Melanie Kirby, owner of Zia Queenbee Co., will be a keynote speaker at the BCHPA Semi-Annual meeting in Kamloops March 13-14.

B.C. Honey Producers semi-annual conference set for March 12-14

Get ready for the B.C. Honey Producers Association’s semi-annual general meeting and Education Day on March 13-14 in Kamloops.

The BCHPA has organized a great education program for Saturday, March 14, following their regular business day on Friday. You can register here. They are also bringing back, by popular demand, the Certified Instructors Course, which will be held on Thursday, March 12, providing they have a minimum of six students.

The Education Day will feature some great speakers.

John Gibeau, owher of The Honeybee Centre and a commercial beekeeper.

John Gibeau, owher of The Honeybee Centre and a commercial beekeeper.

Come prepared to learn about everything from how to turn your apiary into a commercial success to the rules you need to know about selling honey in British Columbia, to the latest issues of diseases and pests affecting beekeepers.

A sampling of a few they’ve lined up for the education day:

  • Melanie Kirby, of Zia Queenbee Co. of New Mexico, who has developed a survivor queen breeding business in challenging conditions similar to what B.C. beekeepers face.
  • John Gibeau, commercial beekeeper and owner of The Honeybee Centre: He may be one of the larger commercial operations in B.C, but he also has sage advice for how to create a profitable full-time business in B.C. with 300 hives or less.
  • Melanie Kirby of Zia Queenbee Co and her partner Mark Spitzig of Superior Honey.

    Melanie Kirby of Zia Queenbee Co and her partner Mark Spitzig of Superior Honey.

    Mark Spitzig, Kirby’s partner, who owns Superior Honey Company and has advice for marketing honey by small-scale producers. He’s also developed special recipes for healthy feeding of bees, and specializes in developing propolis-based products.

  • B.C. Health / Interior Health Authority: rules and tips for small honey producers who sell locally in farmers markets, stores and at farm gate.
  • Axel Krause / Lance Cuthill: learn from these master workshop tinkerers useful beekeeping equipment you can make for your home and commercial apiaries.
  • Lix Huxter, of Kettle Valley Queens.

    Lix Huxter, of Kettle Valley Queens.

    Liz Huxter: You may pity the misunderstood drone, but he’s actually an enormously important player in the health of a hive. Learn about the genetic diversity they provide, and how to do closed mating with drones developed early in the season. The importance of drone congregation areas and how to find them will also be discussed.

  • Paul van Westendorp: B.C.’s provincial apiculturalist updates and refreshes on the latest in American Foulbrood and European Foulbrood, complete with test samples.
  • Sarah Common, right, with her mother Julia, back, are the brains behind the Hives for Humanity project.

    Sarah Common, right, with her mother Julia, back, are the brains behind the Hives for Humanity project.

    Julia and Sarah Common: How the Hives for Humanity social enterprise project is moving into an international phase, plus an update on its Vancouver work so far.

  • Stan Reist, Flying Dutchman Honey Farm, talks about the made-in-BC business of shaking bee packages and creating nucleus colonies to supply Alberta and Saskatchewan commercial honey producers, with a view to how small-scale beekeepers can generate extra income.

The business day itself will include updates on a number of key policy issues affecting beekeepers, including:

  • Important changes to the BCHPA’s divisions and affiliate club relationships;
  • Discussion of a made-in-B.C. pollinator pesticide protection statement;
  • The Ontario government’s changes to the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, and potential effects in B.C.;
  • Provincial apiculture updates and overwintering reports;
  • Progress on the Canada’s National Bee Health Round Table;
  • A report from the Canadian Honey Council’s annual meeting in Moncton, New Brunswick;
  • Reports from the BCHPA’s regional representatives and more.

The Certified Instructors Course will be taught by master beekeepers and provincial bee inspectors Axel Krause and Lance Cuthill. If you are intending on teaching beginning beekeeping, these two instructors will help you cover all of the necessary issues. They have devised a course curriculum that has been endorsed by the BCHPA setting the bar for teaching beekeeping courses. Students who pass the course will have access to BCHPA accredited materials for teaching their own beginner courses.

Certification will ensure a high standard of quality instruction by BCHPA-endorsed teachers.

Details of entrance cost and entrance requirements will be available at

You can also contact Axel at a.krause – at-telus (.) net or Lance at lcuthill-at- gmail(.) com.

Conference details:

Date: March 12 (Certified Instructors Course), March 13 (BCHPA Business Day), and March 14, Education Day. Register here.

Location: Holiday Inn & Suites Kamloops, 675 Tranquille Road, Kamloops, B.C. V2B 3H7  Phone (250) 376-8288

Cost: A special reduced rate of $50 for BCHPA members, $70 for non-members (Business day is free to attend).

Note: A special room rate of $109 per night has been arranged at the Holiday Inn & Suites. Please book early to avoid disappointment! Use the code: BEE

How to pay:

Register with Irene Tiampo, BCHPA treasurer, by email: treasurer – @ – bcbeekeepers (.) com

Send payment to TREASURER: Irene Tiampo
P.O. Box 5609, Station B, Victoria, BC V8R 6S4

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