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.
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: http://ento.psu.edu/directory/mxt15
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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
8:45-9:45 Speaker 1
10:00-11:00 Speaker 2 and 5
2:00-3:00 Farm Tour
3:15-4:15 Speaker 3 and 6
4:30-5:30 Speaker 4
8:00-9:00 Speaker 7
9:15-10:15 Speaker 8
1:15-2:15 Small group conversations with speakers
1) Hygienic Testing Using Liquid Nitrogen with Dr. Lynn Royce
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
AVAILABLE SUNDAY ONLY
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.
NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR SIGN UP
Learn to move 1-3 day old larva into queen cups
NO LONGER AVAILABLE FOR SIGN UP
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.
AVAILABLE SUNDAY ONLY
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