Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association

General meeting minutes

September 23, 2019

The meeting was called to order at 7:00 by president, Rich Farrier.

Oregon State Fair has come and gone. Rich was instrumental in keeping the 2 nucs that were used in the observation hive in fine fettle, by transferring the off-duty bees to his apiary where the bees were able to fly and resume foraging activities then switching the 2 colonies a couple of days later. It meant a lot of driving back and forth. Dewey Caron was also at the OSBA booth quite often spending much time speaking with members of the public and encouraging beekeepers.

News item #1: The Oregon State Beekeepers Association’s Fall Conference will be here before we know it. This year it will be held in the Florence Event Center, October 25, 26, and 27.

News item #2: Honey adulteration/fraud came to our attention front and center because at the world honey show at 2019 Apimondia in Montreal, Canada, 45% of the show entries were rejected after failing the outside laboratory testing. It seems that the use of ultra-filtration to make one’s honey crystal clear, removes pollen and other markers of floral origin. This then caused the entries to be rejected.

News item #3: Bee Vectoring Technologies get EPA Approval for its Bee-Delivered Fungicide states a recent news article. Apparently the bees walk through an organic fungicide powder as they leave the hive. The fungicide then gets tracked onto the flowers that the bee is pollinating. The fungicide is approved for strawberries, blueberries, and almonds. The article is linked above.

News item #4: In the on-going battle to cash in on the Manuka honey export market, the New Zealand government is seeking to register the term “manuka honey” as a trademark certification with China. This would effectively ban Australian beekeepers from using the term “manuka honey” when exporting to China. The article is in the Sydney Morning Herald.

News item #5: Dr. Ramesh Sagili and the research team from the Oregon State University research apiary were in the news with results from their recent research to determine pollen abundance and diversity in five major pollinator-dependent crops. We are fortunate to have such hard-working researchers in our state.

News item #6: Walmart was in the news for planting pollinator gardens within the landscaping around their stores. Five Oregon stores now have these plantings.

Ken had an overabundance of “Bee-Quick” which he brought to the meeting in small bottles to pass along to anyone who wanted some.

We watched a short video presentation from the American Beekeeping Federation in which they briefly explained the mission of the Federation, the benefits to members, and why we might want to join.

Dewey Caron announced that the Oregon Master Beekeeper program certified the first two beekeepers at the master level, Amber Reese and Anna Ashby, a member of the WVBA. Anna stated that it was a long road filled with lots of reading and study to reach that point.

Old news:  The Marion County Commissioners have the beekeeping zoning on the agenda for the meeting on October 9th. Mike Rodia will communicate the place and time to attend the meeting to show your support for beekeeping in residential areas outside the city of Salem limits.

Presentation: We had a short presentation by Anna regarding honey jar labeling for “Farm Direct” sales. The information came from the ODA “Farm Direct Marketing, Agricultural Products” pdf and from “Oregon Label Requirements for Extracted Honey” prepared by Judy Scher for the Oregon Master Beekeeper program. We learned that the most important wording on the label is “THIS PRODUCT IS NOT PREPARED IN AN INSPECTED FOOD ESTABLISHMENT. NOT FOR RESALE.”

Comb honey has different labeling requirements as does honey that has added ingredients.

Rich talked about pricing. His pricing follows: 1 pound – $7.50-$10; 2.5 pounds – $15; and 1 quart/3#pounds – $18. A 4” section of comb honey can be sold for $15. These are the prices that he can get in rural Willamette Valley. In the Portland metro area, honey commands a greater price. If one sells face to face so the seller has a beekeeper connection, you can charge more money since the consumer is being assured that the honey in real and not adulterated.

Questions:

How long should I feed syrup this fall? Keep feeding until they won’t take it. This is weather dependent. If we have clear sunny days then you can feed syrup typically through mid-October. If the weather remains rainy, then feeding syrup should end in another week. The bees need to evaporate the water from the syrup in order for it to be safe from molding or fermenting. This takes more time in rainy weather.

Should I keep feeding pollen substitute patties? Yes, keep feeding pollen substitute patties. The bees need the protein.

Are there any local beekeepers that sell 3 pound packages of bees? In the spring you can purchase packages at Shonnards in Corvallis. We are unsure whether they are Oregon bees or California. Most of the beekeepers in the Valley sell nucs.

We ended the meeting with a raffle for a ticket to the OSBA fall conference. It took several tries to find somebody willing and able to attend! And then we had to find an alternate attendee.

Meeting adjourned at 8:45.

Respectfully submitted,

Anna Ashby WVBA Secretary

September 24, 2019