bee club meeting
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

We have decided that we want to pursue non-profit status for the Club. In the larger scheme of things, we have learned that there is no organization in the US for this new paradigm of beekeeping. The Natural Beekeeping Trust in England has suggested that we become the complement to their organization, and speak on behalf of Preservation Beekeeping and Natural Beekeeping in our corner of the world, and we want to do this.

We envision classes, community events, publications, videos, and school programs that stress respect and concern for our bees (and turn everyone into bee gardeners!).

So….lots on our plates! I stressed to the group how poor I am with administrative detail, and we gathered a small group of us who want to help move this nonprofit adventure forward: Kyle, Jody, Thea, Jennifer, myself, Debby, and Jacqueline will be making a time to meet and begin to map out the path to our nonprofit journey. There is much paperwork to fill out and much planning to do!

We also realize we have quickly exceeded our living-room capacity meeting size, and I will be looking for (and a few others will also be searching for) meeting space for our meetings. I’ll announce the May meeting place as soon as we’ve found some good options. Once we are nonprofit, there will be many free meeting options open to us.

We have also quickly outgrown our website, and will shifting it over to be it’s own paid site, which will allow us much more flexibility in how we set it up and use it. We all realized we need better membership sign-up, tracking, blog following, and chat software. Dane will look into this as soon as I get the site transferred where it needs to go. I’m also going to look into Brown Paper Bag to set up a program for our events—so folks can buy tickets before hand.

Club members honestly expressed their dissatisfaction with Meetup. It seems that when you join Meetup, the emails it sends to you are endless and bothersome. So, Dane and I will be seeking to make our website THE place to go for classes, updates, and all things Bee. Our goal will be to be able to discontinue Meetup, which is a personal expense Jacqueline and I have been paying to keep this Meetup group going. Meanwhile, please bear with us as we work to get more streamlined and efficient!

We had a discussion of Seeley’s Darwinian beekeeping article. We spent considerable time discussing how in the world to effectively insulate all our flimsy wooden hives. All of us are seeking ways from straw bales huts, to putting our hives in larger boxes and then filling the empty space with insulation, to hot water heater blankets, to cobb that would stick to the outside of the hives. We are all abuzz with how to keep our bees well insulated summer and winter. Barry’s hives will be great for this!

Speaking of—Barry is now making Preservation Beehives to sell! For $100, you can purchase one of these great hives and put it anywhere you want: in a tree, on a rooftop, in a neighbor’s yard, hidden in the forest…the possibilities are endless! Here is Barry’s email address, where you can order a hive:

Swarm lure on a piece of cloth. Smells heavenly!

We also learned of a great swarm trapping lure! Simply take very old comb, melt it, and soak strips of cotton cloth in it. Then, hang up these small “blankets” on a clothsline to dry. Hang these hardened cloths anywhere in your yard. When bees swarm, they should go to these lovely scented “markers” and gather into a swarm there. You then simply pick up the swarm and put them into a hive! Hang these up high for maximum benefit. Just keep them attached to a line so you can lower the swarm once it has gathered.

The spring is continuing cold and wet. Our bees are struggling, as although there is now good pollen and nectar out there, with all this rain, the bees are not able to harvest it well. Wet pollen is not the best. My own hives are building up slowly, and I have as yet no drones. Jacqueline as drones flying in two of her hives.

At the end of this month, Jacqueline is teaching her second swarm class in Portland, at the Methodist Church where Portland Urban Beekeepers meet. I’ve posted information for the class in our classes/events link.

UPDATE: I managed to secure a lovely big room at the Camas Public Library for our bee meetings. I’ve got a nice upstairs room reserved on the first Saturday of the month through October. So, for the foreseeable future, we’ll be meeting there. Here is the Address:  625 NE 4th Ave, Camas, WA 98607.

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