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Washington State Beekeepers Association

Keeping the Bee in Business

Ramblings From the President – February 2021

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Well, it is February. For commercial beekeepers, it is time to head to California with your hives. For hobbyists, it is time to treat your hives for varroa mite with vaporized oxalic acid. You can also spend the dark hours learning more about beekeeping.

It’s a relatively slow time for WASBA too, although our member clubs are busy with education programs to help new and more experienced beekeepers become better stewards of bees and hives. Most clubs have gone to virtual education programs, and, surprisingly, these have extended the reach of our education program to beekeepers across the nation.  Our vice-president Ellen Miller, with the help of WASBA volunteers, has made our program one that many other state beekeeping organizations are looking to as a model. And I would also like to thank her husband Jack who maintains the WASBA database of members, certified beginning beekeepers, apprentice beekeepers, journeyman beekeepers, and master beekeepers.

Speaking of education, I would like to remind our member clubs that they can turn to WASBA for help with their programming. Under the Speakers & Presentations Resources tab on our website, you can find a list of possible speakers who will talk to your club about all sorts of bee-related topics. Most are willing to speak via Zoom (another service provided to clubs by WASBA) for free or for a minimum charge. And clubs also have access to the videos from last year’s WASBA virtual conference – the videos are long (about an hour each), but they contain tons of valuable information and feature great speakers talking about many interesting topics. If you are interested in “leasing” the WASBA conference videos, contact info@wasba.org for more information.

Finally, we are looking toward the 2021 Conference, which will be held the first weekend of October. We are hoping that we will finally be able to meet in person to talk bees and beekeeping. The conference, if in person, will be held at the WSU’s Pollinator Facility in Othello, Washington. We are hoping to allow people to bring RVs and mingle at our “Jamborbee.” If you have any ideas for speakers, please reach out to WASBA. We will see what we can do.

Finally, I want to encourage everyone to register their bees with the Washington Department of Agriculture. It is cheap and easy, and one thing that I learned from last fall’s conference is that the USDA does not take Washington’s beekeepers seriously because there is no evidence that there are lots of us. When the Washington Department of Agriculture asked for money to help with the eradication of the Asian Giant Hornet, the USDA asked about the numbers of beekeepers in the state to measure the need for funds. The USDA was not impressed as the number of registered hives here is relatively low. The funds are used to help pollinators, so registering is a win-win for us as beekeepers. We have included the link below for your convenience.

Stay warm, stay safe, and let us hope that we will be able to gather again shortly.