Online Forum

Our online forum, “mtbakerbees,” is open to all interested beekeepers from Whatcom and Skagit Counties and Lower Mainland, BC. Once you click on the “Sign Up” button, (upper right), and go through the simple registration, you can post messages, photos, and files to share with other beekeepers on the group. Check out our “Knowledge Base.” It’s a great way to keep in touch with what local beekeepers are thinking about.  For beginners, there’s no better way to ask a beekeeping question.  We currently have 188 members, quite a knowledge base indeed!

Things happen quickly during bee season.  New beekeepers want to know what to do next.  Veteran beekeepers want to keep up with the latest hive management techniques.  It’s so helpful to know where to get just the beekeeping equipment you need when you need it.  All this can be found on mtbakerbees.  If you use email, you can use mtbakerbees. Click on the highlighted link or paste the following into your browser:

Scientific Beekeeping“,  Randy Oliver’s Website

Randy Oliver is a California Beekeeper.  Somehow, he manages to run a commercial beekeeping/pollination business and be at the forefront of the latest  research on beekeeping practices.  His website is an excellent place to research a problem with your bees and find a way to deal with it.  Included are some of Randy’s articles from the bee magazines.  You’ll also find Randy an active debator on the BEE-L listserv.

Equipment & Suppliers


Belleville Honey Company  (LOCAL in Burlington):   (360) 757-1073

Currently out of the  beekeeping equipment supply business, Belleville is still a source for Package Bees in the spring.  Call early to reserve your package(s)!


Dadant & Sons Inc.:
Mann Lake Ltd.:

Associations & Societies

Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association:

Washington State Beekeepers Association:

Beekeeping  “How To”

Online Resources is one of the best online collections of beekeeping information.  Check out the “Forums” to see what beekeepers around the nation are thinking about right now.  Also includes plans for equipment, newbie information, “Point of View” pages for wisdom from the masters.  An excellent resource.

BEE-L is an email newsgroup that features posts from researchers, commercial beekeepers, and thoughtful hobbyists from around the English speaking world.  If you want to know what truly dedicated bee folks are thinking, with an international flavor, check out BEE-L.   This group is way ahead of the curve.  You will discover bee news as it happens and get in on “hot-topic” debates.

Catch the Buzz is an email bee-news service from “Bee Culture” magazine.   Kim Flottum, author and editor of Bee Culture, sends out Catch the Buzz whenever there is something new and important happening in the world of honeybees.  Bee Culture comes out only once a month, but news pops up more frequently.  You can subscribe and get it in your email, just follow the link.

British Beekeepers Assn. – “Learn”

Yes, It’s British!  But, it’s also one of the most knowledge-rich, easiest to understand beekeeping resources on the web.  The regulations are, of course, different.  But, the bees over there are the same as here. As good as Scientific Beekeeping, but not so technical.  Very similar climate to ours. Recommended!

NewBees: Beginning Beekeeping

Begin at the Beeginning:  For anyone new to the craft, MBBA member Janet Wilson offers the best guide to beekeeping on Puget Sound available anywhere. In truth, craggy old veteran beekeepers, (who’ve NEVER lost a hive), will find much to enlighten here, too.  Highly recommended!


Installing Package Bees

Instructions for installing Package Bees into your own hive equipment. “The Care and the Installation of Package Bees by Dana Stahlman” has served local beekeepers well for many years.  Offers options for new and veteran beekeepers.  Revised and updated.


The Biology of the Honey Bee”, by Mark L. Winston. An in depth introduction to the biology and social behavior of the honey bee. Covers the basic aspects of the honey bee biology with references to the vast body of related literature.

Honey Bee Biology & Beekeeping” by Dewey Caron. This college level textbook is used by both beekeepers and entomology students doing research with honey bees.  Comprehensive but very readable, with wonderful photos.  Most recent “everything you ever wanted to know” book available.

The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, Second Edition 2 Rev Upd Edition, by Ivor Davis (Author), Roger Cullum-Kenyon (Author). “This book contains all the information that you would need to get started in beekeeping and the authors have managed to convey a vast amount of information, complete with many beekeeping tips and techniques, in a concise and helpful way . . . This is an outstanding book.” ―The British Bee Journal

The Beekeepers Handbook,”by Diana Sammataro is hands-on, how-to-do-it beekeeping manual, the best around. It’s full of practical instructions, basic bee biology and seasonal management advice.  This one is also in Bellingham/Whatcom County Library System.  Be sure you get the latest, 4th edition as beekeeping changes rapidly these days.

Bee Labs:  Best to Test!

Whether or not your bees show signs of disease/parasites, it’s a good idea to send samples in for testing.  Here’s a couple links for labs that will do this for free.  Bee sure to follow all directions carefully, it’s different for each lab.

WSU Bee Diagnostic Service
FREE!  Just fill out an information form and read the directions for preparing your bee sample.  WSU is our only local honeybee diagnostic lab.  MBBA members regularly send samples.  When the results come back, you have a good idea how to treat, or maybe even NOT TREAT, your bees. Tests cover Varroa & Tracheal Mites, Nosema Spore Counts.

USDA Bee Lab – Beltsville, MD
MBBA members have used this service and report excellent, quick reports along with suggestions for how to treat if you do have disease/parasites.

Honeybees and Winterkill 

Acetic Acid Fumigation for Nosema

Written by Medhat Nasr, the Provincial Apiculturist for Alberta, Canada.  This article covers many hazards that bees face over the winter, how to prevent disease and deadouts, sanitizing hives after Nosema using acetic acid, and many other winter bee problems.  He describes exact techniques fort treatments, so it’s definitely worthwhile reading.  Lose bees this winter?  Click here and get a handle on things.


Varroa Detection and Treatment

Here are links to two fact-sheets from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands.  Excellent information on How to Diagnose Your Varroa Infestation and the various choices for treatment.  With exact directions.


Oxalic Acid Treatment for Varroa Mites

Oxalic Acid Treatment offers efficient, safe control of Varroa Mites in your hives. Instructions for the “Drizzle Method” are here.  This treatment doesn’t require much in the way of special equipment.

Oxalic Acid Vaporization, (OAV), is currently more in favor and thought to be somewhat more effective.  Vaporizers are available at bee supply outlets online.  Follow manufacturer instructions. Not ready to do it yourself?  Whatcom Bee Help offers mid-winter OAV to beekeepers in the area.

Here is an excellent introduction to Oxalic Acid, an effective winter treatment against varroa mites.  The author is  the late Dave Cushman, a Master UK beekeeper.  Some terms may be different from U.S. usage, but you’ll get the drift.   If you are contemplating Oxalic Acid, consider the “Drizzle Method” first, as it is simple and does not require special equipment. Be sure to follow all the links on Dave’s page for a complete overview of Oxalic Acid.


Powdered Sugar Treatment for Varroa Mites

Country Rubes Farm produces high quality  screened bottom boards and robbing screens amongst other beekeeping items.  Their website is a treasure of information.  Here you can find the best instructions on Powdered Sugar Treatment for varroa mite control.  There are plenty of pictures and even video.  Surf around their entire website as there is lots to learn,  guest articles and many useful links.  Mouse-over the “Instructions” link on the left to see more pages about Powdered Sugar.