News and Information

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.

Sincerely,

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 : marmanderson@gmail.com

 

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

How Varroa Mites Build Up Immunity to Commercial Miticides.

Why would I, as an Alternative beekeeping advocate, write about the use of commercial miticides? First and foremost for me personally, the most important thing is keeping bees alive.
Everyone’s bees. Also, I consider myself an intellectual Alternative keeper, in that, I wouldn’t “take anything off the table” in my pursuit to keep bees alive. Though I don’t use miticides- I will do everything I can to help keepers who do. Varroa mites have the ability to continuously built up resistance to commercial treatment products. Each new mite control product that comes on the market has a useful life of less then 10 years. It is not defects in the products. The products are effective when first introduced. The Varroa mite has developed a method of quickly building up an immunity to each new product. What exactly is happening that makes it possible for the mite to build up resistance so quickly with every new product? It’s predictable, it’s coming, it is going happening. Producing another form of miticide produces another population of immune mites. Developing new miticides doesn’t solve the resistance problem. What is the process that breeds populations of super mites that build up an immunity to each new product introduced by the beekeeper? Once we find the mechanics of the immunity build up process, we can develop methods of management that prevent that process. If we as beekeepers can “short circuit” the mechanics of the immunity process it would enhance the effect and efficiency of any treatment to control Varroa mites.
In treated hives, over 40% of the mites that fall to the bottom board are still alive. 1. They received what is referred to as a sub-lethal dose of miticide. The mites got enough of a dose to temporarily incapacitate them but not kill them. This segment of the mite population recover on the floor of a solid bottom board hive, reattach to bees approaching near them, and return back up into the colony. Mites receiving and surviving sub-lethal doses of a miticide, returning back into the hive and breeding generation after generation build up an immunity to that miticide.
One way of “short circuiting” the immunity process is using screen bottom boards. SBB’s are literally and figuratively the foundation of a hive as part of a Integrated Pest Management program. Screen bottom boards must be constructed correctly and used correctly to provide the most benefit as an enhancement to treatments and the prevention of mite immunity buildup. Most treatments work best in an enclosed hive so a SBB with a sliding board under the screen is more desired then an open screen floor. The 40% of mites still alive after receiving a sub-lethal doses of miticide fall through the screen, are unable to reattach to a bee, and die on the sliding board under the screen. Mites looking to reattach to a bee can sense bees within 1 inch away. It is important to construct SBB’s with the sliding board an inch and a half or more below the screen. Live mites that fall to the sliding board beyond “sensing” distance will wander aimlessly on the board for a short time looking for a bee, then sit and die waiting for a bee. Sticky boards can be used on SBB’s with sliding boards closer then one and a half inch to the screen during treatments. The sliding board SSB is also a valuable tool to the beekeeper for easily monitoring mite populations and observing the need for and efficiency of treatments.

1. Chapleau, J.P. Experimentation of an Anti-Varroa Screened Bottom Board in Context of Developing an Integrated Pest Management Strategy for Varroa Infested Honeybees in the Province of Quebec (2002)