Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Newsletter for March 2023
 March 9th Silent Auction/Potluck
Join us for our annual SVBA celebration and fundraiser
It's almost here! Our annual silent auction and potluck dinner will be on Thursday, March 9th from 6 PM to 8:30 PM at the Sedro-Woolley Senior Center at 715 Pacific St.
Lasagna will be provided as a main dish (both veggie and meat choice). But please bring along your culinary contributions to fill out the menu for the crowd of hungry beekeepers. Water and coffee will be available, but please bring any other (non-alcoholic) beverage that you might like.
We are looking forward to seeing the silent auction items that will appear on the tables - it's always a great mix of items to catch folks' eyes, imaginations, and bids. So, if you are bringing something for the auction, try and arrive at 5:45. There will be a card to fill out listing the item and a starting price. The auction starts at 6 and will wrap up at 8 PM. 
All of the successful bidder's dollars go to a great cause...the SVBA's programs and services. Our trusty Treasurer, Rob Johnson, will gather payments by check or cash - no credit cards, please.

Looking Ahead:
 Speakers and Courses

Seth Smith at the Potluck
Beekeeping: Past, Present, and Future

Longtime beekeeper, teacher and bee whisperer Seth Smith will provide his personal observations and inspirations as our speaker at the potluck and auction event. His topic will provide his perspective on past practices, today's challenges, and how the future is shaping up for us all.
Last Chance: 
Join the March Beekeeping Course
Classes begin March 6
If you (or a friend) have been thinking about joining our beginning beekeeping course, leap at the chance now. There has been lots of interest, so get in touch with Rob Johnson to get a spot right away.
  • When: 6 to 8:30 PM every Monday evening, 4 weeks (March 6,13,20,and 27). 
  • Where: Burlington Public Library, 820 E Washington Ave.
  • Sign up: contact Rob Johnson, to reserve your spot
  • Tuition: $50 (which includes annual membership in the SVBA)
What's Up with the Giant Hornets?
Learn from our guest speaker at the April Meeting

Photo source: Washington State Department of Agriculture
Our monthly meeting on April 13th at 7 PM will feature beekeeper Ruthie Danielson. She will be making an illustrated presentation on the Northern Giant Hornet, covering the hornet’s 2019 entry into North America up to the present. 
She will be sharing her "up close and personal" experiences with these beasts in her talk that covers known behaviors of the queen, drones, and workers as well as details of the four nests found in Whatcom County.  Ruthie will also be bringing a number of preserved hornets from nest zero and one comb gathered from nest two for you to see.  The meeting will be held at the Burlington Public Library.
April 15th Queen Rearing Class
A Saturday session with Seth Smith
You are invited to a field visit and class on queen rearing. Join Seth Smith at noon on April 15th at 19145 Burkland Rd. in Mt. Vernon. He is going to show and demonstrate this fascinating aspect of beekeeping. This will be free to members of the SVBA - another great benefit of joining. 

Tales of the SHB
Last month's SVBA meeting drew a large, pre-Covid sized crowd for our featured speaker, Chris Looney from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. He filled us in on the small hive beetle (SHB). The good news about this insect is that you can easily spot them, once you know what to look for. But otherwise, they are bad news.

With his research and help, we hope to avoid the type of infestations that are plaguing some other regions of the U.S. He has offered to study the prevalence of small hive beetles in our area. If you haven't responded to the follow-up e-mail we sent last month, you can learn how to volunteer and participate in his research by contacting Susan DeLawter

Helpful Links
Dawn Beck offers these web links for several aspects of beekeeping in Washington.
State Hive Registration
Keep up with your annual registration requirements:
Civil Liability Protection
Beekeepers have liability protection under state law in Washington through the advocacy efforts of beekeepers across the state. Learn more at:
Washington State Beekeepers Association License Plate Petition
WASBA is helping to organize a petition so that beekeepers can have a special bee-themed license plates, like some other states. Check out:

Take a Beekeeping Survey
Help with an Everett High student's research project
Julie Hansen is an Everett High School student taking an AP Research course. She has organized a project focusing on the ways farmers and beekeepers in Washington State may preserve both native and honeybee populations. She would greatly appreciate a few minutes of your time filling out her online questionnaire. Just use this link,
Monthly Tips
March: a critical time
March is a pivotal time for our Skagit Valley bee colonies. Overwintering bees may be at the end of their stash of stored honey, but can't get out yet to replenish it. Now is when strong colonies can suddenly starve. Key tips for this month include:
  • Gently lift hives to check and record their weight to determine if the honey reserves are still significant.
  • Provide or supplement their stores with feed honey (stored capped frames that you didn't extract), bee candy, or raw sugar.
  • Check for dead hives and try to determine the cause of their demise.
  • Clean "dead outs", supers, equipment and bee yard areas.
  • If you need to replace or add colonies, order your nucs or packages right away (see the Trading Post for a good source, below).  

Trading Post
Need some nucs? Seth Smith will be preparing nucs to sell to SVBA members, sourced from the substantial commercial operation in which he is engaged. For details on availability and costs, contact Seth at 360-770-0481 or email 

Les's Bees has a full line of beekeeping woodenware and supplies in Bellingham -  SVBA member Les Scott continues to serve our region and membership as a retail supplier and distributor. Check out or contact Les Scott directly by e-mail, call, or text:  360-303-0396.

If you have supplies and equipment that you may be interested in swapping, selling, or just plain giving to other interested members of the SVBA, send a brief description, price, and contact information to your editor,
Membership: Renew or Join Us!
It's easy and the benefits are terrific
Today is the perfect time to catch up on your annual dues for all of 2023, or join the SVBA. Membership supports our many activities, meetings, and special programs - including the education and outreach that we provide through our courses, speakers, and annual County Fair participation. Just look at our website at
The annual dues are only $12 (or $13 using our online payment system). The dues support the many programs and benefits that the Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association offer our community of helpful beekeepers. The membership form and payment instructions are found at:
The online payment option is located at:

Brett DeLawter, President
Dawn Beck, Vice President
Rob Johnson, Treasurer
Susan DeLawter, Secretary

Steve Cecil, Newsletter

Gail Buce, Board
Don Johnson, Board

Heather Oates, Board

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

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