Newsletter for September 2023
Join Us at our September Meeting
Thursday, September 14
Burlington Public Library
We are back in the saddle again with our regular meeting at the Burlington Public Library this coming Thursday, September 14th at 7 PM
But come early if you can, 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.
  • Bee talk - Our speaker this month is our former president, Brad Raspet on a timely topic - the range of products that can come from your hives. See more information under Programs and Events, below.
  • Zoom option - If you can't come, but want to participate anyway, join us by Zoom. An e-mail with the link will be sent to members before the meeting.
  • Course certificates, Fair awards and honey returned - If you completed the SVBA Introduction to Beekeeping course last spring, Rob Johnson will have certificates for you at the meeting to pick up in person; otherwise he will be mailing them out to those who can't attend. Likewise, you can pick up your Fair ribbons and get your submitted honey back at the meeting.

What a Fair!
The SVBA made an exceptional showing at the Skagit County Fair this year, thanks to everything that our members contributed to making it a success. Special congratulations go out to our Fair Superintendent Rob Johnson, who puts in an exceptional amount of time over many months preparing us, navigating all of the rules and regulations, and still having time to man the booth and help visitors find that elusive queen.
Here are a few of the highlights from our participation last month.
Topping the Fair
Best Booth Award
It is always wonderful to be noticed as one of so many exhibitors at the Fair. It is even better to have official accolades for the creative approach to staging the displays and sharing our beekeeping enthusiasm. In case you missed our e-mail when the news first broke, we were awarded the Black and White Ribbon as the best booth and display for 2023 by Rich Hartzell, the State Fairs Commissioner. Heather Oates upped our game with her design inspirations, adding new dimensions to some of the traditional features that make our booth such a draw. Jim Kohl, SVBA member and booth volunteer was there to accept the ribbon when the awards committee arrived, while our bee-suited mannequin looked on.
Honey Judging Awards
The SVBA reinstituted formal honey judging at the Fair last year, and this year brought many entries and well-earned ribbons in a number of categories.
Extracted Honey
  • Brett DeLawter won a blue ribbon in light amber and best in division for best honey among all adult entries.
  • Kevin McDonald won blue and best in class for his light amber honey.
  • Susan DeLawter won a blue ribbon for her light honey
  • Rob Johnson received red ribbons for his honey in both the light and light amber classes. 
  • Rob Johnson received a blue ribbon for the heaviest frame.
  • Jon Moore won a blue ribbon for the honey super frame size.
Novelty Jars
  • Joan Johnson won the Judges Choice Award and a blue ribbon for her cool-looking entry.
  • Rob Johnson received a red ribbon for his attractive bottling.
Youth Division
  • Tom Zimmerman's grandkids excelled in the youth division, including Harper Stevens (youth ages 6-1, light amber, red ribbon and best in class and Landon Stevens (youth 12-17, light amber, red ribbon and best in class).
Manning the Booth
Making it a great experience
Our volunteers helped; the state award listed the information and enthusiasm contributed by our volunteers as a key to our award. They helped to search for the queen in the demonstration hive donated by Seth Smith (thank you, Seth). They intrigued curious visitors with facts and tales about bees and honey, while debunking myths along the way. They opened doors to prospective new beekeepers who will be joining our classes and coming to our meetings in the future.
Jim Kohl explains the role and life cycle of the queen bee that they have spotted.
Elsie Pemnant won the draw among booth volunteers, and will have the nuc from the demonstration hive to add to her bee yard.
The other volunteers this year included Chris AppleSteve and Audrey CecilBrenda CrosleyBrett and Susan DeLawterJoe GeorgeAlerd and Pat JohnsonDon JohnsonJim KohlJohn LeggJohn McGillLes ScottGretchen Taylor, and Tom Zimmerman.
Elsie Pemnant won the draw among booth volunteers, and will have the nuc from the demonstration hive to add to her bee yard.
The other volunteers this year included Chris AppleSteve and Audrey CecilBrenda CrosleyBrett and Susan DeLawterJoe GeorgeAlerd and Pat JohnsonDon JohnsonJim KohlJohn LeggJohn McGillLes ScottGretchen Taylor, and Tom Zimmerman.
The next generation of beekeepers?

Selling Your Honey and Other Handmade Beekeeper Products
September 14th at the SVBA Meeting
Among the many adventures of beekeeping, Brad Raspet has delved deeply into the processing, preparation, and packaging of various by products of beekeeping, in addition to harvested honey. He will have an illustrated talk that touches on beeswax candles, soaps, flavored lip balms, flower seeds for bees, and other innovative products. He will also share some of the marketing savvy that has gone into his own enterprise, Bungling Bees. For a taste of his skills, check out his website at
October Meeting, Different Location
October 12th SVBA Meeting
Central Skagit Valley Library in Sedro Wooley
Note that we will have a different meeting place just for October. We'll see you at the Central Skagit Valley Library in Sedro Woolley, where you can benefit from the tips and wisdom of  master beekeeper Dawn Beck in her talk and demonstration, "Winterizing your Hives".
WASBA Pacific Northwest Beekeeping Conference
Saturday, Oct. 7th and Sunday, Oct. 8th
Olympic Hotel at Capitol Lake, Olympia
This event will include over 20 speakers on various topics, and provides incredible networking opportunities among the estimated 400 to 500 folks who are expected to attend this year. For more information, click this:
November Meeting Back in Burlington
November 9th Meeting
Put the November meeting on your calendar, so that you can catch Seth Smith's talk about Pest Management including animals that are drawn to beehives, from mice to bears.
Annual Elections are Coming Up!
Nominate and participate
The nominations for the officers of the SVBA are coming up in October, and the voting occurs in November. If you are interested in serving us in a leadership role - or know someone who would be great at it - get ready with those names and participate in the process.
Can You Help?
Volunteer Equipment Coordinator
We need a member to step up and be the equipment coordinator, taking over from Diane Tait-Dong (thanks, Diane!). It's easy - you just need to have a place to store it, field requests, and manage the sign-up process. Get in touch with President Brett DeLawter or one of the other SVBA officers if you could help us all out.

Monthly Tips
September: Honey harvest for most of us
It's time to get the colonies ready for winter, as the bees begin their seasonal transition. Some of us will still be bottling extracted honey and getting the harvesting equipment cleaned and buttoned up, and the bees will be foraging for the remaining nectar they can find as the weather turns cool.
Here are some September tips drawn from Brad Raspet's checklist:
  • Make sure to remove and properly store honey supers and any "dead-outs", which are brood supers for colonies that did not make it through the season.
  • Treat for varroa mites, now that the harvesting is done, using your preferred method.
  • Install entrance reducers as the weather turns colder.
  • Add fall feeding to your colonies at a ratio of 2 parts cane sugar to 1 part water

Trading Post
Les's Bees always has a range of beekeeping supplies in not-too-far-away Bellingham, and owner Les Scott might even arrange to drop off on-line purchases for SVBA members at our meetings if you arrange it in advanceGo to Or you can 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!
Use our online sign-up, or just send or bring a check
Please join (or rejoin!) the SVBA. Dues get you an annual membership and supports our many activities, meetings, and special programs.

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
Jim Kohl, Board

Heather Oates, Board
Seth Smith, Board