Beekeeping for Beginners

November 9th, 2015 by Sasha McGuire, Education Program Assistant

So you think you want to be a beekeeper? This workshop will give you a snapshot of what it is all about from your backyard hive to the wide world of apiculture. We’ll look at a brief history of bees and beekeeping, then consider what you might expect, how much you might spend, best hints on getting started, and answers to the most-asked questions about bees. Also covered will be details on some of the major beekeeping challenges and ways you can meet them as well as the mindset of successful beekeepers today. Whether you are already keeping bees, aspiring, or just curious, this session will give you insight and a straighter path to success and enjoyment.

beekeeper_PDWHAT: Introduction to Beekeeping 2 hour class
WHEN: Monday, November 23rd, 7-9pm
WHERE: UW Botanic Gardens – Washington Park Arboretum, Wisteria Hall (2300 Arboretum Dr E, Seattle)
COST: $20
SIGN UP: Register Online, or call 206-685-8033

The instructor, Dr Evan Sugden, has been a beekeeper most of his adult life. His experiences span all aspects of the trade, including commercial, hobby, research, teaching and solitary bee management. Evan was intimately involved in honey bee research during the calamitous late 1980’s and early ’90’s and had a first hand perspective of how beekeeping has changed since before that time. This has influenced his continued involvement and has inspired him to constantly strive to be a better beekeeper and to teach good practices to others as a new generation of beekeepers evolves.

 More information…

A glimpse into the past – 60 years of beekeeping at the Arboretum

October 4th, 2013 by UWBG Communication Staff
A few of Moen's original bee hives. Photo courtesy of Arboretum Foundation

A few of Moen’s original bee hives. Photo courtesy of Arboretum Foundation

By Director Emeritus John Wott

The Puget Sound Beekeepers have long been involved with the Washington Park Arboretum. When retired Coast Guard Captain Carl Henry Moen was looking for a location for the fledgling Beekeepers Association hives in the 1950s, he made a deal with Arboretum Director Brian Mulligan to place 10 towering hives in a hidden location in the Arboretum (still located there today!). They actually started with 6 hives, which they purchased for $10.00 each from a beekeeper’s widow. Brian was delighted to have bees in order to make sure the many bee-pollinated plants in the Arboretum would bear fruit and seeds.

Captain Moen, a native of Toledo, OH, became interested in bees at the age of 19. When he retired from the Coast Guard in 1954, his wife Laura and he moved to Seattle, where he actively pursued for 40 years the caring, teaching, and rescuing of bees. He often appeared on TV and was known to drive for miles in order to rescue a hive in a bewildered homeowner’s house or garden.

In a 1980’s news story, Captain Moen said he had hived 1118 swarms, and had directed 1138 swarms to members in over 25 yrs. He was known to deal with 200 swarm cells per day. His grandson in 2002 recalled seeing the back of Captain Moen’s Dodge Dart full of dead bees. Family folk lore says that he placed a queen bee in the casket of a deceased friend so that the friend would always have bees and honey on the other side. The Captain died in 1991 at the age of 91.

Photo courtesy of Arboretum Foundation

Photo courtesy of Arboretum Foundation

The site of the Arboretum hives was updated in 2002 when the Beekeepers Association moved their monthly meetings back to the Graham Visitors Center where they still meet. Since then, the site has been continually updated and cared for by the Association. The bees are an important part of the life cycle of many Arboretum plants, and are often used in the children’s programs.

Captain Moen always claimed that the honey made from in the Arboretum hives was the best, because the bees “sampled” so many different plants. Next time you  are in the GVC, stop by the Gift Shop and purchase some Arboretum honey, still  sold in many seasonal variations. Better yet, join the Puget Sound Beekeepers Association and own your own personal bee hive.   (Pictures, Arboretum Bulletin 64:2, Summer 2002.)

WPA Coming Attraction: Mason Bee Boxes

February 19th, 2010 by UWBG Horticulturist

Mason Bee Box

Arboretum staff will be assisting mason bee hobbyist Dave Richards (JohnnyAppleBeez, LLC) install several mason bee boxes in trees throughout the Arboretum grounds. The gentle, native mason bee is a better pollinator than the honeybee, but doesn’t travel nearly as far from its nest. Boxes will be up until June. An interpretive sign about mason bees will soon be posted up at the Arboretum apiary.

8 boxes similar to the one in the photo will be installed throughout the Arboretum grounds