Beginning Beekeeper Apprenticeship Course

Hello Everyone,

Below you will find all the information you need to know in regards to the upcoming Washington Masters Beekeeping Apprenticeship Course. There are limited seats available for this course so please email with all names wanting to go forward with the course so we can reserve your spot today.

WHAT: Olympia Beekeepers Association, (OBA), presents the Washington Master Beekeepers Apprenticeship Course.

WHEN: This course will be on Tuesday nights for 6 weeks from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. Starting Tuesday September 26th, October 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th and because Halloween is on Tuesday the 31st, we will have the last class night on Wednesday November 1st.  Our Graduation Night/Celebration of Knowledge will be November 13th, 2017 during the OBA regular meeting where you will receive your Apprenticeship Certificate from the Washington Master Beekeepers.

WHERE: The Best Buffet Banquet Room located at 5765 Littlerock Road SW, Tumwater, WA 98512, across the street from Costco and Walmart in Tumwater.  There are limited seats available.

COST: Washington Master Beekeepers charge only $10.00 for course registration and your certificate. The OBA sponsors the remainder of the course at no cost to the student.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Beginning Beekeeping/Apprenticeship 
This course will focus on the hobby, residential and small farm beekeeper. Emphasis will be put on the seasonal care of new hives and colonies. Our style is networking, participation and interaction. Our discussions are tailored to your needs and questions. We have examples and hands-on learning aids. You get to see, hold, analyze, smell and feel what the books only talk about. You will accrue a proactive knowledge base to keep your bees happy, productive, healthy and safe. The course is sanctioned by the Washington Master Beekeepers Association. Upon completion participants will receive an Apprenticeship Certificate.

If you should have any questions please feel free to let me know. I look forward to seeing you soon.

August 14th, 2017 OBA Meeting Minutes

Olympia Beekeepers Association

August 14th, 2017

The Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd

Meeting was called to order by Mechele at 7:14pm.

Mechele let the club know that the Beeline went out and it was a little different with fun pictures from the fair included. The beeline highlighted the agenda for tonight’s meeting.

Mechele mentioned that membership dues are due now.

Mechele asked if any changes needed to be made to the July meeting minutes. Vice President Tim moved to have the minutes recorded as written with no corrections, it was seconded and the motioned carried.

Next month’s meeting will be back at Chinook Middle School, where the award voting will take place.

Mechele asked Colleen Lynch to come up and talk to the association in regards to information about the Olympia’s Farmers Market. Colleen informed us that they currently have no honey vendor for next year’s farmers market. She was able to talk to the Olympia Farmer’s Market board about what it would take to have a have a honey vendor. They have to be able to know where the honey is actually coming from. They have to come out and inspect your hives as to where the honey came from. They didn’t really give us a NO; it is just a difficult situation and how to approach it. They are open to having someone apply for the spot and see how they can make it work. The club’s input was it would be good to have a presence for not only our club but how to become a beekeeper. They also need to see a rough business plan; the number of hives and the pounds of honey that you can produce that must be verified. It was mentioned that this task could be a possible board positon where they dedicate their time to the Olympia Farmer’s Market and trying to see how we can get a honey vendor in for next year.

We have an upcoming event at the Nisqually Water Shed on September 30th, 2017 between 10 am and 4 pm. Stephanie told the club that this event is geared towards families and it allows us to educate them on bees and provide information to them.

Officer Reports:

Treasurer’s report David Bruun- Savings account- $4570.50, Checking account- $2711.52, cash on hand- $19.84. Mechele let the club know that we are adding $984.00 in cash from the sales of honey at the fair.

Dues are coming up to be paid so the total will increase.

Membership Chair Duane McBride- reported that we have 204 paid members currently.

Mechele let the club know that when Jack was first involved in the club that there were only 16 people in the beginning.

Eloise will be donating books to the club for our library.

Secretary report Shelby Albert- Nothing to report at this time.

Vice president Tim Weible- Mentioned to the club that the fair was a big hit and thanked everyone who volunteered and helped out to make it a success.


