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Piece of Honeycomb

Cappings

Pierce County Beekeeping Association

Monthly Newsletter

June 2024 - Volume 30 - Issue 6

President's Corner

It's so good to be home!!! Traveling is nice but my own bed is even better!!!

I'm finally getting back into the swing of things. I had to move hives in my out apiaries because the landowners are moving. I was able to bring a hive home and it is now in the backyard. I'm glad to have some of the girls home although my daughters puppy is finding it difficult learning that you can't play with the bees without consequence. 

The Silent Auction and Dessert Social had some issues (for the very 1st time, the Allmendinger Center had day renters and we didn't have access to set up until 5:30), but you all jumped in and got it done while I was off fighting with technology! I was so impressed AND incredibly grateful. To everyone who helped, Thank you!! You guys are awesome! Your generosity is overwhelming too!!! Total for the evening was $1824. 

Swarm season has been a lot better this year but weirder and so frustrating. So many of the swarms stuck around until they knew the beekeeper was 10 minutes away and then they would just take off. A big thank you to Chris Camper for taking over the swarm list while I was gone. 

bee-swarm.jpg

Become a Member of PCBA!

It has been an amazing year and we have so much more to come! Over the year we have gathered over 750 members of our Facebook Group and over 650 Newsletter Subscribers! We are elated and honored to have had such a successful reach. Now, please be reminded that we are a Non-Profit 501c3. Membership makes a massive impact to our ability to continue full steam ahead and offer classes and programs that you all value, in fact it's the only way... We are asking all of you that are participating on our social platforms and subscribing to please sign up for membership in 2024 and help us continue to grow our resources and programs.
 

*** When we changed website hosts last year, everyone who became a member was considered a "New" member as far as the computer was concerned. The New Member choice does not automatically renew every year. We have just learned that anyone who signed up last year will need to join again on your expiration date. 

IT DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY RENEW YOUR MEMBERSHIP.
 

  Many people have expired memberships.  If you got an email that told you to renew and then on the website it said that you had already purchased the membership and then wouldn't let you renew, that was a computer glitch that is now fixed. 

Please check your records to find the date you joined or renewed last year and rejoin if your membership is expired by date. The automatic renewal is working for some.

If you are unsure of your status you can email president@pcbeekeepers.org

Thank you

Become a Member

2024 EVENTS & PROJECTS

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!!
 

HERE IS A LINK TO OUR 2024 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Important dates in 2024

Picnic in July - ADJUSTED TO JULY 13TH - Allmendinger Center

Pierce County Fair - Aug 8th - Aug 11th - Puyallup Fair Grounds

Washington State Fair - August 30th - Sept 22nd - Will need Volunteers - Puyallup Fair Grounds

Elections in November on Nov 4th - Allmendinger Center

Holiday Party on December 2nd - Allmendinger Center 

Hive Host & Beekeeper List

We have many hosts, but we need more BEEKEEPERS! We have been building a list of those who have properties in which they are aiming to host hives on, as well as beekeepers who would like to service hives on host properties. With Spring coming, it is time to sign up! To join this list and be matched with a potential host or beekeeper, please sign up here: https://www.pcbeekeepers.org/hive-host-and-beekeeper-list

Monthly Meeting Information

ANNUAL PICNIC on July 13th!

NO CLASSES/NO GENERAL MEETING
 

Instead come join us for our Annual Picnic at Noon on Saturday, July 13th!

 

Join us for a social picnic and please bring some entrees and drinks! We will provide hotdogs and burgers (w/vegan options). It would be great to see you and have some time to hang out without class or a guided meeting. Can't wait to see you there!
 

The first driveway on the right BEFORE the D.F. Allmendinger Center's driveway (There will be a sign!)

WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center

D.F. Allmendinger Center

2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371

Apiary Day & Workshop Information

Apiary Days are weather dependent will begin in May and run through October

Upcoming Apiary Days

Saturday, June 22nd @ 12:00pm - Led by Katie Marler & Guest

Saturday, July 6th @ 11:00am - Led by Katie Marler

Saturday, July 27th @ 11:00am - Led by Katie Marler & Guest


 WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center

D.F. Allmendinger Center

2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371

BRING YOUR BEE SUIT!!

