Bulk Jar Order

The OBA is going to make a bulk jar order. This is for jars for packaging the honey we will sell at the Thurston County Fair and other outreach events.

We are giving members the ability to add to this order, thus helping us get lower bulk pricing.

Shipping will be split between orders based on the number of jars you order. This is the one variable we cannot tell you before the order is placed.

If you are interested, and by this I mean you are committed to paying for the jars you request plus the portion of shipping, please fill out this Google Form.

We will close the order window a week after the May Member Meeting.

Last Minute Super NUC Offer

Andy Matelich has a last minute deal on 10 frame deep “NUCs”. Pickup is in the Olympia area;

“Many of you know me from the Olympia club. If anyone still wants bees, I was able to contact a friend of mine in California who has a small commercial operation. With the wet spring they have had this year he is behind in making splits and he has a surplus of hives, and he wants to sell them. What he is selling will be a 10-frame hive with an overwintered queen ready for a second deep. He is offering these bees for $200.00 each and they will be arriving this weekend. Getting a 10-frame hive instead of a nuc will give you an even better chance for larger honey yield. Supplies will be somewhat limited. If anyone is interested, please feel free to contact me at 253-683-0789. “

Bee Faire : March 13th 6pm

At the March 13th meeting of the Olympia Beekeepers Association, the club will host some locally-based honey bee vendors for you to visit.

Each vendor will have a table where you can meet with them.

You can learn what they have to offer in 2023, including: nucs and packages, delivery schedules and locations, prices, and more.

Note that our regular business meeting will be streamed (via Zoom), along with the vendor introductions. However, to get the most out of this meeting, it really requires you be here!


6:00 – 6:30: Our regular monthly business meeting.

6:30 – 6:45: Vendors will introduce themselves and give an overview of their offerings.

6:45: The Bee Faire will begin.


Swantown Inn

1431 11th Ave SE

Olympia WA 98501

(Get Directions)

Swantown Inn has limited car park space, but plenty of parking along the street on Central. Please only park in the driveway if you have mobility issues.

For questions or more detail, please email secretary@olympiabeekeepers.org.

Hive Choices

Article by Debra Langley-Boyer, Member of OBA and President of Belfair & Beyond Beekeepers.

Debra presented the following information at the February 2023 General Meeting.

Which hive is best for you?

Honeybee’s can use a great variety of places for their hive.  Beekeepers provide hives for the bees as a convenience to the beekeeper.  Different style hives are used successfully all over the world.  The challenge is deciding what type of hive(s) will you use.  Many places have laws, such as in the United States we need to have some sort of removable frame (comb).  Beekeepers need to be able to examine hive for disease.  This article is just a quick look at some possibilities.  It explores a few of the pros and cons of some hives.  As well as questions the beekeeper needs to ask themselves when choosing a hive style.  

A beekeeper that has been around should be able to help you with general bee care.  Not all beekeepers will know exactly how every hive style works.  They can help you check brood or disease by looking at comb.  They do know if a hive needs space for brood or honey.  They may not know that a particular hive differences from Langstroth such as moving frames not adding boxes.  Details of how to work each hive is not universal. 

I cannot recommend that new beekeepers use any hive that has not been around for many years (50 to 100).   Learn about bees first in a tried-and-true hive style.  Then experiment.  Some of the experiments do not work in the end.  Bees will always behave like bees.  The hive style is about the beekeeper accessing the bees. 

Many hive styles can work for a new beekeeper.   Choose a hive style for you not another beekeeper.  Most hive types have potential adjustments to make it work for you.  All styles have beekeepers that love that one type of hive.  I recommend different hives for different people.   Think about the items below before choosing a hive.

Bees wants and needs:Engineering drawing

Description automatically generated

  • Nice size cavity to build comb, lay brood, and store honey for winter.
  • Protection from weather and predators.  
  • Food source.

Beekeeper wants and needs: Some questions to ask and think about.

