DCBA 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 meetings are free and open to the public!

DC Beekeepers Meetings will be held online until further notice. Please review our "Online Meetings" page for guidelines and some helpful information.

Next Meeting: To attend our next meeting, please register by clicking on the link next to the meeting date.  Please register even if you are on the special meeting reminder mailing list. It is necessary to register for each meeting ... there is no automatic recurrent registration system, and the link changes every month.

June 16, 2021: (Click on this link to Register for the Meeting)

  • Harvest Honey Like A Pro: Jan Day founded Second Story Honey several years ago, and has marketed hundreds of pounds of prize-winning honey. Learn both basic and professionally-polished tips for preparing your workspace, completing your harvest, and handling your honey (and other hive products) for the highest quality and shelf life, and least stress.
  • Market Your Honey for Fun, Community and Profit: Del Voss is an energetic and successful marketer of his honey in his Capitol Hill neighborhood, creating lines around the block and something of a legend among local residents. See how he does it with pictures, videos, and his own stories. Del has his neighborhood literally eating out of his hand, and you can do it, too!
  • DCBA Annual Member Honey Jar Group Buy info to be announced!

Upcoming Meetings

July 21, 2021:

Past Meetings

May 19, 2021:

Dr. Kirsten Traynor of 2Million Blossoms and the International Bee Research Center on the biology, control, diagnosis and logic of swarms. Really understand where your bees are coming from, why and how they decide to go, what you can do to keep them home, and how to tell whether you succeeded! 


April 21, 2021:

  • The DC DOEE Pestcides Division: the foljs who register our apiaries are also introducing us to the team who regulate pesticides here in the city. AND GET THIS, they include a beekeeper who is psyched to answer your questions about pesticide use, beekeeping, and working with the city for the good of your apiaries! Mary Begin and Baldwin Williams will present.
  • UMD's Zac Lamas on fun (research) with Nano Colonies,
  • The DCBA Swarm Trap Project

March 17, 2021:

February 17, 2021: 

January 13, 2021:

December 16, 2020:

November 18, 2020:

October 21, 2020 at 6:30 PM on Zoom

September 16, 2020:

July 15, 2020: 

"The DC Hive Scale Network: Citizen Science and How YOU Can Participate," with Rafael Cabrera of SolutionBee. 

There are many unanswered questions in urban beekeeping: Are cities intrinsically healthy, unhealthy, or neutral for bees? Which types of urban development, pollinator planting and ecosystem features help or hinder honey bee colonies? How can we tell whether there is room for more beehives, or whether we should limit our apiaries? DCBA has an idea for exploring some answers, and we are starting with hive scales.

DC was already home to several hive scales when Parks Talley donated 7 more, allowing us to build a network across every ward of the city. We have placed these scales and set up an account where all that data is collected and compared...and you can join in, too! Do you have a scale that you would like to add? Are you willing to help take readings? Are you a data analyst who can help us make sure that we are not comparing apples to oranges?

In 2021, we hope to compare hive scale data about the start and stop of the nectar flow, including differences across our area, with pollen analysis that will show what the bees are finding in different forage areas in the city. Our ability to make decisions for our hives, and to advise each other, may grow and deepen as we do this over time. We will have a whole new picture of this beautiful city!

"Midsummer To-Dos: Winter is Coming!" discussion led by Toni Burnham and Jan Day.

June 17, 2020: 

"Small Hive Beetle: Latest Info and Management Options," with Dr. Humberto Boncristiani, Jr. of the University of Florida and Inside The Hive TV. Dr. Boncristiani is the applied researcher in honey bee husbandry at the University of Florida Honey Bee Research and Extension Lab (HBREL). He has a diverse background in honey bee research. He has worked at the Beltsville Bee Lab, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Maryland and at the National Research Council. He also comes from a beekeeping family, in Brazil. At the HBREL, Dr. Boncristiani conducts research that is directly applicable to commercial beekeeper operations. He is also one of the leading experts in the United States in the biology and management of the Small Hive Beetle (SHB).

SHB season is getting started here in the DC area ... now is the time to be thinking about how to manage this pest and Dr. Boncristiani is the perfect researcher to discuss it with. We are very fortunate to have him join us ... please make time to tune in to our meeting on June 17.

