Central Oregon



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"Ladies Night" by Jolene & Harley

Upcoming events

14 Jul 2020 6:00 PM • Redmond
28 Jul 2020 6:00 PM • This is an online event (via Zoom)


We are a diverse bunch of individuals who share a fascination for the honey bee and its workings. Our members range from full-time beekeepers and pollinators with hundreds of hives to hobbyists involved in backyard beekeeping. 

Some members do not even keep bees, but are fascinated by the six legs and four wings of Apis mellifera.


The Mission of the Central Oregon Beekeeping Association (COBKA) is to promote effective, economic and successful regional beekeeping through education, collaboration, communication and research in the spirit of friendship.

We meet on the fourth Tuesday of most months at the Bend Environmental Center. 

Funny Stuff Them Bees-

(Dang BUGS)

Bees are fun.  Bees are great.  Other peoples’ bees that is....What I HAVE noticed is that that when MY bees ARE nice, quiet, and behaving themselves as sweet honeybees should, it indicates sure as all get-out that they are up to something, always no good, and attempting to cover their tiny six-legged tracks.

            It always makes me smirk with disbelief when passers-by stop and gaze at my busy little bees, uttering such nonsense such as awww, look at the sweet little honeybees...  Fools!  I know my bees...they are undoubtedly planning either a breakaway swarm with all the honey crop to thank me for a year of assiduous care, or seeing how fast they can convert to an Africanized attack/bomber hive.  And yet, yup...I will save each one when they try to drown by the handfuls in a teaspoon of water.  It’s what beekeepers DO.

            And, this joy of beekeeping is not limited to the initial greetings of Spring.      This would be when your mutinous colony takes to the air, like deliriously joyful dandelion seeds, circling above the yard, coming to rest 20 feet in a leafy tree, with all hopes of honey gone with it.  No, it only gets better.

            It’s only June, and yet, look!  The honey super is full!  Oh, wow! It is so heavy.  Thank you girls!!!!  I can see white fresh wax on the top of the frames.  With a chest full of pride and happiness, I gently lift a frame to see if it is all capped.  Oh, the joy.  Capped brood.  5 frames of it.  If my eyes were not transfixed by this final sabotage, they would be rolling hard enough to see my brain.  I am sure of it.  Now, their super is ruined for a month, honey is not being gathered, and I have to start with a new super on top of this ungovernable circus of fun.  This new development embarks me on building what looks like a skyscraper, and perhaps even a successful beekeeping outfit, and yet is a monument to beekeeper inadequacy.  Well, at least I don’t have to tell on myself.... is about all the consolation I can come up with.  Obviously a queen hatched, came back, and went into the wrong entrance.  Dang bugs!  Welcome to beekeeping.  God’s way of keeping you humble, amazed, and...did I already say humble???  Get used to feeling like a dolt, and you will be a competent beekeeper.  Always so much to learn and experience.  And, besides that, misery loves company, so come join us and see how fun and fulfilling beekeeping can be!

Kim Schembari

Aaaah, July! 

Our summer is in full swing.  Swarm season is pretty much over (any swarms now aren’t of much use, except as a nuc or for bulking up an existing hive.  The dearth is finally over (Yay) with the sagebrush starting to bloom.

I’m not usually a touchy-feely kind of beekeeper, however, in the month of July, after I have everything under control (or at least think I do), I do occasionally like to sit in front of the hive and just watch the comings and goings, as well as the air traffic control.  Or on a warm, calm and non-dearth day, take a frame out and just watch the girls at work.  It’s really relaxing and quite amazing.

For the month of July, the bee population is usually levelling off.  Now is an EXCELLENT time to count your mites if you haven’t done a control yet.  Remember that the mite population growth lags the bee population growth (that means they’re catching up now).  If the numbers are high (I want 1% or less), seriously look at some treatment.  For the current recommendations for treatments, threshold mite levels and counting techniques (as well as how to videos), see the honeybee health coalition’s varroa control tools and essay.

For Langstroth hives, keep ahead of your hive with respect to honey supers.  You don’t have to, and in fact it might be considered too intrusive, tear the hive apart each time you’re inspecting.  This time of year, after I’ve counted, treated and counted, I’ll generally open it enough to verify there’s sufficient super space, and the queen is laying (seeing eggs) and there is a healthy population.  This can usually be accomplished by pulling the 2nd in frame from the edge of the super to see if it is full.  Then pulling a middle hive body frame (taking out an edge frame if needed to avoid rolling queen) to see if you can see eggs), and watching the air traffic at the entrance, and an overall impression of the number of bees between frames.  (10 minutes total)  Any issues with these items, fix them ASAP.

For Top bars and Long hives, check the middle of the brood chamber for eggs and the end of the honey area to ensure enough space.  Make sure you’re expanding the overall hive volume as needed by moving the follower board and ensuring there are frames or top bars available to build comb.

For those who have a goal for honey production, this is the important production month of the year.  The bees have saved what they need for the winter, and we want to let them continue working without any undue interruptions because they are now making honey for us.

Wishing you a successful summer and enjoying all the interesting and fun things in life.

Allen Engle

Big thanks to Kim & Allen for writing this month's notes!

COBKA Monthly Notes Archives

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