• The PSBA Buzz

    Give BIG to PSBA Today – May 10th!

    Posted on:

    Hello fellow bee friends, keepers, and enthusiasts!

    Today is the day to make an impact! Today on Wednesday May 10, from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59:59 p.m., PSBA is participating in Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG fundraising event! Your donation will go a long way in helping us educate local beekeepers and community members, and promote safe practices for the well-being of our pollinators and ecosystem.

    We hope you will support us HERE by making a donation today on May 10! Please also help our efforts by promoting the event to friends and family!

    Thank you all for your continued generosity and support!


    Puget Sound Beekeepers Association

    PSBA Kids’ Day – Volunteers Needed

    Posted on:

    PSBA Kids’ Day 2017  is being planned for August 19th from 10am-2pm

    Location: West Seattle Bee Garden (westseattlebeegarden.com/visit)

    PSBA’s third annual Kids’ Day is coming up next month! We’re gearing up for another fun and educational day, and need your help to keep it going!

    Highlights of the day include a live hive demonstration, story time hosted by Seattle Public Library, plant identification scavenger hunt, pollination simulation, arts and crafts, bee anatomy game, flower facts, honey tasting, an observation hive and more! All activities take place at the family friendly West Seattle Bee Garden and Commons Park P-Patch. The space is adjacent to a large park and playground – great for running and playing. We love sharing our bee knowledge with our youth, and are touched by how eager they are to learn! A fun day is guaranteed for all.

    We could use your help with various learning stations (instructions are simple and provided in advance). Also, we need helping hands for set-up, which starts at 8:30. Please sign up as a volunteer or email Lauren at lenglund@pugetsoundbees.org for more info!








    Randy Oliver in September

    Posted on:

    We received this notice from our beekeeping pals north of Seattle. Be sure to check it out!

    The Northwest District Beekeepers Association is proud to announce that Randy Oliver of scientificbeekeeping.com will be speaking in Everett, WA on Saturday September 9th 2017. Randy is a commercial beekeeper in California, a careful researcher, and the author of a monthly column in American Bee Journal.  It has been a long standing goal of NWDBA to bring Randy Oliver here for a speaking engagement and to make it available to as many beekeepers as possible. Doors will open at 12:30 PM and the talk will run from 1-5 PM, with a couple of intermissions.  We have a limit of 300 seats and anticipate selling out, so please buy your tickets early.   

    The topics to be covered will be “Reading the combs to understand colony conditions over the season” and also Randy’s recent research on varroa mite management including the most current information on his experiments using oxalic acid applied dissolved in glycerin.  Definitely bring your note pads and an extra pen in case you run out of ink!

    Location: Everett PUD Auditorium, 2320 California St, Everett, WA 98201

    Date and Time: September 9th, 2017.  Doors open at 12:30PM and the talk runs from 1PM – 5PM

    Price: $25 (tickets are available through www.brownpapertickets.com  by searching for Randy Oliver)

    Field Day 2017 Was a Success

    Posted on:

    On Saturday June 3rd, PSBA hosted our annual field day for beekeepers and it was a huge success.  Much appreciation for our sponsors and many volunteers who made it possible through hard work and donations to make our day special.  We hope the many beekeepers who attended will apply and share their learnings with others.  We look forward to planning next year’s event (we already have a feature speaker committed!)

    Feedback from our event surveys was overwhelmingly positive:

    “This was awesome!”         “Thank you for a great day”        “Very good seminar”

    Here’s some pics from our day:


    Hive Calendar: May

    Posted on:
    Some pnumbers collage imageeople, including beekeepers, view swarming as a scary event. It really is a sign of a healthy colony.  As beekeepers it is our role to educate others on why bees swarm, and do what we can to minimize negative reactions to our beloved hobby.
    Keep a copy of our swarm list handy and share with your friends and neighbors in case help is needed in capturing a swarm.
    As a reproductive event, a healthy hive throws a swarm and a single colony becomes 2 colonies.  It is important to learn the signs of swarm preparation.  You can read more on our swarm management handout here in addition to the below.
    Conditions ripe for a swarm:
    Bees will swarm if the brood area becomes too crowded.  The brood nest is crowded when the bees run out of empty comb above the brood chamber to store nectar, and they resort to storing it in the brood nest (commonly called “backfilling”).  The result is a queen that has nowhere to lay eggs.
    Avoid  overcrowding by ensuring the brood area does not become congested.  Add second brood box and/or a honey super if an inspection indicates crowding in the brood area.  With too much honey and pollen in the brood nest there is no place for the queen to lay.  Help her out by replacing one or more honey frames with empty foundationless frames which give the colony more space to cluster near the queen. Also you can add a slatted rack which provides space for the bees to cluster under the brood nest.
    A space management technique suggested by Michael Bush is to remove one frame and insert two follower boards placed in frame positions 1 and 8 for 8-frame setup or 1 and 10 frames in a 10-frame setup.  The follower boards take up the space of one frame and the bees will cluster on them, which again places them near the brood.  A follower board is made by creating a ¾” top bar with a sheet of plywood or Masonite cut to the size of a frame and attached to the top bar
    If a hive has a bottom entrance foragers have to travel through the brood nest to store the nectar. Create a top entrance to minimize the congestion.  This can be done simply by placing the inner cover so the notch faces down.  If your inner covers do not have a notch, create one.
    Have you ever wondered how a honey bee egg becomes an adult bee?
    There are five stages called instars.  Newly laid eggs,  about the size of a small grain of rice,  are held upright in the cell with glue – homemade!  Creation of the first instar occurs when the house bees feed the egg royal jelly.  The larvae grow quickly through the 5 stages in six days and are then ready to pupate. They stand up in the cell and prepare to spin their cocoon.  House bees begin covering the cells with a mixture of beeswax and propolis.   (Enter the female varroa mite to parasitize the larvae.)  Twenty one days from the beginning the bee emerges as an adult worker; day 16 for a queen; and 24 days for a drone.
    If you installed a package of bees this year, the queen has been released by now and egg laying starts within a week.  Look for eggs in the center two or three frames.  If you don’t find any look at all the frames that have some comb built on them.  Eggs are almost the color of new wax so can be difficult to spot.
    If you are feeding sugar syrup continue to do so because the bees have little chance to build reserves.  If you don’t find any eggs take note of the buzzing sound a queenless hive makes and contact the business that sold you the bees.  They may offer a free replacement.  If you find the queen and another inspection reveals no eggs then she should be replaced.
    Bees foraging for pollen will found it in dandelions, pussy willow, flowering quince, tulip tree, and various fruit trees.  Nectar sources of interest in May are clover, blueberry and huckleberry, wild geranium, Hawthorne, and Black Locust.  Flowers don’t produce nectar until the pollen is mature so bees have contact with pollen for a long time. Pollen grains have a slight negative charge and bees have a slight positive charge so the thousands of multi-branched hairs on a bee easily collect the pollen.  The foragers clean most of the pollen out of their hair using their legs and carries the pollen home packed in their pollen baskets called corbiculae.  Pollen is the only source of protein, starch, fat, vitamins, and minerals in a colony’s diet.
    Bee Facts:
    Nectar in the honey stomach weighs 25-40 mg.
    Full load of nectar is 50-85% of body weight, around 30 mg of nectar
    *Bee Facts are from “The Beekeeper’s Handbook” by Samataro and Avitabile.

    March 29th: Mushrooms and the Mycology of Consciousness

    Posted on:

    Heads up WSU presents Paul Stamets on March 29thto this community event (additional details on our event calendar):

    The  Washington State University Bee Program (bees.wsu.edu) is bringing Paul Stamets and Louie Schwartzberg to Seattle to provide education and awareness about mycelium, honey bees and solutions to problems that have an impact on our food supply. We will be hosting an event in Seattle on March 29, at the Moore Theatre, featuring cutting edge research and innovative alternative methods for not only helping the honey bee, but people and the planet as well. Both Paul and Louie are well known TEDtalk speakers, as well as experts in their fields.


    Time Sensitive: Submit Comments on Draft Food Labeling Guidelines Impacting Honey Labeling

    Posted on:

    Why should you care about this?  If you sell honey you will need to ensure your honey is labeled properly after the deadlines in 2018 or 2019. Your commentary on FDA food labeling can influence labeling requirements if submitted prior to March 6th 2017.


    1. Please review the FDA’s draft food labeling guidelines relating to added sugars and submit your comments by March 6th, 2017 here-> https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FDA-2016-D-4414-0002 
    2. Submit comments: click the “Comment Now”  blue button in top right corner of browser window at the link provided.

    Need more info before you submit comments?

    Below are some basics of the proposed regulation, and, you can read UC Davis Apiary Lab’s position  on the matter here , which offers some suggested language for your comment. UC Davis also  highlights some exemptions for small businesses (although the PSBA editor was unable to locate this exemption detail in the original documents- it may be there, just couldn’t find it).

    The below bullets are excerpts and highlights from the FDA Q&A and Labeling Guidance documents. While, PSBA encourages you to read them yourself, they are lengthy, so we’ve pulled out some highlights for you if you like to get into the details.

    CFR 21 Food and Drug Administration Subchapter B Food for Human Consumption

    FDA Labeling Guidance information here and here


    • On May 20, 2016, the FDA announced the new Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods to reflect new scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. The new label will make it easier for consumers to make better informed food choices. FDA published the final rules in the Federal Register on May 27, 2016.  The two final rules published On May 27, 2016  related to the Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels:
    1. One final rule is entitled “Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels” (81 FR 33742, “the Nutrition Facts label final rule”) and
    2. The other final rule is entitled “Food Labeling: Serving Sizes of Foods That Can Reasonably Be Consumed At One Eating Occasion; Dual-Column Labeling; Updating, Modifying, and Establishing Certain Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed
    • New labeling will be required on or after July 26, 2018 (and July 26, 2019 for manufacturers with less than $10 million in annual food sales). Certain foods must bear a nutrition label that meets new nutrition labeling requirements in 21 CFR 101.9 and 21 CFR 101.36
    • New labeling must declare the gram (g) amount of “added sugars” in a serving of a product, establishing a Daily Reference Value (DRV) for added sugars, and requiring the percent Daily Value (DV) declaration for added sugars. (See guidance documents for complete requirements)
    • Honey is being declared an added sugar and thus subject to the new labeling requirements:  The definition of added sugars includes sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups *and honey*, and sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type. The definition excludes fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100 percent fruit juice that is sold to consumers (e.g. frozen 100 percent fruit juice concentrate) as well as some sugars found in fruit and vegetable juices, jellies, jams, preserves, and fruit spreads.  For industry and those interested in the more technical version of the definition, please consult page 33980 of the Nutrition Facts Label Final Rule.




    January Meeting: Beekeeper Science Fair

    Posted on:

    Join us for the first PSBA meeting of 2017!    Please note the location for this meeting is at Center for Urban Horticulture, NOT at Graham Visitor Center. Details on our Event Calendar.

    We’ll begin with an introduction to the Washington State Master Beekeepers Certification.  Tracy Klein will start you off with the first lesson in the apprentice level, and be available later to tell you how you can continue your education and become and Apprentice Beekeeper!

    Following the lesson there will be a short break, and then we’ll begin the 2017 PSBA Beekeeper’s Science Fair:


    6:30 – Pre-meeting lesson

    7:00 – PSBA Announcements and Science Fair

    Science Fair Booths:

    Danny Najera – Hive Monitoring and Hive Data  Our ability to help better beekeeping depends upon collecting data and beekeeper participation. Come learn what PSBA is doing for in-hive monitoring and how you can help.

    Kit Hiatt – Volunteering with PSBA  Learn about volunteer opportunities and sign up to help PSBA achieve our mission!  Sign up to help with apiary work parties, honey sales events, learning events (like field day!), swarm catching, speaking opportunities and more.  Sign up and get involved with PSBA!

    Tracy Klein – Winter Hive Management Learn tips and tricks for winter hive management and keeping your bees healthy over winter

    Kathy Cox – Master Beekeeping Certification and PSBA Classes Come talk to Kathy and learn how you can become a certified Master Beekeeper!  Kathy will tell you about the program, and how you can reach your apprentice level, simply by attending our meetings, or attending the beginning beekeeping class.

    Nancy Beckett – Honey Vendor and PSBA swag Come get some of our delicious club honey! Buy a PSBA T-shirt and other goodies

    Bruce Becker- Langstroth hive equipment and Tools  Learn about the equipment and tools of the beekeeper.  Come see demonstrations and ask questions about what is needed to provide a safe home for your bees.

    Bee Package Vendors will be on hand if you are needing to order bees this year

    And more…

  • Subscribe to our Buzz Blog Email

    * = required field
  • Quick Links