May 20, 2020: 

"Preparing to Overwinter Nucs and Raising Queens in the MidAtlantic -- local factors to think about," with Zac Lamas of the vanEngelsdorp Bee Lab and Sun Hill Farm. One of the best ways to build a sustainable personal apiary, and a stronger local beekeeping community, is knowing how to set up nucs in late Spring for overwintering. Just after the solstice, the advice goes, is the best time to raise queens for next year, as well. Does the information you are getting actually work for the MidAtlantic? What kind of preparations should you make, what should you watch for, and when? Zac Lamas has helped raise bees for the industry, research, and for us in Vermont, Maryland, and North Carolina, and is now seeking his PhD at UMD.   

April 15, 2020:

"Ask Us Anything: Seasonal Management and Upcoming Club Activities with the DCBA Board." It has already been a busy Spring and an unusual swarm season. What should you be looking for in your apiary? How should you respond to what you see? The newly elected board of the DCBA will be online with more than 40 years cumulative experience (if all of us were squashed into just one beekeeper!), and with information on club resources you will want to start leveraging soon.

UMD Bee Squad Varroa Mite Resources and the Mite Check Program will feature Dr. Meghan Milbrath to provide you with all the information you need to monitor for and choose the proper treatments to control your Varroa mite populations!

March 18, 2020:

Spring Splits: Will They Happen Your Way or Their Way?  Jan Day and Steve Repasky. Long time beekeepers in DC say this every year: any hive that survives the winter is going to split at some point, in some way. Jan Day recently attended a training on making "splits" and nucleus colonies with the Maryland State Beekeepers, and will present an overview of key observations and tools with which you need to be familiar if you want to split a colony. She will also share additional sources of information you will need to build these skills. Special guest, Master Beekeeper Steve Repasky (who literally wrote the book on it) will discuss the swarm impulse, swarm prevention, basic swarm catching concepts, and the DC Swarm Squad as a way to get experience. Zoom meeting number: 605 976 127

Natasha Garcia-Andersen of DC-DOEE will speak on the National Bee Survey results in which DC participated, and is creating a survey especially for us!

February 13, 2020:

Your Bees Survived, Now What? internationally-recognized speaker Kim Flottum hears two questions frequently. The first is, "Why did my bees die?!" The second is "My bees survived! Now what?!" This topic is designed for folks who have taken their bees through at least one full year, and has something to offer even to those who have done it a few more times than that.

Kim's talk will take you through the questions you need to answer and the steps you can take to keep your beekeeping success story going, including pitfalls to avoid and possible new goals to consider.

(Note: this meeting took place at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge at 711 4th St. NW on a Thursday due to construction at the National Grange)

January 15, 2020: National Grange  

Make Urban Beekeeping Pay! You can reduce the personal cost of city beekeeping, and increase your contribution to the community at large through a variety of paying activities in the apiary. Presenting three options at this meeting:

The 2020 Beginners Class will also begin on January 21, and experienced member beekeepers and former students will have the opportunity to audit selected classes in return for mentoring support of a newbee (with lots of help from the community).

December 18, 2019:

DCBA Elections: We have come of age and will elect officers to guide our community in 2020! Please consider running for office, or casting a vote! 

Annual holiday potluck: Please bring a small dish to share! Maybe show your honey cookery chops!

Winter feeding best practices with Mike Mehalick: Do you know what to expect as your bees consume their winter stores? How can you determine their needs, and what are your options for preventing starvation during the coldest time of the year? Mike Mehalick will provide a background on bee wintering behavior and food needs and some ways to provide supplemental or emergency feed.

November 20, 2019: 

Could you be a honey sommelier? Sensory Education and Honey tasting: The art of being a honey tasting expert is as complex as being a wine or olive oil sommelier. Members Amy Todd and Allan Storm recently completed the internationally recognized honey tasting sensory education certification course at the American Honey Tasting Society (https://www.americanhoneytastingsociety.com/honey-tasting-courses) and are here to share what they learned! After you fall in love with bees, you might forget just how wonderful, local, unique and perfect the honey they produce can be. Come open another door in the endless wonderland of apiculture! 

Try your hand (tongue?) at honey tasting: DCBA will present a range of local, industrial, specialty, and surprise honeys for all to compare, analyze, and experience.

Please bring some of your own honey to taste and to share! As an incentive, we will have the club refractometer at the meeting to test your moisture levels.

October 16, 2019:

USDA Bee Lab Wants to Know "What challenges beekeepers today?" and Has Tools to Help: with Dr. Raymond Peterson, USDA Agricultural Research Lab, Beltsville.  Dr. Raymond Peterson recently joined the world-famous Beltsville Bee Lab and is leading a customer discovery program sponsored by National Science Foundation to assess what challenges beekeepers today. He is a career entomologist who recently joined the world of bees and beekeeping, and is looking to learn more about your challenges, and producing field-usable research that will help you and your bees. He will also discuss services already available to you, including the FREE diagnostic service, and more about our famous Bee lab neighbor

September 18, 2019:

Peace Corps Beekeepers and International Beekeeping with DCBA members Matthew Traucht, Trevor Tullius, and Kathryn Kutzner.  DCBA benefits from member beekeepers with all sorts of approaches and with roots all over the world. Come learn about the substantial number of RPCV beekeepers in DC and how they have applied their experiences in other parts of the world to beekeeping here. Get ready: these folks have managed Africanized Honey Bee colonies and are here to tell about it!

July 17, 2019:

Bee Your Best Beekeeper: Data-Recommended Best Beekeeping Management Practices: Kelly Kulhanek of the vanEngelsdorp Lab at UMD has helped the BeeInformed Partnership during its 10 years of  loss and management surveys, talking to tens of thousands of beekeepers nationwide. Learn about the management practices they have seen reduce colony mortality at an operational level, and how we’ve tested them in the field for the last 3 years!

Setting a Standard for DC Beekeeping: Toni Burnham will introduce the concept of Best Management Practices from local beekeeping associations, and propose a BMP document for all to review and comment on over the next year.

June 19, 2019:  

Tools and News You Can Use with DC DOEE Bee Lead Natasha Garcia-Andersen, Toni Burnham, and more TBA. Recently, Natasha Garcia-Andersen represented DC Beekeeping at the annual Apiary Inspectors of America conference: she represents the smallest jurisdiction there, but came back with lots of news and advice from national and world class bee managers. Did you know that there is a test stick that works like an early pregnancy kit for AFB? There is more news on the FDA directive that requires a veterinarian to write prescriptions for some in-hive medications, and also news from around here about cool new small hive beetle traps to try, home-brew solar wax melters, make-your-own robbing screens, time-saving assembly jigs, and more. It's also POLLINATOR WEEK, so we''ll have special refreshments!

May 15, 2019:

Beeswax Basics with former VA Bee Inspector Bob Wellemeyer. Bob Wellemeyer returns to help us understand another hive product with which many of us would like to work, beeswax. It is not just about candles!
In fact, the first imports of European Honey Bees to North America were more about beeswax than (then poorly understood) pollination. Beeswax was a survival substance: waterproof, flammable, and completely non-toxic. It could provide light in winter, preserve your food, and keep your socks dry. Before we enter harvest season, come learn what you might be able to make and share with the beeswax produced by your colonies, and to continue to value it as much as the bees do, even after their time with it is done!

April 17, 2019:

Comb Honey Basics with Master Beekeeper Jim Fraser. Honey doesn't have to come in a jar or a bear! In fact, for most of human history, folks munched on it straight from the comb, and many potential consumers are interested in doing that. This is the time to prepare to produce comb honey: come see how it is done wwith local producer and EAS Certified Master Beekeeper Jim Fraser!
It's All Happening at the Zoo/The Good of the Hive with Matthew Willey. An amazingly beautiful, community-driven mural is appearing, bee by gorgeous bee, at the National Zoo. Our community has committed to supporting this initiative, in part by offering lunch to the artists: please come learn about this nationwide movement to connect people to bees and each other, and DCBA's promise to (literally) feed these creative fires.

March 20, 2019:

The Sustainable Honey Bee Program with yard manager Richard Whitlow and member Parks Talley. The SHP is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization that, for over a decade, has promoted sustainable practices in regional beekeeping: Under the leasdership of the legendary Billy Davis, they have worked to create sustainable bee stocks and to promote beekeeping practices adapted to the MidAtlantic region. Their work continues today under their second generation of beekeepers. In addition, theprogram is distributed both nationally and internationally as a vehicle for regional economic development. They provide education and training at all levels and are creating strong local stocks of sustainable bees. This is also a place where interested beekeepers can volunteer and get amazing, accelerated learning experiences!

