Newsletter for June 2023
 
Join Us for Our June Meeting
Bee chatting and mite fighting
Please join us at our June SVBA meeting. We hope you can make it in person, but an online option will be available, too. Just watch your e-mails for an invitation.
 
The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 8,  Burlington Public Library. The meeting will kick0ff  at 7 PM.
 
But come early, for our informal "bee chat" beginning at 6:30 PM, complete with some pre-meeting refreshments. Share your questions and tips with your fellow beekeepers.
 
This month features an explanation of new techniques in battling mites and plans for our summer events.

It's mite time, more of the time...
Dawn Beck's topic for the June meeting 
SVBA VP Dawn Beck will share her observations about an increasingly popular method to attack the pervasive, invasive varroa mites. Using a solution that includes oxalic acid, sponges can be prepared and placed in colonies to provide a slower and longer lasting treatment. This is a technique that beekeeping leader Randy Oliver has been exploring in California, and has been spreading around the country with lots of internet and YouTube links.
 
It's a bit involved, so it is important to understand the techniques, and consider the potential benefits. Dawn will fill us in, so join us at the meeting or online.
Put these on your calendar ...
The SVBA Picnic is Coming!
Join us on Sunday, July 16th
Set aside early afternoon on Sunday, July 16th for our annual picnic and summer gathering at the Hillcrest Park gazebo. It's a potluck plus - the SVBA provides the burgers and hot dogs, and you add your favorite picnic dish to share. Bring a big appetite - it's always a mid-summer feast.

WASBA Knowledge & Fun Fest
Visit the state-wide beekeeping event 
Saturday, July 22
We hope you can join other SVBA beekeepers and travel down to the Medicine Creek Winery in Olympia, Washington for this big, free public event and gathering. It is a great chance to meet beekeeping folks from all around the state
 
The Washington State Beekeepers Association is the umbrella group for all of the associations, and is staging this fair-like festival. There will be vendor booths, "knowledge booths" staffed by WASBA member clubs, games, raffles, mead tasting, activities for kids and more.
 
Check out the details at https://wasba.org

Early August: Skagit County Fair
Get ready and sign up now
The County Fair is only two months away, and there is a lot to do to make it a success by being an active participant. So help Rob Johnson, our Fair Superintendent, as we get ready.
  • Sign up to help - There will be sign-up sheets for the many tasks associated with this major annual event at the June meeting, including staffing our booth. (It's actually a ton of fun if you haven't had the chance to do this before.)
  • Bottle buying - We will have official glass entry honey bottles for the honey judging event to buy at the meeting.

Recappings
Susan and Rob's Insights on Honey Judging
At last month's meeting, Susan DeLawter served as our expert coach on how to prepare for a honey judging event. Rob Johnson provided a sidebar demonstration of how to handle cut comb, which is a judging category available this year. Here's a sampling:
  • What's in a color class - There is a standard color gauge that is used to distinguish among "light", "light amber", "amber" and "dark" honey. Every apiary can enter separately in any of these classes, and the folks that accept your entry can help determine where you bottled honey fits. Just think of it...four blue ribbons, anyone?
  • Be creative with your frame display - there is no standard requirement, so a little carpentry and craftsmanship can create a display case that protects the comb and shows it off. 
  • The light box trick - The judges use a light box to look through the honey so that they can see crystals, bubbles, or impurities resulting from the extraction process. It even shows uneven swirls from filling the bottles and fingerprints on the bottles. Her advice? Keep it clean, and put the bottles on a windowsill for a week or two before the judging to let the air bubbles work their way out.
  • Don't use a commercial press cutter for your cut comb entry - a nice clean knife and straight edge will do a much neater job.
We hope that many of you will use her tips and encouragement, and submit your honey for the SVBA's own judging event at the Skagit County Fair this year. It is coming up in early August, so watch for details in this newsletter and on the SVBA website.

Building the Board
Welcome Jim Kohl
Jim Kohl joined our Board of Directors at last month's meeting after being nominated and elected by the participating members. Thanks to Jim for stepping up and contributing - we look forward to your help keeping the SVBA successful.
Monthly Tips
The time for summer management
It has been a fantastic May for bees, a big contrast from last year. As we turn into the big honey flow periods, here are some tips inspired by Brad Raspet's personal checklist:
 
Check for overcrowding, which is likely after such a mild May. Then create more space as needed.

Add a second brood box for the healthy new hives.
  • Add honey supers for full colonies.
  • Keep eye on your honey supers - they can fill up fast, and a new honey super should be added when a box is about 3/4 full.
Continue feeding syrup (1:1 water to cane sugar) for new hives only, and for the last time - they should be on their own very soon.
 
If you have a lot of early honey, consider harvesting it.
 
If you use drone frames as a mite control method, add them to your new hives. For drone frames in established hives, remove them when they have mostly capped drone brood (about 2/3rds or more).

IEBA Hive Inspection Videos
By the way, the Inland Empire Beekeeping Association (IEBA) over in Spokane has produced a very educational set of videos of beehive inspections, tracking changes over many consecutive weeks. The videos are a good frame of reference as you look into your own hives and try to understand what the heck is going on. Just look them up on YouTube.

Trading Post
Les's Bees always has a range of beekeeping supplies in not-too-far-away BellinghamSVBA website guru Les Scott continues to serve our region and membership as a retail supplier and distributor. Check out leszbees.com 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, cecilbees121@gmail.com.
Membership: Renew or Join Us!
It's easy with our online sign-up
Please catch up on your annual dues 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 http://skagitvalleybeekeepers.org.

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:
http://skagitvalleybeekeepers.org/SVBAMembership.htm
 
The online payment option is located at:
https://skagit-valley-beekeepers.square.site

Brett DeLawter, President
                        818-416-2208 
Dawn Beck, Vice President
                      206-719-3666, dawnrunner@live.com
Rob Johnson, Treasurer
                      360-770-6170, rsjohnson2u@yahoo.com
Susan DeLawter, Secretary
                      818-259-9059, susandelawter@sbcglobal.net

Steve Cecil, Newsletter
                      617-719-7870, cecilbees121@gmail.com

Gail Buce, Board
                      360-333-8655, ougreene@aol.com
Don Johnson, Board
                       homebrewtwo@gmail.com
Jim Kohl, Board

Heather Oates, Board
                       360-391-7357, hoates@gmail.com













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