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Pierce County Beekeepers Association General Meeting Minutes from Monday, Nov. 6th, 2023

Almendinger Center, WSU extension campus, Puyallup, Washington

Meeting time: 6:09 pm to 7:03pm


Mary Dempsey (Club President) Called the meeting to order at 6:09 pm

Since this is the annual “business” meeting for the association, most of this meeting consisted of an extended business report, ending with voting for next year’s elected positions, future plans for the club, and a question and answer period.

Business report:

The next board meeting will be in December, time and place TBA (contact Kathleen for details).

WASBA conference:

Several PCBA members attended including our president and vice president. The conference entailed a lot of valuable information and people networking.

At the conference, Greg Willging was honored to become the Washington State Beekeeper of the Year. Accordingly, “The beekeeper of the year must have significantly promoted and demonstrated good beekeeping, improved the public image of the industry and volunteered in civic and other projects.”

Mary presented Greg with a plaque as recognition of his achievement; Greg made some very kind remarks.

WSU has a new employee (Briana Price) whose job is to promote Beekeeping within the state and network with beekeeping clubs in the state. PCBA will probably be working with her in some capacity given our relationship with WSU.

Treasury report:

  • We have $16,347.61 in the bank! Mary and many volunteers have worked very hard to increase our available funds while spending responsibly to help reinvigorate the club after COVID, and to continue or restore programs which help us pursue the PCBA goals.

  • Recent purchases:

    • Screened bottom boards for all the apiary hives

    • Pollen patties & fondant for the apiary

    • Books for the library

    • Insulation for the hives

    • Money for the holiday party

Mary announced that a detailed treasury report is available to anyone in the club (ask Mary for it).

Apiary update:

We lost one hive in the queen rearing apiary due to water pooling on the bottom board. We also combined two weaker hives in teaching apiary. Mite treatments (Vaporized Oxalic Acid every 3-5 days) are still underway-- this area has some significant mite bombs, so treatments are likely to continue for a while. Hives have been insulated on 3 sides to serve as a windbreak. The apiary supply shed has been well organized by Kathleen. We are still waiting on some paramoth to prevent wax moths in stored drawn frames, and some mouse traps, but we think things are well organized for the winter storage and for education purposes.

Mary thanked Natasha Balukoff (current club secretary) and SR Balukoff for donating their two biggest hives to the PCBA queen rearing apiary prior to their move out of the country.

Kathleen is looking for help this Saturday on doing a VOA treatment on the apiary. One of the members volunteered, and Kathleen will follow up after the meeting to work out details.

Pollinator Garden update:

Mary Kline explained that after taking a closer look at the parcels designated for the pollinator garden use in our lease, we discovered that neither site is presently suitable for use as such. Specifically, one is a registered wetland we can't legally cultivate, and it's covered in reed prairie grass that we would never be able to get rid of. The second site is a construction waste fill site that isn't suitable for cultivation either. We are therefore still working with WSU to sort out obtaining suitable sites for cultivating a pollinator garden. She also mentioned we're working on getting the right equipment and supplies for the garden (especially proper seed plug trays for getting starts in the fall).

We will work with WSU to eventually get suitable sites for the pollinator garden, but for now the project is on hold. Right now, those who are interested in helping with the garden can help by getting the seeds going in plug trays provided by Mary Kline. If we have a suitable site next spring we can plant them in the garden there, otherwise we can sell them (probably at the Master Gardner's sale). Please contact Mary Kline for details.


We have found a grant writer willing to waive her normal fee and has provided a Project Planning Toolkit for the club. Further, one of the candidates for co-secretary of the club (Jullian Selcer) mentioned that she has experience writing grants and is willing to help the club in this respect too.

We are also working with other nonprofits:

  • Building behind the walls (helps people learn to build things and teach life skills). Mary is going to give them a presentation on Mason Bees, in return they're going to build us a screened-bottom long langstroth hive for the teaching apiary!

