Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Brad Raspet, President

Elizabeth Pheonix-Agin, Vice President

Rob Johnson, Treasurer

Susan DeLawter, Secretary

Natalie Dougliss, Newsletter

Scott Rhodes, Board

Alvin Forar, Board

Seth Smith, Board

Happy April everyone!

Due to the Burlington Library still being closed, our next meeting will be held Thursday, May 6th at 7 pm on the Zoom Meeting app. Brad will email everyone the link with instructions.

May Newsletter

Springtime is here!

You should start to see your bees out and about now that the weather is getting better. Make sure that you keep up on treating, feeding, and basic hive management. 

Make sure not to overfeed because this could lead to a huge growth and early swarming! 

 Now that is officially springtime, the growth of the beehive is exponential, so splitting your beehive is a great process to not only increase your colonies, but to manage swarming. 

A beehive swarms when the queen runs out of cells to lay her eggs. She is in reproduction mode, and so this tells her that there is no more room for her to lay any more eggs. During this process, the worker bees will start to form queen cells for half of the colony that stays behind. When the time is right, half of the worker bees will leave with the queen and swarm around until a new home is found. 

Splitting hives is a great perventative for swarming. Here is the process of a basic split:

1. Early morning is ideal to beat when the bees wake up. 
2. Find about 2-3 frames worth of new eggs/1-2 day old larvae. Shake the bees off and set them aside. 
3. Take either an extra box, or use the top box and shake each frame of bees into the bottom box. There should then be little to no bees on the frames in the top box. This guarantees that the queen is down below. 
4. After shaking all the bees to the bottom box, place a queen excluder down. 
5. Re-arrange your frames so that the 2-3 frames of new brood are in the center of the box. Fill the outsides with pollen/honey frames. 

The next day, place a bottom board down where you would like your new beehive and a lid, and take the top box off and place it down onto the bottom board. You have yourself a new hive!

The only thing this new hive is missing is a queen. If you placed a frame that had eggs in the top box, the bees will make their own queen. This process is not guaranteed, so be prepared to either queen rear your own queen, or buy one. 

Overnight, the bees realize that there is brood in the upper box, and half of the nurse bees/worker bees will go up to attend and feed them. When you pull the box off the next morning, half of the colony will be up attending the brood, with the old queen down below. This gives room for the original hive to produce more bees without feeling the need to swarm. Here is an attached video:

Time to Treat

It's also that time of year again to begin thinking and planning with what types of mite treatment you would like to pursue. How healthy are your beehives? If they look like they've taken a hard hit over the winter from mites, you might want to consider applying a heavier solution of mite control. Regardless of how healthy your hives look however, mites are still present. Since the queen is starting to increase her egg laying, the varroa mite will also be increasing. Treating while there is not much brood is highly recommended. Treating with oxalic acid has proven to be a solution in slowing the spread of mites. You can do this by applying the recommended dosage in the early spring and applying three weeks in a row, a week apart. I have attached a youtube video which describes different methods you could approach to treat in the next upcoming month.
Nucs & Packages 
Many of you will be receiving a nuc or a package of bees this month/next month. Just a few things to remember while installing new bees into their new homes:
1. If you are getting a nuc, remember to keep the frames in order as they came. This ensures the bees will still be in their cluster.
2. If you are getting a new queen, remember to check on her a few days after you install her. Just make sure she got out of her cage okay, and that she isn't dead inside her cage. 
3. You should be seeing be activity on warmer days. If you see a lot, that is normal. When bees are introduced into a new place, they have to take orientation flights to know where they are and map out routes to go. It's normal to see a lot out flying out and about.
2021 Dues  
This is just a friendly reminder that for those who would like to continue their membership with Skagit Valley Beekeepers, the annual fee of $12 is due. Please send checks/cash to the following address: