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April 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 4

Managing Colonies For Honey Production

By Franclyn Heinecke, PCBA President
It’s no big surprise that when asked in our 2014 survey, PCBA beekeepers said that next to helping the environment, being able to get honey was a major reason for keeping honey bees.  This month, we are pleased to welcome Morris Ostrofsky from Oregon to speak with us on that topic.  Morris was the first beekeepers from Oregon to be certified through the Washington State master beekeeper program.  He focused his papers and presentation on practical and fun applications to beekeeping – graft-free queen rearing, how to make nucs, glass jar beekeeping, etc.  See his papers here:


Help get WA bills passed

There are two bills in the WA State legislature that benefit beekeepers, and both need help from local beekeepers to get passed.

SHB 1654 addresses the need for forage, and establishes pilot projects to control noxious weeds while also providing nutritionally rich forage for honey bees.  Scientists widely agree that having plentiful season-long forage is the single most effective way to keep bees healthy.  Having better forage in WA State was the top recommendation of the statewide Honey Bee Working Group in 2014.  Passing this bill establishes some pilot projects to evaluate how to keep rich bee forage while also controlling noxious weeds.  SHB 1654 has passed the House and is now being considered in the Senate.

SB 5017 designates beekeepers as farmers for tax purposes.  This is the third year we have taken this bill to the legislature, and it’s time for it to pass and be made into law.  Beekeepers participate in agriculture just as other farmers do.  We depend on the same rainfall, temperature and other plant growing conditions to keep our bees healthy as other farmers do for the health of their livestock or crops.  We have a B&O exemption through 2017.  Passing SB 5017 would mean that we are permanently exempt from paying those taxes and are on the same level as other farmers in WA State.

If you support these bills, please considering encouraging your legislator to do the same.  Here’s an easy way to do that:
  • Go to the bill information page on the legislature website:
  • Put the bill number in the “search by” box and click search.  When that bill information comes up, click on the green box to “Comment on this bill.”
  • You will be asked to verify your address.  That will get your comments directly to both of your local representatives and your senator.  
  • Fill in the needed information, check that your support passage of the bill, and add any comment you feel is needed.  
  • You will need to repeat that process to make comments on both bills.
The first WSBA legislative awareness day in Olympia was a success! 
We helped raise awareness on issues affecting bees and beekeepers, and saw SHB 1654 (forage) pass out of House Rules the next day.  Every legislator and many staffers got material about our bills along with honey sticks.
PCBA had the largest group of beekeepers there.  Members attending were:  Marge Pearson, Andy Matelich, Charles Schaffer, Becky Sundstrom, Kristine Statler, Jim and Karol McCaig, Lisa Garnett, Beth Samuelson and Franclyn Heinecke.

As always, the observation hive got a lot of attention.  Thanks to Charles Schaffer and Andy Matelich for that beautiful box with bees!

Here's a legislative update from the WSBA Legislative Chair,
Tim Hiatt:

HB 1654 establishes a pilot project to replace noxious weeds that are good bee forage with non-noxious weeds that are still bee forage. If passed, this bill would help state government craft recommendations and procedures to promote good bee forage to replace noxious weed bee forage. This bill originated in the House and passed the Agriculture committee, the General Government committee, Rules, and passed on the floor. Now it goes to the Senate and is assigned to the Natural Resources committee. We have some pro-honey bee members on that committee, so we're optimistic of this bill's chances.

SB 5017 will have beekeepers be considered farmers by the state: This bill originated in the Senate, passed the Agriculture committee, and is waiting for action in the Ways & Means committee. Because it contains a tax change provision, it is necessary to implement the state budget, and was not subject to the mid-session cut off which passed last Wednesday. Now that the busy time before cut off has passed, we hope it will move soon. The sooner it gets voted out of Ways & Means to Rules committee, and then to the floor, the sooner it can start the same process in the house. This bill is not dead, but each passing day without actions makes it harder to have time to address it in the House.

How you can get involved? Let your representative know your opinion, especially if your representative is on the committee that is hearing these bills. Do some research, go to and read up on the issues. On 5017, read point #3, Level The Playing Field; on 1654, read point #1, Provide Adequate Forage. Review the proposals at and
Contact your representatives, by phone or email. Keep your message brief, to the point, and not just copied and pasted. Constituents hold special weight with their legislators. We must tell them what we think.