  • Waller Grange is rebuilding their club after COVID. We will be giving them some presentations on beekeeping, and in return they are hopefully going to let us use some space for doing workshops.

Other announcements:

The December 4th 6:00pm general club meeting will be the Holiday party with a potluck / white elephant exchange.

Club Elections:

The following club members were newly nominated for the listed roles:

  • Nathan Chambers: Co-secretary (Nominated by Cookie, Seconded by Natasha)

  • Jullian Selcer: Co-secretary (Nominated by Cookie, Seconded by Natasha)

  • Fawn Casey: Treasurer (Nominated by Greg & Cookie, Seconded by Mary)

The following are current office holders who are seeking re-election:

  • Mary Dempsey: President (Nominated by Cookie, seconded by many people, including Natasha)

  • Kathleen Clerc: Vice president (Nominated by Mary, seconded by many people, including SR)

Additionally at the last board meeting Katie Marler was appointed Executive Education Chair.

Mary conducted a verbal Yay/Nay vote on all the above positions individually. The results are that everyone listed above was elected unanimously by the attending club members.

After the vote, it was announced that Katie will also be presenting an intermediate beekeeping class next year.  Chris Camper will take over teaching the beginner beekeeping class.

The future of the PCBA:

The following are the goals of the PCBA, as determined by the club years ago. We continue to work toward these goals:

  • Striving through education, best practices, open discussions to be Beekeepers-- not Bee havers!

  • Sustainable beekeeping practices

  • Maintain viable population of healthy bees

  • Recognize and respect - treatment & treatment-free management styles

  • Cooperative sharing of information

Given the above, club leadership has the following plans for 2023:

  • Potential purchasing savings (member/opportunities to purchase supplies as a cooperative for seasonal preparation, eg. buy in bulk and distribute to members participating in the purchase).

  • A member also said we should be purchasing equipment from local makers and suppliers (help in our own community!) This was met with widespread approval.

  • Education:

    • Education classes targeting folks who are on the fence as to whether they really want to be beekeepers. Entry level, intermediate, advanced, pest and pathogen identification/resources to address them.

    • Continue community clusters. No team leaders, just folks who live in the same area free to discuss whatever is on their mind concerning Beekeeping in their common area.

    • Hive hosts (matching people with space for an apiary, interest in bees, but don't want to manage, with people who have no space for apiary, but want to manage bees.)

    • Workshops (some may have a small cost for attendees to cover the cost of supplies). Some suggested workshops include:

      • Building hive stands

      • Making candles

  • Community:

    • School outreach (we gave presentations at 7 schools last year)

    • Tacoma Farmers market

  • Fairs:

    • State Fair

    • Spring Fair

    • Master Gardener Sale

    • Pierce County Fair

  • Projects:

    • Ground cover for teaching apiary

    • Bear fencing

    • Paint buildings



  • There was a question about brochures for the club (so club members can hand them out to interested parties). Maybe we can make these available for people to take at our monthly meetings?

  • Along with the brochures, a suggestion was made for small jars (2-3 fl.oz.) of honey we could also hand out to interested parties.

  • Matt Allbright brought a huge bag of unwashed wool for people to put in their quilt boxes if they want. (This is the same kind of wool we put in the club apiary quilt boxes.) Thank you to the Allbrights for this generous gift to the club members!

  • There was a question about wool: Can it be dried out and re-used? (Answer: Yes! Just don't wash with soap or the lanolin will be removed, which removes its moisture-wicking properties. Best is to store it somewhere dry and ventilated so it can air-dry on its own.)

  • Katie Marler wants to start an official education committee (to help go through the curriculum, decide what materials are most important to cover, put together lesson plans, etc.). Katie is looking for volunteers to help with that-- please contact her if you are interested in helping with this!

  • Cookie and Jeanie provided the hospitality for this meeting. They mentioned that there are still desserts to eat if people want to take them after the meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 19:03.

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