Governor’s mansion- Laurie let the club know that they will be re-queening one of the hives with a Laurie Miller Queen, Jeff and her will check it tomorrow to see if she survived the new placement. If not they are going to see if there is any way that they could combine with airport hive with the walk away spilt that they have.

Observation hive- Mechele wanted to know how they were able to keep the bees so calm and less stressed during the fair. The couple that manages the hives let us know that they ensured that the frames had honey and pollen to minimize stress by rotating queens to that box. They combined two colonies and transferred the queen successfully as they were not happy with the laying pattern.

Ron and Phil had the observation hive at the Grays Harbor; they only had a couple of issues with the hive. Some kid put his finger near the vent hole and got stung.

Grays Harbor had a lot of people as they are on the fair way which drew a lot of attention. Thank you to all who volunteered to help out.

Mechele gave a summary of the Thurston County Fair and how we did as a club on honey sales. We averaged 3 cases a day of a 12 oz. jar. We sold the 12 oz. jars for $7 each. The honey cost $1.80 a pound, 0.50 Cents per jar. We had assorted honey sitx which we sold for 4 for $1 and then we had a case of original honey for people that stopped by the booth to observe.

Currently the club provides the port with 30 pounds of honey. Our plan is to renegotiate with the port for honey. Typically the port auctions off the honey.

Mechele thanked Paul for allowing us to sell honey at the Thurston County Fair and also all the volunteers who helped out.

There were only a couple of signs sold while at the fair. There are a couple of garden groups that are interested in the signs.

Annie provided the club with an update on the Survey responses. She received 50 Survey responses back by email and phone. There was a lot of good feedback that was received to be used in the long term for our goals. She let us know that she was able to sit down and interview Jack and in 1968 he produced 32,000 pounds of comb honey. When he was first involved in the OBA there were only 16 members. Annie was wondering if any members knew exactly when the club originated. Someone mentioned 1990-1991.

Mechele let the club know that she has come across some old Beelines that use to get mailed out to members. Mechele wanted to know if we wanted to vote on putting the old Beelines on our website for members to view. Annie motioned that we vote to put the beelines on the website, David seconded the motion, all approved and the motion carried.

7:55pm Break

Phil let those members that ordered a bee gym that they were available for pick up during the break.

8:14 Raffle

8:21pm Meeting resumed

Mechele brought it to the clubs attention that our name on Beekeepers is two separate words not combined. We can file an Amendment with the Secretary of State to change the name for $20. This would allow consistency both for our UBI and Federal Identification Number.  Annie motioned that we spend the $20 to correct our name, Tim seconded the motion, motion carried to make the name change.

The OBA has its own phone number of 360-515-7274, it is $9 for unlimited extensions which will allow for people to call in to the direct line and choose to speak to the Vice president or the Treasurer. They can leave a voicemail which can then be transcribed into an email at no extra expense.

Software discussion- Mechele mentioned to the club about possibly looking into getting a software database that could help track inventory and members that we have. The database system is called Wild Apricot. This database would allow us to keep all the information, have an online inventory and could allow sending out mass emails to members of upcoming events and meetings. This program would allow up to 10 administrators. With this new database suggestion there is still some unsureness of how it will work and not a lot of people on board. We will discuss at another time once we can show how the program will benefit our association. We will try to establish a task force with a board member, non-board member and the website chair Nathan as to how our website can do the same functions as the new software.

Annie is going to work on our strategic plan as an association and present to the club so our members can vote on the plan.

Memberships were brought up again and that they should be good for a specific day an example would be that of dues begin paid June 1st to June 1st the following year.

Paul brought up that pro-rating the membership is mentioned in the by-laws and back in 2013 it was dues at the beginning of January and now the dues are due in August and there was not vote to accept that and no current rule for the membership dues.

At the next meeting we will hold the award selections once we are back at Chinook.

Meeting adjourned at 9:02pm




July 10th, 2017 OBA Meeting Minutes

Olympia Beekeepers Association

July 10th, 2017

The Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd


Meeting was called to order at 7:15pm.