Both these proposal will make beekeeping better in our state. Let's work to get them passed.

Tim Hiatt, Legislative Chair, WSBA

In January, the Washington State Department of Agriculture put out a call for comments on developing an MP3 - Managed Pollinator Protection Plan, one of the recommendations of the state honey bee industry work groups that brought forward their final report in december after a full year of work. The question was about how broad a plan should be initiated in the beginning stages - a few crops at a time or a broader spectrum approach.

As a result of the comments received, WSDA's Erik Johansen reports that commenters were generally supportive of developing an MP3 for Washington. Some agreed with the concept of developing an initial MP3 for a few crops and expanding the program over time, while others felt that the MP3 should be more comprehensive from the beginning. The tree fruit industry is ready to work on the MP3 in late 2015, and the alfalfa seed industry is ready to go now.

"Therefore, WSDA proposes to develop an initial MP3 for Washington, working with the alfalfa seed industry, beekeepers, researchers, and other experts. Additional pollinated crops (such as berries and tree fruits) will be included in the MP3 as soon as possible. Our ultimate goal remains the development of a comprehensive MP3 for all crops grown in Washington."

Even if you were not a commenter, but would like to be involved in the development process, you can contact Erik at to tell him of your interest.

Bit of Buzz...

Oxalic Acid has been approved as a registered varroa mite control, read an interesting article about it, by a local beekeeper and blogger, here, and one method to apply it here.
Have you ever thought of selling honey at a farmers market? This might be your chance!  Gig Harbor is starting a new market at the waterfront and is looking for vendors.

Applications are due by May 1st, so check out the information here.



Minutes from the February and March General Meetings here and here.

Minutes from the February Board Meeting here and the March 9th Special Board Meeting here.

Treasurer's Report

For the February report we have an Easter Egg.  Somewhere in the report you can find an error I made.  If you can find it then you really follow this information closely (i.e. you must be bored).  To jump right to the spoiler, look below the table.  
Aside from that, we had the usual revenue and income. In February we renewed our annual filing with the Secretary of State as well as renewed our website registration.  We also order equipment and bees for our two study grant participants.  Thank you Harvard for the price discount to help out new beekeepers.
Now for the spoiler alert.  You'll notice that we brought in $315 for WSBA books but we paid out $390. The WSBA books (Apprentice and Journeyman books) simply passed through and these should always be the same amount.  I miscounted when I wrote the check to WSBA and found the error when I reconciled at the end of the month so we overpaid by $75.  Next month I'll deduct that from the WSBA so we'll be set.  If you found the error without reading this spoiler alert than kudos to you!!  You are really paying attention.

Apiary - Swarms


I want to think every new beekeeper that came out to the hive building demo  at the honey house I want to say a special thanks to Jim and Ginger for all their help we had a great turnout and a lot of fun.

The bees are looking really good I am starting to feed sugar syrup so they are building up quite nicely. This time of year you still need to make sure that your bees have plenty of stores or you're starting to feed already. Be on the lookout for swarm cells with this warm weather hives are building up very quick so keep an eye on them to make sure they don't swarm on you.


We have had her first swarm on March 26th, this is very very early but with the warm weather I am not surprised at all this year is going to be very busy with swarms of you have not signed up for the swarm list please see me at the next general meeting

Jeff Jones
Apiary chair

PCBA Website

Library Book Purchase Requests
Our new PCBA Librarian, Laurel Wright Osborn, is taking suggestions for new books that members would like to have for the PCBA Library Book Cart. Please email Laurel at Also, PCBA will have a new online library catalog starting in April which will allow members to place holds on books and search the listings. Please return all library items at the April General Meeting so they can be added to the catalog. Thank you!
Spring Fair in Puyallup April 16-19th 2015 -- Volunteer Signup Sheet Now Online:

Want to volunteer at the bee booth and enjoy a day at the Spring Fair?

Sign up online at:
Volunteers may also signup online for Monday and Saturday Apiary Field Days. Members in the Journeyman program or that have one year beekeeping experience are encouraged to participate.

