Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Newsletter for November 2022 

Monthly Meeting Coming Up
- Join Us!

Our meeting this month is on  Thursday, November 10th, at 7 PM at the Burlington Public Library. We will be sharing information and advice as always, and other tips and tales. Keep an eye out for a Zoom meeting link if we can arrange it for those who want to attend and stay at home at the same time.

How Did You Do in 2022?
Let us know about your honey haul
We're curious about how your honey harvest faired in this weird weather year, and hope that you will help us with a very informal poll.

The 2022 season was challenging for many of our members. We had one of the most cool, cloudy, and downright rainy springs and early summers in many years. For some of our beekeepers, this led to high rates of swarming and low rates of honey collecting, at least until the blackberries finally bloomed. 

Informal discussions among fellow beekeepers this summer suggested that this might be a very lean year compared to more typical years. But the late summer activity seemed to be picking up considerably, with some frames getting filled right through September. Some among us responded by splitting colonies or actively chasing down swarms and adding them to their bee yards - ending up with more hives than they started with when the weather finally improved, and hoping for more honey as a result.
Let us know how you did relative to the 2021 season, and we will compile and share the results. Using your 2021 harvest as the base, let us know how your 2022 yield compared, regardless of whether you added or lost colonies. We're interested in your total harvest.
For example, if you had the same amount of honey this year relative to last year, report "same". If you were half as successful, you would report "down 50%". If your bees had a great year, you might report that you were "up 30%" year relative to 2021.
Send us a note by e-mail to We will do the math, and report the results in the December newsletter.

Raise those Hands...
Leadership Roles in the SVBA
There are a number of roles available within the SVBA where volunteer leadership can keep our association lively and effective as a source of beekeeping information, camaraderie, resources and shared experiences.

We have two longstanding roles that are key to our organization. With Brad Raspet moving on to other volunteer engagements, we will need a new SVBA President, and we will also need to supplement our beginning beekeeping course with a new Beginning Beekeeper Instructor.

Keeping up with contemporary meeting and communication trends, the SVBA is also looking for folks who can apply their interests and talents, helping reduce the president's workload by filling the shoes of one or more of these positions:
  • Web Page Administrator
  • Zoom Meeting Coordinator
  • Meeting Location and Reservation Coordinator
If you are interested, please get in touch with  any of the SVBA officers or Board Members listed in the contact section of our website

Dawn's Tips for Winter
Getting bees through the gloomy season
Dawn Beck took our monthly meeting podium last month, contributing her experience and insights into the science of overwintering bees. She geared her comments (and handouts) to the moderate cold and extremely damp months that comes with living in Skagit County.
Like nearly every aspect of beekeeping today, success is linked to saavy hive management.

For those who missed it, here are a few highlights to consider:
  • Moisture is a bigger enemy than cold alone - The key trick is to reduce the drip, drip, drip of condensed moisture from the bees and the warm air around them that can form at the top of the hive. This can fall onto the huddled bees below, chilling and killing them. Strategies include installing "moisture boards" above the cover board that serve as wicks to the outside, adding a layer of wood chips on special inserts, or solid foam insulation either above or below the top cover. Check out online information to learn about different approaches.
  • The bees have their own strategy - It turns out that the bees specialize in the winter with particular assignments. Some serve as an insulating, warming perimeter for the balled-up cluster. Others pass food from the perimeter and nearby sources into the center of the ball of bees, so that the resources are distributed. Some gather near and serve the huddled queen. If you lose too many bees or there isn't enough food, the organization breaks down, and the end is near.
  • Extra food is normally needed - The amount of food needed to overwinter Northwestern bees is...astounding. If you have harvested the honey supers and there is 40 pounds of stored honey in the brood supers, it might not be enough! At this time of year, cold syrup is actually a bad resource, like a glass of iced tea on a snowy winter day. Raw sugar (S&G works best) and homemade recipes for sugar patties at the top of the hive may be an essential ingredient to get them through the cold months, setting them up for survival.

Trading Post
Two colonies and 8-frame supers available for free in Conway - Travis Marshall has to give up his beekeeping hobby, and is making his 2 active colonies and set of 8-frame supers available for free. He is located in Conway near Morrison Farms. If you are interested and want to grab them before winter really sets in, just contact him at his e-mail,

Les's Bees has a full line of beekeeping woodenware and supplies in Bellingham - SVBA member Les Scott has gone into business providing a wide range of beekeeping supplies. We featured Les and his operation in the September newsletter. Check out at 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,

SVBA Membership
Join Now...or Renew
What a great time to join the SVBA, or get caught up on your 2022 dues before the year ends. Your $12 annual dues support the many programs and benefits that the Skagit Valley Beekeepers Assocation provides - just look at our website at Think about the return on your investment and what just $1/month brings in building and maintaining such a key part of our regional agriculture and ecology! The membership form and payment instructions are found at:
Brad Raspet, President

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

Steve Cecil, Newsletter

Alvin Forar, Board

Heather Oates, Board
Seth Smith, Board

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

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