February 27, 2019:

Swarm Biology, Prevention, and Management with retired VA Bee Inspector Bob Wellemeier. Over decades of experience as a beekeeper, bee inspector, and welcome advisor to thousands of sideliner and professional beekeepers in Virginia, wonderful instructor Bob Wellemeier will give us insights into how to grow our colonies but keep them at home, and what to do when they have decided to swarm. Understanding the very natural process of swarming and working to make swarm-y bees fit into densely populated areas is a key urban beekeeping requirement. Come have some fun with a great speaker and learn how!

(Note: This meeting was rescheduled from February 20, 2019)

January 16, 2019:

Managing for Honey Production with Master Beekeeper Jim Fraser. Montgomery County Master Beekeeper Jim Fraser runs a successful bee supply and nucleus colony business, but also produces substantial honey for sale. Get some points on how to make your bee yard more productive and healthy, which creating more of the golden beautiful DC honey that makes us more popular with the neighbors!

Jim can bring your order from Maryland Honey Company bee supply [(301) 518-9678] to the meeting if you place and pay for items in stock ahead of time. 

A Quick Winter Checklist for beekkeeper tasks in the weeks ahead, where a lot of changes take place in brood rearing, food comsumption, and more!

There will also be information about DCBA member auditing sessions of the 2019 Beginners Course for those who have completed a class and/or a year's experience and are willing to mentor.

December 19, 2018:

Warm Hives and Swarm Prevention with Parks Talley. Alexandria beekeeper Parks Talley is a local leader on the use of both traditional and tech tools for the precise and sustainable management of honey bee colonies. Here in the city, figuring out what is happening in the winter and getting in front of swarms in the Spring are ctritically important. Parks uses infrared photography and hive scales to monitor his hives, especially in the winter, and he uses Snelgrove boards (double screen boards) to prevent the swarms those well-wintered colonies want to throw in the Spring. In this hands-on session–with actual equipment and images for you to look at, handle, and analyze–he'll show you how he gathers data and makes decisions on winter hive management using infrared photography. As a successful CPA, he is busiest when swarm season hits, so he has developed an approach using an old but less common type of equipment to keep his bees home even when he can't get into his apiaries.

This is an interactive, practical, and relevant session which will also feature holiday treats!

November 14, 2018:

Meet DC's New Apiary Inspector with Mark Dykes, former Texas Apiary Inspector, staff at the BeeInformed Partnership, and new member of DC Department of Energy and the Environment's bee team. DC's beekeeping community is lucky to have an experienced, talented new beekeeping resource from the Great State of Texas joining us this Fall. Mark Dykes has relocated to DC, and will be supporting the regulatory and advisory services which have helped legal beekeeping grow and flourish in DC. Mark will tell us what to expect from his role here in DC, and can share experiences and information from his extensive apiary inspector career to date. Don't miss meeting yet another great friend beekeeping asset that you didn't know you had!

October 17, 2018: 

The Path to Becoming a Master Beekeeper: You Can Get There From Here with Allen Hayes, Eastern Apicultural Society Certified Master Beekeeper and Past President of the Maryland State Beekeepers Association. DC has become A MEMBER STATE of EAS, so it's time to grow some Master Beekeepers! Experienced beekeepers here are sometimes called "masters," but there is an important course of study and certification to get you there. With the help of beekeeping leader and teacher Allen Hayes, the DCBA would like to introduce you to that process. In 2019, we hope to support a prep program for interested members.

September 19, 2018: 

Beekeeping’s Sweet Spot! Honey in the kitchen and at the Fair with professional pastry chef Margi Fineran (assisted by chef Rebecca Clerget), and more. Here’s a bunch of creative, professional and fun tips on what to do with all that honey you harvested, or might have in future. We’ll have groovy gadgets to test your honey for purity and shelf life, and can help you work with what you’ve got! The DC State Fair Honey contest is next week, so we can help you with your entries (even providing jars!) and/or bring them to and from the Fair for you. (There are prizes!)

August, 2018: No meeting

July 18, 2018:

Feed your bees! Honey bee nutrition with Dr. Miguel Corona of the USDA/ARS Beltsville Bee Lab. The Bee Lab is already clothed in international glory, yet Dr. Corona and his colleagues Dr. Jay Evans and Dr. Steven Cook still won a $15,000 prize this January in the Bee Nutrition Challenge of the Honey Bee Health Coalition! Dr. Corona will tell us about the relationship between nutrition and health, stress and even the lifespan of bees in your colonies. His team looked at kinds of feeding and supplements, too, and can tell you more about what works and what doesn't.

Small Hive Beetle Battle Basics, Izzy Hill. Izzy is a DC beekeeper and mentor, and is a published authority on Small Hive Beetle biology and using biological controls to go after those b@$+@r&$. Right now in DC, Small Hive Beetles are erupting in hives large and small. Izzy can tell you more about what is going on, why, and what you can do about it.

June 20, 2018:

WINTER IS COMING! Jan Day and Toni Burnham of DCBA
You all might have just started thinking about honey and sweat, but winter in DC begins October 1. The nectar flow is over, and you have exactly 109 days to get your colonies ready for the cold. 
But DCBA is here to help. Jan Day will be presenting her invaluable hive weight data on this year's flow, comparing it to past years and how they measured up against the winter that followed. Toni will present on currently available Varroa mite treatments, a review of how to test and thresholds, and the feeding/management/equipment prep your bees need before the first frost. 
We are considering a Frosty machine for refreshments this time...

May 23, 2018:

Getting Started with Mead! Tysen Perszyk and Allen Jones of The Meadmakr Podcast 
Beekeeping opens one door after another (and opening enough bottles of mead might result into your running into a few of them): here's yet another gift of the bees to humankind, the world's first alcoholic beverage. Tysen and Allen are the hosts of the critically regarded MeadMakr Meadcast, which has podcast 59 entertaining episodes exploring the wide world of fermented honey. They will give you some mead basics and tips for how to get started, and even let you try some! 

Mead, like beekeeping, is art, science, and craft, as well as a builder of connections between people, bees, history, and culture. Tysen suggests taking a look at some of these resources selected specifically for beekeepers to get even more out of the meeting:

April 18, 2018: National Grange  

RequeeningZachary Lamas 
Zach Lamas is working on his PhD at UMD in the vanEngelsdorp Lab, and has an exciting background including managing honey production and nucleus colonies for three seasons with beekeeping leader Mike Palmer of Vermont, his own queen and nuc businesses in New York and North Carolina. He is also establishing a new nuc and queen operation here. He has taught in Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba, and has given talks to the American Beekeeping Foundation. Come learn about queens and how to get your colonies to the queenright position that will help them thrive. 
Action Plan for Your Bee YardKim Mehalick. This is a compact version of the talk we were not able to offer in March (below).  

March 21, 2018: No meeting (cancelled)

The scheduled speaker was Kimberly Methvin Mehalick to talk about "Action Plan for Your Bee Yard (Or Roof!).

In March, we will continue to revisit management lessons and practices you might have learned in class, this time from the perspective of real life experience.
Kim is a mainstay of our beginners course, as well as co-owner of a hive products business and the First Vice President of the Maryland State Beekeepers Association.
In beekeeping, as in everything else that matters, you can't achieve a goal that has not yet been thought out, and you need both a strategy and a resource plan to get there. The beekeeping calendar in the MidAtlantic is one of the toughest in North America: Kim will help us plan the work and work the plan to the benefit of our bees and our beekeeping skills. 

February 21, 2018:

Spring Management: Your First Inspection of 2018  David Clark 
In 2018, we are revisiting some of the management lessons and practices you might have learned about beginners course, this time from the perspective of some real life, rather than classroom only, experience. David Clark is an experienced local beekeeper who has been a DCBA instructor for several years.
Dave has his own, very successful, ways of doing things and he will generously share them with you, taking you photographically through his approach to the first inspection of the Spring. His talk will include assessments of colony strength, reversing and swarm prevention, and tips for maintaining your bee yard and equipment. Our 2018 sessions welcome beginners, but will rely on basic familiarity with bee biology, beekeeping equipment, and the cycle of tasks and seasons of MidAtlantic beekeeping. Bring your concerns and questions about the Spring ahead

