Willamette Valley Beekeepers Association (WVBA) Established in 1967.

Heather in bloom in Scotland
Heather in bloom in Scotland

May’s meeting is on Monday May 18th, because the fourth Monday is Memorial Day.

Wild blackberry is just beginning to bloom on the valley floor.  Do your hives need more supers?  Without having your bees on particular crop on a farm, wild blackberries produce the largest honey crop in Western Oregon.  Blackberry nectar is very high in sugar content.

Robbing Screens In May!

This sounds like a crazy statement, however it isn’t.  A commercial bee person from NE Salem decided to place at least 560 hives of bees on a property ¾ of a mile from one beekeeper and a ½ of a mile from another beekeeper.  These two beekeepers will have absolutely no chance of making any honey at their home properties.  One of these beekeepers has had bees on his home property for more than 30 years.  These 560 hives are on about a two acre footprint.  I’ve never seen a commercial beekeeper place that many hives in one spot during a nectar flow.  Obviously this bee person doesn’t care about any one else or even about his own bees.  So much for beekeeper ethics.

Speaking of beekeeper ethics.  There has been a problem all over the Willamette Valley and beyond with commercial beekeepers setting hives to close to other commercial beekeepers.  I’m not speaking of placing hives on a farmer’s crop for rental fees.  I’m speaking of honey yards.  The problem is nearly all the commercial beekeepers are increasing in size and they just don’t have enough yards to place them.  So they reach out further and set the bees next to another beekeeper.  The problem is nearly all the commercial beekeepers are doing it to each other.  Another unethical practice by at least one commercial beekeeper and perhaps more, is providing free bees to farmers for their crops.  I’m even hearing of the stealing of other beekeeper’s contracts by offering free bees. WOW!

Trevor Riches has earned the Welsh Honey Judging Certification.
Trevor Riches has earned the Welsh Honey Judging Certification.

Article by Trevor Riches:

The Welsh Honey Judge Certification is a two year program during which time a candidate takes a beginning class at either University of Georgia or University of Georgia Bee Institute then is required to Steward/Assistant Judge several accredited honey shows plus earn show awards/ribbons.  The Certification process is in concert with The Welsh Beekeeping Association.

After this has been accomplished the candidate is then eligible to take the Advanced Training at University of Florida or University of Georgia.  This advanced training entitles the candidate to take the Certification exam.  I am now working toward my Senior Judge Certification and need to judge several shows as part of my eligibility to qualify.

To this end, if any clubs have an interest in hosting a honey show, I would be very happy to give two presentations outlining “What you need to know to enter a honey show” and “What a Judge is looking for.”  I would, of course, judge the show free of charge.  Contact me at:  tjriches@gmail.com.

Welsh Honey Judging Patch
Welsh Honey Judging Patch

Steven and Ciera were given a gift certificate to a Salem restaurant in thanks for using Steven’s farm and Ciera’s hive for the WVBA Bee Day.  The gift certificate was donated by Farrier Farms.  Farrier Farms also donated the postcards, printing, and postage for the April mailing.

Cheers, Rich

Reader Interactions


  1. I live in W. Salem, and have discovered dying bees in my garden in the past couple of weeks. My pea crop has many blossoms but no peas; I began looking for native and honeybees, and have only counted 3 in my garden in two days. The catmint that I grow is usually covered at this time of year. I fear that someone has spayed neonicotinoid in my neighborhood. Thought that I should tell someone concerned with bee welfare.

    • Hello Phyllis,

      Thank you for your concern about the bees. Honeybees don’t work garden peas if there is other plants to work. They can get a little pollen from them, but for the most part peas don’t do the honeybees any good. The fact that you don’t see any honeybees around could be the fact that a nearby beekeeper lost their bees during the winter. It’s difficult to give an exact answer without investigation. Just because you don’t see bees around your garden doesn’t mean that someone sprayed a neonicotinoid based spray. There are many other sprays that harm bees. And it doesn’t mean that anyone sprayed anything in the neighborhood. Hopefully someone in the neighborhood will become interested in honeybees and become a beekeeper.

      Thanks, Rich

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