Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Brad Raspet, President

Elizabeth Pheonix-Agin, Vice President

Rob Johnson, Treasurer

Susan DeLawter, Secretary

Natalie Dougliss, Newsletter

Scott Rhodes, Board

Alvin Forar, Board

Seth Smith, Board
Happy February everyone!

Due to the Burlington Library still being closed, our next meeting will be held Thursday, February 11th at 7 pm on the Zoom Meeting app. Brad will email everyone the link with instructions.

February Newsletter

Registering Hives

Registering your hives is required for all beekeepers, commercial or backyard. Registering your hives is a great way to protect your assets. The cost is based on how many hives you project to have, and registration is due April 1. 
I've provided a link below for more information.
Nosema vs. Cleansing Flights
Springtime is nearing, and some colonies will start to show signs of certain diseases. Nosema is a disease that bees can get when they are infected with a certain microsporidian. This little microorganism produces spores that effect the bees' digestive system. In serious cases of nosema, there can be heavy bee loss. Instead of taking cleaning flights, the bees will defecate in the hive and spread spores in the comb. New bees will clean the comb and become infected.
When springtime occurs, you will see your bees fly from out of the hives, to and fro, to relieve themselves. They will fly far from the hive so that disease is nowhere near the hive. Bees that have nosema will also fly from the hive, however, they are disoriented and they defecate right outside the hive. If you have a serious case you will see yellow streaks all over the entrance of the hive. In a normal cleaning flight, you wouldn't see that.
A good way to steer clear of nosema is to manage mite levels throughout the year. Mites are the biggest factor in contributing diseases to honeybees. Should your bees get nosema, there is a natural microbe that cleans up decaying matter such as these nosema spore. This natural microbe is called Fumagillin.
I've provided a few links for further information!

Weatherizing Hives
In the recent newsletters I have talked about preparing for springtime. Another thing to be thinking about for this month or next is weatherizing your hives. You can do this by putting another coat of exterior paint onto your hives, staining them, or dipping your boxes in wax. This article talks about these three different types of way to protect the outer portion of the hive. 
Weatherizing your hives is not necessary, but if you want your bee boxes to last a long time, it might be worth choosing one of these so that your hives last a long time.

Blooms in February

Even though your bees are clustering tightly during the winter months, there are some flowers that bloom early February/March that give nutrients to the bees. If there is a nice day here and there, the some bees will stretch their wings and take a flight. Here are some plants that attract bees and local pollinators this time of year: 
Shrubs: Goat Willow and Oregon Grape.
Perennials: Hellebore, Primrose
Bulbs: Winter Aconite, Crocus, Snowdrop, Siberian Squill

Along with low ground plants that offer good sources for nector and pollen, trees are equally, if not more efficient in offering local pollinators an abundance of nutrients. Trees that give a great source of either/or pollen and nector are Apple trees, Sweet Cherry, Horse Chestnut, Mountain Ash, and Little-Leaf Linden.
Recipe of the Month
As a beekeeper, it's essential to learn about how to best care for your bees. Our goal is to work hard during the busy bee season so that we may reap just a small amount of hard work, whether that be honey, propolis, pollen, or beeswax. As I am trying to figure out new and exciting ways to expand the newsletter, I think a recipe of the month would be a great way for using resources that nature gives us. As I would like to start this section of the newsletter, I have to warn that though our bees produce natural resources for us to use, these are limited and that we should never take in excess of what we need. These resources are for our bees, and when we take too much, they suffer the consequences. They are natural resources that could lead to depletion. If there are no resources in excess for us to take, we should not be taking from them. I am hoping to start this next month! 
2021 Dues  
This is just a friendly reminder that for those who would like to continue their membership with Skagit Valley Beekeepers, the annual fee of $12 is due. Please send checks/cash to the following address: