Hello Whatcom County Beekeepers, New-bees, Wanna-bees,

Here’s a list of local beekeeping resources, including some bee book suggestions.  I’ve been sending versions of this to new beekeepers for years.  If you know of other beekeeping resources that aren’t listed here, please post to the online forums below.

ONLINE BEE-TALK:  The Facebook group, Whatcom Beekeeping and also the mtbakerbees online forum are good places to ask questions, find out about local meetings and bee events, and just check up on what beekeepers are talking about in Whatcom County.  Join us!  “All Questions are Good Questions!”

BOOKS: It’s important to have a basic “how-to-do-it” beekeeping book. There are many out there, but I have always liked Diana Sammataro’s “The Beekeeper’s Handbook.” There are several copies in the Whatcom County/Bellingham library system.

However, I’ve just found an even better one, “The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping, 2nd Edition.”  BBKA?  That’s The British Beekeepers Association.  Highly recommended !!!  If you’re not in the bee-book buying mood, check out this great site for basic beekeeping information online.

The Bellingham and Whatcom County Library System has a great collection of beekeeping books, so check there if you’d like to browse before buying.  Of course, there’s a lot of information on the internet, but it’s very hard for a new beekeeper to sift the good stuff out from the questionable.

BEE CLUB:  Check out the Mt. Baker Beekeepers Association (MBBA) website for lots of useful information, links and notices.  MBBA meets every third Wednesday of the month.  Meetings are held at Gateway Centre Executive Suites, 1313 E. Maple Street in “The Rainier Seminar Room,”  3rd Floor.  Meetings are open to anyone interested in beekeeping though you’re encouraged to join.

NEW BEEKEEPERS:  Our “Bee-ginners” session starts at 6:00pm, one hour before meetings begin. Questions and concerns? We’ll get you some answers! 

Bee Bits,” MBBA’s colorful monthly newsletter, is available free by subscription to anyone interested:  beebits@mtbakerbeekeepers.org

CLASSES:   Successful Beekeeping in Whatcom County with Michael Jaross” is a comprehensive course for new beekeepers.  8-week series:   March 13 – Tues. May 1  Tuesday Evenings:  6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.      Tuition: $175        Location:  Chuckanut Center.

We will cover Basic Beekeeping Essentials and Keeping Your Bees Alive, Healthy and Productive Today in Whatcom County, a unique and challenging place to keep bees.  Includes essential beekeeping biology, hive management and equipment basics.  All the classic skills needed to keep healthy and productive bees.   Essential for every new beekeeper in Whatcom County.  In-depth course description here:  whatcombeehelp.com/classes-workshops

Beginning Beekeeping at Whatcom Community College: Beekeeping expert Miguel Boriss will survey the basics–including setting up an apiary, managing your bees through the seasons, and being a good beekeeping steward in your neighborhood.  March 24, 2018, 9am-1pm. $55 and worth every penny.  Miguel’s Beekeeping – Level II meets April 14, 2018.

Hands-on Beekeeping Courses at Dancing Bee Apiary in Abbottsford, BC just 5 minutes from the Lynden border crossing.  Expertly taught by Shelley Armstrong, commercial beekeeper and equipment supplier. Several Whatcom County beekeepers have taken Shelley’s classes and speak glowingly of their learning experiences .

EQUIPMENT:  A good place for new beekeepers to start learning about equipment is a visit to a Local Beekeeping Equipment Supplier. Unfortunately our only full-service local supplier, Belleville Honey Co. in Burlington, (360) 757-1073, has quit the supply business.  They are still a source for Package Bees in spring, so  call early to reserve bees!   There are many good online suppliers.  Two of the largest are Mann Lake and Dadant.  It can be very instructive to look through bee supply catalogs just to see what beekeeping tools and equipment look like.  Both these suppliers have large online catalogs and they will gleefully send you their paper catalogs, too.

LOCAL QUEENS and EQUIPMENT:  Russell Deptuch at Bees Choice Honey in Ferndale offers local, high quality queens reared at his own apiary.  Check with him also for occasional super-deals on new and used beekeeping equipment.     (360) 815-3989   russ@beeschoice.com

PRIVATE CONSULTING:  My own consulting service for hobby beekeepers, Whatcom Bee Help, offers custom assistance and individualized instruction at your own hives.  I can help you with Getting Started, Hive Inspections, Vacation Care for Your Hives and many other apiary services.  Keep your bees alive and productive with Whatcom Bee Help.

Cheers, Michael

Michael Jaross
Whatcom Bee Help