  

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. Contact Kathleen Clerc vp@pcbeekeepers.org with any questions. 

Beekeeping Class Information


Classes are available to PCBA Members only - Become a Member
Sign up for Classes on our Website


 WSU Puyallup Research & Extension Center

D.F. Allmendinger Center

2606 W Pioneer Ave, Puyallup, WA 98371
 

Classes are January - November 
 

Please keep an eye on our Facebook Group & your email to keep up with any updates on what is planned for the next upcoming, including estimated times and lesson plan. 
Contact Katie Marler education@pcbeekeepers.org with any questions. 

Planting for Bee Habitat
by Mary Kline

While European Honeybee keepers tend to think in terms of habitat for honeybees, we can create a positive effect for all bees with the selection of plants in our yards.  In short, honeybees are generalists, taking nectar and pollen from a wide variety of plants.  Many native solitary bees are specialists, requiring certain species of native plants.

 

Studies have shown that honeybee foragers are not selective to pollen quality while gathering.  They may be bringing in pollen of poor nutrition quality, which doesn't provide all of the  essential amino acids brood requires.  Planning for diversity in flowering plants will help.

 

I was asked to provide a list of native plants for the Association.  Due to differences in the soil, rainfall, and sun/shade, it is very difficult to suggest plants which will work for all of Pierce County.  Instead, I'd like to offer the following resources and advice for bee habitat for Pierce County beekeepers:

  1. Get your soils tested, including organic matter content.  This is step one to selecting plants which will grow on your property.  Both the County Extension and private soil testing companies offer this service.

  2. Commit to helping all bee species, not just honeybees.  You can do this by selecting plants native to Pierce and surrounding Counties.  An example is Asters.  This genus has species all over the world.  Select species native to Pierce County.

  3. Select a variety of plants based on bloom time, color, and flower shape.  If you provide for specialist bees, you are helping the honeybees as well.

  4. Consider native annuals.  They are very easy to grow, will reseed for next year if you let them, and create a show of beautiful blooms for your girls.

  5. Support local nurseries, who know and label the plants native to the Puget Sound area.

  6. A word of caution.  Many 'Wildflower' seed packets contain species which are not native to the Puget Sound area, and contain some species which are non-native invasive plants on the WA list of plants you must control.  'Wildflower' is not equal to 'Native'.  Again, buy local.
     

Resources

  1. Pierce County Northwest Native Plant list:  https://www.piercecountywa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/4363/Northwest-Native-Plant-List

  2. King County Native Plant List/search: https://green2.kingcounty.gov/gonative/Plant.aspx?Act=find

  3. Seeds for Puget Sound:  https://northwestmeadowscapes.com and http://www.insidepassageseeds.com both have good selections of native plant seeds.  

  4. Woodbrook Nursery in Gig Harbor https://woodbrooknativeplantnursery.com/, Calendula Farm https://calendulafarm.com/plant-nursery/ , Salish Tree Nursery, Kingston https://www.salishtreesnursery.com/


Read this far?  Okay, I'll relent.  Here are a few native favorites in my garden:  Solidago altissima, Missouri Goldenrod; Penstemon ovatus, Eggleaf Penstemon; Madia elegans, Tarweed; Collinsia grandiflora, Blue-eyed Mary; Clarkia amoena, Farewell-to-spring; Symphiotrichum subspicatum, Douglas Aster.

 

Mary Kline, RLA

Hive Checks for Washington State Beekeepers:
Seasonal Practices and Mite Management

Christopher Camper

Beekeeping in Washington State presents unique challenges and opportunities due to the

region's diverse climate and flora. Regular hive checks are essential to maintaining healthy colonies and ensuring robust honey production. This paper provides detailed guidelines for hive inspections during spring, summer, and fall, along with preparation for wintering bees, mite checks and treatments, one-to-one feeding practices, and strategies to prevent swarming.

Spring Hive Checks

Spring is a crucial period for beekeepers as it marks the renewal of hive activity after winter dormancy.

