Meeting Minutes April 2022

Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

Meeting Minutes

April 25, 2022

President Rich Farrier opened the meeting at 7:03 p.m. For the second month in a row, we met at Salem Alliance Church. This location works well for the club.

Rich thanked the board members for their service: Terry – refreshments, Laura – all things money, Debbie – for hauling the library around, Anna – for writing down things, and Mona – for vice president stuff.

Anna found resources for bloom times in several publications on the Oregon State Beekeepers Association website. ( then “Resources” tab then “Pollinator Resources” then “Planting for Pollinators/Habitat”.) There are 13 publications listed on the website, all of which are free to download. Happy planting!

Someone is selling their 8-frame equipment. Contact Rich if you’re interested.

Handouts: ‘Todd’s Handy Dandy one-pager” on managing bees throughout the year. The latest version can be found on his website: 

Rich is currently reading “A History of Keeping and Managing Doubled and Two-queen Hives” by Alan Wade. It is interesting, creative, and recommended reading.

Elaine T’s photo was on the April cover of the American Bee Journal. Congratulations, Elaine!

The Swarm list went around. One needs to be a paid member of the WVBA to be eligible for WVBA swarm calls. The first few calls have already started trickling in. May is going to be a hectic swarm month, for sure.

Somebody else has bee equipment for sale which includes a 20-frame Maxine extractor! They are asking $600 for the entire collection. See Rich for details.

Questions: How often should I inspect? For a new beekeeper wanting to learn from the bees, every 7-10 days is not excessive.. Also if keeping swarm cells cut out need to inspect every 7-10 days.

Someone looking for Nucs? See Terry A. He has a few. They are $140.

Our speaker for the evening was Dr. Dewey Caron. He is writing a monthly column in the American Bee Journal on beekeeping basics which is well worth examining each month. The April and May columns are a 2 part series on swarm management. He also directed us to his latest article posted on the WVBA website in which he reminded us to complete the PNW Honey Bee loss Survey which ends April 30th. In 2021 the WVBA had very low colony losses. Let’s continue that trend!

He suggested that we check out the Tools for Varroa Management decision tree which is on the Honey Bee Health Coalition website. This is a very useful tool for those newer to beekeeping. Also on the Honey Bee Health Coalition website is the “Best Management Practices for Honey Bee Health”.

Finally on the Honey Bee Health Coalition website is a series of short informative videos, one of which features Oregon beekeeper, Dirk Olsen who is based in north Albany and runs about 8000 colonies.

On to Dewey’s talk. The main point which he emphasized over and over was “Keep mite numbers low as it is harder to lower high mite numbers than to keep them low in the first place.”

  • Keep ahead of mite numbers. Test monthly.
  • Flatten mite growth curve now in April.
  • We have to use IPM there is no magic silver bullet
    • Hygienic stock
    • Sunny siting
    • Different orientation for hive entrances
    • Reduce drifting by spreading colonies as much as is feasible for your site and by painting different colors
  • Some queens are more hygienic than others
    • Carniolan is good stock
    • Pol line for commercial beekeepers
    • Queen breeders mention on their websites whether they are selecting for hygienic traits
  • Mite treatments?
    • Oxalic Acid Dribble not as effective as Oxalic Acid Vapor, dribble runs off backs of bees if they are tightly clustered
    • Oxalic Acid Vapor works well when there is no brood
    • Temperature for application high 40s to low 50s
    • Oxalic Acid Extended Release treatment is showing positive results but is not yet legal
    • A long discussion transpired over this topic about the dangers of heating oil (glycerin) and dissolving the acid in it. EPA not likely to approve this method. But beekeepers are hoping to import a prepackaged version from Argentina.
    • Drone brood removal is the best kept secret. It is very effective if one is vigilant with record keeping and timing of removal.
    • HopGuard III is not our best alternative to use. See Randy Oliver’s website “Scientific Beekeeping for details on his recent trials of HG 3.
  • Treatment-free beekeepers are simply spreading the cost of keeping bees differently.
    • The cost of their time and Varroa meds vs the cost of a new nuc each year.
    • However, this management style does a disservice to surrounding beekeepers because of spreading mites and viruses to others

It was a great presentation. 

Thus we adjourned our meeting at 9:04 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Anna Ashby, Secretary


May 2, 2022