Meetings

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The DC Beekeepers Alliance offers both regularly scheduled monthly meetings and special sessions that take advantage of experts visiting our area.

Our monthly meetups are now scheduled at The National Grange, 1616 H Street NW, Washington DC 20006 from 6:30 PM to 8 PM. Monthly meetings always include member discussions and speakers on topics of relevance to local beekeepers.

Getting to the National Grange:

  • The National Grange is less than 5 minutes by foot from Farragut West Metro (Orange, Blue Silver Lines) and about 5 minutes from Farragut North (Red Line).
  • There is very little street and meter parking in the neighborhood.
  • Metrobus and Circulator buses also provide significant service in the Downtown area. Please check www.wmata.com for individual trip planning.
  • There are numerous Capital Bikeshare stations in surrounding blocks

Upcoming meetings:

April 19, 2017

Topic: How Record Keeping Can Save Your Bees: For most of us, keeping good records is a "do as I say, not as I do!"  But (especially for new beekeepers), making the right decision for managing the health and productivity of your bees is helped a great deal by knowing what happened this time last year--and the year before. Do you know how old your queen is? Whether she is marked? When the first swarm cells have appeared in your neighborhood? Jan will share methods of keeping track, and there will be a quick review of some online tools/apps that some folks find helpful. Jan Day has been a meticulous tracker of her personal bees, and has looked at many different templates and tools, some of which she will share with attendees. She also maintains a hive scale and weight records that have been helpful to the entire DC beekeeping community. Help yourself and help others by joining the effort. May Checklist and Catch Up: Toni Burnham will also review typical tasks for the month ahead, and news from beekeeping around town so far this Spring.

May 17, 2017 Location TBA

Topic: Why Winter Nucs, and How to Do it (also: make your own robbing screen): One secret to beekeeping sustainability is beekeepers raising locally adapted bees, and sharing them with one another. Since nucs are the best bet for first-winter survival, let's join other local clubs in having members rais a nuc each winter for a next year's student! Also: Reserve ahead and make your own robing screen in time for summer (materials provided for those who reserve ahead).

Past Meetings:

March 15, 2017

Topic: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Swarms–and catching them–But Were Afraid to Ask: Toni Burnham and an Expert Panel
It's Spring, and bees are thinking about that other mode of reproduction: producing swarms! In DC, just about every hive that winters grows to be strong enough to swarm, and it is our responsibility to manage that (it is also a bunch of fun). This meeting will briefly review the swarm impulse, swarm prevention, and nabbing those beautiful bees that take off from home. We will also describe the swarm squad and how you can get a chance to chase a swarm yourself.

February 15, 2017 

Topic: Buying Bees: Sean McKenzie and Rachel Perry, Capitol Bee Care
Successful beekeeping depends upon both the quality of the beekeeper and the quality of the bees. Here's how to understand what is on the market, how to determine which source and format is right for you, and what type of bees you might want to purchase. Capital Bee Care is a conceirge beekeeping service here in DC and one source of local bees. Though we cannot welcome all who wish to participate in our classes, we can help you get started right!

January 18, 2017 

Topic: What Bees Can Tell Us About Climate Change (And Why You Shouldn't Wish for an Early Spring): Dr. Wayne Esaias, retired NASA Climatologist, EAS Master Beekeeper, and founder of HoneyBeeNet.
Beekeepers have kept careful tabs on the weights of their hives for generations, trying to track the nectar flow and colony health. By mining decades of records, and a nationwide network of citizen scientists who contribute current information, it is popssible to see first-hand evidence of the existence and impact of climate change on the green space around us. Not only THAT, these changes present significant challenges to beekeepers who face a declining interval between wintering bees and bringing colonies up to strength to take on an increasingly early nectar flow. Dr. Wayne is also a friend of DC beekeeping and a lot of fun.

December 21, 2016 

The Hill Centre, Sousa Room, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill) 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM.
 
Topics:
Annual Holiday Potluck and Anecdote Fest: All Welcome to Participate!
Please consider bringing a dish (a bag o' chips will do) and if possible use this form (you will be sent to another page) to tell us what you've got, and see what others are already bringing.
Beekeeping Anecdote Support: We will have a projector and screen if you want to share pictures or slides or videos of a memorable beekeeping moment or two from 2016. Remember, embarrassing confessions are a (hilarious) learning experience for us all. I promise to show my own feet of clay.

