Skagit Valley Beekeepers Association

Newsletter for November 2021
Brad Raspet, President

Elizabeth Pheonix-Agin, Vice President

Rob Johnson, Treasurer

Susan DeLawter, Secretary

Steve Cecil, Newsletter

Scott Rhodes, Board

Alvin Forar, Board

Seth Smith, Board

Monthly Meeting Update:
On-Line in November

Our November meeting will be an on-line session because the space at the library will not be available due to a scheduling conflict. Keep your e-mail eyes open for a Zoom meeting invitation from Brad Respet. The meeting will be at the regular time, 7 PM on Thursday, November 11th.
In-Person SVBA Holiday Celebration on December 9th
In-Person SVBA Holiday Celebration on December 9th
We are planning to have an informal holiday celebration at the Burlington Public Library Meeting Room on Thursday, December 9th at 7 PM, consistent with current Library guidelines for small gatherings during this pandemic. We will gather at the library in conjunction with our scheduled SVBA meeting and ask everyone to contribute to the potluck of holiday refreshments..
Featured Beekeeper: Bruce Bowen
Bruce Bowen is an active member of the SVBA has been a beekeeper for fifty years.  He shares his great advice at meetings and to all of those who have had an opportunity to visit him in the field. He Bruce is one of our most experienced and prolific beekeepers. He began his first year with just two hives, and now has one of the largest operations around, with several thousand colonies of Bruce Bowen Bees producing tens of thousands of pounds of honey.
Bruce Bowen, and stored stacks of supers under cover for the winter
He generally prefers setting up his hives in the forested areas of the foothills and mountains east of I-5, although he lines up some colonies along a blueberry field in the Flats, right next to the shed where he stores dead-outs and empty supers during the winter months. With the different locations and harvesting periods, Bruce bottles several different varieties, including Maple Blossom, Fireweed, and BlackBerry honey. You can find his honey for sale through many of the farmer's markets and market stands in the area.
When we asked, "what has been the most surprising thing about beekeeping?", Bruce said, "Every year is surprising, because the conditions keep changing."

One of the changes has been the increasing frequency of harvestable honey flows from Bigleaf Maples. He recalls that this was very rare in the past, with a maple honey harvest possible perhaps once in 15 years. But warmer temperatures and relatively early springs are allowing him to gather and bottle his Maple Blossom honey nearly every year.

However much conditions change, Bruce sees the benefit of his years of experience. He has adapted by assembling his own equipment and methods that work well in the Skagit region. He describes his particular role in his beekeeping operation these days to be more of a mechanic than a naturalist - repairing and assembling all of the equipment that it takes to run so many hives. He tends to forklifts, flatbed trucks, decappers, extractors, syrup tanks, hoses, pumps, nozzles, and fittings of every size and description.
Some of his bees participate in the great Californian almond grove migration; working through a bee broker, he sometimes ships hundreds of his colonies to the almond groves to meet the annual demand for pollinators there.
Future SVBA Meetings: An Option to Attend by  Zoom?
The October SVBA meeting included a lively discussion on formats for future meetings. On-line meetings during the era of COVID restrictions allowed those with computers and cell phones to participate without leaving home. However, it has been great to get together in person again at the Burlington Library, now that they have re-opened with sensible precautions.
We are exploring the potential to set up our in-person monthly meetings so that folks could join the session on-line if it is not convenient to come in person. We would set up a computer and sound system using Zoom so that you could listen and participate from your home. We are interested in seeing how many people might use a Zoom connection if we added it next year. Help us out by participating in a simple survey. By clicking on the buttons below, and you can forward your preference to us by e-mail:
I Prefer In-Person Meetings
I Would Like a Zoom Meeting Option
Trading Post
The newsletter can be a  place to list supplies and equipment that you may be interested in swapping, selling, or just plain giving to other interested members of the SVBA. If you have something you want to have posted in the newsletter, send a brief description, price, and contact information to your editor,
SVBA Membership  
For those who wish to join, or who missed the opportunity to send in your 2021 membership dues of only $12.00/year, look us up at: