When I committed to Flower Farming I knew that I wanted to become a Beekeeper. Bees are fascinating creatures and I was eager to learn more about them.
In 2019 I completed the WSU Introduction to Beekeeping Course. This was my entry point to beekeeping. I discovered Honey Bee Subspecies, Bee Development, Supplemental Feeding, Hive Monitoring, and of course the Honey Flow.
I was proud to pass my written test and receive my certification but I desired more. I craved a mentor. My beekeeper friend Lisa introduced me to Tamila Morgan. Tamila was the mentor I envisioned. She was passionate about bees, she's a leader in her industry and more importantly, she practices treatment-free beekeeping and lives in my hometown. We became fast friends!
Tamila lives at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains off Jim Creek Road. She hosts workshops in her backyard Bee Barn. Lisa & I continued our beekeeping knowledge here.
With my family's support, we designed and built our honeybee apiary that same year. We used hog wire and split rail fencing to allow for the bee's access while keeping predictors out. The apiary is protected by a variety of pollinators that include raspberries, blueberries, lavender, grapes, and roses.
Before you establish an apiary consider sun and wind exposure. Honeybees thrive with direct sunlight and minimal wind exposure. I was advised to start small. To beekeep successfully one must be in the hive regularly. Studying the hive's health, vigor, and temperament. We were content to begin with a single hive.
I recall it was 2020 when I extended my apiary to Tamila. I was managing my flower farm commitments when she introduced several more hives and managed the apiary full-time. I enjoy her farm visits, our conversations over the bees, and sharing stories of our families. I am grateful for opportunities to shadow her, soak up her bee knowledge, and gain confidence.
Tamila earned her Master Beekeeper certification from the University of Montana in 2022. Her beekeeping workshops expanded into what is known today as The Stilly Valley Bee Collective. This collective takes pride in a Holistic View of Apiary Management". Our like-minded group practices treatment-free. We encourage one another, troubleshoot hive challenges, encourage continued education & do life together. We standardize practices and our core standards can be mirrored. Tamila and a few others have been trialing the ANEL Insulated hives and we are transitioning our hives over to ANEL.
Tamila is currently earning her certification in Commercial Beekeeping and upon completion will shift her main focus to Queen Rearing. Our collective will use genetics to improve our breeding stock. With our collective's support, I will transition back into managing our farm's apiary. Our collective is more than a club, it's a community where we are supporting our local farmers. Like the honeybee hive, we are stronger when we can collectively collaborate and not compete.
Saturday, January 27th, 2024 at Stanwood High School is the annual Country Living and Modern Homestead Expo. It was in 2019 that I first attended and had the opportunity to meet Temple Grandin
January 27th, Tamila will be teaching Beginning Beekeeping 1&2 and Raise Your Own Queens 1&2. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged with over 165 classes to choose from. Call 360.428.4270 to register. Our Stilly Valley Bee Collective will be represented at the Free Expo. Doors open at 7:30 am I encourage you to drop in and introduce yourself. If you are interested in starting your first hive and are open to learning more about Treatment Free Beekeeping, our collective would love to be an encouragement to you. This is a great opportunity to purchase treatment-free honey from The Stilly Valley Bee Collective. You are welcome to reach out to me or Tamila @the_beefarmer for all things bees.