EAST WENATCHEE – Free agriculture clinics at Coastal Farm & Ranch – an outfitter for farm and ranch supplies in East Wenatchee – have been drawing ever-growing crowds from around the Wenatchee Valley the past few years. One of their latest clinics on bee-keeping is one that has seen tremendous growth over the last couple years.
Brian Roth, a corporate buyer for Coastal Farm & Ranch, has been leading the clinic, “Bee-Keeping 101,” for the third year at the East Wenatchee store. The store has been selling bee-keeping supplies and bees for four years.
Roth says that with recent news about the dwindling populations of bees all around the world, more hobbyist and farmers have taken a closer look at bees. A main reason for the sudden interest is that bee-keeping increases pollination of trees, gardens and crops. And, of course, they
also produce honey, which is in short supply here in the United States. Roth stated that each year the U.S. consumes million of pounds more honey that it can produce.
In a story published by BeeInformed.org, beekeepers across the United States lost 44 percent of their honey bee colonies during the year spanning April 2015 to April 2016.
According Roth, the demographics of the back-yard poultry-keeper match closely with that of an average bee-keeper. Regardless of what you may have heard, he says that once you’ve got the basic of bee-keeping they are less work than your pet dog and a little more work than your average cat.
Roth says that more people are finding that producing honey and selling it at farmers markets
is easier than they think. The rules that producers need to abide by are fairly simple. A resource that more people are turning to is the North Central Washington Bee Keepers Association. It’s a group that provides Chelan and Douglas counties support for beekeepers, pollinators, farmers, the general public and, of course, honeybees. The group has grown from 12 members in 2013 to over 125 in 2017.
Coastal Farm & Ranch hosts other agriculture clinics throughout the Spring and Summer. Prior to “Bee-Keeping 101” they hosted a clinic on back-yard poultry. The store currently has a variety of chicks including chickens, turkeys, ducks, and guineas.
For more information on upcoming clinics you can contact their East Wenatchee store at (509) 886-1560 or visit their website at CoastalFarm.com
- Video: Interview with Brian Roth, Coastal Farm & Ranch, on bee-keeping
- Coastal Farm & Ranch Website
- North Central Washington Bee Keepers Association Website