Register Your Hives in WA State By April 1, 2015
All beekeepers in Washington must register their hives with the WA State Dept. of Agriculture by April 1, 2015. To download the registration form, go to: 
Registration fees are based on the number of colonies (hives) you will own this year. Fees for registering hives are $5 (for between 1-5 hives), $10 (for between 6-25 hives), etc., with separate fees for brokers. Fees are listed on the form.
Your registration fees are deposited into a research fund that supports WSU projects, such as:
  • Controlled temperature and atmosphere overwintering trials for colony survival,
  • Pesticide residue characteristics in wax from urban and rural hives, and
  • Nosema research and more.
Please Support WSU research and register your hives today!

Plant a Bee Garden
April is the perfect time to plant a pollinator garden to provide forage for honey bees and native pollinators. Visit our new 'Plant a Bee Garden' webpage for a list of seed companies offering easy-to-grow bee pollinator wildflower seed mixes, cover crops, and a list of the best nectar and pollen plants for honey bees:
Submitted by Becky Sundstrom

April 2015  Membership Report

Active Members: 280
Comp & Other Bee Clubs: 6

Additional Records: 98
March meeting attendance: 109
Due January:  Denise Angerman, Karen M Boyd, Tyler Bridge, Laura Brooks, Elsa Buchert, Kelly Buck, Tyler Budge, Vivian Chamorro, Candyce Chittenden, John Clancy, Karen Cota, Steve Curtiss, Joe Delgado, Ryan Everett, Erica Fickeisen, Michael Flannigon, James Getty, Anne Gilman, Mandy Gomez, Alicia Halbert, Karen Hegarty, Alister Hunt, Blake Hurlbut, Susan King, Matt Koch, Eric Kuester, Laura Lee, Hal LeMay, Jill Lyons, Bridget Macchione, Laura McDonald, Mark Mietzner , Faith Miller, Tim Modine, Deborah Moore, Sandi Phillips, Ronald Plewka, Thomas P Quinlar, Kenneth Quirie, Deborah Reeve, Michelle Reinicke, Mary Settle, Sharon Charbonnel, Bruce Stelmar, David Sturtz, Rebecca Taxier, Doug Thomas, Charles Thornhill, Delbert Tomlinson, Jenn Trettin, Dave Trotter, Shelby Vander Molen, Doug Watt, Greg Willits, Lee Woody, Rachel Yantzer, Timg-Ling Yeh

Due February: Mark Adams, Ann Church, Shannon Cline, Elena Gleyzer, Richard Holmes, Brian Holthe, John Inch, Jill Jensen, Carolynn Jones, Edward Ketcham, Sheila Lentz, Fred Masella, Roger McLhathin, Lauri Miller, Rebecca Nighswonger, Keanu Pernorio, Cheryl Peterson, James Smith, Gayle Southwell, Matt Sudo, Wayne Ward, Alyssa White

Due March:  Perry Bartram, Sheryl Craig, Vernon Craig, Louis Matej , Hilda Steinhauer, Ernest Stephenson, Gary Thompson, Greg York

Due April: Timothy Burbank, Karen Kelly, Keith Kusler, Roger McClatchie, Swvin Nova, Lenah Raykovitz, Glenn Sellars

New Member(s):  Michael Bales, Tina Bergerson, Barbara Headley, Patrick Hinman, Jeff Hunter, James Riley, Robert Williams 

Upcoming Events

April 6th
  • 6:15pm - Beginning Beekeeping Class & Journeymen Group
  • 7:30pm - General Meeting: Morris Ostrofsky - How to manage bees for optimal honey production
April 20th
  • 6:00pm - Executive Board Meeting
April 25th
  • 11:00am - Apiary Field Day
May 4th
  • 5:00pm - Apiary Field Day
  • 6:15pm - Beginning Beekeeping Class & Journeymen Group
  • 7:30pm - General Meeting: Thomas Mani (from the Olympia Beekeepers Association) - "From Beekeeper to Bee Steward'
May 18th
  • 6:00pm - Executive Board Meeting
May 23rd
  • 11:00am - Apiary Field Day
View complete event information here.
Copyright © 2015 Pierce County Beekeepers Association, All rights reserved.

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