Winter Clustering is a Result of Poor Hive Insulation

My bees propolising their skep for winter.

We talk about this at bee club a great deal, and in all of our classes, too. It’s nice that Bee Culture magazine is talking about it too, and that we are correct that flimsy wooden hives are not good winter (or summer) homes for our bees. Read this informative article HERE.

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Late Summer in the Bee Yard

While my yard is beginning to show the withering effects of August heat, there is still good bee forage. I wanted to share some of my favorite bee plants with you. These are the flowers that pack a lot of bloom for a long time, and are the favorites of my bees:

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Bee Club Notes for June

Preservation Beekeeping Meeting June 3, 2017 @ Camas Library, 10 to 1

Attendees:  Susan Knilans, Pixie LaPlante, Thea Hayes, Jennifer Bargar, Barry Malanger, Jody Hymes, Tina Carter, Mel Khairia, Rick __?___, Larry Clow, Kay Clow, Bill Avery, Terry Brodie, Elizabeth Brodie, Jane Rice, Ginger, Mary Helen Beveridge… Continue reading

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Viral Bees!

Who would have thought that 40,000 folks would find this little video we did so amazing. I thought everyone caught swarms like this? I share this because I really wanted to show how unaggressive bees can be. Yes, there are the swarms that are “stingy,” but for the most part, they are full of honey, and very gentle. I’d so like to counter the media hype about dangerous “killer” bees. People are far too frightened of bees, and with little reason. Here at PBC, we try to spread the truth about bees: About their gentleness, generosity, and great importance to us and to the entire plant world. And we try to educate new beekeepers in methods of keeping bees that are bee-friendly. Perhaps this little video, now being shared world-wide, will help us spread that message!

You can see the video HERE

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Drumming the Bees

The swarm began like any other swarm. Just a big, roaring, exaltation of bees, 20,000 strong and taking to the sky in a glittering amber cloud. I couldn’t possibly know in those first exhilarating moments that by days end, the bees from RainTree hive would change my relationship with bees forever.

The morning started out warm and lush, and my attention was on all six of my hives. Four of them were telling me, through false starts and bees plastering themselves by the hundreds all over the faces of their hives, that they were in swarm prep mode.

In a bee swarm, a thriving hive of bees will send out their queen and half of the working force of the hive to “birth” a brand new colony someplace. The bees left behind will raise a new queen from the queen eggs that the old queen left behind. It’s how bees do “the birds and the bees.”… Continue reading

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Bee Club Meeting-May 6

Hello Bee Friends! Here is a compilation by Karen of our recent bee club discussions at the Camas Library on May 6!

.Membership Attendance: (spelling may be incorrect)
Barry Malmanger, Bill Avery, Kay Clow, Larry Clow, Margaret Kerwin, Tina Carter, Victoria
Polmatier, Sally Galligan, Mel Khailia, Janet Jorgensen, Camurine Kuter, Karen Shaw, Jennifer
Barger, Ginger Reynolds, Kelly Cowger, Deb Cochran, Susan Knilans, Jacqueline Freeman. Continue reading

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A long, skinny, bundle of hopeful bees

I had almost forgotten. But the second the sound reached my ears, memories flooded in: The sound and the controlled frenzy of thousands of bee bodies in the air, the sight of them moving like an amorphous amber cloud across the yard, then up high, high into the air and down again to settle in my neighbor’s maple tree just a few feet above my head.

The first swarm of the year is not just the bees’ rebirth but mine, too; that precise moment that I step out of a long, cold winter and into the promise of the sun and all that she bestows upon this good, green Earth. Standing before a swarm, my hands tingle, my breath quickens, my eyes flash a little bit of fire. Continue reading

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Thanks, Pixie for loaning us your great living room, and for supplying us with coffee and tea—and plant starts!

A busy meeting on a blustery day! First up was an announcement by Susan (me) that we need to all be aware of chilled bees on these cool spring days. Bumble bees are only 45 minutes away from starvation at any moment in their lives. If they get chilled, they can’t fly for food, and you will find the bumble queens this time of year, wandering along sidewalks, in a cold trance. With bumbles and honey bees, simply scoop them up gently, warm them in the house, offer a drop of honey, and they will revive in no time. There—our good bee deed for the spring! Continue reading

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April 1st Bee Club Meeting

My little log hive is buzzing on the infrequent nice days.

Mark your calendars for our Bee Club meeting on April 1st! We’ll be meeting at Pixie’s place. She lives at 1227 B St., Washougal, Washington. Plan to be there at 10am.

Let us know you are coming so we can set up enough chairs! We’ll be discussing Thomas Seeley’s 20-point program for raising healthy, wild bees, which I encourage you to read HERE. I’ll be bringing copies of the article if you forgot to read it online.

This article is creating quite a stir in bee circles, as it is the first time Seeley is really coming out in a public way saying that conventional beekeeping harms bees. In this article, you can see that we’ve been far ahead of the curve—thanks to Jacqueline—for years. Science is catching up with us, finally… Continue reading

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March 4th Bee Club Fun

Meeting and greeting, with Barry’s hive in the foreground.

What a great time we had at our March 4th Club Meeting! There were about 18 of us in attendance and we of course had a discussion about how our bees were doing. Many members have brought hives successfully through the very cold and soggy winter, and others are eagerly awaiting swarm season to establish their first hives.

This month, we met at the old schoolhouse in Venersborg, just a couple blocks up the road from Jacqueline’s farm. It’s a great spot for meeting, with lots of room, a kitchen and bathroom, and a great wood stove… Continue reading

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