What a wonderful year it has been to be a beekeeper in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest! The winter of 2017/2018 maintained temperatures as mild and conducive for healthy wintering of bees as could ever have been wished for. The Willamette Valley had one cold snap early on in December. After that, ambient temperatures were so mild and steady, they rivaled that of temperature-controlled shelters.
The buzz in California almond pollination season in February was all about how great the bees looked!
Once back from almonds, this was the year to make increase, shake packages, and make divides. We have had bees coming out of our ears, on a sometimes ridiculous scale, all year long—so far.
The year 2018 has produced very lush vegetative growth resulting in sometimes unseasonably intense early nectar flows. Were you caught by surprise?
Of course, though I almost hate to bring it up after all of the great news, mites are always a problem when the bees are so successful. Be aware that we are on red alert this summer and fall for Varroa populations. Please take care.
The year is far from over. Make sure to check the Oregon State Beekeepers Association website www.orsba.org for upcoming events.
Remember, the OSBA is an association. Everything good that happens is the result of individual and team efforts of our membership. Your fellow beekeepers in the OSBA want to encourage you to volunteer on a level that suits you. After all of the hard work, we have to remind ourselves to have fun when we can. Giving back to the industry by helping out is fun!
Finally, I want to remind you of the OSBA membership drive that is underway. How many beekeepers do you know who are not members? Please help them understand their position in the Oregon agricultural community as beekeepers. They are very important. Encourage them to take themselves seriously and join the voice of Oregon beekeeping by becoming an OSBA member.
Thank you, OSBA beekeepers, for all of your hard work and support for the industry. Although we as beekeepers often work in isolation during the busy season or get buried in work, be assured: your contribution to your fellow beekeepers, beekeeping, and the industry does not go unnoticed.