Newsletter for November 2023
Join us for the November Meeting
Thursday, November 9
Central Skagit Valley Library
Sedro Woolley
Our monthly meeting is coming up on  this coming Thursday, November 9th at 7 PM. We will be meeting at the Central Skagit Valley Library in Sedro Woolley once again, not at the Burlington Library where we have typically met. The address is 110 W State Street.
But come early if you can, for our informal "bee chat" beginning at 6:30 PM. Share your questions and tips with your fellow beekeepers - and the refreshments that Don Johnson and Brenda Crossley will be bringing. Thanks to your both.
  • Bee talk- Our speaker this month is Seth Smith, who will delve into the pests that haunt hives and what to do about them.
  • SVBA officer elections - We will elect the officers for next year - see the short bios of our nominees in this newsletter, and join in the process.
  • Zoom option - If you can't come, but want to participate you can join us by Zoom. An e-mail with the link will be sent to members before the meeting.

Our annual election is coming up at the November meeting. The following folks have raised their hands and - with your support - would like to contribute to the SVBA as leaders. They have provided these brief bios to introduce themselves to those who might not know them.
Brett DeLawter
For SVBA President
It has been a privilege to have been your president for 2023. I am seeking your continued support as I am placing my name into consideration for the 2024 president's position. The club is making real strides to continue to expand our teaching experiences for all our members and particularly our new beekeepers. Our goal from the officers is to give as much support as possible to our members no matter their level of knowledge and expertise.
I am a retired dentist having spent 38 years in practice. Susan and I have lived in Bellingham 4.5 years. We have 4 children and 8 grandkids. We have been beekeepers since 2015.
Domie Bourgeois
For SVBA Treasurer
My name is Domie Bourgeois, and I’m running for SVBA Treasurer. 2023 is my third year as a beekeeper and first year as a club member. I’m an avid gardener who has always been fascinated by eusocial animals, and I added the first beehive to my garden in 2021. 
I currently work as the Quality Assurance Manager for Primoprint, a web-based printing company where I’ve been since 2017. While my current role doesn’t include many financial duties outside of issuing and tracking refunds, I do have a wealth of previous experience that would allow me to succeed in the role of Treasurer. 
From 2009 to 2016, I was an employee-owner who managed a small cafe for Equal Exchange, a national fair-trade food company. My responsibilities there included reconciling tills, petty cash, and bank statements; distributing employee tips; processing accounts payable; purchasing equipment; and updating retail prices as needed. I was also responsible for generating monthly, quarterly, and annual sales reports. 
I live in Mount Vernon on an accidental urban farm with my husband, Paul, and our two cats, six chickens, two beehives, and countless vegetables. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, hiking, reading, and mushroom hunting. 
I look forward to getting to know you while serving as SVBA Treasurer!
Brenda Crossley
For SVBA Secretary
My name is Brenda Crossley and I have nominated myself for the position of club secretary.  
A few things about me. I have 5 children and 6 grandchildren and  moved to Washington in 2019 to be closer to 4 of my grandchildren. We now live on 11 acres in Arlington, plenty of room for at least one hive! 
As a single mother of 5, I am used to being very busy and retirement life is strange to me. My previous life revolved around at least 2 jobs and multiple children's activities to attend on an almost daily basis.
I recently joined the Skagit beekeepers club to improve my knowledge and skills before starting my first hive, while also enjoying the fellowship of like-minded people. Studying bees for at least 10 years has been a hobby of mine but I did not have the time or space to actually have a hive of my own. 
Before retiring this year I worked for 43 years in veterinary medicine. My most recent position was Practice Manager and LVT for a Woodinville veterinary hospital. 
My community involvement included travel ball team mother, cub scout den leader and treasurer, softball team assistant coach, parent support for my son and daughter's crew teams, football team concession coordinator and assistant Boy Scout troop leader. In a professional position I coordinated and participated in pet health and vaccination clinics for disadvantaged community members, and helped families in need by providing food, clothing and gifts on an ongoing basis for several years with a group of associates from my workplace.
I would be honored to serve as the club secretary and look forward to getting to know you all.
Thank you for your consideration.
Chris Zimmerman
For SVBA Board Member
  • A retired chemical engineer and Anacortes resident, happily married for 19 years
  • We have a daughter on the high school sailing team and a recent graduate of driver's ed
  • First year beekeeper - based on getting a Flow Hive as a Christmas 2022 gift
  • Told that if you have one hive, you have to have a second (10 frame Langstroth) so now I have a comparison point
  • Have attended all association meetings since Spring 2023 either in person or via Zoom
  • Interested in keeping the association strong and making the meetings useful for new and old beekeepers
  • Constantly amazed at how much there is to learn about bees to do it right

