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 thefair.com 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.





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


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.






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