November 12 Meeting Agenda

OBA Members,


We are sad to announce that effective immediately Frank Scolaro has resigned as the President of the OBA.

Roy’s presentation on bee suppliers. (This information is also included below).

We will continue with nominations for every board position for the 2019 year during the November meeting.

Currently, the nominations for the board positions are:

President: vacant

Vice President: Israel Marquez

Secretary: vacant but Michelle Clark (Tammy) wishes to be nominated here.

Treasurer:  David Bruun

Membership: Phil Wilson

Education Coordinator:  Gail Booth,

Outreach Coordinator: Michelle Clark (Tammy wants her name removed from this nomination) so it is vacant.

We encourage all members to step forward to run for office, even if there is someone nominated.

For you journeyman candidates; holding an office counts towards your journeyman certification.

We are very interested in any IT savvy members who would be interested in assisting us especially anyone that can help with the website.

The vote for the new board will occur during the November meeting and the new board will begin officially 1 January, 2019.

The December Potluck.


Roy's information on Bee Suppliers in the Northwest follows:


Here is a list of suppliers of bees that have some adaptation to NW conditions.

Suppliers who are OBA members are noted, but there is no attempt to evaluate products. Comments from the suppliers are included; also an occasional editor’s note.

Note: Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) is a behavioral trait of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in which bees detect and remove bee pupae that are infested by the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. (Wikipedia).


1)         Northwest Queens
Contact: Mark

Note:  OBA members are urged to visit this web site, as Mark is seeking to develop locally sustainable bees.

From the web-site:
Specializes in breeding queens that do well in the Northwest without mite treatments.  All beehives are completely free of any treatments natural or otherwise. Many are starting to realize that your experience can be much more successful with bees that are adapted to the Pacific Northwest weather.  Limited number of queens available each year if you would like to be on a waiting list. Queen instrumental insemination service also offered. Queens are available naturally mated or instrumentally inseminated.

Email response:

Hi Roy,

My operation is focused on research with sales secondary.  Very weather dependent…. in years past a limited number of queen cells, queens and 3=5 deep frame Nucs have been going out late May and June.  I try and wrap up most of the sales by the fourth of July.  Unfortunately, sales have been from a list of waiting people and meeting the immediate needs of someone with a failing queen are just not possible.  This coming year I may do better because my summer projects will be minimal with more time for bees.  My bees have never looked better coming off of last winter with only 15% losses and this summer I could hardly find any mites.  I think this year mites were on vacation.  This has presented a new challenge to breeder selection when all hives look so good.  I do favor locals because of the time need to change the mindset on how to keep treatment free bees. 

Hope this has helped,


2)         Miller Compound Honey Bees & Agriculture LLC — Lauri Miller

Miller Compound on Facebook

WA bred & raised queens & bees, VSH, Carniolan, Hybrids

3)         Mountain Rain Bee Products
12305 28th St. Ct. E.
Edgewood, WA 98372
Contact: Lincoln Mettler
253-826-3103 or cell: 253-330-4689
From website:

Locally raised nucs and queens. 5 frame, 10 frame and 20 frame hives available in spring are from over wintered hives. May also have Old Sol queens available in the spring.  Locally raised queens available in late spring and summer.

4)         Robbins Honey Farm

Contact: Harvard Robbins, Member of OBA
7910 148th St. SW
Lakewood, WA
253-588-7033, 253-370-0842

Nucs only. Queens available.

I get my bees from a company south and east of Portland.  I do not know about mite resistant, I have bought a lot of bees from these people for several years with good luck.

5)         Schaffer’s Honey Bee Farms — Charles Schaffer
28610 186th Pl SE
Kent, WA 98042-5403


Thank you for your inquiry about bees.

The source of the breeder queens that are used to rear the queens for the packages that I offer is Sue Cobey from Whidbey Island.  These are the New World Carniolans. Her apiaries I believe are in the vicinity  of Mt Vernon WA.  In any case her bees are adapted to the western Washington region.  The source of my package bees is Heitkam Honey Bees in Orland CA.  They purchase fresh Carniolan breeder queens each season from Sue Cobey.  So the Carniolan queens that are in the packages are daughters of breeder queens that are adapted to western Washington.  If a purchaser prefers Italian queens for their package, those queens are not adapted to western Washington.  A queen purchase would be the same source as well as queens for spring splits to make up nucs.

