Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association


Seth Smith, President 

Bessie Robar, President (shadowing)

Elizabeth Pheonix-Agin, Vice President

Rob Johnson, Treasurer

Natalie Dougliss, Secretary & Newsletter

Scott Rhodes, Board

Alvin Forar, Board

Brad Raspet, Board

Happy September everyone! Fall is just around the corner and the leaves are starting to turn those pretty colors again. 

Due to the Burlington Library still being closed, our next meeting will be held Thursday, September 10th at 7 pm on the Zoom Meeting app. Brad has already emailed everyone the link.



September Newsletter


Honey Extraction




The time for honey has now come and gone. I am curious to see how much honey everyone harvested! It has been quite the year. 

Now that the supers are pulled, its time to focus on the health of your bees going into the later fall and winter months. After the honey is pulled the beekeeper should be feeding a 2:1 sugar to water ratio. Feed your bees until they cannot take any more feed. As I will explain later in the newsletter, the spring worker bees are slowly dying off and the queen is making her winter bees. It is important that you feed your bees as soon as you pull the honey away in order to maximize the use of those summer bees. We have more bees in our boxes right bow than we will have in the next month. They are at the peak of their season! It is vital that we maximize the use of the summer worker bees that we have left while we still have them. It takes a lot to dehydrate the sugar water that we feed them. If you feed them too late, the winter bees will have to do the jobs that they aren't supposed to do. It's better to conserve the energy of the winter bees' while they still can. 

The beekeepers goal is to obtain a heavy top box so that the bees have enough honey stores to survive the winter. You can check and see how heavy your top box is by cracking the two boxes with your hive tool and lifting the top, upper chamber brood box to see if it heavy with honey. If it is on the lighter side it should be fed until it is heavy. 

There are some occasions where certain hives consume the winter stores too fast. The hungriness of those hives are in the genetics of that queen. In this case, they probably won't make it through winter. 

I received a very good question the other day. Someone had pulled their honey supers off and were concerned that there seemed to be too many bees to fit two brood boxes. I too observed this when I pulled my honey. I decided to include this question in the newsletter just in case new beekeepers or old were wondering the same thing.
Even though there seems to be a ton of bees in the hives, the number of bees are starting to decrease. The queen has already started to decrease how many eggs she lays a day, and come October/November she will stop laying completely. Summer worker bees only live for 6 weeks, and right now they are starting to kick out the drones (if you see a pile of dead drones in front of your hive, this is why) and with that some workers due to stinging them. The queen has been laying her winter bees, so as the summer workers slowly die off the winter bees and maybe a few drones will be remaining. You might find that your bees are bearding out the front of the door at night. This simply means that it is too hot inside the hive, so to keep the brood at a specific temperature some sleep outside by the door. With this, there is no need to add a second brood box or split your hives. Each hive is currently decreasing their numbers. Last year I did see a hive swarm late summer. Sometimes it happens, but they should not be swarming right now. 


September Blooms 



Although most of the blooms have already run their course, there is one particular plant that the bees love right now. Knotweed. If your area is prominent in knotweed, you could try and put a super one of your hives (if you do, make sure you have not treated yet!). The honey is bright red and delicious! There is much debate about knotweed because known to Washington it is an invasive plant and a noxious weed. Although the Department of Ecology is constantly trying to get rid of this invasive plant, the bees LOVE the pollen and nector that is produces and so do many other insects. 

Other plants that are flowering right now includes spirea, sunflowers, garden flowers/herbs and other native/non-native plants. 


Asian Hornet: Update


There have been two more Asian Hornet trapped in Blaine, WA. One was trapped and the other was reported. Like our club has said before, keep an eye out around your beehives and watch the behavior of your bees as well as your surroundings. I have provided a link to the WSDA page where I have gotten my information.


Treating for Mites


 I feel like I am always integrating a mite treatment section in the newsletter... but it is so important! The health of bees should be the beekeeper's top priority. From good health stems surviving over winter, honey production, disease-free bees, a clean hive, and so much more. Treatments such as oxalic acid vapor, Apivar, Apigard, or an oxalic acid dribble can be used. Make sure to mix up your treatments so that the mites do no grow use to the treatments. 





Wrapping up September


There is not much else to say for September! The two biggest things we should all be doing in September is to feed our bees and treat for mites. Keep inspecting your hives every week in a half to two weeks, and observe them for illness or weird behavior. 

Have fun with them! Bees are such amazing little creatures! Have a good September everyone!