January 17, 2018: 

Beekeeping at the Bottom of the Year: Midwinter in the Beeyard
Special Guest Speaker: Charlie Brandts (http://www.beeculture.com/charlie-brandts-white-house-bees/)

Your bees are already shifting their sights to Spring, even though this week is historically the coldest of each year. This session is a quick review of Wintering and the impact of your Fall/Winter prep, what actions or alternatives are available to you now, and what to watch in order to bring your bees through to March. 
We will also talk about the annual Beginners Course that will soon start at UDC (sold out) and opportunities for those who are members and who have completed a beginners course or a full year of hands-on management to audit some sessions. DCBA is also planning an Intermediate Spring Management and Issues case-study based seminar (membership and one year of beekeeping required) for the week of March 6-13 (http://www.dcbeekeepers.org/intermediate-beekeeping-seminar-questionnaire). Dr. Wyatt Mangum will be giving a Top Bar Hive Class ($25 for members, $30 for non-members) on March 10: details to be announced at the meeting. 

December 20, 2017:

Cool Apiaries and Opportunities Around DC
UFA Arborists, Kennedy Center, DC Water, DPR Community Gardens, Franciscan Monastery, Historic Congressional Cemetery, Hotels, More 

Duff McCully of DC's Urban Forestry Administration and John Ferree of both Mont Vernon and the Kennedy Center will join us to talk about finding amazing urban out-apiaries: both how to find and how to work with them. Did you know that there are bees at the British Embassy? The White House? Two 5-star hotels (at least)? George Washington and American Universities? The Capital Area Food Bank? At nursery centers? Where might you want to keep bees?
Now is the time to begin planning for your new 2018 apiary/ies. When bees start arriving in March, or your splits need a place to go, do you have a strategy? DO you want to know when out apiaries are available?
We hope this meeting inspires you to explore more community partners, and perhaps join in at a site that already exists. And we can help you!

November 15, 2017:

Two Talks about DC Beekeeping at the Forefront:
Bee City DC: It's an Official Recognition, and What it Means for Us? 
Natasha Garcia-Andersen, DC DOEE
The Pollinator Partnership: our Neighbors and Allies for Pollinator Health: Val Dolcini, President, the Pollinator Partnership

October 18, 2017:

Top Bar and Warré Bee Colonies in DC
New Special Guest: Matthew Willey of The Good of the Hive Project:  http://www.thegoodofthehive.com/

Matthew is completing a stunning (from a bee geek as well as an artictic perspective) large mural at Janney Elementary, part of a series of paintings of 50,000 honey bees (the number in a healthy colony) in community-funded murals around the world. He will share project info and cool videos. 
John Seibert, Top Bar beekeeper, and Susan Chapin, Warré beekeeper, will share their beginner and local experiences with these hives.  Most of us keep in Langstroth gear, but have you ever been curious about some of the other woodenware out there? Hear how local beeks built or bought their own, and both the up- and downsides they face.  We will also have a review of winter feeding methods, the upcoming oxalic acid vaporization program that is available for members this winter, and an easy recipe for make-you-own fondant.  

September 20, 2017:   

Annual Beekeepers Potluck Picnic at Old City Farm and Guild, DC State Fair Prep: http://oldcityfarmandguild.com

Bring your favorite food or drink (or both!) and enjoy an evening picnic downtown in a garden center which features an apiary, a tiny house, and a wonderful atmosphere for sharing good times and bee insights. We will also talk about the DC State Fair September 24th and how to participate. We'll show you how to make easy, luscious beeswax hand cream (think holiday gifts, gulp!) I'm bringing some bee stuff as door prizes, and honeycomb cake.  

August 16, 2017: (informal meetup) 

In the hazy days of August, with so many out of town, several of us get together for cold drinks and camaraderie!   

July 19, 2017:   

Topic: Harvest Season Special: A Local Beekeepers' Experience with The Flow Hive, "DC Bee Honey" Update, Group Honey Jar Purchase: Drew Kittel, Nicole Gaouette

Last year's nectar flow was awful, this one is huge and early. Several of us have deployed the Flow Hive that became so famous/infamous lst year for the first time this year. Drew will share a newbee's eye view of local beekeeping with this novel tool. You also may not know that one of our members has created an opportunity for you to commercially market all that excess honey, saving you work, making a few dollars, and supporting the club along the way. Nicole will share a bit of the background on this service, as well as an update on how the project is benefiting beekeepers and making important connections with the public.   