Pest Management - Mice, Bears and Many More
November 9th at the SVBA Meeting
Seth Smith will recount stories of beehive raiders and uninvited guests that can disturb or even destroy our colonies. He will then share his practiced tips about what works - and what doesn't - to control them. 

December Meeting
Holiday event and cookie exchange
Dawn Beck completes her presentation
Thursday, December 14th
The December meeting is a relaxed opportunity to share stories, meet fellow beekeepers, and dive into some holiday refreshments as we round out another Skagit Valley beekeeping year. We all baked up a storm last year, and had a colorful array of choice offerings to take back home. Honey-themed goodies are encouraged, but we're not very picky, so find a favorite recipe and share the results.
Dawn Beck will complete her presentation that she has prepared on "fat bodies", which are an internal part of bee anatomy rather than a reference to overweight insects. It is a fascinating topic that has emerged as part of her participation in Cornell University's Master Beekeeping program.

Heroes to Hives
Intensive beekeeping training program
For service members and their dependents
SVBA member Jerry Hopen has shared information about a terrific free beekeeping program oriented towards service members and their dependents. Organized by the Michigan Food & Farming Systems, it has already trained over 10,000 participants across the country. They offer an on-line version of the 9-month course that is self-paced and would be a convenient option for the Northwest. Registration is open between November 1 and February 28. For more information, visit 

Setting up Your Hives for the Winter
October tips from Dawn Beck
Dawn Beck, our Master Beekeeper from Bow, provided a discussion and demonstration of how to set up your hives for the winter. Here are a few take-aways:
  • Moisture boards work - Dawn prefers to insert water-absorbing fiberboard above the winter top board to pull moisture out of the hive, which is key to bee survival in the wet Northwest winters. She buys big sheets of Homasote at a local home improvement store, then cuts them to size on a table saw, saving the cost of getting them from a bee supply outfit.
  • The many uses of solid foam insulation - Dawn is a fan of solid foam insulation that you can get at a home improvement store, then cut for different uses. She cuts and places a layer on the inside of the top cover, lifting it up above the moisture board. If there are empty frames in the hive, she replaces them with 2-inch slabs of insulation cut to the same dimension. You would push frames with honey or pollen to the inside of a super and add the insultation on the edges. Keep those bees warm! 
  • Wrapping your colonies - There are different perspectives on the effectiveness of wrapping hives for the winter, and Dawn is a pro-wrapper beekeeper; she uses bubble wrap, which can be easily stapled around the edges, while making sure to keep clear of the air passages into the hive.

Monthly Tips
November: The weather outside is frightful
The cold, wet and stormy weather is upon us. You need to finish buttoning up any hives that lack their full inter set-up. Here is a November checklist drawn from Brad Raspet's monthly schedule of activities:
  • For colonies without strong honey or pollen reserves, provide cane sugar, sugar patties and/or pollen patties to help tide them over.
  • Make sure that your opening reducers are in place, and mouse guards if you use them.
  • Add your moisture control and insulation if still needed.
  • Start thinking about next year, and obtaining the new gear you will need.

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