Dear Fellow Beekeepers,
If you’ve followed the news I’m sure you noticed it has been raining wildcats and wolves (that’s several orders of magnitude over cats and dogs) – this portends good and bad news for beekeepers. The good news is that we will still be able to get bees from my supplier (he has lost 1500 colonies) and the end of the big California drought is at hand- if the dams don’t burst. The bad news is everything is running late (i.e. the almond blooms) and we’ll see a price increase in packages ($5) and queens ($2) plus our shipments will begin in April, the 14th being the earliest. We’ll have 6 shipments of 90 packages each (see the order form to select the date you want); let’s hope it doesn’t get hot in Seattle or California- makes for poor shipping.
I’ve just come back from a family vacation with my daughter and 2 granddaughters; of course we stopped and visited (for tax purposes) with my bee supplier and the acres and acres of almond blooms (the pollination fees are up to $180/colony – not a bad 2-week paycheck if you’re operating several thousand colonies; but think about getting forklifts or 18 wheelers stuck in the orchard mud miles from nowhere). The bees will build large populations on the almonds and wild mustard to prepare them for shaking into packages and shipment to Alaska.
There have been a few developments in the bee world #1 being as of January 1, 2017, in order to feed antibiotics to bees you have to have a veterinarian prescribe the drugs. I am not one to advocate feeding antibiotics as they routinely do down south and how many vets are knowledgeable about bee diseases? Fumadil-B (the white powder you get in the snack sized baggies from me in the spring for control of Nosema) does not fall under these new Federal Regs but as soon as I finish off the partial jar I have on hand I will no longer supply it – our season is so short that diseases (especially mites) don’t have a chance to build to major problem status (different story if you are going to attempt overwintering). The difficult method of diagnosing Nosema and the efficacy of treatment is up in the air so I’ve decided to go organic (at least no chemicals in the hive).
The schedule and prices for bee orders and classes are attached to this email as well as on my web site; One major change – if you order bees through the web site please put the check number in the appropriate spot – last year the post office managed to screw up 14 of my orders (“But I mailed in a check”), I'm hoping this will put one more layer of record keeping in the machine. If you call about your bees please know the date you ordered – “Hi, this is Bob, are my bees here yet?” is not sufficient information as there must be 20 Bobs and 540 package orders. Let’s pray for a warm spring, lots of willows and good build up! I’ll be home to FBKS about March 7 (PS- I heard there was snow in FBKS).
I will have a limited amount of used (but in excellent shape) equipment this spring plus some new, never-been-used honey supers with ten frames and foundation. They are painted, assembled and ready to go on a Langstroth hive (as I get older my bee abilities diminish). Talk to me in mid-March about used hives and in June for the honey supers.