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Staff Reporter 

West Plains association extends beekeeping knowledge to students

Beekeepers teach classes at Medical Lake


Education was the common topic at the March 7 West Plains Beekeepers Association meeting in Medical Lake.

During her committee report, vice president Margo Buckles announced that she has been teaching lessons at Medical Lake High School.

Buckles said she approached science teacher Jennie Wagner and asked if she’d be interested in having her students learn beekeeping lessons once a week in her horticulture class. According to Buckles, there will hands-on lessons and students will get a chance to take the state certified beekeepers exam to become apprentice beekeepers.

West Plains Beekeepers member Ellen Miller said she and her husband Jim taught a series of beginning beekeeping classes for the Spokane County Library District. She mentioned that the library asked her to create online tutorials.

Miller said she is 80 percent done with the tutorial slides but wanted to make sure she had the approval to use the West Plains Beekeeper Association logo and name. She added that the lessons would have links to the group’s website.

Before the meeting, EWU professor Donald Richter gave a PowerPoint presentation on honey bee spring management. He stressed that not properly managing the hives could cost beekeepers their honey harvest and bees.

Some tips Richter gave included checking on the bees early to see if they are alive and healthy and to make sure they are well fed. He suggested using liquid feed to simulate syrup to “fool them into thinking it is spring.”

“We’ve got to make that army of bees ready for that nectar flow,” Richter said.

He also gave suggestions for taking care of weak and diseased habitats. If the hive is dead, he recommended that beekeepers clean it out and try to find the source of the problem.

He also discussed when to replace equipment and cautioned everyone not to over-inspect their hives.

“Bees have been around since the time of the pharaohs,” Richter said. “They’re going to be okay if we just watch and observe them.”

Al Stover can be reached at


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