 

Here are key practices for spring hive checks:

1. Initial Inspection (Early Spring):

• Timing: Conduct the first inspection on a warm, calm day when temperatures are 64 degrees or higher     for a longer hive check

• Assessment: Check for the presence of the queen, brood pattern, and overall colony health.

• Feeding: If food stores are low, provide supplemental feeding using a one-to-one sugar syrup (one       part sugar to one part water) to stimulate brood rearing and colony growth.

• Hive Equipment: Repair or replace any damaged equipment and clean the hive to

reduce disease risk.

2. Brood Expansion (Mid to Late Spring):

• Monitoring Brood: Ensure the queen is laying eggs effectively, with a solid brood pattern indicating a healthy colony.• Adding Space: As the population grows, add additional supers or frames to prevent overcrowding and reduce swarming risk.

• Mite Checks: Begin monitoring for Varroa mites using methods such as the sugar roll or alcohol wash. Treat if mite levels exceed the threshold (3% infestation rate).

Summer Hive Checks

Summer inspections focus on maintaining colony health and managing honey production.

1. Regular Inspections (Every 1-3 Weeks But if you think they are going to swarm

then checks should be 7-10 days)

• Honey Production: Check honey supers and ensure they are not overcrowded. Harvest honey as needed but leave enough for the bees' own needs.

• Queen Health: Verify the queen’s presence and the consistency of her laying pattern. Replace her if necessary.

• Ventilation and Shade: Ensure proper hive ventilation to prevent overheating. Provide shade or move hives if necessary.

2. Mite Management: 

• Monitoring: Continue regular mite checks. Use integrated pest management (IPM) strategies, such as drone brood removal or powdered sugar dusting, to keep mite populations in check.

• Treatments: Consider mid-summer treatments if mite counts are high, using products like formic acid or oxalic acid, ensuring adherence to product guidelines to avoid honey contamination.

Fall Hive Checks

Fall preparations are critical for ensuring colonies are strong enough to survive the winter.

1. Feeding and Nutrition:

• Supplemental Feeding: If natural nectar flow is insufficient, provide a two-to-one sugar syrup (two parts sugar to one part water) to help bees build up their winter stores.

• Pollen Supplement: Offer pollen patties if natural pollen is scarce to ensure adequate nutrition for brood rearing.

2. Population and Health:

• Consolidation: Reduce the number of hive bodies to help bees maintain heat during winter. Combine weak colonies with stronger ones if necessary.

• Mite Treatments: Conduct a final mite check and apply appropriate treatments. Consider using slower-releasing treatments such as Apivar (amitraz) to control mite populations over an extended period.

3. Winter Preparation:

• Insulation: Wrap hives or add insulation to protect against cold temperatures and wind.

• Ventilation: Ensure hives have adequate ventilation to prevent moisture buildup, which can be more damaging than cold temperatures.

• Mouse Guards: Install mouse guards to prevent rodents from entering and damaging the hives.

Swarming: Signs and Prevention

Swarming is a natural reproduction process but can be detrimental to beekeepers as it reduces the number of worker bees and honey production.

1. Signs of Swarming:

• Queen Cells: The presence of numerous queen cells, particularly along the bottom of frames, indicates preparations for swarming.

• Congestion: Overcrowded hives with a large population and insufficient space for brood or honey storage.

• Reduced Activity: A sudden decline in foraging activity can be a precursor to swarming.

2. Preventing Swarming:

• Space Management: Regularly add supers to provide ample space for the colony to expand.

• Splitting Hives: Split the colony to reduce the population density and give bees a new queen and additional space.

• Re-queening: Introduce a new, young queen to reduce the swarming instinct, as younger queens are less likely to swarm.

• Frame Rotation: Rotate brood frames to ensure the queen has plenty of room to lay eggs, preventing overcrowding.

Conclusion:

Effective hive management through regular inspections, mite control, and strategic feeding is essential for the health and productivity of honeybee colonies in Washington State. By adhering to seasonal hive check guidelines, managing mites diligently, feeding appropriately, and implementing swarming prevention techniques, beekeepers can ensure their colonies thrive throughout the year and are well-prepared for the winter months.