Package delivery is during the latter part of April usually the 3rd week.  I do not receive a date for pickup until around the 1st of February.  My nucs are usually available around the end of May to the 1st part of June.  The nucs are generally medium frames some may be deeps.  I do not sell the nucs until I can evaluate the quality of the queen.  This is about 3 weeks after I make the split.

If you have any other questions let me know.

Charles E Schaffer

6)         Pacific Coast Bees 

Contact: Israel Marquez, Member of OBA
5643 Lemon Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98506, US

|(360) 742-8854

Locally-wintered bees and queens

Taking orders for 2019

7)         Woods Bee Co.

610 State Street
Centralia, WA. 98531
phone: 360-623-3359


Our bees are local, and they deal with mites very well and not sure if they are VSH. About 75 % of the NUCs we sell are over wintered with Queens. The later NUCs are grown from the bees left over from the spilts. So, the earlier you order the better. Our Queens are grown locally when the weather allows else we use Kona queens because they are the exact same breed but from a different location. I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please call.  Alan 360-807-3043

8)         HIVE5BEES

5100-180th Way SW Rochester WA 98579

(757) 376-2821(78

From website:

Pre-Sale for 2019 Nucs have begun.

Nuc stocked with Kona queen (Italian/Carnolian mix) $145

9)         West Hill Bee Products
Auburn, WA

We specialize in New World Carniolan. Our apiary is treatment-free, and our stock queens are selected for gentleness, fast spring buildup, tracheal mite resistance and overwintering success. Each queen is kept in a separate nuc for continuous ovarian development and immediate recognition of a laying queen in new hives. Queen cells, virgin queens and nucs are available upon request. Queens are available throughout spring and summer.
We also offer custom grafting from your queens

10)      Olympic Wilderness Apiary
Contact:  Dan Harvey
Port Angeles, WA

Since 1997 conducted accelerated natural selection from feral colonies captured in the remote Olympic Peninsula rainforests.  These Wild Survivors are crossbred with the superior mite resistance and unsurpassed hygienic traits of the best USDA Primorsky Russian and VSH lines obtainable. Hybrid stock is chemical & antibiotic free and is proven to withstand the emerging pests & pathogens currently challenging the beekeeping industry. Limited Select honeybee queens available July through September.

11)      QBirds n’ Bees Vashon
Vashon Island, WA
Contact: David Skrzypek

Raised in the cradle of Puget Sound, we offer a limited quantity of overwintered, open-mated Russian hybrid queens and nucs. Our beekeeping is always chemical-free. Pick-up only. Vashon Island, part of unincorporated King County, is accessible by ferry and sits conveniently between West Seattle, Tacoma and greater Port Orchard. 18 years of beekeeping experience. Please email or call to order.

12)      Old Sol Apiaries
Rogue River, OR

NOTE: Included here because long-established supplier of specialized queens to Washington.

Grabbed from Old Sol web site:

Our source for Caucasian genetics is Sue Cobey and the WSU breeding program.  This germplasm was imported to help boost diversity in US stocks of honeybees.  This is the reason, coupled with their numerous desirable traits, that we have incorporated these bees into our breeding program.  As with our Survivor Stock, we will be selecting for low mite counts, hygienic behavior, and overall productivity.  The caucasians that we are offering this year will be open mated daughters from  instrumentally inseminated breeders directly from Sue.  We will also be collaborating with Sue and sending her the drones from last years standout Caucasian daughters.

The Caucasian honeybee is a great way to increase diversity in your apiary and obtain very hearty genetics.

More information about sustainable apiaries:

A research funder

An early adopter of VSH

A list of VSH queen producers outside of Washington

Sustainable apiaries means successful Varroa mite management.

Some sites relevant to sustainability:         Michael Palmer─brood-factories-and-bee-bombs/    Washington State Beekeepers Varroa Problem Parts 1 through 17c

If you’re not part of the genetic solution of breeding mite-resistant bees, then you’re part of the problem. Every time you allow drones or swarms to issue from a colony that owes its survival to a miticide application, you’re hindering the natural process of evolution toward mite-resistant bees!