  • Why honeybees?  Products -Honey, pollination, wax or just love bees?  
  • Food – what will your bees eat?  Look at local plants.
  • Location -What protection do you need for weather (rain, snow, sun, wind)  or predators (bear)?  Where will hives be located?
  • Finances – Beekeeping is expensive.  Some hives initially cost more than others.  A picture containing old

Description automatically generated
  • Physical (your capabilities) – What shape are you in for lifting heavy hives? Or alternative method.
  • Purchase equipment – Some equipment is easy to find others not. Build?
  • Assistance needed /available – mentor and classes?
  • Aesthetics (looks) – What do you like?
  • How to keep bees (time/treatment)– natural? Spend lots/little time working bees? Inspection – how often can you do it?  
  • Mobile – Do you plan on moving hives often?
  • Space  –number of hives, place to put hives 

Hives:  -very general information.  Many more hive styles to choose from. History shows us hives have been around for hundreds of years.  People have been using and inventing the whole time.  
A picture containing tree, outdoor

Description automatically generated

New styles, designs and decorations continue to develop.  Hives are generally vertical or horizonal, stacking or one size, frames or bars, foundation support or not and a variety of extras (feeders, insulation …)

  • Langstroth – (frames and vertical boxes)
    • Size of frames and boxes (deep, medium shallow – 5, 8 or 10 frame). Can add boxes to top for more space.  No protection (can add shelter, lids, covers).  Heavy lifting or moving one frame at a time per box.  Easy to get parts.  Common hive in U.S.  Mobile with lifting and truck.  
    • Long Langstroth – single long horizontal box. Limited space. Lift one frame at a time. Not so mobile. 

A picture containing outdoor

Description automatically generated
A picture containing person

Description automatically generated

  • AZ (Slovenian or American)  (frames and vertical chambers)
    • In bee house, opens like cabinet to work bees, frames slid in and out like books on shelf,
    • Has great protection (bee house).  Cost more -last longer. No lifting -only frame.  Few use AZ hive in U.S.  Travel – trailer.  Cannot add extra chambers.
A picture containing text, grass, tree, outdoor

Description automatically generated
Graphical user interface

Description automatically generated

Description automatically generated with low confidence

A picture containing person, person

Description automatically generatedA picture containing wooden, indoor, old, wood

Description automatically generated

  • Top Bar (Kenya)(bars in one long horizontal chamber )
    • Limited space. No protection (can add shelter, lids, covers).  No lifting –one bar at a time.  Comb on bars, no support.  Few use. Harder to move.  Good natural wax when crushing for honey. Viewing window.
    • Notes from Tina who has top bar.  They offer a Zen feel with beekeeping.  Hive must be kept level.  A picture containing tree, person

Description automatically generated
A picture containing indoor, table

Description automatically generated
A picture containing tree, cake, outdoor, piece

Description automatically generated
A picture containing tree, outdoor

Description automatically generated
  • Warre’ (bars and vertical boxes)
    • Can expand for more space.  Add new box to bottom. No protection (can add shelter, lids, covers).   Lifting.  Small boxes (about 8 bars).  Comb on bars, no support.  Can get tall.  Few use.  Mobile with lifting and truck.  Natural growth for bees (top honey bottom brood).  Viewing window. Good natural wax when crushing for honey.
    • Notes from Shaari who has Warre’ hives.  Hive builds down.  Hard for chemical mite treatment and inspection.  Hive must be kept level.  Correct comb as soon as you see it.  
A picture containing person, outdoor, standing, work-clothing

Description automatically generated
A picture containing outdoor, sky, person, barbecue

Description automatically generated
A picture containing person

Description automatically generated
  • Cathedral (notes from Angela Baker -Women in Beekeeping ’21)
    • Smaller hive – space limited – tend to swarm
    • Materials hard to find – splits hard
    • Bars fiddly to get started (empty tend to sip down into hive)
    • Comb more stable in warm weather than top bar because of 3 sides.
  • Layens  (horizontal- long frames)

  • Apimaye (horizontal stacking, insulation, plastic)
  • Flow  (stacking, honey flow box,)

Quick look at these hives.       1 = poor   5=great

HiveCavity sizeProtection CostProduct findLiftingEquipmentMentorTravel
Top Bar33-4435432