The Rhythm of the Summer
By: Perfectbee
 

There are few things as satisfying to a beekeeper as the reassuring but furious activity outside a hive on a hot summer day. As the colony establishes itself, each day brings a new, heightened level of excitement. Inside the hive some very important changes are taking place, as the brood nest increases.

None of this happens in a vacuum. External factors have a huge impact on the activity within the hive and on its eventual survival. One of the more important of these is the “honey flow”.
 

What is the Honey Flow?

In simple terms, the honey flow is a sweet spot in time, if you’ll excuse the pun. It is the time when bees have ready access to abundant resources, allowing them to dramatically accelerate the creation of honey within the hive. So, the honey flow is less about honey actually flowing and more about bees having the opportunity to collect nectar to support them creating their honey.
 

Let’s make that a little more formal:

The honey flow occurs when one or more abundant sources of nectar are available, along with suitable weather, allowing bees to forage for that nectar.
 

When Does the Honey Flow Occur?

Suitable flying weather is clearly related to the time of year and, indeed, the summer is most supportive of the honey flow. But it is not always summer. Spring can be an excellent time for a honey flow too as many flowers bloom.
 

What affects honey flow?

There are many variables affecting when the honey flow occurs. The two basic requirements are access to nectar and suitable weather.

There are various reasons why the weather might not be accommodating, beyond merely the temperature. For example, spring often brings windy conditions not conducive to the honey flow. So, the weather element of the honey flow is variable.

The other factor – ready access to nectar – can be a little more predictable, based on the types of flowers in the local environment and their flowering schedules. This is one aspect that need not be left purely to nature and the beekeeper has the potential to influence this significantly, with a little planning.
 

When should I expect a heavy flow of honey?

Beekeepers will see an ebb and flow through the warmer months and there may be multiple times where bees are able to create honey in abundance.

Of course, nature is complex and there are complicated interactions between weather patterns and the blooming of flowers. In general, though, a seasoned beekeeper will be able to tell, with reasonable accuracy, when the honey flow might occur in their location.
 

How to Spot the Honey Flow

Since the honey flow can be triggered by the blooming of flowers within miles of the hive, it is not as simple as checking local flowers to determine whether the honey flow has arrived. The only precise way to be aware of the honey flow is to check the behavior of your bees. The most obvious sign is the level of activity and the number of bees out foraging. Bees will come back to the hive fully loaded with nectar, while other bees are leaving to gather still more. The resultant image is one that is heartwarming to the beekeeper – hundreds of bees flowing in and out of the hive. It truly is a sight to behold.

Associated with all this activity will be a rapid increase in the amount of honey stored. While the prudent beekeeper will avoid disturbing bees too much, it is important to be aware of the potential for swarming. During the honey flow, it’s possible for a single hive to gain 5 lbs. or more of honey – in a single day! In short, if bees can make honey through access to nectar and accommodating weather – they will take it!
 

What Beekeepers Can Do to Help

The honey flow isn’t just a time for beekeepers to smile. It is also a time to be very observant. The honey flow represents a rapid increase in the space bees need in the hive. At a rate of several pounds of new honey per day, a hive with limited space can quickly lead to a colony with thoughts of swarming. If the colony swarms, it will essentially split in two, with one half leaving the colony for a new home.

An alert beekeeper is aware at all times of the space available in the hive. Expanding the hive by adding boxes is a key decision the beekeeper will make, offering bees more space for the extra honey and thus reducing the chances of swarming.

Aside from a visual check, the weight of the hive will be an important indicator. An increasing number of beekeepers weigh their hives using monitors and the honey flow is associated with a dramatic increase in weight.

In a more proactive sense, beekeepers can plant flowers intentionally chosen to bloom in a staggered manner throughout the seasons. Doing this doesn’t just have the potential to bring weeks of color to your garden, but makes for an extended honey flow, as bees move from one type of flower to another for their nectar fix!
 

