 6 weeks after a swarm.
      7. There is a neat diagram of this online at
    4. Mistake #4 – Unaware of Queen Status
      1. You must always know what is going on with your queen.
      2. Look for every stage of brood and a queen when you inspect.
    5. Also look for a solid brood pattern – the queen is getting almost every cell and there is a gradual change in ages between cells.Mistake #5 – Not Using Resources
      3. OSU
      4. The Beekeeper’s Handbook
      8. Remember to look at publication dates so that you do not have outdated information.
    6. Other Mistakes
      1. Timing – will your colony be strong enough to utilize major honey flows? Get ahead of your colony’s problems.
      2. August 1st/15th – feed colonies, finish mite treatments, and prepare for winter.
    7.  Classes
      1. Swarm Fundamentals – Corvallis on March 31st. For more information, contact Karessa or go to this website:
      2. Also Google Demaree swarm control method.
      3. Brood Fundamentals, Varroa Fundamentals, etc.