Central Oregon



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"Ladies Night" by Jolene & Harley

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25 Aug 2020 7:00 PM • This is an online event (via Zoom)
22 Sep 2020 7:00 PM • This is an online event (via Zoom)
27 Oct 2020 7:00 PM • This is an online event (via Zoom)


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.


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.

We meet on the fourth Tuesday of most months at the Bend Environmental Center. 

A "Warreor"

In beekeeping a lot of things happen quite by accident.  For me an accident, not the car wreck kind, at the very beginning set the future course of my beekeeping career.  Being a master gardener I originally toyed with the idea of being a beekeeper purely to provide pollination services for my vegies.  I toyed and procrastinated about it, occasionally mentioning the thought to my wife Ann with no serious momentum towards making it a reality.  Then one Christmas morning I opened a present from my lovely wife, Dewey Caron’s book, Bee Biology and Beekeeping.  Surprised and please I was flabbergasted to also learn she had also secretly enrolled me in COBKA’s upcoming bee school.  I think I remember her comment being something like, “I am tired of hearing you talk about being a beekeeper, now you are going to be one.”

I furiously devoured Dewey’s book, exclaiming endlessly to Ann on the wonders I learned of this miraculous creature, Apis mellifera.  But the book was also daunting.  Such a steep learning curve.  A not cheap hobby. What if I hate it? Beyond education how should I get started?

Then I landed on what I thought was a very practical and low risk approach.  I live on twelve acres outside of Sisters.  Why not get a real beekeeper to place a hive or two on my property so I can shadow and learn from them, maybe get a jar or two of honey in the deal too.  After that I could decide if beekeeping was really right for me. So I placed an ad on Craigslist’s list and almost immediately got a response. Sweet! Pun intended. 

But now here’s the accident that changed everything.  The beekeeper, new to Central Oregon, said he would be happy to place hives at my home.  But then he added he did not use Langstroth hives.  Instead he managed something called a Warré hive. A what? He gave me a short course on the telephone on the French priest, Emil Warré, and what he called “The People’s Hive.”  I was intrigued. I had always assumed I would be a Lang guy but after doing a ton of research I found Warré’s hive and management philosophy fit well with my budding approach to beekeeping.  A so I became what is known as a “Warreor”.  So named because we are a minority that often have to do battle with those who believe we take the road a lot less traveled than we should.  However, there is no one right way to keep bees.  In all hive types and management approaches there are both pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages to each.  There are plenty of cons to a Warre’ hive and I would not recommend it to beginning beekeepers even though that is the way this journey began for me. By the way, I didn’t even bother having the guy put out hives on my property. I just went whole hog in. Accidents do happen.  Sometimes they turn out well.

Clyde Dlidine

August in the

Central Oregon Apiary 

In Central Oregon, I find August is the final month of the summer in which the hives,  beekeepers and apiaries are doing primarily Summer stuff.

The population of your hive is currently at it’s maximum.  However, looking at the population graph that is frequently cited comparing the mite and honey bee populations in a hive, the mites continue to increase.  This is a good time to count and treat if necessary to keep the levels down and prepare the hive for winter bee production next month.  In selecting treatments, keep in mind the efficacy, temperature and whether you have honey supers on.  Your personal safety is actually the utmost concern.  The honey bee health coalition tools for varroa management has excellent tools to help you decide what to do, how and when.

For many of us, August is the last month of honey collection.  I find that the September flows are somewhat smaller, temps are lower and I like to pull the supers late in the month, or very early September in order to give the colony time to back fill comb as the population decreases, be able to use treatments which cannot be used with honey supers on and help the bees to work on raising winter bees.  Wouldn’t hurt to start planning how you’ll do your honey processing in September (reserving extractor, ordering containers and filters.

If you have a/some weak colonies, this month is the last chance to fix the problem and get some growth.  If you wait until September, the resolution methods will reduce to combining or requeening.  This month, you can still provide food (syrup/honey frame) or brood or mite relief or combine two and have the opportunity for them to improve.

Central Oregon Blooms and honey flows.  In July, I was reminded of how diverse the Central Oregon flora environment is.  I mentioned that the Sagebrush would be blooming early in the month.  However several folks reminded me that in other parts of the area, this occurs later (even in August).  Hopefully we all keep learning.  In August (at my house!) I’m seeing the rabbit brush starting to color.  It’s usually quite a long bloom.

Allen Engle

Big thanks to Clyde & Allen for writing this month's notes!

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