Done well, the beekeeper – and bees – can enjoy and extended and beautiful series of honey flows
By: GloryBee

You will be quite surprised at how many plants produce a surplus of nectar and pollen for the bees. For this section we will be focusing on the Pacific Northwest region. For your local region, it is best to research what types of nectar and pollen plants your bees will be visiting and if there is enough to sustain the hive. Remember a bee can travel up to 6 miles to find nectar but they can be more efficient if the plants are nearby.

There are great differences in honeys depending on what type of plants the bees visit. The color and flavors of the honey will vary tremendously from light amber to dark, and mild to strong flavors. Successful beekeepers learn to manage their bees so as to harvest only the best grades of honey. Some plants that bees visit will cause a lower grade of honey to be produced with inferior flavor.

There are many factors that determine the nectar flow of a plant. Soil types, irrigation practice, quantity of rainfall, elevation, temperature and wind all have huge impacts on how much nectar a plant will give off. The more nectar there is from a plant means more honey to the bee, so finding good plants that have a surplus of nectar is important.
 

MAIN HONEY PLANTS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST SORTED BY MONTH
* Indicates best surplus sources of nectar

Mustard - March, pollen

Oregon Grape - April, pollen and nectar

Cotton Wood - April, pollen

Willow - April, pollen and nectar is warm

Cherry Tree - April, nectar and mainly pollen

*Maple Large Leaf - April-May, pollen and surplus nectar

Deciduous Fruit Trees - April-May, mainly pollen

*Poison Oak - May, nectar surplus

Madrene - May, nectar

Manzanita - May, pollen and nectar

*Vine Maple - May, surplus

Cabbage - May, pollen and nectar

Crimson Clover - May, pollen and nectar

*Snowberry (Buckbrush) - May-June, surplus

*Cascara - May-June, nectar

Hairy Vetch - May-June, surplus nectar

Raspberry - June, surplus

Thistle - June, nectar and pollen

*Blackberry - June-July, nectar and pollen

White Clover - June-July, pollen and nectar

Dill (oil) - July, pollen and nectar

Fire Weed - July-August, no pollen and variable nectar
 

HONEY PLANTS IN EASTERN PACIFIC NORTHWEST
 

Dandelion - Spring, pollen and nectar

*Alfalfa - June-August, pollen and nectar

Red Clover - June-August, pollen and nectar

*White Clover - June-August, pollen and nectar

Mint - August-September, pollen and nectar

*Sage - September, pollen and nectar
 

 

Blackberry & Raspberry Pollination Information 

Rubus is a large genus of flowering plants from the Rosaceae family, subfamily Rosoideae, of which there are believed to be hundreds if not thousands of species as well as hybrid species created both in nature and artificially. Most of these plants have woody stems with prickles, spines, bristles and gland-tipped hairs which are often referred to as brambles. Bramble fruit are generally separated into two groups, raspberries (Rubus idaeus L), and cultivated blackberries (Rubus subgenus Eubatus).

Cultivated blackberries come in a number of different varieties which vary in growth characteristics, fruit size and shape and include but are not limited to varieties such as blackberries, boysenberries, youngberries and loganberries. On the other hand, most commercial raspberry varieties are of European origin but some have been developed from hybridisation with native North American varieties (Rubus strigosus).

Raspberry and blackberry cultivars range from completely self-fruitful to completely self-unfruitful with most erect blackberries being fruitful yet prostrate growing cultivars often requiring cross-pollination. Because rubus berries are made up of an aggregate of druplets (each druplet only forms after its pistal has received pollen) yield and fruit quality can be significantly improved from honey bee pollination. Nectar is secreted in large amounts from blackberries and raspberry flowers and both nectars have a high sugar content that attracts an abundance of pollinating insects, especially the honey bee. For both raspberry and blackberry fruit size, shape and number are good measures of the degree of pollination. Numerous studies have shown increases in yield and fruit quality when bees are brought into a berry crop during flowering.

Well pollinated blackberry fruit.

