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Piece of Honeycomb


Pierce County Beekeeping Association

August 2023 - Volume 29 - Issue 8

Monthly Newsletter

President's Corner

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Hi Beekeepers!

The picnic was a great success!!! I had a great time! It was so nice to talk with everyone and the food was great!! Thanks to Jeanne Archie, Kathleen Clear, Eileen and Ken Mobius, Bryce Landrum and Katie Marler for all the planning, set up, clean up and Bryce as our Master Chef so we could just come and enjoy!!

We also had a great time at the Pierce County Fair. Thank you to those who volunteered.

Our next big event is our guest speaker, Danny Najera at the meeting on August 28th and then on to the State Fair. We are excited to be hosting the National Honey Princess, Allison Hager.

The next Board meeting will be August 21st at 6pm. If you are interested in coming, please contact me at 253-640-1615 for details.

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Allison Hager


Daniel Najera
Courtesy of Green River College Biology Club

Volunteer sign up opportunities

Members, we need you! Pierce County Beekeepers Association couldn’t happen without you, our volunteers! Please sign up to help with the upcoming events. It is a great time to get to know other members and educate the community about the bees and what our organization is all about. Some of these events are fundraisers where we will be selling honey.

From brand new beekeeper to experienced beekeeper, you have a place at our table! You pick your comfort level, from selling the honey/ raffle tickets to just talking about bees. Come and join the fun!!

We need volunteers for the following:

State Fair:

September 2nd through 25th

Educational and fundraiser

Join us for the next meeting!

Because of the State Fair we will be having 2 General meetings in August and no General meeting in September 

Meeting Information

D.F. Allmendinger Center

2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371

The first meeting was on the 7th.

Second Meeting:

August 28,2023

6 pm

This will be a General Meeting with guest speaker, Daniel Najear

He will be discussing overwintering and disease as well as beekeeping in general. He will also have information on Small Hive Beetle in western WA. We will also be handing out State Fair tickets to those who are volunteering.

There will be no classes on this date


Apiary Day Information

Apiary Days will be held May through October,
1st Friday as well as the 3rd Saturday of every month

Apiary Day is weather dependent. Please keep an eye on our Facebook Group to keep up with any updates on what is planned for the next upcoming, including estimated times and lesson plan.

D.F. Allmendinger Center

2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371 
August 19,2023

The time has been changed to 10am to beat the hot weather


Please come prepared with full bee gear - suit and/or jacket with long baggy pants, closed toed shoes, a smoker and/or sugar spray, as well as water for yourself. You will be asked to sign a waiver and verify if you have bee allergies. If you have a bee allergy, please come prepared, suited "to the 9's" and have appropriate medications on hand in case of an emergency. We cannot guarantee to have said medications nor appropriate dosages for you, on site.

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Honey House

Bring your boxes and buckets!

The Honey House is available for rent. Reserve your time on the website.

We also have an extractor that is available for rent that you can take home for 72 hours.


You must be a member. 


What the heck should I be doing now?

A timely article on a Beekeeper's life cycle and what we should be doing with our bees this month

We are in a dearth and the Girls are cranky!! I have to say though, I have a few Saskatraz hives and even in 85° weather, they were calm and basically ignored me. But the rest, they wanted me to die! I didn't linger in the hives, I only did what was necessary based on my notes from my last inspection. I had a plan before I even opened them up. This time of year I ALWAYS suit up for protection. August is not the time of year to go without, like some YouTube videos I have seen. Before you even crack the hive, know what you want to do and have everything you need set up and available. Make sure if you are going into your hives during the dearth that you use cover cloths over your boxes to help with avoiding robbing. I use them in my Layens hives even when there is minimal exposure. Make sure you are taking notes on each colony and what you find so you can accurately plan for the next inspection. Did I mention that keeping hive notes is important? To calm the bees do you smoke, no smoke, sugar water spritz? Sugar water could promote some robbing of  weak hives but in this weather, I find that the smoke just seems to irritate them and disrupts their communication with each other. In addition to that, all of my hives are in very, very dry fields so fire danger is real. I am nervous about stray sparks. Decisions, decisions, so may decisions...and my mentor isn't always available in that moment. 

I knew the weather was not going to be good, but Tuesday was the only day I had free. Decision one made. I had checked my hives 2 weeks ago and knew that 3 of them were going to need attention. More than just the normal stuff. I made sure I had pollen patties, sugar water, extra frame feeders and corks so the bees won't drown in that sugar water. I had extra frames available to add space and all my tools on the ready. I wanted to be prepared for whatever I found. Decision 2, made.

My goal for the day was to address the 3 hive issues, assess resources, overall health and add OA treatment pads. The thing about bees is, they will always surprise you. The cool thing is, they present you with a scenario and you have options. You will be making decisions, sometimes as planned and sometimes on the fly. Sometimes those decisions will work out great and sometimes, not so much.

