December 10th Potluck and other Announcements

The Annual Christmas Potluck and Gift Exchange December 10th

Bring your jars (Queenline 1 pound) of honey to the potluck for judging.

2018 OBA Potluck info:

When                                      Monday December 10, 2018

(See below for more information)

Where                                     Chinook Middle School Cafeteria, 4301 6th Ave. NE, Lacey, WA 98516

Time                                        6:00 Setup and Honey Judging,

(See below for more information)

7:00 Dinner,

Gift Exchange, (See below for more information)

9:00 Cleanup

 No Apprentice Class, Sustainability Group or Journeyman Class in December.

The OBA is providing the turkey, ham and soft drinks.

Kathy Miles    -      will bring the hot water pots to use with the tea & coffee bags.

leftover beverages from the picnic:

24 La Croix

12 Talking Rain

13 Gatorade

some paper plates and napkins.

some plastic utensils

Ashley Noce and crew are doing the table decorations again.

What Should You Bring, Potluck-Wise?  Please Bring:  A dish of food to share & a plate, cutlery, & cup to eat/drink from.  Please also bring a serving spoon for your dish. The middle school has tables with benches attached & plug-ins for hot pots (That is we will try to have power strips to plug them into). So if you have a power cord bring it, too many is better than to few. The OBA will provide the ham and turkey as well as coffee, tea, water, pop, napkins (we’ll have some paper plates & plastic cutlery on hand in case anyone forgets).

Gift Exchange:

Bring a wrapped gift and place on table provided. Then when we start you can pick a gift from the table (not the one gift you brought), unwrap it and someone who has already unwrapped their gift may exchange their gift for yours. This can be done twice on any one gift. David will explain in more detail on the 10th.

Honey Judging Information from Dixon Fellows:

I will try to answer some of your questions.  Normally judging at the fair we judge three jars.  For this evening we will judge just one.  Things we look for are bubbles, crystallization in the honey, body parts and bees knees.  We will judge the moisture level of your honey with a honey refractomerer.  We will taste each entry.  The inside of the cap is to be clean and no honey on it (check it before you present it to us).  Normally if we are judging three jars all three would be exactly filled to the same level.  8 ounce Queenline jars are used for the fairs but either 8 ounce or 1 pound jars are good for the potluck judging.  Be very clean, bubbles in the glass can affect your score too.  No foam from bubbles allowed on top of the honey.  Keep your jar(s) spotless.   The honey will be dropped off at the front table and a number given to it so Bob and I will not know the entries name.  We will bring some tasting toothpicks because 2 years ago about 20 people wanted to taste my dark Knotweed honey.

My suggestions for getting the bubbles out are to put your honey near a warm place.  I use to put mine at the edge of my stove for a few weeks.  You can also put a larger jar in a pan of water and bring the temp up slowly and just to warm and then pour into a 1 pound or 8 ounce jar.  Do not over heat; we can taste the difference if overheated.  To start with, slightly over fill the jar and then once the bubbles come up to the top you can spoon some out.  Leave about 1/4 - 3/8 inch air gap at the top, not critical to be exact.

The scoring will be done on about 5 categories with different point count.  A perfect score is 100.  It will be done by Bob Smith and myself.  Bob and I judged the Washington State (Puyallup) Fair together this year.  Bob has been judging the Thurston County Fair for a very long time.

In the past we usually judge several types of honey in their unique categories.   If you have a light, medium and dark honeys enter all three.

This is all for fun and acknowledgement before your fellow beekeepers.  At the fair you get ribbons.  If you did get a nice batch of honey this year consider entry into the Thurston County Fair (Olympia), The Washington State (Puyallup) Fair or the Grays Harbor County Fair (Elma) this next year.  You will have 7 months to get the bubbles out entirely and will be ahead of others.

Dixon Fellows

Closing Comment:

Come and join us at the potluck, bring honey in 8 ounce or 1 pound Queenline jars for judging, enjoy good food, holiday cheer and camaraderie.

We look forward to seeing you.

Next Apprentice Class, Sustainability and regular meeting January 14, 2019

Scott Allen will do a presentation at our regular meeting in February on Spring Management.

January journeyman class will meet Tuesday January 22, 2019 at 6:00pm.

February journeyman class will meet Tuesday February 19, 2019 at 6:00pm.

Both dates have been moved because of Monday holidays.

The Journeyman classes will meet in the library as usual.

Roy Manicke's updated Bee Vendor List 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.

13)      Pacific Northwest Bees


Battle Ground, WA

Our goal is to provide a consistent stock of queens and bees that are able to thrive in the conditions of the Pacific Northwest. By doing this we believe we can become the provider of choice for beekeepers.

2018 Bee Nucs are available to reserve now!! 
2018 New Queen Nuc Price $160.00
Includes a 2018 PWN Select Queen. Available now.
Note the pick up area is in the Brush Prairie / Battle Ground area. Pick up dates will be firmed up as we get into April.

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.