Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association

BEE BITS – The MBBA Newsletter for August 2019

Upcoming MBBA Meeting

Date:  Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Time:  7 PM
Gateway Centre Suites
Suite 301, The Rainier Room
1313 E. Maple Street 
Bellingham, WA 98225

Please try to arrive a little early because the main door is locked just after 7pm.


Meeting Agenda:
Our August meeting has been moved forward to August 7 in order to have the meeting before the Fair.  We will discuss timely topics such as honey harvest, mite treatments, and combining hives for winter strength. We’ll also answer questions about our booth at the Fair.

MBBA at the NW Washington Fair
The “Bee Booth” at the Lynden Fair, August 12-17 this year, is always a popular spot. You can sign up to volunteer a couple hours in our booth HERE.

And, here’s a message from MBBA Treasurer and Big Fair Fan, Jo Miller, that brings you up to date on this year’s MBBA Fair activities with some interesting background info:

Dear MBBA Members, 
We NEED your help staffing the Fair Booth.  After 40 years of sharing our love of bees with visitors to our booth, we may have to make this year the last one. For safety’s sake when we share an observation hive with the public, we have had the policy of requiring 2 members for each shift. If you have a family membership the second person could be a family member. This year we have too many shifts with 0 – not even one! Please think seriously about taking at least one shift. If none of the available shifts match your schedule, perhaps you could trade with someone who has a shift you could take.

We have a new space!  We are no longer trapped under the noisy grandstand. (The booth sign up was set up before we found out about the new space.) Maybe the Destruction Derby is your favorite shift, but it is not mine. We are in a new building near the main entrance, southwest corner, about where the poffertjes stand was.  Quieter and more convenient to the shuttle buses.

Remember, you get a free ticket for each shift you take and it is good for all day. WTA buses are free all week, so you can leave your car in B’ham.  If you do drive, you can find free parking in various lots around Lynden, or on a street, and ride one of the free shuttle buses to near the main gate. Just remember where you parked so you can catch the proper shuttle to get back.

Allow plenty of time to arrive early to find the booth before your shift and scope out the display and hand-outs, then enjoy the Fair until it is time to do your shift. Need a shorter shift? Check with Kelly or Jo about splitting a shift with someone.

“I’m a newbee, I don’t know enough to talk to the public.” No worries! That’s why our shifts pair a newbee with an experienced beekeeper. Most of the visitors just want to look at the observation hive and maybe see the queen. If they ask a question you can’t answer, “I don’t know, why don’t you google it?” is a legitimate reply.  Actually, if you’ve read one bee book, looked at one bee U-Tube, or looked in a hive only once, you already know plenty more about bees than most of the general public stopping at the booth.

Talk to anyone who has served in the booth in previous years, they’ll probably exclaim that it was more fun than they expected and their shift time flew by.

Please help your club by signing up for one or more shifts. Be a contributing member.

Very sincerely,

Jo Miller

HELP WANTED: MBBA needs a volunteer to send out meeting notices each month. You need not make a full-scale newsletter, it could be a brief and easy MailChimp “post card.” We’ll get you started. Quick to learn in about 10 minutes.

Please click on Business Cards to visit websites.

2019 “Swarm Catchers” List

Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association presents: Swarm Catchers, our annually updated list of skilled beekeepers willing to retrieve honeybee swarms.

As spring weather warms, honeybee colonies prepare to “swarm.”  Half the bees in a hive fly out all at once with their queen to find a new home.  The mother colony produces a new queen and lives on.  This is the bees’ way to spread their genetic heritage and assure the species’ survival.

Swarming bees move slowly away from the hive in a large “cloud,” coming to rest temporarily in trees, bushes, or practically anywhere.  From there, they send out scouts to search for an apt new home site.  After a few hours or days, they move on to their favored site. 

We, as beekeepers, know that swarms are not welcomed by everyone, so we’re prepared every spring and summer to be on “swarm call.” If you sight a swarm, call us.  We’ll safely capture the swarm and bring it back to our home apiary where the swarm will be “hived” and become a new citizen amongst our other hives.

Calling one of our members on the Swarm Catchers list ensures that you’ll get a qualified beekeeper to do the job correctly and safely.  You’re also doing the bees a BIG favor, as a swarming colony will eventually perish if not captured and properly cared for.  Honey bees, Apis mellifera, can no longer survive in the wild in most places in the world.  They are dependent on good apicultural care in order to survive current pathogen and parasite challenges.  Help us keep our bees alive, healthy, and productive.


I’d like to learn more about beekeeping; where should I start?