Randy Oliver

Absolutely!  I'm a huge champion of breeding stock for mite resistance and local adaptation.  Realistically, one would need to have at least several hundred colonies involved, and strong control of mating.


8 October Meeting Agenda

OBA Members,

We are beginning to get a handle on our webpage updates.

We are also continuing the refinement of our policy letters which will help us govern the club more effectively and efficiently.

Our October meeting will be discussing weatherization and winterization for the hives.

We began the nominations for new board members for the 2019 year in September and will continue nominations during the October meeting.  Currently, the nominations for the board positions are:

President: Frank Scolaro

Vice President: Israel Marquez

Secretary: None at this time

Treasurer:  David Bruun

Education Coordinator:  Gail Booth, Tim Wieble

Outreach Coordinator: Michelle Clark

We encourage all candidates to step forward to run for office, even if there is someone nominated.  We are very interested in and IT savvy members who would be interested in assisting us.

The vote for the new board will occur during the November meeting and the new board will begin officially 1 January, 2019.


New Board Welcome and June OBA Meeting Info

OBA Members, June 6, 2018

It’s going to be an exciting year.

The location of our summer scheduled meetings will NOT change. We will be meeting at Chinook Middle School in the cafeteria. 1 hour prior will be the Apprentice class in the cafeteria and the Sustainability group in the library.

As you may know, we recently had our 2018 elections for the 2018-2019 OBA board.

The results were:

President – Frank Scolaro

Vice President – Israel Marquez

Secretary – Caitland Anderson

Treasurer – David Bruun

Membership – Phil Johnson (vote to transpire in Jun)

We want to personally thank the previous board, Mechele Linehan, Tim Wieble, Shelby Albert and Duane McBride for dedicating their time to guide OBA over the last year. Your efforts do not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

We have a few important milestones that will need your vote during the June meeting and some in the very near future.

First, in June, we will be voting on our updated OBA by-laws. The OBA committee produced an excellent updated draft version of our future by-laws. These by-laws address previous deficiencies and set our club up for the future. It also allows us, if we choose, to begin the process of becoming a true non-profit as a 501c3. We will need your votes (2/3 majority) to make the draft by-laws the most current version. There have been numerous feedback emails that have been addressed and updated, if required.

Upon approval of the 2018 bylaws, we formalize the club’s compliance with them and address the administration of the new positions and requirements during the next few meetings.

Second, we will be creating chairpersons for most of our major projects and outreach activities. We already kind of do this to an extent but we want the members of the club to know who the chairpersons are and, with a majority vote of those present during that meeting, approve their position. These chairpersons will be the "belly-buttons" for those activities within the club. For instance, our Mentorship chairs of Roger and Kitty will handle (with our support) the Mentorship Program. Some other examples are: The Thurston County Fair, Olympia Airport Project, Governor’s Mansion, Prison Education Program, and the Librarian. Our expectation is a few minute update to the club monthly and a small written summary of previous annual, activities. As activities and outreach activities increase, we will need your volunteer help to support these community activities.

A future follow on to the by-law approval will be a set of OBA policies (guidelines) that the Board and members will use as a framework to guide management of the club and programs. The reason for the policies, as opposed to articles within the by-laws, affords the club and members increased flexibility to adapt with changes. These policies are "in work" at this time and should be available for review within the upcoming months.

Lastly, when the time is right we will be discussing the pros and cons of becoming a 501c3 and how it will affect the club. The discussion will be open and will need your vote to complete the process, when desired.

For our June 2018 meeting we will have a fairly busy agenda.

• Opening

• Guest Speaker

• Apprentice Graduation Ceremony (Celebration of Knowledge)

• Break

• Raffle results

• Official business

• Official Vote for Membership Coordination (tabled from last meeting)

• By-Law Q and A

• Vote on By-Laws (2/3d Majority needed)

• Vote on chairpersons (simple majority of those present)*

• Closing

*TBD if time permits

I hope the last month has been eventful with an excess of honey, successful splits, no swarms and few stings.

