Our online forum, “mtbakerbees,” is open to all interested beekeepers from Whatcom and Skagit Counties and Lower Mainland, BC. It’s hosted at groups.io. 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. 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 141 members, quite a knowledge base!
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)!
Associations & Societies
Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association: http://mtbakerbeekeepers.org/
Washington State Beekeepers Association: http://www.wasba.org/
Beekeeping “How To”
Beesource.com 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.
Brushy Mountain Bee Farm has recorded a number of instructional bee videos and offers them here online. They have also recorded (audio) their online “Webinars” which cover dozens of bee topics. Very hands-on, how-to information. Maybe you’ll find a project that’s just what you and your bees need this season!
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.
“Hive Inspection Basics for Northwest Beekeepers,” put out recently by Ruhl Bee Supply down in Oregon. Specifically about hive inspections and written just for our climate area. If you’re new to beekeeping or just want to improve your hive inspections, this is the book for you.
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
The following links take you to an information form and directions for preparing your bee sample. Also, a mailing address. 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.
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.
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 factsheets from the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Excellent information on how to diagnose your Varroa Mite population and the various choices for treatment. With exact directions.
MBBA offers an Oxalic Acid Treatment Kit (drizzle method) available to members. Complete Instructions are in the kit or you can find them here.
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 “Dribble Method” first, as it is simple and does not require special equipment, (follow link in upper left of page). Be sure to follow all the links on Dave’s page for a complete overview of Oxalic Acid.
Country Rubes Farm produces screened bottom boards, amongst other beekeeping items. Their website is a treasure of information. Also, 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 Powedered Sugar.