November 16, 2016 

The Hill Centre, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill) 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.
 
Topics:
Intro to Soap Making with Beeswax: Kim Mehalick and Toni Burnham
Please RSVP for this session in order that we may have enough materials to go 'round.
Do you have burr comb or cappings wax, and wonder what to do with it? Here's a quick overview of the special requirements of working with beeswax, with an actual batch of soap being made. This is a craft you might want to use for the holidays ahead. We will demonstrate the ingredients and the process for a reliable soap that uses beeswax, honey and propolis, with references to sources of info, recipes, and the tools you need to do this yourself.
Please contact us if you would like to take soap home: there is a small cost of ingredients/materials.
Sidebar demo: prepping beeswax for crafts: We will make soap from beeswax that is already rendered/prepared, but we will have a station for melting down and filtering some beeswax for those who bring cappings or burr comb. The amount we can process for each participant will depend on how many want to render wax. For those without their own beeswax, a limited amount is available: please contact dcbees@dcbeekeepers.org to discuss.

October 19, 2016 

The Hill Centre, 921 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003 (Capitol Hill) 7:15 PM-8:45 PM.
 
Topics:
We've invited Andrew Geffken  a mead maker from Charm City Meadworks in Baltimore to tell us how that is done, and to share the product! Some of our members started beekeeping via home brewing and mead making, and others are interested and know nothing on the topic. The process of making mead, the growth of this local business, where they source honey are all topics! And tasting of course! :-) 
 

September 21, 2016 

Special Outdoor Potluck Meeting at Old City Farm and Guild, 925 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, 6:30-8 PM. The club will provide cheap wine, water, and Arnold Palmers, please consider bringing some of the Fall bounty of your garden and kitchen!
Topics:
  • Caroline Boucher will relate her summer adventure Visiting and Working with a Commercial Beekeeper!
  • Group discussion "Where are you in Winter Prep?" Led by Toni Burnham, what you want to see after the wet Spring and hot, dry Summer. Next steps for the weeks ahead!

July 20, 2016 

The Latest on Mite Treatments: What's out there, the forecast for treating by end-July. Assessing the impact of the warm winter and wet spring for fall work in the apiary.

June 15, 2016 

Honey harvesting in town: What the harvest this year looks like, Group sessions in which to participate, gear you can borrow, post-nectar flow beekeeping. Pollinator Week events.

May 18, 2016 

How Record Keeping Can Save Your Bees: For most of us, keeping good records is a "do as I say, not as I do" activity. But especially for new beekeepers, making the right decision for managing the health and productivity of your bees is helped a great deal by knowing what happened this time last year -- and the year before. Do you know how old your queen is? Whether she is marked? When the first swarm cells have appeared in your neighborhood? Three beekeepers will share their differing methods of keepinfg track, and there will be a quick review of some online tools/apps that some folks find helpful. Many beekeepers have excellent hive records for April, but slack off after that!  This month's meeting features two different approaches to keeping good, helpful records in a convenient way. Jan Day has been a meticulous tracker of her personal bees, and has looked at many different templates and tools, some of which she will share with attendees. Sean McKenzie and Rachel Perry of Capital Bee Care keep detailed and accurate records on a commercial scale for paying customers, and use some cool technology to do so. Come and get some tips from folks who have been doing this right for a while! Open to the public, refreshments served!

April 20, 2016 

The Eastern Apicultural Society and Its 2016 Conference: Tim McMahon, EAS-Certified Master Beekeeper and President of the Montgomery County Beekeepers will explain the role of the Eastern Apicultural Society in advanced beekeeping education, as well as the 2016 conference in New Jersey, which has education at all levels and a ton of fun for anyone who loves bees. Shayne Madella and Nathalie Steinhauer of the BeeInformed Partnership will also present (and solicity your participation in) the Annual Colony Loss Survey which has been tracking hive losses and also discovering some new insights into how and when they are happening.

March 23, 2016 (DATE CHANGE)

Inside The Bee Gear Business: Patrick Ferrer of Dadant, Inc. will both speak and bring any pre-orders (no shipping!) you might wish to make! Patrick is Sales Manager of Dadant in Chatham, VA, and will give an idea of what it is like on the other side of the beekeeping business: working for one of the main suppliers and supporters of both sideline and large scale commercial apiculture in North America! Dadant & Sons, Inc., has been involved in beekeeping, apiculture supplies, and hive products for over 180 years, and publishes the American Bee Journal. We will also catch up on winter loss information and next steps for survivor and newly established hives for Spring 2016. Contact Patrick this week to order anything you would like him to bring: pferrer@dadant.com, phone: 434-432-8461.

February 17, 2016

Spring 2016 Expectations: Spring in DC is a time of explosive population growth of overwintered hives, a time to assess colony losses and the potential reasons for them, an opportunity for us to begin pooling our data on losses, and the moment to start preventing your own swarms and signing up to catch those of others. At this meeting, we can also consider some shared preparation activities, such as a group buy of pollen patties (they always come in packages way too large for most of us to use), organizing shared equipment buys and builds, and when to expect this years' packages and nucs. So come to this meeting, join the swarm squad, and figure out what stuff you want to order before it is out of stock!

January 20, 2016

Winter into Spring 2016: December was the warmest ever, but extremes of cold are predicted also. What is this doing to your bees, and what can you do for them? We will discuss information that is coming in from around the region and across the country. Beginners Course 2016: we are working with UDC again, but there are many changes, except one: we sold out in days from the waiting list alone. Here's how folks with bees who are willing to volunteer can participate, as well as other educational options nearby. Apiary matching project: we reached out to the community to find places to host your hives. Here's how it's going

December 16, 2015

Holiday Potluck Dinner: Church of the Reformation Parish Hall, 212 East Capital Street, Washington, DC.

November 18, 2015

Establishing Backyard Pollinator Habitat and Nests for Native Bees​: Longtime DC beekeeping participant Carin Celebuski and BeeInformed Partnership team member Olivia Bernauer will discuss creating native pollinator habitat, something that works well for honeybees while helping to re-establish working ecologies for birds, other bugs, amphibians, and more! Carin works with the University of Maryland Arboretum, and presented this talk in workshop form, with great success, as part of DPR's Summer Urban Gardening Workshops Program. Carin and Olivia are bringing the materials you need to make a bamboo pollinator nest to take home! We will have refreshments, and time to talk about what you are seeing in your apiaries, and questions/advice about how to respond. 

October 21, 2015

Adventures in Trap Outs! Stefano Briguglio is one of the most experienced and talented beekeepers in the DC area (check out his family permaculture and bee business at www.azurebllc.com), with a skill set that includes "trapping out" bees that have gotten into places where they can't stay, and which we can't take apart. He has tackled some incredible sites in DC, Baltimore, and elsewhere, and will share photos, stories, and tips for coaxing a queen out of a place where she really shouldn't be(e). It takes immense insight to do this work, and then to re-home the colonies in question. Come listen and learn.

We will have refreshments, and time to talk about what you are seeing in your apiaries, and questions/advice about how to respond. I will bring the world's easiest sugar candy recipe, and examples of what it makes.  
This meeting will take place in the "Beatrice" room on the second floor.

August 26, 2015

Summer Social: Because August attendance is almost always light, and my proposed speaker became unavailable, tonight's session will be devoted to refreshments, comparing notes, answering YOUR questions, discussing the world after the launch of the DC Beekeeping regs, and a quick review of topics that apply to beekeeping at this time of year in DC. We are happy to have you contribute refreshments, as well!

I will also have some of the windscreen fabric mentioned earlier this month available for those who want to learn about that. And get this: the development company that donated it is now interested in looking at rooftop apiaries in future DC/Baltimore projects! Finally, if you find that you have a few more frames of honey that you would like to harvest, we have a honey harvest event coming up where, for the cost of a volunteer hour or two, other people will do the work for you (and you keep your honey). 

July 29, 2015

The DC State Fair–Entering Honey, About the Fair, and Why You Care: DC's beekeepers have distinguished themselves as some of the most dedicated, impressive, and technically accomplished participants in this celebration of the DC Community and its many gardens, kitchens, and creative hands. There are cool prizes, but preparing a winning entry requires some knowledge and some work. The bees do beautiful work: we should handle their products with the same respect. Bring in a jar of your honey to be tested! Talk by honey judge George Wilson (tent.)

