Central Oregon



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23 Mar 2021 7:00 PM • This is an online event (via Zoom)
27 Apr 2021 7:00 PM • This is an online event (via Zoom)

2020 First Place Winnig Photo by Sam Utley


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.

February in a

Central Oregon Apiary

I find this is the hardest time of the year, at least from the patience point of view.  At this time, on warm days (40’s and calm, or 50’s) I’ll see activity on those hives that are in the sun, and alive.  Cleansing flights (remember we don’t poop in our house).  It’s those days that I’m always tempted to go out and start working the bees (inspections or just for curiosity).  Remember we still have a month or two of winter and this isn’t the time to get into you hive and mess up their organization unless it’s an emergency.

There are, however, a few things we should be doing, or at least contemplating.  As the warmer days get closer together, your hive will start “thinking” about brood rearing.  In order that they don’t starve just from eating all the stores, or because of brood rearing, it would be an excellent time to once again heft the back of your hive to evaluate if it’s still “significantly heavy”.  If not, consider some emergency feeding.  Fondant or dry sugar under the outer cover of a Langstroth or the back end of a TBH, a full or partially full frame or comb of honey somewhere near the cluster on any hive type.  NOT 1:1 syrup yet, as that will stimulate brood rearing and exacerbate the problem.

Also, if you’re planning on doing a broodless mite treatment, this month is when to do it.  This is particularly good for OA vaporization as you don’t tear the hive apart but just vaporize below the center of the hive.  Choose a warm day so the cluster isn’t too tight and the OA can permeate around all the bees.

Finally, those hives where you haven’t seen ANY activity since last November, even on warm calm days.  They’re probably dead.  This month, once again on a warm day, I like to pop the cover and verify they’re dead.  If so, now would be a good time to both do a post mortem (and figure out what to do differently to avoid next year (by the way, did you write your findings down in your notebook or log?)) as well as clean up prior to putting some new bees in in the Spring.  I like to do it a little early, to avoid mold from growing on any dead bees and it gives everything inside some time to dry out.  It’s also a good time to do some repairs and perhaps repaint the exteriors on these dead outs.  Also, on the dead outs, if there is honey left, I like to block the entrances to avoid/mitigate the foragers from other hives finding them in March and starting robbing.

If you’re ordering any new bees this year, NOW is the time to do it.  Many suppliers will take orders until everything is spoken for, then you’re out of luck.  So earlier is better.  Same with new equipment.  You’ll want to have it all ordered, received, put together and finished/painted before you need it instead of the night after you’ve received your bees.

Hopefully all of your colonies made it through the winter.

Allen Engle

Thoughts on our association.  You are a member of the Central Oregon Beekeepers Association.  Our stated mission is “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.”

Just to make sure you are aware of the benefits you are entitled to as a member, here are several of them. If you’re not yet taking advantage of them, please feel free. If you don’t know how, contact me and I’ll walk you through it.  Our club provides monthly meetings, usually with an expert in a particular area of beekeeping, or area of interest to beekeepers (either a member who’s an expert in a certain area, or a guest brought in from a university or commercial setting).  Along with this, we provide a 30 minute “beginner’s corner” where there will be 1 or more experienced beekeepers both to answer general beekeeping questions, explain terms and concepts to be covered by the speaker during the regular meeting as well, sometimes, as discussing what beekeepers ought to be working on and thinking about during a particular time of year……..all in a nonjudgmental environment where it’s ok and accepted to ask the basic questions. COBKA Meeting Slides Archives Monthly, we provide a “what to do in (month) in the apiary discussion, specific to central Oregon. In the Apiary Archives Most years (COVID has put a monkey wrench into this) COBKA also conducts a beginner bee school which, in one day, provides newbies with enough information to get started and through the first season with their bees.  Also, we try annually to organize an intermediate or advanced seminar where topics of interest especially to more experienced beekeepers are discussed.  Finally, we try to have one speaker a year who will present to a mixed (beekeepers and general public) on a topic that may be of general interest (native pollinators, Africanized honey bees, mason bees etc.)

Also along the education vein, you have access to our online forums where you can ask questions of the membership in general (open forum), or of experienced beekeepers (mentor forum), as well as coordinating equipment, bee and queen pickup and delivery or a place to sell stuff.  We provide scholarships to people who are working on their Oregon Master Beekeeper qualifications

We try to publicize the more important goings on in the regional beekeeping world.  State and regional conferences, honey bee loss polls etc. Events

Finally, we do provide access to extraction equipment and a swarm list.

Almost the most important part, which we’ve been somewhat missing this year, is the opportunity to visit and rub shoulders with a whole variety of other folks whose primary similarity is the interest in honey bees and pollination.

If you have questions about any of these, or suggestions of changes, or new opportunities, please let me know…….or better yet, sign up to be part of the steering committee where all of these items and others are discussed and decided on.  It’s very low stress, meeting quarterly and a great group of people.

Allen Engle 541-four two zero-0423

COBKA Monthly Notes Archives


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.

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