Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Seth Smith, President 

Bessie Robar, President (shadowing)

Elizabeth Pheonix-Agin, Vice President

Rob Johnson, Treasurer

Natalie Dougliss, Secretary & Newsletter

Scott Rhodes, Board

Alvin Forar, Board

Brad Raspet, Board

Happy November everyone! It't officially getting chilly is here and hope your bees are doing great!

Due to the Burlington Library still being closed, our next meeting will be held Thursday, November 12th at 7 pm on the Zoom Meeting app. Brad will email everyone the link in November.

November Newsletter

Bee Clustering

The newsletter will be very short as there is not much going on in the bee world in November. 

For the new beekeeper, clustering is what the bees do during the colder months to keep warm. They form a tight cluster within the box that looks like a circle. The purpose of this is to rotate worker bees in order to keep themselves and the queen warm during the winter months. If you plan to inspect your hive within the coming weeks expect to see minimal bee activity. You might see your bees fly around on warmer days. 

Beware... Often times when you crack the lid and look into your hive, your bees are nowhere in sight. In most cases (if you have properly cared for your bees throughout spring, summer, and fall) your bees will be in-between boxes where you cannot see them. There is a slight possibility that a hive is dead. A good way to check is to crack the two boxes and observe your colonies cluster. Anything smaller than six frames will have a hard time maintaining heat during cold snaps during winter.

The queen has officially stopped laying eggs, so if you do hive inspections you will see no brood. It is the time of the year when the beehive has the lowest bee population count. 

Beekeeping Reminders 

Just a few reminders as it starts to get cold outside: 

1. You may do occasional hive checks throughout the winter. However, when the temperature drops below 35 degrees the bees would prefer to stay huddled in their hive undisturbed. 
2. You may emergency feed if necessary. Extra honey comb would be ideal, but cannot be obtained sugar water may be used. This just exhausts the bees more, and their cluster might not be near the syrup. 
3. Mouse guards may be added at any point through the winter. They are not necessary, but I know some people who like to use them. 
4. Remember, if you have a dead hive check to see if they died of starvation or of disease. If they died of disease (mites), you can use any leftover honey stores to feed other colonies. 
5. Throughout winter it is normal to see some bee death. Normal bee death spots are near the entrance, the bottom board, and a ways away from the hive. 

Asian Hornet: Update

I think we've all heard in the news that the WSDA has officially found and exterminated their first Asian Hornet nest.  Seth sent me this awesome flyer about the asian hornet removal. Above are some facts that the WSDA published and all citations are found above. 

I have provided a link to the WSDA page if you would like to see maps and data on the captures of these insects.

Thinking about Spring

This is a great time to be thinking about springtime beekeeping! A good thought to be having now would be if you want your hive numbers to increase. A beeyard of just two can easily grow to over four! Now would be a great time to be looking up Youtube videos on how to perform splits and to make your own queens.
Also keep in mind your inventory levels that include boxes, frames, sugar, queen rearing supplies, hive tools, feeders, bottom boards, lids and more. 
I recently bought my first stash of queen rearing supplies and I highly recommend trying to make your own queens this year. Not only is it fun, but the supplies are cheaper than buying queens locally, in state, or out of state. It does take some time and practice, but I think the experience is key to learning more about your bees and how they make their queens. 
Also be thinking about treating for the springtime. If your bees survive the winter, you will want to treat them before their busy season starts in the spring. 


Positions Open for Club
There are three positions open for Skagit Valley Beekeepers! If you are interested you could contact anyone on the list above. These are the open positions:

1. President: Seth is stepping down from this position permanently. The main thing you would have to do is run the club meetings. 

2. Secretary: I have been the secretary for a year, but unfortunately  got a permanent evening job that are on Thursday evenings. You would have to take the club meeting minutes and report them at the following meeting. 

3. Board member