Wax Handling: Options for melting and using those cappings, scrapings, and burr comb: Beeswax is 8 times harder for the bees to produce than honey, and is valuable to artists, craftspeople, food scientists, candle and soapmakers, and more.  This talk is a quick overview of options to melt and purify your wax , and the difference between cappings and brood comb. By Toni Burnham

June 24, 2015

Toni Burnham–Treatment Options for Varroa: Do What You Need To, and Do It Soon: DC and the surrounding area suffered terrible hive losses over the last year, much of which can be linked to Varroa mites and the viruses they vector into our colonies. Varroa even seem to have impacted feral bees more gravely this winter! This session is a quick overview of tools you can use to decide whether or not to treat, why you should treat early if you are going to, aand the current crop of treatments available (including at least one new option). We will also discuss a novel proposition for treating as many of our colonies as possible simultaneously and why that might be incredibly cool.

Natasha Garcia-Anderson of DC Department of the Environment will talk briefly about the ongoing 30-day comment period for the recently-developed beekeeping regulations at http://www.dcregs.dc.gov/Gateway/NoticeHome.aspx?NoticeID=5501081 She will not be able to take official comments, but will fill us in on how to comment and the road ahead.

May 13, 2015

Frank Linton–Observation Hives and Other Gadgets: Local Master Beekeeper Frank Linton is about to publish a book on observation hives, and is a long time leader in the use of tools like digital hive scales, temperature monitoring, and others to understand the inner workings of your bee colonies without having to take them apart.

April 15, 2015

Damien Ossi–Planting for Pollinators: DC's own expert on native plants (and excellent speaker) spoke on pro-pollinator choices we can make for our gardens this year, as well as plants we can encourage our neighbors and landscapers to include

March 25, 2015

Spring 2015 Kickoff: First meeting at our new site and for the short course students. Topics: finding an urban out-apiary, community swarm catching network, seed bombing for pollinators demo

November 19, 2014

  • Greg Ferris of Ferris Apiariesa 200 acre farm in Indian Head, Maryland has kept bees for more than 25 years. Greg will discuss "How to Think Like a Bee," a creative and informative shift in perspective on how to understand and address your bees' activities and needs. Ferris Apiaries is well known locally for support to apitherapy practitioners and for rearing gentle local queens. Greg uses his own goals and priorities (for example, they do not take a honey harvest, but leave it for the bees) as well as his understanding of the honey bee to structure his work in his apiary. We hope by introducing you to the perspectives of unique and accomplished beekeepers like Greg, that you will soon develop your own individual insights and practices. 

October 15, 2014

  • Maggie Mills of Hope Honey Farmour area's only Certified Naturally Grown (CNG) urban honey bee farm and hive product producer in our region. She will talk about using products of the hive to create products like soap, lip balm, and hand creams both for personal use and as potential financial supports to an individual’s beekeeping. With just a couple of months before the holidays, it's a good time to take a look at beekeeping-related crafts and to share with family, friends and community. Maggie also produces queens and nucleus colonies, and she can advise on strategies for ordering and acquiring bees and queens for next season.

September 17

  • Dr. Steven Cook of the USDA/ARS Beltsville Bee Lab will discuss honey bee metabolism, looking at the role of pesticides on bee health as well as emerging research into bee nutrition and disease resistance. We all have to make decisions about how we manage our bees, from miticides to supplemental feeding. Here's one way to learn about choices, trade offs, and goals.

August 2014: Summer Vacation, no meeting

July 16

The focus for the meeting will be on making your plans for mite treatment and the winter (if you can believe it!) ahead.

  • EAS Master Beekeeper Pat Haskell will discuss an overview of your mite counting and treatment options", as well as other preparations -- such as requeening -- that you need to consider before Winter;
  • Toni Burnham will discuss robbing and safe options for feeding bees (or not!) during the August dearth.
  • Everybody will have an opportunity to share what they say this Spring and compare notes.

June 18

The focus for the meeting will be on citizen science projects in which DC beekeepers can participate! 

  • Wayne Esaias of NASA Goddard Space Flight Station will present on HoneyBeeNet", an effort he is leading on behalf of NASA to better understand how climate change is impacting honey bees through the use of hive scales.  He will discuss how you can be involved in this critically important and cutting-edge research. 
  • This will also be the research materials pickup date to participate in the Bugonia research project: Beekeepers Using Nematodes to Control for Small Hive Beetle (details to be posted in a separate listserv post). 

May 14

  • Bart Smith of the USDA Bee Lab in Beltsville will discuss how we have a leading center of research into honey bee health right here in the DC area", as well as services and information available to you through the Lab. Bart is also a former Maryland State Apiary Inspector and an accomplished beekeeping educator.
  • "This session will also include newbee discussion to support the recent arrival of student packages and nucs