Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Newsletter for June 2022 

Join Us for the June SVBA Meeting
(In-person or On-line)

Special Program: 
Getting Ready for the
 2022 SVBA Honey Judging Event

Our meeting this month is on  Thursday, June  9th, at 7 PM at the Burlington Public Library. It will feature a special presentation and discussion about the SVBA Honey Judging Event, which is coming up in August as part of our activities at the Skagit County Fair.

Susan DeLawter will be making a Zoom presentation, sharing her experience. If you can't make the meeting, keep an eye out for a Zoom meeting invitation from Brad Raspet with a web link.
It's going to be interesting and informative for those who haven't seen or participated in honey judging in the past.
As Susan will describe, there will be two different honey judging categories - extracted honey (2 bottles per entry), and full frames. There will also be a kid's category to reward and encourage participation by a new generation of beekeepers. Children can bring posters about beekeeping and their own experiences.
She will fill us in on the methods for judging and the criteria that will distinguish blue, red, and white ribbon award levels, and the associated "Best in Show" rosettes. 
Tips on Entering
  • Registration - Registration will be available in-person at the SVBA meetings, and an on-line form that will be made available on the website. Registrations will cost $5 for each entry.
  • Getting Jars and Lids - For those that can attend in person on June 9th, you will be able to get jars and lids that will be used so that all the containers of extracted honey are exactly the same. For those who cannot attend, Brad Raspet and Heather Oates will be making arrangements so that you can pick them up later. So keep an eye on the website and next month's newsletter for details.
  • Rules and Criteria - You can find out about the process and basis of the judging in the SVBA Honey Judge Manual, which is a listed resource at the SVBA website or can be viewed with this link -
  • Timing - Registration will begin at the June SVBA meeting. Dropping off your entries should be planned for the weekend before the Fair, with details on times and locations to be determined and posted on the website and newsletter. The Skagit Valley Fair is from August 10 to 13 this year, and the entries (and their ribbons) will be on display for everyone to see.
Swarm-Catching Weather:
Cold Wet Spring followed by Warm, Sunny Days
Based on U.S. Climate Data records, daily high temperatures in the Skagit were 5 degrees below normal in April and 6 degrees below normal in May. That's a pattern which can trigger swarming when a few warm, sunny days finally arrive for large, cooped-up colonies.
All members in good standing (with their dues paid) are eligible to be listed on the SVBA's on-line Swarm Capture Contact List. You can contact President Brad Raspet ( to get on the list. Be sure to indicate general locations that you can reach expeditiously -  hopefully before the scout bees finish their jobs and the swarm has vanished. 
Lots of advice and stories about swarm-catching occupied a discussion at last month's SVBA meeting including:
  • Bring your own ladder, pruning pole if you have one, and 5-gallon bucket.
  • Ask if the owner has already used insecticide, so you can avoid the effort of trying to recuperate poisoned bees.
  • Find out where the swarm is located during the phone call; if it is at the top of a telephone pole, think twice about it.
  • As the owner if you can cut the branch of a tree or shrub before snipping it.
Heather Oates, our Newest Board Member
Heather has stepped up to become a Member of the Board, filling in the third spot on the roster. Thanks for your help!
SVBA Summer Barbecue 2 PM on Sunday, July 10
 Our annual potluck picnic and mid-summer get together is planned for Sunday, July 19th at 2 PM; watch the website and newsletter for the details, but set aside the date now.
Wannabe our Web Site Administrator?
 Our website is becoming an increasingly important and active communication center for the SVBA. It would benefit from a steward who could update, refine and expand the content and capabilities. If this is in your skill set and interests, contact Brad Raspet to learn how you could help.
Trading Post
Les's Bees has a full line of beekeeping woodenware and supplies in Bellingham - For those gearing up for the summer season, it is a good time to get in touch with SVBA member Les Scott, who has gone into business providing an alternative to the large mail-order suppliers. From your editor's personal experience, the quality is high, the convenience is great, and the prices reasonable. 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
Renew or Join Now  
If you haven't already sprung at the chance, your 2022 SVBA membership dues are now overdue. It's easy, simply mail us your annual renewal fee of just $12.00. For those who wish to join, it's the same price, and a wonderful introduction to our beekeeping community with the many programs, events, education, advice and connections that we offer through our web page, Facebook, and this newsletter. 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