Surrey Beekeepers Association October 2017

Last weekend I listened to Kirk Webster (, who is visiting on invitation of the Richmond Beekeepers Association. Thank you to RBA for organizing this.

Kirk is a Vermont commercial Beekeeper, who does not treat his bees (or for short, is treatment free). From the beginning, the term “treatment free” has struck me the wrong way, as it seems to indicate that you can buy bees, put them in your back yard and forget about them, until it’s time to harvest the honey. Then after harvest, you quickly forget about them until the next spring. Clearly, this does not work this way, and Kirk Webster demonstrated this clearly in his presentation

It is Kirk’s approach that bees can adapt to challenges and that not treating will give them an advantage. To achieve it is a process. It includes a lot of techniques, which our ancestor beekeepers used, but have been fallen out of memory (or fashion) with the onset of a more industrious way of beekeeping.

So, in a way he goes back to go to the future. The elements he uses are honey producing colonies, breeder and cell breeding colonies, nucleus colonies and micro mating colonies, some of which he can place in isolated areas. As Kirk says, it’s building on what Brother Adam did at Buckfast Abbey starting 1915.

(Fun Fact: Brother Adam was born Karl Kehrle, in Germany. He was sent to Buckfast Abbey by his mother when he was 11 years old, due to health problems)

Kirk also selected Russian bees as his preferred stock, because these bees have had longer experience with Varroa, and are used to a climate similar to that in Vermont.

He has mastered the art to direct the concert between those elements and, since he controls the genetic traits of his queen offspring, has gradually strengthened his apiaries, and has not treated since 1998.

I like to call what he has achieved Sustainable. So, if you want to become sustainable as a beekeeper, tell me how you want to go about achieving this goal. 

I fully agree with Kirk, Mike Palmer and other beekeepers, that achieving sustainability and a strong apiary is a goal worthwhile pursuing. It also rings well with the Motto of our Association: “Dedicated to Better Beekeeping”. If you want to be sustainably you better up your game.

Looking forward to seeing you October 18th …

Please support the Honeybee Centre.

Visit our Facebook page at:


SBA President



Surrey Beekeepers Association December 2015

Another year, almost gone. As usual it was unique, and therefore presented us with unique challenges. Your bees are hopefully cozied
up and have winter-feed in their reach. We will talk briefly about winter feeding at the upcoming meeting. We will also touch on some
of the things you can or should be doing over the winter to give your bees a head start.

The world is sitting together in Paris arguing about how we need to behave, such that we will not disturb the delicate balance in nature.
As bee stewards this does affect us closely. We see the consequences of changing weather patterns for our bees and we
need to adapt in our beekeeping efforts. We do have an obligation to speak up for the interest of our bees. Doing it will be in our best interest.

On December 16th, our Christmas meeting, we will get together to celebrate and enjoy the company of our fellow club members. Bring
something to share, be it a story, a song, food, drink, candles, art, you choose. There needs to be joy and happiness. We leave our sorrows at the coat hanger outside.

Looking forward to seeing you December 16th …

Please support the Honeybee Centre.

Visit our Facebook page at:


SBA President



SBA December 2014

On Sunday is Grey Cup in Vancouver, for other's it's the first of advent. We are entering into the last month of the year, the Christmas lights and decorations are out and we are getting all festive and ready for Christmas and the end of the year. Meanwhile the bees are in their hives clustering to keep warm, oblivious to the peaceful madness around them. I am fairly certain that they do not have a bee Santa-Claus, since they have thrown all the males out, aside from the fact that there is nothing our there, which they would be interested to shop.

When they come out to buzz again, they may see a better bee world. At least in terms of Neonicotenoids, which will be under more control than there has been. Now that's a beginning, and only a beginning. With this somewhat out of the way, we can start taking a look at other aspects in our bees world which need a mind shift.

Read more: SBA December 2014

Bee Masters Course 2014

The motto of the Surrey Beekeepers Association (SBA) is “Dedicated to better Beekeeping”. I attended the Bee Mater’s Course 2014, because I felt that I was not doing my bees justice. I got a number of answers to what “Better Beekeeping” may mean. And it definitely enforced my conviction that we will not do our bees justice, unless we start to look at the question from their point of view. What is amazing in this is, that if we do so, we do ourselves the greatest favor. Dr. Mark Winston summarized this in an impressive manner in his closing lecture of the course titled “Bee Time: Lessons learned from the Bees”.  Dr. Mark Winston was the head of  the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Bee Research Lab.

Read more: Bee Masters Course 2014

Welcome to the Club

The Surrey Beekeepers Association encompasses commercial and non commercial beekepers in Surrey and the Lower Mainland. Our goal is to advance sustainable beekeeping by

  • educating the public about bees, their needs and challenges
  • be a resource for beekeepers
  • be a place for the exchange of experience between beekeepers and between beekeepers and the public

The club-meets every third Wednesday of a Month. 

 Please see the calendar in the events section for details.

Additional information