Welcome to the 2018 Beekeeping Season!
We hope your bees are all tucked in for the winter, treatments finished and winter feeding underway. It won’t be long now until spring build-up begins and we get into the season in earnest. With good supplies of pollen from English Ivy, Pussy Willow and Hazelnut, to name a few, queens will begin to lay in a few weeks.
Watch our website here and our newsletter, Bee Bits, for where to get bees this spring. MBBA usually offers a “group order” of package bees through Belleville Honey Co. in Burlington. We also understand that Snohomish Bee Company will offer packages this year. Stay tuned.
Here’s some food for thought, be you an experienced veteran beekeeper or complete new-bee: Considerable research has shown that locally sourced bees are healthier, more productive and more likely to survive over the long term. This means bees raised LOCALLY in our climate area, not imported bees from large breeder operations out-of-state.
A number of our local beekeepers successfully raise their own bees and queens and have done so sustainably for years. This may sound challenging, but can actually be accomplished on a very small scale. You don’t need tons of experience or hundreds of hives. Yes, it changes the traditional time-line for local beekeeping. Local bees may not produce a honey crop the first year. But, using the beekeeping techniques of the beekeeper you source these LOCAL bees from will increase your odds of success. We will post sources of LOCAL BEES here and in Bee Bits.
Beekeepers in Whatcom and Skagit Counties and Lower Mainland, BC are currently raising queens and selecting those that perform best under our own Salish Sea conditions. These queens will result in LOCAL nucleus hives later in the spring. For various reasons, you may not be able to wait and will end up purchasing imported “package” bees. We wish you good luck! But, please read on …..
In support of LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE BEEKEEPING, we offer the following inspiring definition of a SUSTAINABLE APIARY:
Here is my definition of a sustainable apiary:
– My bees live. They are kept in good health, and free from preventable illness;
– The quality of my stock is constantly improving;
– I anticipate my losses and prepare for them;
– My apiary is closed – I only import bees when I want new genetics;
– My excess bees are made available to beekeepers in my local community.
This appeared in a recent article by Meghan Milbrath, a Michigan Beekeeper and Researcher: “Sustainable Northern Beekeeping: A Method to Improve Survival and Reduce Replacement Costs”
We think these concepts are worth serious consideration by local beekeepers here in Whatcom County. As we all know, beekeeping is difficult! There’s a steep learning curve and many challenges to face. Moving towards local bees bred via more sustainable practices will enhance our local stocks, provide them better odds of survival and most important of all, it’s the most promising means to SAVE THE BEES. Worth a thought, yes?
Our Monthly Meeting – January 2018
Meeting Date: Wednesday, January 17th
Meeting Time: 7 PM
Bee-ginners Chat: 6:30 PM New!
Place: Gateway Centre Suites,
1313 E. Maple St, Bellingham, WA, Ste. 301, The Rainier Room
Stay tuned for further additions to our January Meeting Agenda. You can always count on the following to happen:
Bee-ginner Chat: Are you a New-Bee, Wanna-Bee, Low Mileage Beekeeper? It helps to get all your bees in a row before the new season begins. So, we’ve brought back our Bee-ginner Chat session. 2018 is just around the corner. No time like the present to make plans. We’ll gather at 6:30, just before the meeting. Bring your questions and problems. We’ll get you some answers.
Bee Talk: That’s what MBBA is all about: local beekeepers helping each other, staying in touch, spreading the techniques and tricks of successful beekeeping. If you learned some important beekeeping lessons this year, please share with us. We’ll make sure everybody gets a chance to share their very own “Bee Bits.”
Refreshments Fuel Bee Talk!
Last names A-M, please bring something tasty to share, food or drink. We’ll break early to schmooze and talk bees! Bee Happy, Bee Munching!
I’d like to learn more about beekeeping, where should I start?