Blackberries

Blackberry (Rubus sp.) flowers are usually white with four petals. The stigma are surrounded by 50 to 100 anthers. Nectar is produced in a cup at the base of the petals. They start producing nectar as soon as the flowers open and continue until after the petals have fallen. There are a large number of varieties of blackberry with different degrees of self fertility. It has been suggested that several different cultivars should be planted to ensure cross pollination. Certainly, if planting blackberries, advice should be sought as to whether the variety being considered needs cross pollination. They probably all benefit from bee visits to spread pollen to the stigma. As an example of this, the cultivar Thornless Evergreen is self-fertile but honey bee pollination results in better yields. The stigma are receptive for the first three days the flowers are open. Honey bees visit blackberries to collect both pollen and nectar. The flowers are usually attractive to bees and beekeepers can at times collect a honey crop from wild and cultivated blackberries.

Because blackberries are very attractive, there may be sufficient insects visiting flowers without introducing beehives. However, for commercial production the low risk approach is to introduce beehives unless it has been shown that they are not needed. It has been suggested two hives per hectare are sufficient for pollination. Because the flowers are usually very attractive to bees, they can be introduced at the start of flowering.
 

Raspberries

Raspberry (Rubus sp.) flowers have five petals and a ring of anthers. The flowers have many ovules, each with its own stigma. The fertilised ovules are called drupelets. The flowers are partially self-fertile. They will produce some fruit when caged to exclude bees, but will produce more and much larger berries if bees have access to the flowers.

The stigmas are receptive before pollen is liberated by the anthers. Because of this, the first pollen to reach the stigma is likely to be from other flowers on the same or other plants. Once the anthers start to release pollen, it may be transferred directly to the stigma and thus self-pollination will occur. The flowers can still set seed 4 days after they open. When pollen was applied each day for 4 days after the flowers opened, the seed number increased after each pollen application. This suggests that not all the stigma may be receptive on the first day. The degree of pollination affects not only the number of fruit but also the fruit size and shape. There is usually an increase in berry size with increasing number of drupelets. Increasing pollination will also decrease the number of malformed fruit. It has been suggested that some crosses between different varieties may result in larger drupelet size.

The flowers produce relatively large amounts of nectar. They have been reported to produce an average of 17 microlitres per day, which is between two and 10 times the amount reported to be produced by apples. Because of this, raspberry flowers are usually very attractive to bees. Honey bees will also collect small loads of pollen from the flowers. Pollen is not particularly attractive to bees and they will discard it at times. The attractiveness of the crop will usually mean that fewer colonies will need to be introduced. It is suggested in the literature that between 0.5 and 2.5 hives should be introduced per hectare.  Because the flowers produce relatively large amounts of nectar, bees may need to visit fewer flowers to collect nectar and may not spread evenly through a field. If an uneven distribution of bees is noted, more hives should be introduced and spread around the crop.
 

Additional pollination information

Additional fact sheets and web links about the pollination of this crop are listed below. Please be aware that some of the information was developed overseas, and environmental and seasonal variations may occur.
 

Rubus pollination fact sheet, The Pollination Program (Agrifutures Australia and Hort Innovation)

Raspberry pollination, United States Department of Agriculture

Poor pollination in raspberries, University of California

 

Beekeeping Articles & Topics of Interest

Beekeeping, for Veteranshttps://wafarmvetco.org/healing-through-hives
 

Honeybees can smell Lung Cancer https://fox8.com/news/honeybees-can-detect-lung-cancer-in-humans-research/

What to do when Honeybees Swarm - Featuring Kathleen Clerc & Mary Dempsey! - https://www.gigharbornow.org/news/community/what-to-do-honey-bee-swarm-pierce-county-beekeepers-alliance/
 

Neonicotinoid exposure worsens varroa mite infestations - https://entomologytoday.org/2024/06/20/neonicotinoid-exposure-worsens-varroa-mite-infestations-honey-bees-study/
 

FLIES are found to be the second most important pollinators on the planet, beside bees - https://www.beaconjournal.com/story/news/2024/06/21/flies-bees-national-pollinator-week-2024/74156426007/

Resource List for Diagnostic Testing of Honey Bees 2024
(information provided by, Bri Price, WSU Honey Bee Program Extension Coordinator)

 

If you want an answer on the cause of the death of your bees, the following is a list of organizations in the United States that may be able to assist you. For a compete list of diagnostic labs and what they will test go to this website: https://apiaryinspectors.org/page-18060.