Mechele asked members if they all received the minutes which were broadcasted on the website. The secretary’s minutes for the June meeting were recorded as written, no corrections.

Officers Report:

Membership Chair Duane McBride- reported that we had 200 paid members as of the meeting.

Treasurer’s report David Bruun- Savings account $4570.39, Checking $3782.61 and cash on hand $19.84.

Vice president Tim Weible- Nothing new to report at time of meeting

Secretary Shelby Albert- nothing to report at time of meeting

Mechele said that the Beeline went out the morning of the meeting. It was asked if the email list is updated with new members email to receive the Beeline.

Mechele asked the club if they all were at the previous meeting to know who Annie our intern was, some did not know who or what she was doing. Mechele asked Annie to give a brief description as to what she is doing for the club.

Annie explained that she is working on gathering data from board member surveys and general member surveys to gather insight to help the club determining a 2 year and 5 year strategic plan.


Past President Laurie spoke to the club about the Governor’s mansion bee project. The hives were doing very well and building up nicely. Supers were added to the hives a couple of weeks ago.

Laurie also asked the club if any of the members have heard the news from Beyond Pesticide. The Department of Ecology is requesting to spray a neonicotinoid out on the Willipa Bay Oyster Farm. The spray would be used to help with getting rid of the burrowing shrimp that can kill the oysters. There will be a public forum opening soon to have people make comments on the issue and express how the feel about the spray. The more vocal we can be the better it will help. So please make a comment when the public forum opens.

Swarm List- Gail- The swarm calls that she has been getting are for swarms that are 40 to 50 feet in the air.

Also she talked about potentially starting a Journeyman class. She wants to get an idea of how many people have serious interest in attending. It would start in September and run one time a month. For those that were definitely interested in the program were to write their name on a list at the break. In order to take the Journeyman class a person/member must be finished with their Apprenticeship course. It takes 3 years to get Journeyman status, the fair can count as hours needed towards reaching that goal.

Observation Hive: They received 2 packages back in April to start the hives off. They were able to split the hives to make 4 hives now. They have a lot of different things happening in the hives which will make great comparisons. They also said if any members have frames they would like to loan for the fairs coming up that would be greatly appreciated.

Volunteers are still needed to help at the Grays Harbor Fair which runs from August 9th through the 13th.

Nathan spoke on Paul’s behalf for the Thurston County Fair. Volunteers are needed tremendously for this event. If you have signed up please see him to get tickets and packets of how to open and close the booth.

Also, Nathan mentioned about the Beeline that if you go to the website and subscribe to the newsletter and it won’t let you do it that means you are already getting it. If you don’t receive be sure to check your spam folder.

Airport Hives- Frank reported that these hives are very successful. They are up to 5 hives know which include one walk away split that they did. He will be harvesting honey in the near future from supers that are on these hives. After harvesting the honey they will do an alcohol wash to check for mites and that will be all for the harvesting season. If any members have any spare hardware, especially supers, please let Frank know.

Glen told members that being a part of the county fair is fun. Mostly questions asked are where the queen is and can I have a honey stix. He also mentioned that the tubes of concrete used to secure the tents are missing and if someone has them please just drop them off at Mechele’s house.

Mechele also said again that this is an all call for any equipment, hardware or any other items that were borrowed from the club to be turned in so we can do inventory. Also, if anyone can make weights for the tents as well would be great.

Mechele formally introduced to the club the co-chairs of the sustainability group which are Thomas Mani and Ernie Schmidt. They both spoke a little bit about what the group is used for. Ernie told the members that at their meeting tonight they discussed what everyone had done for splits and how successful they were. Ernie also said that they had a member show a vertical swarm trap that they had made. Thomas said that this group helps to share experiences and stories to help members be successful.

Mechele let the OBA members know that Paul Longwell is President of the Fair board. We are now able to take money for signs and honey at the fair Paul and Laurie were able to get the fee waived. We also were able to get a square and chip reader from our merchant services at the bank to take credit cards. We will have local wildflower honey for sale. The sole purpose to selling these items is to build up our revenue for the club.

