Monday, November 30, 2009

Bees of the Methow

Hi Methow Valley Beekeepers
I am new to the valley but have been beekeeping enthusiast for about 35 years. My family and I have decided to give the Methow a serious try and my intent is to eventually fulfill a childhood dream making my living as a full time beekeeper.
I have been talking with Dave about my thought of nurturing a strain of bees in the Methow that would ween us off of the need to bring in commercial genetics and all the weaknesses that entails. We have a unique environment here where, if we chose, to we could control diseases and pest of honeybees.
Honeybees do not easily deal with the Alpine conditions that surround the valley, meaning the only ways they can get here is if we bring them in or if they swarm up through the lower reaches of the valley. I have looked at the end of the valley and my conclusion is it is probably so lacking in suitable cavities that very few if any swarms could make it here on their own.
My goal in producing a Methow Bee is that we would be able to fall back to what beekeeping was like 100 years ago. Basic management without chemicals of any kind. I know the survivor genes are already present in the local population of bees. Dave has at least one candidate hive that has survived at least three winters without treatments. While I expect there are very few feral hives in the valley, there are bound to be a few. All we need to do if find them and collect genetic samples to add to our collection.
Anyone else interested in participating? I will be looking for other survivor stock. The criteria is as follows. They need to have survived at least three years without any chemical treatment(hard or soft) of any kind. If they have requeened, it has to have been of their own accord, not because a commercial queen was added during that time period. I would also be most interested those that has minimal feeding done.
Once we start, it will be our job to bring the rest of the beekeepers in the valley along so that we can rid ourselves of unadapted genetics from the outside unless we are expressly and consciously deciding to add to the gene pool from an outside source.

Let me know if you are interested. My email address is


Hanz Scholz

Thursday, July 2, 2009

check out this bee guy

STYLE | June 23, 2009
Dining & Wine: The Beekeepers Ball
Benjamin Norman for The New York Times
Beekeepers, friends of beekeepers, people who like to dress as bees, bee-dressed children, and fans of local food were in attendance at a fund-raiser at Water Taxi Beach at South Street Seaport.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The bees are buzzing!

Today was a gorgeous day and when it's this nice my thoughts always turn to the bees. We've been checking them out weekly or so to keep the top entrances open and to check for numbers of dead bees. One hive seems to have a lot more dead than the other, but it made us wonder if that hive was still alive. Maybe there weren't any bees left alive to remove the dead ones.

Craig always said to look, smell, and listen. We can't look at them yet and can't smell anything, so today we got Don's stethoscope out and took it over to the hives. We placed the scope over the top entrance hole and heard a lovely humming coming through loud and clear from both hives!

I guess I am a worry-wart beekeeper, but I was so happy to know that both hives were alive. I know we aren't out of danger yet; I worry about whether our bees had enough stores to make it all winter. It's very hard to have to wait to open the hives.

We've ordered two more bee packages for April delivery. If both our hives survive the spring we'll be able to build our apiary to four hives. I think that's about all we'll be able to handle as hobbyists. I'm looking forward to comparing how the bees do who don't have to spend all their energy building comb like the package bees will have to do.

Wishing that all of your bees make it through and that you can continue to enjoy the bees again this year!

Bee Mary