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Welcome to the Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association

Contra Costa Times, My Town February 17th, 2015
Through bees, Orinda man reaches out to others
By Jennifer Modenessi jmodenessi@bayareanewsgroup.com

ORINDA -- Whether he's setting up a hive in pristine parkland, mentoring schoolchildren or raising thousands of dollars for education, Steve Gentry has the uncanny ability to draw people to him.

The talent, bolstered by his gentle voice and hearty chuckle, also applies to bees, those fuzzy, yellow-and-black pollinators to which he's dedicated decades of his life.

He seems to bring people and bees together effortlessly. Take, for example, what happens at the stand Gentry operates every weekend at the Sunday farmers market in downtown Walnut Creek. In addition to selling jars of golden honey delicately flavored by the sweet taste of buttercups, dandelions, eucalyptus and whatever else the bees are eating that's in season, Gentry can be found dispensing advice to novice beekeepers. He also educates market patrons of all ages with his demonstration beehive, and is known to make fast friends with other beekeepers and bee enthusiasts. ... read the story

  May 14

General Meeting
, 7:00, Pleasant Hill Community Center,
Making Comb Honey
– Major Branzel
On May 14, we welcome master beekeeper, lecturer, and mentor to new beekeepers for over 20 years—Mr. Major Branzel. A very engaging and popular speaker, Mr. Branzel has lectured at SFBA in the past as well as at numerous other organizations, including Beekeepers of San Mateo, the horticultural club of Solano County, and, most frequently, his home club, Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association. (see more details here)


Our Monthly General Meeting on May 14th will be held at our new location:
Pleasant Hill Community Center
320 Civic Drive, Pleasant Hill

Check the MBDA event calendar for upcoming events and bee-workshops. If you would like to become a member, please join the MDBA today. If you have questions about membership, please contact us.

This swarm is 30 feet off the ground in a maple tree.During the swarm season the MDBA Swarm Patrol volunteers will be available to collect swarms. If you call one of our members to request a swarm removal please be ready to answer some questions.

Swarming is a natural phenomenon. It's the way that honeybees expand their territory and ensure the continued survival of the species. Each time they swarm they double the number of hives and decrease the chances that disaster will wipe them all out.

Swarming is also a side-effect of the queen's preparation for spring honey flows. In late winter the queen will begin to lay more eggs in preparation for the influx of nectar and pollen in the spring. More food requires a larger workforce to bring it in.

But a larger honeybee population with more nectar and pollen stored in the hive also results in overcrowding. Beekeepers try to stay ahead of the bees by adding more supers (the white boxes) to the hive so that the bees will have more space. Unmanaged hives, though, soon fill up.

The swarms of spring leave home because nectar and pollen are flowing in and the hive is getting over-crowded.

Relax! When they're swarming bees are probably the most docile they will ever be. Before they leave the hive they fill up on honey to keep themselves going until they find a new home. Fat and happy honeybees, with no home to protect, are less likely to sting.

Once the bees have moved into a building, though, they're no longer swarms. Here's a great video of a structural removal - and a great illustration of why we recommend leaving structural removals to the experts.

Mt. Diablo Beekeepers Association (MDBA) is dedicated to educating communities about honeybees and the historic art of beekeeping.

Welcome. The Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association is one of the largest beekeeping clubs in California. We are an all-volunteer association working to promote beekeeping in our local communities while sharing fellowship and goodwill. Membership offers hands-on beekeeping workshops, a monthly subscription to the Diablo Bee newsletter (including seasonal hive-management tips so you can follow along with an expert), and the opportunity to meet and learn from other beekeepers in the MDBA.

Monthly meetings are open to the public and feature a speaker addressing topics from practical beekeeping to research discoveries related to honeybees. Meetings begin with Bee-Chat, our popular Q&A program, and conclude with the MDBA Raffle, where ticket holders have the chance to win handy beekeeping supplies. Members may borrow books from the MDBA library and rent the club’s honey extractor. At the MDBA Gala BBQ dinner in October, members honor the Beekeeper of the Year. The club meets the second Thursday of the month from January to October at the Pleasant Hill Community Center from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Coffee and lemonade served. Please bring a snack to share. Thank you for your interest in the MDBA and we look forward to meeting you.