Hard to believe we’re halfway through the year and already into peak bee season! The Portland metro area is popping with color and lush green leaves and wonderful floral scents. Wisteria and rosemary are in full bloom, the horse chestnuts are coming as we say goodbye to pears and apple blossoms. Last year, I planted an area of my apiary with Botanical Interests brand of a pollinator flower seed mix. It is trying to come back this year, though I noticed it is currently dominated by a fast-spreading euphorbia. Poppies and borage are also making the scene and hopefully won’t get too crowded out. Might be time for some “weeding”.
The best of the swarm season is closing and as of this writing PUB has collected 77 swarm reports, up for grabs for our 184 registered users. Our May meeting featured Max Kuhn who spoke to us about brood breaks for varroa mite management. Max has 15 years of beekeeping experience, is a master level student in the Oregon Master Beekeeper Program and developed a unique method to cage the queen on a frame, probably familiar to most Oregon clubs. The system is a form of hive brood break, which uses a queen excluder screen to restrict the queen to one frame. The queen continues to lay on this frame. After 9 days, when all the other brood in the hive has hatched, her eggs/brood is the only game in town and the mites are drawn to that frame which is later removed. He has provided most clubs with instructions on this technique and it’s more one tool in our toolbox for effective alternative for mite control.