Paul was able to get a write up in The Olympian about the Olympia Beekeepers Association selling signs and honey at the fair. Our booth was named the Agricultural Choice for the Year at the fair. No food handlers cards are needed to sell the honey.

The summer picnic was mentioned to the club about wanting to have one this year either in the evening into dusk or on a Saturday weekend. Also National Honey Bee Day is August 19th or 20th. It would be great to celebrate this as well at our picnic.

Bob Bennett will speak after the break about entries into the state fair.

7:56pm Break

Meeting resumed at 8:20 pm.

Mechele let the club know that we are still accepting nominations for the Beekeeper of the Year award and the Mark Savage Award. Nominations will be accepted until after the next bee meeting. Are hope is to hand out the awards at our summer picnic.

Bob Bennett talked to the club about the honey show at the state fair. Members can go to to get the guidelines and fill out the online entry for the fair. There 13 varieties to enter into at the state fair. The dates to bring up entries are August 29th 10 am to 8 pm and August 30th 8 am to 8 pm. Judging will take place August 31st and there is not participation in judging from the public. Judges are already picked out and have criteria that they base their decision on. Ribbons will be given out and awarded that day and contestants notified. The state fair runs from September 1st through the 24th closed Tuesdays and the 6th. The 24th is the last day to release the entries back to the proper contestants. There are different categories that a member can enter into.  There are 9 different categories for honey which must be entered in a one pound queen line jar for judging. Members could also enter comb honey, chuck honey, pollen and wax. The bee exhibit will be in the J barn where the sheep and wool use to be.

Andy is the state fair coordinator and at next month’s meeting he will have a sign-up sheet and tickets for those who volunteer. Shifts are 4 hours and free parking.

There are calendars up at the front table that helps explain what your bees are doing at different months of the year and what you should be doing to help them during that month. Also what you can be doing to prepare for what’s coming next.

Prison outreach program is going well. We will be adding the Washington Corrections Center to the list to start a class in October. You have to be a journeyman in order to teach a class. Paul had 25 prison members in his class.

Mechele also mentioned that we are working on creating fast track courses that will be 2 different quarters for 6 weeks. VP Tim Weible addressed more of what this would entail as he would be the teacher for this course. It would be at an off-site location with one 6 week course, (one night per week), in the Fall and one 6 week course, (one night per week), in the Spring. If you are interested in this course or questions please ask Tim.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:45pm.





June 12th, 2017 OBA Meeting Minutes

Olympia Beekeepers Association

June 12th, 2017

Chinook Middle School


Meeting called to order at 7:08pm.

Mechele made the announcement that the Beeline did not go before the meeting. Secretary’s minutes from the May meeting were recorded as written, no corrections.

Officers Report:

Treasurer’s report David Bruun: Savings account $4,570.20, Checking account $3754.87 and cash on hand was $17.84

Membership Chair Duane McBride- As of the meeting we have 190 paid members which is still the highest membership OBA has had.

Vice President Tim Weible: Mentioned that he is working on getting a new education program started with the OBA. Also he talked about the new canopies that he bought for the club use.

Mechele made an all call for anybody that has OBA equipment to bring it to the meeting or return it to Mechele.

Secretary Shelby- none to report

Mentorship Roger and Kitty- Told the club that we could use more mentors.

Swarm List- Gail: Gail reported that only 4 swarm calls were made.

Library- Ernie mentioned that if you have a book out from the library to be sure to return it.

Fair update- Paul stated that OBA members have 49 days to get their honey jars ready for judging at the fair. Jars are due to the fair on August 1st. August 2nd the fair starts. There is a sign up sheet for time slots on the white board.

Past President Laurie Pyne- There are pollinator signs available for sale. The small signs are $15 and the large are $20.

Glen talked about the Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) event at East Olympia Elementary. There are 50 to 60 booths and kids can stay as long or as short as they would like to at each booth. They have the observation hive there for a visual aid. Also Glen mentioned that those people who ordered native pollinator posters they are in.