June 21, 2017:  

Topic: Meet Local Russian Bee Breeders, Richland Honey Bees: Lynn White Lynn White and her father raise Russian bees 40 miles away in Catharpin, Virginia, and will discuss Russians' resistance to Varroa and management issues surrounding these stocks. Says Lynn: "We are a Virginia family of five whose passion is breeding honey bees. As members of the Russian Honeybee Breeders Association, or RHBA, our mission is to constantly improve our USDA monitored bees each year. We put all of our effort into breeding gentle, productive, and Varroa mite resistant honey bees." More at http://www.richlandbees.com/  

May 17, 2017:

Topic: Why Winter Nucs, and How to Do it (also: make your own robbing screen): Karla Eisen and Maggie Mills

Now that many of us have installed nucleus colonies for 2017 (or wish we had) it's the time of year to start planning for raising your own!  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! EAS Certified Master Beekeeper Karla Eisen and beloved local provider of locally raised nucs Maggie Mills will lead this discussion. 
Also: Reserve ahead and make your own simple robbing screen in time for summer (materials provided for those who reserve ahead).

(Note: this meeting took place at the Arts Club of Washington, at 2017 I St. NW)

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.  

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!

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

October 15, 2014

September 17, 2014

August 2014: Summer Vacation, no meeting

July 16, 2014

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

June 18, 2014

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

May 14, 2014



Everything below here is a placeholder for when we can have in-person meetings again!


Our monthly meetups are 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.

If the Federal Government is closed (due to weather, for example), the DC Beekeepers will not meet but will attempt to reschedule.

Getting to the National Grange:

  • Harvest Honey Like a Pro : Jan Day
  • Honey Marketing Market Your Honey for Fun, Community and Profit
    • Topics TBA Soon.
    • Halting the Unstoppable Swarm: Dr. Kirsten Traynor, founder of 2Million Blossoms and director of the Bee Research Institute in Celle, Germany spoke to us about swarm management in late spring.
    • DC Law, Beekeeping and Pesticide Application: Mary Begin and Baldwin Williams of the DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE), Pesticide Branch spoke about pesticide policies and regulation in Washington DC. Baldwin, who is a beekeeper and an inspector for DOEE, answered questions.
    • Research Update: Zac Lamas, who is the recipient of the Montgomery County Beekeepers 2021 Bee Impact Grant, spoke about his current research, which has been partially funded by donations from local beekeepers.
    • Swarm Trap Pilot Program: An update on what is happening with the DCBA Swarm Trap Program.
    • "Queens for Beginners:"  Landi Simone, EAS Certified Master Beekeeper
      Landi Simone is rightfully well-known for her "Reading the Frames" lessons that help us to read and understand brood patterns. She was with us to help us focus on queens, including subspecies of honey bees, which ones work better where, re-queening, factors influencing and queen acceptance.
    • "Les Abeilles (wine)" Club Fund Raiser: Sean Kennedy, Scott Holman, Ian Ribowsky. More information about this fund raiser went out to the Google Group and the Facebook page.
    • DCBA Annual Elections. Current members will be asked to vote for DCBA officers for 2021.
    • "Swarm Prevention and Spring Management To-Do's" -- Kevin Inglin, EAS Master Beekeeper, and creator/producer of The Beekeeper's Corner podcsst  spoke about spring tasks to plan for.
    • "We Can't Keep Swarming Like This -- Using a Snelgrove Board to Prevent Swarming." Parks Talley, a longtime beekeeper who has mastered the use of Snelgrove boards to prevent swarming in the spring, explained how to use the Snelgrove Board (also called a "double-screen board" by some vendors). to prevent swarming.  By strategically using a Snelgrove Board before a hive swarms, you can keep your bees at home and your neighbors happy.

      Parks Talley's Snelgrove Calculator Spreadsheet
      - you can use the spreadsheet without modification, but if you want to modify it, the password is 1040ez .

