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 August everyone! I can't believe that summer is almost over. This year has gone by so fast!

Due to the Burlington Library still being closed, our next meeting will be held Thursday, August 13th at 7 pm on the Zoom Meeting app. Brad will email everyone who is apart of the club later in the week to give more details. 

August Newsletter

Tasks for August

Unlike July, August is full of checklists that the beekeeper needs to accomplish.  Below are areas you should focus on:

1. Pull honey supers: It's finally time to pull your honey supers if you have any! Some areas have produced more than others. You should pull them no later than the middle of August. 

2. Check your mite counts: You can do this a number of ways. Some of the most popular ways is to use a sticky board, a sugar coat, or an alcohol wash. I recommend doing a few mite washes before you treat your bees because it ensures the knowledge of mite drop counts after your treatment. It can also determine if your treatment excelled or failed. I've listed below links that you can click on to follow instructions on how to do each!

Powdered Sugar Method:

Stickey Board:

Alcohol Wash:
You can buy the Varroa Easycheck on Amazon. Or you can just use a mason jar with a screen!

3. Treating your bees: Treating your bees is essential for the health of your bees going into winter and spring. Without treating, your bees are susceptible to diseases that the mites contain such as deformed wing virus and foulbrood. Like mentioned before, there are many ways you can treat this fall. The preferred method is to treat with either Apivar or Apigard. You may also use oxalic acid vapor or an oxalic acid dribble. However, if you used these in the springtime it might be best to use another treatment in the fall due to mite susceptibility. 

August Blooms 

I've gotten a lot of questions from non-beekeepers concerning what bees eat and if I feed them. This question always seems to stump me. We know about dearths and when to approximately feed our bees, but what flowers are actually blooming right now that the bees are gathering nector from? This is part of the question I sometimes have a hard time answering. As beekeepers, we should know the local vegetation (native or invasive) that sustains our colonies. For the month of August in the Pacific Northwest the following flowers provides nectar to honeybees: Fireweed, Rudbeckia, Clover, Basil, Bee Balm, some Foxglove, Spirea, Snowberry, Goldenrod and others. If you have gardens, the bees will be pollinating/gathering pollen from your flowers. Above is a picture I took of a honeybee with pumpkin pollen all over her! There is food out there for them, but summer is slowly wrapping up. 

Since we are talking about bee food, it's important to mention the topic of robbing. Make sure as you pull your honey supers that lids go on right after. Sometimes when so much honey is pulled the bees get excited and start robbing each other. The stronger colonies will start robbing the weaker colonies and they will be left without food. This doesn't happen often, but just ensure lids are on right away and if you have them, putting your entrance reducer on your weaker hives could deter robbing. 

Asian Hornet: Update

There was an Asian Hornet found in a trap in  Birch Bay in mid-July. 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. 

Speaking of predators, I'm seeing so many crab spiders get bees! Maybe I wasn't observant last year, but it seems like bees are the crab spiders food of choice!

Hummingbirds & Bees 

I'm not sure if anyone else is having this issue, but I decided to do a little interesting research just in case other people were having the same problem. I have multiple hummingbird feeders around our house and I've notices this past month that the honeybees have taken over both hummingbird feeders. As a result, the hummingbirds won't come near the feeder unless the bees are not feeding off of it. We love our bees, but we also love our hummingbirds! During this time of year, your bees shouldn't be hungry. Here are some ideas about trying to get the honeybees away from your hummingbird food: Move your feeders every so often, buy "nectar guards" that you place in your feeder. This allows only your hummingbirds to feed. You could also use a more water in your mixture of sugar to make it more diluted. 

Wrapping up August
As August will all too soon end, you should see a decrease in the amount of bees in the hive. After pulling honey and the leaves start to change, the worker bees will start kicking out the drones and the queen will start laying less eggs. The eggs she does lay will be winter bees. Remember when you pull your honey to not only treat, but to feed your bees 2:2 sugar water ratio to replenish the food we took away from them. Feed them until they don't take the feed anymore. These stores will help aide them during the winter months. This is also a great time to make lists of things you would like to order for 2021. Some companies have had delayed shipping, so getting on a waitlist might be beneficial depending on what type of supplies you need for next year. 

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Skagit Valley Beekeepers 2926 Schattig Ln Oak Harbor, WA 98277 USA

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