The native pollinator group is having a special speaker on Prairie Pollinators.


Observation Hive- There are currently 2 observation hives, they are able to put the hives on a lazy susan to allow it to spin around easily. The contact information of  how to borrow the observation hive is on the website.

Governor Mansion: Laurie reported that they are alive and they plan on checking them this week. One hive is producing and growing faster than the other one.

Airport- No one present for report

Paul also mentioned that 17 Cedar Creek inmates have graduated from the Apprenticeship Beekeeping Class. They are currently working on starting a program at McNeil Island. He has an idea to raise queens out there and teach the inmates how to produce queens. Laurie mentioned that they have to take into consideration what type of forage is out there for the bees. Neither the hives nor the queens would be within the prison itself.

Duane and Mechele will be starting an Apprenticeship Program at the Shelton Correctional Facility.

Mechele asked that any new people at the meeting to please stand, 8 new people were in attendance.

Also, if you ordered a bee gym they are in and you can see Phil for pick up.

Old Business: None to report

New Business:

We are still in need of items for the baskets for the state fair. There is one adult and one youth basket. Items can be anything bee related. Laurie has made these baskets in the past.

The July and August OBA meeting will be held at the Good Shepherd Church across from the Olympia High School.

The Hands on Children Museum is in need of volunteers from June 26th to June 30th from 9 am to 12 pm with a presentation on bees.

Mechele talked about accepting nominations for Beekeeper of the Year and Mark Savage Lifetime Achievement Award.

Gail spoke to club in regards to the difference between the two awards. The Beekeeper of the Year award is someone over this year that has been active in the club.

The Mark Savage Award is someone who has contributed through the membership in many ways and spent a significant amount of time working for the club.

Dewey Caron had books for sale at the break.

Mechele introduced Annie to club. Annie is our new intern who is working on her Master’s Program at Evergreen in Strategic Analysis and Planning. She talked to the club about what she plans on doing to help the club. She will be conducting surveys and interviews to gather data to help develop the club 2 year strategic plan first and then on a 5 year plan.

Mechele thanked everyone who attended the open session the past week to help with new ideas going forward.

7:30 Break

After the break Dewey Caron will be talking about the Honey bee losses and over winterization.

Ron talked to the club in regards to the Grays Harbor fair and is in need of volunteers to help staff the booth. The fair runs from August 9th to the 13th.

8:00 Dewey Caron spoke in regards to Data from the over winterization and what your plan is going to be.

Meeting was adjourned at  9:15 pm.






May 8th, 2017 OBA Meeting Minutes

Olympia Beekeepers Association

May 8th, 2017

Chinook Middle School


Meeting called to order at 7:06 pm.

Treasurer’s report: Savings account $4570.16, Checking account $4347.39 and cash on hand is $14.33.

Secretaries minutes from the April meeting were recorded as written, no corrections made. Mechele asked for new members in the audience to stand. We had one new couple to the meeting tonight.

Old Business:

Past President Laurie Pyne made an announcement about passing around a sheet to collect data about the over-winterization colony loss of Olympia beekeeper members. This information will be used for Dewey Caron’s study on the total loss of overwintered bees for Washington State and our region. This data will be presented by Dewey Caron at the June meeting. Members can also record their losses electronically which is all used for the research.

Mechele presented the idea of circulating an online and paper survey to get member input on what they would like to see during meetings. If any member has suggestions that they would like to see on the survey to please bring that idea to the board members at the head table.

Officers Report:

Membership Chair Duane McBride: Reported there to be 212 paid members the highest number that Olympia Beekeepers Association has had.

Past President Laurie Pyne: Duane, Jeff and Laurie attended the Governors organic planting event that was held on May 8th. She mentioned that the DES was being proactive in minimizing the use of herbicides and pesticides. On Olympia Beekeepers Association Facebook page there was a thank you letter/card that allowed members to sign to show the appreciation to DES for helping take the steps to help the pollinators.

