“Successful Beekeeping in Whatcom County”

My 2023 class will start Tuesday, March 7. Details below. This 8-week course focuses on my own methods for keeping honeybees alive, healthy and productive here in Whatcom County. With these techniques, field-tested over 17 years,  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 reflect our unique local beekeeping challenges.  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 local beekeepers, lots of study and years of practice.

I started beekeeping in 2005 with one California “package.”  I have never bought bees or queens since then.  I raise my own bees as sustainably as possible and 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.

NOTE:  This class deals with Langstroth hive equipment and management techniques.  AKA “Bees in Boxes.”  This method has proven successful for beekeepers world-wide over more than 160 years and works beautifully in Whatcom County.  I’m glad to discuss other types of hives, but we will concentrate on Langstroth.

Weather permitting, we’ll make several field trips to my hives near Lake Padden. Field trips are on weekends, scheduled so most people can attend.

Class will meet at Chuckanut Center in Fairhaven, Tuesday evenings 6:30-8:30 starting March 7th.

Tuition: $295  Limited to 15 beekeepers.  Register here.

Topics we will cover:

– Basic Honeybee Biology and how to use it to your advantage.
– Special challenges we face in Whatcom County with our changing maritime climate.
– Equipment: preparing, maintaining, buying 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!

Questions?  Send them HERE.  See you in class!

Cheers, Michael

Michael Jaross
Whatcom Bee Help

Janet Wilson

I would trust Michael to do the best for me and my bees. Read more “Janet Wilson”

Janet Wilson
Tsawassen, BC

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”

Kirsten Drickey and Kendall Whitney
Bellingham

Gary Bachman

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”

Gary Bachman
Bellingham 

Chuck Howell

I recommend contacting Michael for any beekeeping questions. Read more “Chuck Howell”

Chuck Howell
Howell Day Apiary , Samish Island

Evan Jones

[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”

Evan Jones
Bellingham 

Dick Steinkamp

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”

Dick Steinkamp
Bellingham

Emilie Jenkins

[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”

Emilie Jenkins
Bellingham 

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”

Brian and Marcia Hoelzen
Dewey Valley