bee club meeting
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…

Barry brought his prototype bee box, and I believe he even took some orders! He’s looking for spare wood to use in building these to keep the costs down. Please contact us if you have some wood to spare, or know of some available, and I’ll put you in touch with Barry.

Anna Dudash is spearheading a Vancouver-based “Hive Tour” for community education, and to get the word out about Preservation Beekeeping. I’m sure she’d love some help!

Jody Hymes has taken on our membership lists, plus the swarm list, and has contacted

Thea’s wild hotel!

nearly everyone who wants a swarm. She’s really taking this job seriously, and we so appreciate her diligence and good organization on all this. What talented people we PB’ers are!

We are still taking our baby steps as we work to make certain our membership online form works as planned. Because we have such a good working relationship with Portland Urban Beekeepers, I brought up the idea of asking PUB if they’d like to host us as a sister club for all the alternative folks, but our group decided to let our club have some time to form first, and revisit this down the road—or not.

Since our meeting, Jacqueline and I have reason now to want to turn Preservation Beekeeping Club into Preservation Beekeeping Trust. We’re exploring becoming a non-profit, so if any of you have experience in this and time to spare, please let us know!

After our meeting, we dove into making pollinator hotels. What a blast, and what a great way to craft and chat. I saw several members exchanging phone numbers and emails. We are indeed creating our very own village, or what I like to think of as one fine hive.

Grasses, bamboo, paper, hollow stems, twigs, and straws were all put to great use as we made large and small B&Bs for our native bees, just in time for the mason bee hatch out, which will be very soon.

This past week, Thomas Seeley’s much-anticipated article called “Darwinian Beekeeping” came online. The article cites 20 items you can do to help your bees survive. I’m posting the full article on our links and references pages HERE, and I encourage you to read it a few times. We’d like to talk about those 20 points at our next meeting on April 1st. They are food for thought. Good food.

This is a yellow jacket. Note her thick body and stout legs.

Now is the time to start looking for yellow jacket queens around your yard. I hang traps out, knowing that each queen I dispatch means 5,000 fewer wasps after my bees this year.

Yellow Jackets only hunt between 500 and 1000 feet from home, so if you see the queens in your yard (and these will be the first yellow jackets of the season), they are looking for a home close by. Yellow Jackets do great work for gardeners, so we try to keep a balance between killing the early spring queens, while also appreciating the wasps for all the good they do. Last summer, I caught five queens in spring. In the fall, I had a good number of wasp workers cleaning up the floor of my apiary, but there was no mass attack on any of my hives, and this is how I like it.

Remember, don’t mistake the little harmless umbrella wasps with yellow jackets. The little umbrella girls are docile and they are everywhere, so make sure you know what you are looking at.

This is a slender, sweet tempered umbrella wasp. She has a very fine waist and long dangly back legs. She won’t sting you unless you sit on her. Ask Jacqueline how she knows this…

Jacqueline has completed one swarm class already, with another coming up at the end of April Look for her on Meetup, and I’ll also be posting on our FB Preservation Beekeeping page.

I’m sure I have forgotten too many things about our meeting. I should always post the day after! Hopefully, some of you will chime in with comments about other things from the meeting and hotel building to share.

Mark your calendars for the next Club meeting on April 1st! We’ll be meeting at Pixie’s place. She lives at 1227 B St., Washougal, Washington. 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. I’ll be bringing copies of the article if you forgot to read it online!

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