A message from Dr. Ramesh SagiliOSU Apiculture Professor

Oregon Beekeepers: 

The OSU Honey Bee Lab is opening its doors for an exciting opportunity to view experiments, lab equipment, pest/disease diagnostics, and to meet lab personnel! The lab is located on the OSU campus in Corvallis (this is not the apiary lab site). Due to limited lab space, attendance is limited to 25 people. If over 25 register, the lab will do a lottery and notify you if your name was drawn. Please fill out the form by accessing the following and they will get back to you with more information: https://beav.es/iAq

OSU Citizen Science Project: Swarm Study

Attention beekeepers who would like to participate in a study on swarms!

Pollinator Pathways

Establishing pollinator-friendly habitats and food sources for bees, butterflies and birds www.pollinator-pathway.org

A magic moment
An emerging bee is born
She assumes her tasks

Connie Axelrod, 2021 COBKA Haiku Contest Winner

Upcoming events

18 Jul 2022 6:00 PM • 16 NW Kansas Ave, Bend, OR 97703


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.

June in your Central Oregon Apiary

Aaah we’ve got warmer weather, thunderstorms and lots of flowers.


We’ve all bee talking about the swarm season, usually starts mid may and goes to the end of June.  It’s a natural process of procreation for our colonies and at some point, they’ll GET THAT URGE.  YOU need to decide what you’ll be doing about it.  There are primarily 4 techniques that work in different fashions.  In past years, I’ve thought the nucs were somewhat immune to swarming the first year as they take time to get up to speed. This year however I’ve seen several of this year’s nucs filling their hive boxes and swarming.

  • 1.       Let them swarm.  It provides a brood break for mite control, you might be able to catch the swarm, you’ll probably get a new queen out of the deal.  However, they might not requeen successfully, you’ll lose half your workers and have a month of no new brood setting your colony back, you might not catch the swarm and your neighbors might be turned against you because of the big ball of bees next to their front door.
  • 2.       Add a honey super (Langstroth) before it is needed.  (that means NOW or last week if it’s a strong hive), or swap with empties (5 drawn frames or so) of the brood and transplant to a weaker hive, or if honey bound, swap some empty drawn frames for some honey frames and checkerboard them through the brood chamber keeping the honey frames for emergency feeding next winter.  All this to reduce crowding, one of the triggers of swarming.
  • 3.       You can make a split (walk-away or adding a queen) or if there are capped queen cells, an artificial swarm (removing the queen and 5 or 6 frames of uncapped brood with associated nurse bees into another box)
  • 4.       Finally, next year think about going into spring with a fresh young queen (that usually means requeening in the Fall)

In May, we may have been resting on our laurels with respect to Varroa.  This month you need to do mite counts and treat accordingly.  Generally, your nucs and packages will keep their levels pretty low until later in the summer, but the overwintered colonies can start having some higher numbers.  You need to decide on you’re acceptable mite levels.  Look at the HBHC tools for varroa management for specifics, however the variables you’ll need to watch for treatments are average temperature (highs and lows (and this month is a good month for not too high of temperatures)), whether there is (or will be) a honey super on and how high the mite counts are.  Some are quite good at killing lots of mites but are harder on our bees and queens (more drastic to “knock down” the mite numbers).  Others aren’t quite as good with the mites, but with lower initial mite counts, don’t hurt the bees as much (keep the numbers under control).

Finally, if your colony isn’t doing well at this point (doubled or tripled in size since looking at it in April) you need to fix it.  New queen, add brood, move to a better foraging location, treat for mites find other diseases, combine with another.  If they aren’t flourishing now, there is an issue and they won’t get better through the summer without an intervention.

Enjoy the springtime and early summer.  Remember that sunscreen.

Allen Engle

COBKA Notes - Archives

COBKA Meeting Slide/Video Archives

“Voiceless Flowers”

among greenery

quiet blossom safari

olfactory binds

Naomi Price, 2020 Haiku Contest honorary mention

Please take our brief 2022 Swarm Survey:


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.

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