Swarm List - Gail: She received one call on Sunday May 7th, 2017 about a swarm 50 feet up in a tree. We need members on the swarm call list. If you are already on the list please re-enter your information as we will be updating the call list to make sure we have all correct information.

Vice President Tim Weible: Nothing to report at this time.

Airport Hive- Frank updated us that the airport has 4 hives total. 2 packaged hives are laying really well. One of the hives was in the process of swarming as there were 7 to 8 swarm cells. They took one frame out of the hive that had 3 to 5 swarm cells on it and did a walk about split which could lead to 4.5 hives at the airport.

Observation hive report: 2 colonies of bees were donated by the club to start the observation hive and they installed nicely.  1 package had queen cells that they spilt with and they will also use these for resources in displays that they have upcoming such as the STEM.

Library update: Ernie is looking to find or get more books that would be of interest to members and increase the supply that the club has on hand. Laurie mentioned that Mann Lake sometimes will donate books that people are interested in. She suggested writing a letter to them and see if that is something that they would be willing to do.

Website update: Nathan let the members know that if you are interested in writing articles to have them published on the website to get a hold of him and he will show you how make this happen. He also shared that Madison Elementary School is having a plant sale on Saturday May 13th so come on down and purchase some plants to help your bees.

Mentorship - Roger: Roger made the announcement that 4 people want/need mentors. If any members are willing to be mentors for any of 4 new mentees people to please contact Roger.

Education chair Bob Smith: Bob talked to the club about entering honey at the Thurston County Fair. The honey judging will take place August 1st at roughly 10 am at the Thurston County Fair if any members would like to learn how to judge honey. In order to enter honey, a member must use 3 one pound queen line jars. Honey is judged by the jar it is in, the content and lids. Honey for judging must not contain any air bubbles, no foam, no honey on the lid and lastly all honey must be filled the same amount in each jar. Bob gave the example of blue ribbon honey that was a more dark honey and it received a blue ribbon for 3rd place, even though presentation was not good.  Gail received Grand Champion last year at the Thurston County Fair. Members asked to have the rules and regulations for the honey judging to be published on the website for easy access. Louis Matej would love to see some honey entered into the Puyallup Fair by local members of the Olympia Club.

Member Carter: Brought up his usage of tetracycline. He has been using it for 50 years on his bees as a way to inhibit the growth of tracheal mites. It is now being taken off the market and he is coming for help from local beekeepers to know where he can find it. Members suggested Mann Lake and or a large animal vet. Bob Smith mentioned that fact that the critters or bees that carry the tetracycline it doesn’t work which makes them immune to the medication.

Pollinators Study Group: Will meet the 4th Monday at 7 pm where they will be attending the Garden Success and Pollinators workshop.

Dixon was asked to speak in regard to the mead judging at the Puyallup and Thurston County Fair. He asked to bring more mead to the festivities. The more mead you bring the better.

Paul was not present for his report.

Fair baskets are going to be given out to the winners of the honey baking contest at the fair. If you would like to donate items for the baskets bring anything bee related. There is one youth basket and one adult basket.

Mechele mentioned they may want to repaint the inside of the bee building where the booth is located at the Thurston County Fair. We first have to figure out if we can paint and when we can paint. We will be looking for volunteers, or kids organizations or members who just love to paint to help with the project.

Break at 7:47 pm. Refreshments provided and raffle tickets sold.

Speaker after the break was Phil and he talked to the group about The Bee Gym. This particular item helps with varroa mites on the bees. It is a yellow plastic square that has tab on one end of it that bees will walk over and rub on the tab to help reduce the mites. You place the larger bee gyms on the screen bottom or bottom boards and let the bees have free range in the hive. There are also mini bee gyms that can be placed within frames as well. Each Bee Gym covers a hive for up to one year. Phil wrapped up his topic at 8:40 pm.

Mechele let members know that June’s meeting will be held at Chinook Middle School and our Speaker would be Dewey Caron.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:42 pm.