See you all at the next meeting.


OBA Board


Observation Hive (OH) Connections

The OBA Observation Hives (OH) can hold two Langstroth frames in a secured glass case. Primarily used at club events as a conversation starter and educational tool, it is also available to club members looking to connect others to bee culture.  The summer fairs are a high impact for OBA outreach.  During the fair days (Thurston Co. 8/2-8/6, Grays Harbor Co. 8/9-8/13) the bees are enjoyed by people all day.  The bees - however accommodating - will be relieved when there are reconnected to their home colony after a 12+ hour shift.  The more bee frames volunteered the more we minimize the colony separation.  We encourage club members to get involved populating the OH with their own bees; as it is somewhat rewarding to watch the ladies work revealing some of their BEEhavior that is usually hidden in the box.

Alex and Maren (OH coordinators) can be contacted by interested OBA members.

  • Home Phone # (360) 264-4483
  • Email :


Treating Your Bees with Natural Sources of Oxalic Acid

Treating Your Bees with Natural Sources of Oxalic Acid
I have treated my colonies that needed treatment with shredded Thyme leaves with satisfactory results. When using shredded Thyme herb plant leaves it is the thymol in the plant oils that affects the mites in the hive. There has been some recent encouraging reports of success in treating bee colonies for Varroa mites with oxalic acid from shredded rhubarb leaves. I have not tried the shedding Rhubarb leaves treatment yet, but have plans to try it with my next required treatment.
Many plants we grow and eat contain varying levels of naturally occurring oxalic acid. The highest levels of the oxalic acid is found in Rhubarb leaves. Similar high levels can be found in the plants Lamb’s Quarter and Sorrel. The levels of the acid in the Rhubarb leaves is too high for safe human consumption. It is however safe to handle and process the leaves under normal conditions. The second highest levels of oxalic acid is found in the older leaves of chard, spinach, and beet greens. If you have ever bit into older leaves of chard, spinach or beet greens, you would have found a sharp bitter taste on the tongue. That is the heighten level of the acid. However, that level in older vegetable greens is not at the toxic level to humans as Rhubarb.
The shredded leaf treatment works with the bee’s dislike for anything foreign in their hive. The colony will drag smaller pieces through the hive and out the entrance. After shredding leaves, either with your hands or chopping them up with a knife, remove any stems and large pieces too big or tough for the bees to chew up. Spread a couple of handfuls out over the top of the frames in the top box and close up the hive. Any pieces too big to carry or drag out are chewed up and torn apart in their attempt to remove them. Moisture and oils from the plant containing oxalic acid is spread throughout the hive during the cleaning out process. It is very important to remember that with natural sources of Varroa mite treatments we aren’t trying to kill the mites. We are trying to apply a level of irritate to the mites that makes them drop off and not have a high level of adverse affect on the bee’s health. The concept of natural treatments is to help the colony manage a tolerable level of mite population themselves. I treat using natural treatments for low and moderate levels of mites. Natural treatments for the most part are to help keep a healthy colony healthy. That is why a natural keeper must always be vigilant in monitoring mite levels. If you discover a colony with an out of control, critical level of mites as in a “Varroa Mite Bomb” this is serious. You will lose this colony if you do not do intensive care treatment- now! This is not the time to debate commercial or natural treating or what is healthy or not or even what your personal feelings are. You have no time and nothing to lose using a commercial treatment product- they are going to die if you don’t. In the area of fighting the Varroa mite, don’t think of yourself as just a beekeeper, think of yourself as a mite manager. Again as I have stated in past columns, a sliding bottom board screen floor under your hive is the foundation of successful mite treatments. A keeper must know if they need to treat or if a treatment method is working. A SBB is an important tool for monitoring the need and effect of any treatment method. Even if you use commercial miticide treatments SBB monitoring is invaluable for confirmation of treatment success. Every year I hear the same thing from keepers, “I treated my hives for mites and they died anyway.” I know I don’t let up on the virtues the SBB, but with something insidious and deadly as Vaorra mites you have to be able to closely monitor,(at any time) the level of the threat and treatment results.

“It’s all about the bees”- Ernie