    • "Choosing and Placing Swarm Traps and Bait Hives." several DC beekeepers have experienced great 2020 success in gathering free bees and preventing nuisance conditions by building or buying, and placing swarm traps and bait hives. This presentation included pointers from Sean Kennedy, Billy Mullenax, and Natasha Kennedy.
    • DCBA Virtual Holiday Party: Please send in evidence of your 2020 adventures, pull up a chair, pour the beverage of your choice, and participate in our Year In Review, with prizes you can vote for and receive! There will be polls and quizzes, and we will have T-shirts, honey, books, magazine subscriptions, and other goodies for those who participate and those who attend!
    • The Awesome Culture and Technology of Beekeeping in Slovenia, and an Intro to Slovenian AŽ Hives, with Jonna “Jay” Sanders, Owner and COO, AZ Hives North America LLC, www.azhivesnorthamerica.com. Beekeeping is central to the culture of Slovenia (the country that created International Bee Day) and they set a high bar for practice and bee health. Learn more about Slovenian beekeeping and get a look at that unique and interesting hive technology used there.
    • Cool News from the 4th International Bee & Hive Monitoring Conference, with EAS Master Beekeeper Dr. Frank Linton. Frank is a retired artificial intelligence engineer, and Research Associate at Appalachian State U.. He has kept honey bees since 2005. An EAS-Certified Master Beekeeper, one of his main interests is in finding ways to use remote sensing technologies to monitor and improve honey bee colony health and productivity. Author of The Observation Hive Handbook, maintainer of the websites thebeepeeker.com and colonymonitoring.com, contributor to beekeeping magazines, invited speaker at beekeeping associations and civic groups, and mentor to new beekeepers, Frank runs a few hives near his urban apartment and invites swarms of honey bees to take up residence on his balcony.  
    • "What You Should Be Doing for Winter Right Now and Observations from a Crazy Year," with Maryland State Apiary Inspector Cybil PrestonIn many years, DC beekeepers lose more bees in November than during mid-Winter. Learn what to look for, what to do, and how this unusual year influences your choices. PLUS: observations from surrounding states about the 2020 season.
    • "Fall Choices for Pollinator Habitat," with Shannon Trimboli, beekeeper, author, horticulturalist, educator (https://www.shannontrimboli.com) Fall provides an opportunity for garden and habitat creation choices that benefit both managed and native pollinators. Shannon Trimboli, author of Plants Honey Bees Use in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and the Kentucky Pollinators & Backyard Wildlife blog will coach us on what to add, what to leave behind, and how to manage for all the bees and the environment we share.
    • "Structural Removals: Questions to Ask, Approaches to Consider, and this Special Look into the Secret Life of Bees," with Cindy Bee of the Appalachian Beekeeping Collective
      Cindy Bee wrote the book on structural removals (Honey Bee Removal: A Step by Step Guide, available from the author as well). 2020 was a year of swarms, and therefore more structural removals than we normally see in DC. As urban beekeepers, our concern for our neighbors must equal that for our bees, and we need to understand how to help everybody stay in or get back to their homes! Removals also allow us to see housekeeping choices made by the bees, and to witness their return to the wild with how that compares to our life with us. Cindy also had some observations about this very swarmy year and what their impact may be on queens, and more.
    • "Actual DC Removal Projects"
      DCBA members who do structural removals provided some real stories and pictures about past extractions. Participants included Sean Kennedy, Erin Gleeson, Josh Calo and Billy Mullinax.
    • The Bee City, USA Project's goal is "Making the World Safe for Pollinators, One City at a Time." Natasha Garcia-Andersen led DC's successful effort to become one of only 59 cities to earn that designation. What did it take? What does it mean? Come learn. Natasha is also the DC official who is expert in the rules and regs of beekeeping in Washington, DC.
    • The Pollinator Partnership is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and the largest in the world dedicated exclusively to the protection and promotion of pollinators and their ecosystems. Val Dolcini is the new President of the Pollinator Partnership, and has been a participant in many local honey bee and native pollinator activities already. The Pollinator Partnership sponsored the "Mite-A-Thon" in which several dozen of us participated this Fall, and created Pollinator Week each June, for which our Alliance should start getting excited now!
    • Greg Ferris of Ferris Apiaries, a 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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). 
    • 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
    • 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