If you believe the apiary was damaged through the use of pesticides and if you have registered your hive(s) with the State Department of Agriculture, you can also contact Katie Buckley (Pollinator Health Coordinator) with the WA Dept of Agriculture, and report the situation as a potential bee kill: kbuckley@agr.wa.gov. They usually only formally investigate if it is a large number of hives that were killed. WSU Bee Program used to have a diagnostic lab but does not currently have one. For now, they recommend that people send their bees to the Beltsville Bee Lab; it’s a free source in Maryland. This facility tests for bacterial, fungal and microsporidian diseases, two species of parasitic mites, and other honey bee pests. They also test for American Foul brood when requested. But this lab does not test for viruses or pesticides.

 

The following all charge for their testing services:
 

VIRUS TESTING (not pesticides)

• North Carolina State (https://www.ncsuapiculture.net/queen-and-disease-clinic) o Fees range from $24-320
 

• National Agricultural Genotyping Center (https://www.genotypingcenter.com/honey-bee-pathogen-panel/) o Fees range from $60-300

PESTICIDE TESTING (not viruses)

• Cornell Chemical Ecology Core Facility (https://blogs.cornell.edu/ccecf/the-facility/) o $90

• USDA-AMS National Science Laboratory (https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/lab-testing/nsl) o $450

• Synergistic Pesticide Laboratory (https://synpestlab.com/services/) o This is a lab that WSU’s bee program has used, direct contact: Camille Holladay cholladay@synpestlab.com o Fees range from $160-365



 

WSU Bee Program is Looking for Volunteers for
APHIS National Honey Bee Survey 2024!

WSU Bee Program is looking for beekeepers with 8 or more hives in their bee yards!

The Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts a yearly survey to document which bee diseases, parasites, or pests of honey bees are present and/or likely absent in the U.S. Specifically, this survey has verified the absence of the parasitic mite Tropilaelaps, small hive beetle, and other exotic threats to honey bee populations. 

People from the WSU Bee Program and APHIS will travel to your apiary, collect samples with you, and submit them.

What is sampled:

  1. Live adult bees

  2. Adult bees in alcohol sample

  3. A wax sample

  4. A brood frame will be knocked into a collection pan several times to collect any Tropilaelaps mites, beetles, etc.  

You can expect a report about your colonies 6-12 months after sampling. For more information about what to expect when sampling, please watch this video >
 
Sign up on this form if you are interested in letting us sample from your hives: 
https://forms.gle/UBzKHA9cQcD5ZWSx7 
 
Bri Price (managing Western WA) or Jenny Eason (managing Eastern/Central WA) will be in touch with you to coordinate times to sample after May 2024.

Ask a Washington Beekeeper - WASBA
WASBA’s ongoing project “Ask a Washington Beekeeper” has two episodes in the books. The first, in October, featured Jeff Ott and Bri Price, whose presentation about preparing for winter reached about two dozen interested beekeepers via both Facebook Live and Zoom. WASBA board member Dawn Beck graciously shared her presentation about the honeybees’ fat bodies and how these relate to honeybee health. In both cases, the presenters fielded questions from the audience with questions ranging from combining hives to winter survival rates. “Ask a Washington Beekeeper” is a collaboration between WASBA and GRuB and is designed to reach beekeepers who may be in outlying areas without access to a mentor or a beekeeping club. Our goal is to provide information, education and mentoring to as many people as possible, including veterans who are interested in beekeeping. An educated beekeeper is a better beekeeper and is better for the beekeeping community.
After a break for the holiday, “Ask a Washington Beekeeper” will resume on January 18th with WASBA president Alan Woods sharing his knowledge about integrated pest management. Future programs include information about packaged bees vs. nucs, a panel discussion, and information about the nectar flow. Programs are each month on the third Thursday starting at 6:30pm. Check it out and tell your friends – here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/AskAWABeekeeper. We’ll see you there!

 

Register here. Space is limited to 25 participants.

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