I decided to start at 7am to try and beat the predicted heat. It was 64°. I was able to address 2 of the three hive issues and inspect 8 hives. I had to let the 3rd hive that needed to be addressed go until the next time because, when I opened it up, the bees changed the plan. Decision 4 made. I quit at 11am because it just got too hot at 85º. When I quit, I still had 3 hives to go. Decision 5 made. That was not my plan, but because of the heat, that was the decision that had to be made. I went home to the air conditioning.

I remember when I first started beekeeping, my mentor would always ask me what we were seeing and then present me with all the options that could be taken. At that point, he would ask me what my decision was and that is what we did. He always left it up to me because they were my bees. I've made tons of decisions in my beekeeping career. Some good and some bad, but it has all been a learning experience. It's the same with you and your beekeeping journey. As long as you do beekeeping, you will come across situations that require a decision. We share general guidelines and pass along as much information as we can in our classes, presentations and even this newsletter.  The title of this section of the newsletter is, "What the Heck Do I Do Now"?  That question can be asked in several contexts. It can be asked in class, at apiary day, to a special speaker or to your mentor. But, it can also be asked when you are staring into your hive and you are all alone and your bees have presented you with something you weren't expecting. Ask the question. "What the heck do I do now"? Evaluate all your options and make a decision. Then, don't doubt it! Be confident. If it doesn't work out, do it differently next time. 

 I want to encourage you. Even if you think you don't know stuff, you know stuff!!! 

Mary Dempsey

Thoughts from our Members

Ask 5 beekeepers a question....

Honey Reporters



As a beekeeper, you can get a free subscription to the colorful, informative monthly magazine, Bee Culture, if you agree to fill out a monthly report that is sent to you. 

Go to:  or simply contact Bee Culture with an email. 

August’s issue is talking about winter losses of honeybee hives. The highest loss on record was 50.8% in 2020-2021. Last year we nudged up to that with 48.2%. Previous year was 39%.

What happened last winter? Reporters cited varroa, which you know brings viruses. It is just like drug users sharing dirty needles that transfers diseases to all the users. 

Other causes of these losses were bad weather, starvation, queen problems. A smaller amount of the colony losers blamed predators, pollen deprivation, brood diseases, natural disaster, apicultural treatments, shipping stress, equipment failure and scavenger pests such as moths. 

With so much able to go wrong, we have been as successful as we have had losses!

Particular to the Pacific Northwest is the moisture issue. Other locales are not having that issue the way we do. I tilt my hives up to one inch and ventilate. The first year, I built carports over each hive. The next years I bought a sheer tent but the snow accumulated in it and dumped over, broken. 

This month, Bee Culture magazine is accepting photos of Honey Hauls. Your photo might appear on the cover or in the galley, if accepted.

(Above percentages and causes taken from Bee Culture, 8-23 article written by Nathalie Steinhauren, Mikayla Wilson, Dan Aurell, Selina Bruckner & Geoffrey William.)


by Tina Tyler

Asian Honey-Tea Grilled Prawns

by National Honey Board


1 cup double strength orange spice tea, cooled

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 T fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine, but set aside 1/2 of marinade for later dipping sauce. Boil 4 minutes and top with 2 green onions, thinly sliced.


Add to the marinade and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours:

1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

After, thread shrimp on 8 skewers, dividing evenly.  Grill over medium for 5 minutes. Season with salt, as desired. 

entered by 

Tina Tyler

Member Suggested Resources & Articles

If you have suggestions for the newsletter, please send to Kathleen


Homemade Swarm Lure Recipe - by PCBA Member, Rebecca Morris [READ]


Directed evolution of Metarhizium fungus improves its biocontrol efficacy against Varroa mites in honey bee colonies (2021) Jennifer O. Han, Nicholas L. Naeger, Brandon K. Hopkins, David Sumerlin, Paul E. Stamets, Lori M. Carris, and Walter S. Sheppard. Scientific Reports 11:10582 [READ]


A Field Trial of Probiotics - First published in ABJ May 2021 - Randy Oliver [READ]


Walking The Walk - Selective Breeding For Mite Resistance; 2022 Update, Part 1 - Randy Oliver [READ]

"Seeds for Bees" with Project Apis m. presented by Rory Crowley and Stetcyn Malonado - Beekeeping Today Podcast [LISTEN]


WA State Pollinator Health Task Force [LEARN MORE]

Pierce County Beekeepers Association

General Meeting Minutes 



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Contact for details and sign up

Robbins Honey Farm

Harvard Robbins

Brick and Mortar Store

7910 148th St. SW, Lakewood, WA

253-588-7033, 253-370-0842

Beekeeping supplies, bees, honey

5 frame nucs


Dolce Bella Bees

Alisa Shorey 



253-683-0789/ 253-380-2327

Bee packages and queens


The Woodland Hearth 

Mary Dempsey

Hyperlocal and Creamed Honey

Soap and other home and body products


 Dr. D’s bees

Dennis Carlson

Local Honey


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