Keeping the Bee in Business

Ramblings From the President – December 2021

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

Wow! The holiday season is upon us. We do appreciate all of you who participated in the WASBA Online Auction – perhaps you bought something for that special beekeeper in your life. When all is said and done, your generosity resulted in over $10,000 that will go toward beekeeping research at the WSU Pollinator Research Facility in Othello. Who knows? One day, they may find a way to eradicate varroa mites. Next year, we hope that we can finally all meet in person and that COVID will be behind us. I’d like to thank Martina Graves, our Executive Director, for all of her hard work putting the Auction together, gathering all of the information from the winners, and now she is in the process of sending out all of the prizes to our winners. Great work!

WASBA is happy to see that many clubs are resuming beekeeping classes – let’s educate folks who are interested in bees about the joys and challenges of beekeeping. In one recent post on our Facebook page, someone asked about keeping a single beehive on their property. They didn’t want honey; they just wanted to have bees. Many people chimed in to let this person know that her desire was possible, but they all warned her that she would have to take care of her bees to help prevent the spread of varroa. We do not want folks to get into beekeeping who won’t treat for varroa and who won’t care of their bees. Untreated hives create problems for all of us. For those of you who might want to have bees for pollination only, one of the suggestions was to get a mason bee house. Mason bees and Bumble bees are much better pollinators than honey bees, especially on native plants.

My wife and I take care of our club’s apiary – currently, we have six hives that we put to bed for winter. Several of the hives made it through last winter, but we are interested to see what happens this year. The extreme heat in Eastern Washington made for a lean year of forage for our bees, so we started feeding them early (late August). We tried a new feeding technique using plastic Chinese take out containers. Going into winter, even after feeding, we felt that the hives might be a little light on food and heavy on bees. And, although we did treat for mites, we have no idea if the mites had transmitted any viruses to the bees, weakening the hive. This is something we all worry about each year – wouldn’t it be nice if WSU’s research resulted in an effective mite treatment?

Finally, this will be my last year as WASBA President. At the conclusion of next years conference, we’ll have a new President, so if you think you might be interested, please join our Board of Directors. I am recommending to the organization that we change our structure a bit so that we have a “President Emeritus” board position, which will be the outgoing president and who will stick around for another year to advise the new President on what needs to be done and when. This should really ease the transition between people in this board position.

I hope everyone has a great holiday season and a happy new year.

Kevin Oldenburg