Bliss Honeybees - Treatment-Free Beekeeping
2014 West Coast Treatment-Free Beekeeping Conference
August 2nd and 3rd
Science supporting healthy bees! 

The goals for this conference are:

1) To explore through science treatment-free beekeeping
2) To gain hands-on understanding of techniques
3) To build community
4) To experience a working, small diverse farm.

You talked, I listened! 
This year the food will be based off of what is in season at our 230 acre diverse farm in Southern Oregon. You will get a chance to tour the farm as well as enjoying our delicious, freshly harvested, organically produced veggies, grains, and beans. Food choices will be vegetarian, but will include dairy. 


Dr. Lynn Royce, Tree Hive Bees

Dr. Royce is simply amazing. She is a scientist, an inventor,  and a person who cares deeply about pollinators and the planet. Lynn is involved in multiple projects to improve pollinator health. She is currently engaged in a native pollinator bumblebee research project. She is also starting what she calls her "Tree Bee" project in which she is placing hives into trees and testing their health over time. The premise of this project is that bees are not evolved to live in concentrated populations on the ground as commercial apiaries are run, but rather for colonies to be distributed over a greater area and to live in trees.

Dr. Mike Simone-Finstrom, North Carolina State University

Dr. Simone-Finstrom says of his work, "The main interests of my research broadly lie within the fields of behavioral ecology and insect physiology under an evolutionary framework. More specifically I am largely interested in mechanisms of disease resistance and impacts of parasites on honey bees both at the individual and group/colony levels. I have been fortunate during my career so far to gather a diverse set of tools under my belt, ranging from basic beekeeping skills and field studies, to lab studies on learning, to pathology and molecular biology.

For more information about Mike, visit

Maryann Frazier, Penn State University

Maryann Frazier was specifically requested by one of last years participants as a speaker to cover topics such as what resides have been found in wax, and she was kind enough to answer the call and agree to speak at this years conference! She is an extension specialist at Penn State in the College of Agricultural Sciences. She is incredibly knowledgeable and specializes in IPM, Integrated Pest Management, which many queen rearers use to control mites while they raise queens that are hygienic. Some beekeepers use IPM as an intermediate step towards going treatment-free. Others see it as the best way to manage their apiaries in the long term.

To learn more about Ms. Frazier, visit:

Stuart Green, Sustainability Expert

The first time I ever thought about keeping honeybees was when my best friend's husband, Stu Green, decided he was going to keep them. I didn't catch "the bug" right away, but Stu planted the seed, the book "Fruitless Fall" watered it, and Kirk Webster in Vermont supplied the sunshine that started me on my path to beekeeping. Stu keeps primarily Warre hives on his 38 acre homestead outside of Ashland, Oregon, with a few langs mixed in for good measure. He has an MS in International Research Management, works as the Sustainability Coordinator at Ashland Food Cooperative, and is the banjo player in an amazingly talented Southern Oregon band called 8 Dollar Mountain. 

For more information about Stu, visit his band website at:

Sam Comfort, Anarchy Apiaries

Sam is the East Coast top bar guru! He worked for several years in traditional migratory commercial beekeeping before deciding there had to be a better way to do things. Sam is vibrant, intense, sincere and deeply in love with bees. He lives with bees more intimately than anyone I have ever seen, often sleeping in his beeyards. He also holds an incredible wealth of knowledge on the honeybee, and grafts, raises naturally mated survival stock queens, and educates others. Sam believes that all beekeepers love their bees; like parents who choose to vaccinate and parents who choose not to vaccinate, all beekeepers want the best for our bees and are doing the best we can.

For more from Sam, check out his website:

Renata is originally from Fortaleza, Brazil. She now studies with Dr. Marla Spivak at University of Minnesota. She is a highly recommended speaker/researcher by Dr. Spivak and by Dr. Simone-Finstrom. She will be presenting her research on propolis and how it contributes to the health of the hive. I am very excited to meet and learn from this passionate young scientist!

"My father Morris Curtis started the business and I became a full-time beekeeper at age 19 after 2 years of trade school. At one time we took our bees to California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Now we stay in Oregon and California. In 1995 Angelika joined with me in marriage and we work together. We now have a son, Daniel, and daughter, Rachel, who might become the third generation beekeepers. We’ll let them decide when they are older."

Mike and his family live in our neighboring town of Eagle Point. He and my partner David have known each other for years and David has always been impressed with the scope of Mike's knowledge and abilities and with his integrity. Mike will talk about his background and operation, including giving us a commercial beekeeper's perspective on the question of treating; a challenging balancing act for those who hate to treat but who can't afford the losses that going 100% treatment free entail. 

For more information about Mike and Angelika, visit:

James Romano, Fire Cirkl Mead Brewing

James Romano is the third pilot to join the team! Dr. Royce also has a license, and I have a commercial helicopter pilots license that I never use but is still knocking around in a junk drawer in my house somewhere. James was a fighter pilot in the Navy before he started his own business brewing meads, which he named Fire Cirkl. I tasted his mead-style braggots at a mead tasting in Portland, Oregon, and was delighted to realize that he is based in White City, right next to my hometown of Medford. He is a certified organic producer and is enthusiastic about sharing what he knows with all of you during the workshop portions of the conference.

For more information, visit


The music this year will be from Sam Comfort, survivor stock queen rearer and wonderful musician. He'll sing and play with his ukulele and guitar! He recently sent me his CD with this note: "It's low-fi grungy recording.  Wouldn't have it any other way!  I'm always good for getting up on stage.  Got a good sing-along bout getting stung."

Everyone will go home with one of Sam's CD's. The songs are great, perfect for learning to play around a campfire or for a school group.

Tentative Schedule


4:30pm-6:30pm We pour wine tastings and have tasty finger food available at our tasting room every Friday evening from 4:30pm-6:30pm. Sometimes we have live music too. Our regular customers will be there picking up their food orders, but conference participants are welcome to stop by for a glass of wine and snacks! We will have a table set up for you to check in.


7:30-8:00 check in
8:15-8:30 Welcome
8:45-9:45 Speaker 1
10:00-11:00 Speaker 2 and 5
11:15-12:45 Workshops
1:00-1:45 Lunch
2:00-3:00 Farm Tour
3:15-4:15 Speaker 3 and 6
4:30-5:30 Speaker 4
6:00 Dinner
7:00 Music


8:00-9:00 Speaker 7
9:15-10:15 Speaker 8
10:30-12:00 Workshops
12:15-1:00 Lunch
1:15-2:15 Small group conversations with speakers

Workshop descriptions

1) Hygienic Testing Using Liquid Nitrogen with Dr. Lynn Royce
To hear about the hygienic queen freeze kill testing that I recently did with Dr. Royce, check out:

2) ALMOST FULL-SUNDAY ONLY Top Bar Hives with Sam Comfort
Learn about the unique aspects of top bar hive beekeeping, gain tips, and do a hive inspection

3) Warre Beekeeping with Stuart Green
Learn about the unique aspects of keeping bees in a Warre hive, gain tips, and do a hive inspection.

4) Mead Making with James Romano
Learn the basics of mead making; equipment, non-chemical ways to make mead, important fermentation management points, etc.

5) FULL Bee-lining with Mike Simone-Finstrom
Basically grab bees from food or floral sources, mark them, and follow their trail/flight path to see where they return to. And then see them come back to the floral source/feeder.

6) FULLGrafting
Learn to move 1-3 day old larva into queen cups

7) Health Checks with Renata Borba
Learn to check for nosema spores under a microscope and do mite counts with powdered sugar rolls. This can help you with management decisions.

8) SUNDAY ONLY Spring splits and nuc making with Mike Curtis
Learn to double your hives (or give one to a friend) by making splits and nucs.

9) Assessing queen egg-laying with Maryann Frazier
Learn to locate the queen and cage her on the frame, and assess her egg laying. Maryann is extremely knowledgeable and an hour and half will give you plenty of time to pick her brain about other questions you may have.


belgian draft team
I chose Dunbar Farms in Medford, Oregon, as the venue this year. This is my home and it is such an amazing place I want to share it with all of you! Address is 2881 Hillcrest Road, Medford, OR

vineyard and grains
Run by the mother-son duo Emily and David Mostue, Dunbar Farms strives to operate ethically and sustainably, rotating crops and planting cover crops to add nutrients back into the soil. Some of Dunbar Farms offerings include: wheat, rye, oats; 10 varieties of dried beans including garbanzo, cranberry, pinto and kidney; sweet corn, popcorn, polenta and cornmeal; onions, garlic, and leeks; tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant; winter and summer squash; and turnips, beets, carrots, and rutabagas. We also produce eggs, wine, and a variety of other crops. We grow a greater variety of crops than any other farm we know of in Oregon! Our goal is to eventually grow or raise everything we need for a balanced diet using horsepower.

enjoying our tasting room
Meals and music will be held in our beautiful tasting room. Dunbar Farms will pour wine sold by the glass and by the bottle, and we will serve food created from what is in season on our farm. Enjoy beautiful views of the pond and horse paddocks from the deck, or stretch out on the grassy lawn, or for the lushes you can sit inside right by the bar ;).

cinder block barn
Speaker talks and powerpoint presentations will be held in our storage barn. In its former life, this colossal cinder block barn built in 1950 was "cold storage" for hundreds of acres of pears, but we have added inner rooms and repurposed it to store wine, root crops, and a plethora of beans and grains. 

seed cleaner and hay inside barn
The barn is a cool, comfortable place to spend time in the heat of the summer. We like to play badminton in the large center space in both winter and summer! We will do everything in our power to make a comfortable set up in the barn with chairs, a projector, speakers, etc. However, this is the heart of a working farm, with farm equipment, pallets, forklifts, and hay lining the walls.

exercising the team
If you have hay allergies, an aversion to animals, dirt, or unpolished farm buildings, you may want to consider attending a different event. If experiencing a farm sounds like your cup of tea, this is the conference for you! 

For more information or to join our information farming newsletter, click here: Dunbar Farms

Where to Stay

You are responsible for making your own arrangements for lodging. We encourage you to book early.

Inn at the Commons

We have organized a block of rooms at the Inn at the Commons, located in downtown Medford only 8 minutes from the farm. Recently bought by the owners of Ashland Springs Hotel, the Inn has opened a second Larks Restaurant in addition to the one in Ashland that garnered wonderful reviews from the Oregonian. Larks buys from local farmers and has been a huge supporter of Dunbar Farms. For more information, read: Southern Oregon's Best Fine Dining

The Inn has graciously agreed to supply us with a special rate of $89.00 per night. 

They will also provide a FREE shuttle service to and from the farm Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday. The free shuttle also applies to airport transportation, and if you arrive before check in or stay after check out, they will also store your baggage.

A hot breakfast is included every morning of your stay.

We strongly encourage you to take advantage of what the Inn offers. We will not have enough parking available for everyone and the shuttle service will allow you to leave your car at the Inn.

To reserve your room, call the front desk at 541-779-5811 and request special group rates for Bliss Honeybees. There is no penalty for cancellation until 3 days before the event.

For more information on the Inn, click here: Inn at the Commons

*Each room will have two queen sized beds. If you are attending the conference alone and would like me to help connect you with a room mate to share costs, please send me an email when you register requesting assistance, and stating your gender (some potential room mates may prefer not to share a room with someone of the opposite sex). I'll send out regular room mate contact emails to those requesting inclusion. I'll remove you when you notify me you found someone.

KOA Campground

The closest campground to our farm is KOA in Central Point, a 20 minute drive. Their rates start at $30.00 per night for a tent site for two people. For more information, go to: KOA Medford

Where to Eat

We will provide a delicious farm-fresh lunch and dinner on Saturday, and lunch on Sunday.

If you stay at Inn at the Commons, they will provide a hot breakfast each morning of your stay.


Jan 1st-Feb. 28th: 239.00

March 1st-May 31st: 259.00

June 1st-August 2nd: 279.00

This includes: 

-Admission to all speaker talks and demonstrations
-Choice of workshops
-Admission to see Sam Comfort play a whole set of entertaining bee songs on Saturday night, plus the CD "People Collapse Disorder" ! 
-Lunch and Dinner on Saturday
-Lunch on Sunday
-The opportunity to join a wonderfully supportive community-which is PRICELESS! 

*does not include lodging or breakfast

Refund Policy:

There will be a $50.00 refund fee per person. There are no refunds after July 1, 2013.


To register online, please fill out and send this form. Include a correct email address that you check regularly so you don't miss important information like directions and additional workshop options.

Next, click on the payment button underneath to pay with a credit card.

You MUST click twice-once to send the form, and once to pay through Paypal.

Email Address (please give a correct email address that you check regularly in order to receive additional information regarding the conference)
Phone Number
May we share your contact information with other participants?
Please let us know here how you plan to arrive in Medford:
Please let us know where you plan to stay:
We have limited parking available on the farm; please carpool if possible. To ensure we have enough parking, please let us know here how you plan to arrive on the farm:
To help us organize, please let us know if you plan to stop by Friday night between 4:30-6:30pm for early check in and snacks or a glass of wine:
Please request your first workshop:
Please request your second workshop:
Where did you first hear about this conference?

Please click SEND above to send the registration form before you click on Pay Now below to pay through Paypal. The Pay Now button does not send the registration form.


To register via mail, please download this registration form and send with a check to:
Bliss Honeybees
612 Pierce Road
Medford, OR