“Successful Beekeeping in Whatcom County”
(The 2019 class is already completed. Thanks to all my students and to our host, Chuckanut Center! The class description below describes what we cover. Contact me if you’re interested in next year’s class which will begin early March 2020.)
This 8-week course will focus on my own methods for keeping honeybees alive, healthy and productive under the conditions and challenges we currently face right here in Whatcom County. With these field-tested techniques, I believe every new beekeeper can succeed right from the beginning.
There’s a lot to be learned about beekeeping in books and online, but those resources don’t usually reflect our local beekeeping challenges. This class should be viewed as a kind of mentoring. I will show you “hands-on” how I manage my own hives successfully year after year. My methods are a composite of what I’ve learned from other talented local beekeepers, lots of study and years of practice. I will pass on as much of that as possible in eight 2-hour classes.
I started beekeeping in 2005 with one California “package” from Belleville Honey. I have never bought bees or queens since then. I raise my own bees as sustainably as possible with as few outside inputs as possible. My dark, “Carniolan-ish” bees are gentle, over-winter well, are relatively disease-free, and respond well to parasite management. ANY beekeeper can do the same with good training and persistence. That’s what this class will offer. My goal: locally raised bees that thrive in Whatcom County.
A NOTE: This class deals with Langstroth hive equipment and management techniques. “Bees in Boxes.” This method has been field-proven as the most successful for beekeepers world-wide over more than 160 years and works beautifully in our local weather conditions. Of course, I’m glad to discuss other types of hives and systems briefly, but we will concentrate on Langstroth and how this method can be used to best advantage for you and your bees.
We will have our own bees to work with! Weather permitting, we will make several daytime field trips to my teaching apiary at WWU, The Outback Apiary.
We will meet at Chuckanut Center in Fairhaven, Tuesday evenings 6:30-8:30 starting early March 2020. Class is limited to 15 beekeepers.
We will cover:
– Basic Honeybee Biology and how to use it to your advantage.
– Special challenges we face in Whatcom County with our unpredictable maritime climate.
– Equipment: preparing, maintaining, my recommendations.
– Package Bees and Nucleus Hives: Getting off to a good start!
– Hive Inspections: what you’re seeing and how to use that information.
– Swarms: prevention, catching, hiving.
– Diseases and Parasites: keeping your bees healthy while doing them no harm.
– Feeding Bees: when, how much, when to stop, what to feed.
– Honey: several harvesting approaches for hobby beekeepers, sales, hygiene.
– Queens: marking, raising your own, handling.
– Preparing for successful over-wintering: combining for strength, insulation, winter feeding. !
– Bring Your Bees into Spring: Hooray! You made it through to the next season!
That’s just a partial list. Bring your questions, plans and ideas. We will come up with a 2019 Season Plan for each participant. Want to know more about me? Look HERE.
Questions? Post them HERE on my website. See you in class!
Whatcom Bee Help
Kirsten Drickey and Kendall Whitney
Michael’s thorough and thoughtful advice helped us weather our first season as beekeepers, and I look forward to learning more from him as we–hopefully!–advance in our skills as beekeepers.… Read more “Kirsten Drickey and Kendall Whitney”
I recommend contacting Michael for any beekeeping questions.… Read more “Chuck Howell”
[Michael has] come to my home and guided me through inspections, identified problems, and helped me understand the intricacies of beekeeping.… Read more “Emilie Jenkins”
I would trust Michael to do the best for me and my bees.… Read more “Janet Wilson”
Brian and Marcia Hoelzen
The northwest is a challenging place to be a beekeeper, but Michael has saved our hives more than once.… Read more “Brian and Marcia Hoelzen”
[Michael] has encyclopedic knowledge of honey bees, beekeeping, and honey production, and he is able to share it in an understandable way.… Read more “Evan Jones”
Due to [Michael’s] help I am a much more confident bee keeper and able to manage challenges on my own.… Read more “Gary Bachman”
There was plenty of bee keeping information in print and on line, but what ultimately worked for me was [finding Michael] and having him become my “bee mentor”. … Read more “Dick Steinkamp”