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Skagit Valley Beekeepers 
Seth Smith,  President                    

Bessie Robar, President (shadowing)

Elizabeth Pheonix-Agin, Vice President

Rob Johnson,  Treasurer                 360-770-6170
Natalie Dougliss, Secretary & News Editor         
Scott  Rhodes, Board                      

Alvin Forar,  Board

Brad Raspet, Board
The next meeting will held on Thursday April 9th, 7:00 pm. We will be meeting on a virtual meeting app called Zoom. Zoom is an app that you will have to download to your mobile device, and it's free! The meeting number is 310730099. 

The Burlington Library will not be open until 4/30/20 (that is if the social distancing ban is lifted).  We will continue to keep you all informed about meetings and such. 


I hope that you all are healthy and staying safe! As mentioned previously, in light of everything going on, SVBA will continue to meet virtually on Zoom until the social distancing ban is no more and it is safe to meet with others. The good news is, is that all of us can still work our bees through this pandemic! 
Spring is Here! 

  There are two things that should be done during the springtime if you plan on growing your apiary. These are great skills to have as being a beekeeper. 

1. Queen Rearing (Grafting)

Queen rearing is a series of techniques one takes to create their own queens. There are many benefits to raising your own queens. One of the great benefits is that you can choose to graft from a queen with the traits that you prefer (overwinters, consumes less honey, good temperament, etc). The process of grafting happens when you select your breeder colony, take frames of open,YOUNG (1-2 day old) larvae, and put them in queen cups. Just as a note, you cannot graft from eggs or larger larvae. I have provided a youtube video on grafting.

A book that I thought was extremely helpful was: 

Queen Rearing Essentials (Second Edition): Lawrence John Connor


 2. Splitting Hives

Splitting hives is beneficial to your colony because it prevents swarming, and you get an extra beehive!

The first step to splitting a beehive is to locate the queen. Once you locate the queen, set that frame aside.

Second, you will need to find 3-4 frames of OPEN brood. Closed brood will not work. Set aside those 3-4 frames of open brood.

Third, place the frame with the queen in the bottom box along with the rest of the frames. One you have your bottom box all wrapped up, take all the frames in the top box and shake all of those bees into the bottom box with the queen. This leaves your top box frames without any bees. 

Fourth, after all the bees are shaken off place a queen excluder down. Place the bee box on top (make sure the excluder is square with the box. We do not want the queen in the top box).

Fifth, start placing your frames in the top box. Place the 3-4 frames of open brood in the center and fill the outside with either empty frames or honey stores. Place the lid on, and you are done!

With this, the nurse bees will realize there is open brood to feed and take care of in the top box. They will come to their aide and nurture them. In 2-3 days you can come back and pull the top box off and place it on a bottom board. It will be full of bees; essentially a new hive. 

With this, the bees will be queenless, so you will either need to plan ahead and queen rear one yourself, or plan on purchasing one. One of my beehives needed to be split just this past week, and I did not have queen rearing supplies, nor have I ordered a queen. So I plan on making sure that I give them a frame of eggs from another one of my beehives and I will have them make their own. Do not be afraid to play around with observing with your hives. If you don't have something (in my case a queen) let the bees do what they do best. In the mean time, just keep an eye on them and see if what you have done works or not. Everything is trail and error! 

  Events Coming Up
  • There was going to be a queen rearing class in April. That has been canceled due to what is going on in our communities. 
  • More updates will be given before the May meeting 
Ordering Bees

The following are local places to order spring bees. Because of COVID-19, I am not sure of the availability of some of these local shops such as Coastal or Snohomish Bee Company. 
  • Coastal (both nucs and packages)
  • Snohomish Bee Company
  • Seth Smith (nucs): Text nuc orders to 360-770-0481
  • Rob Rienstra (nucs): $160/nuc (Bellingham)
  • GooBees Farm: Nucs ($150- 3 frames of brood), 10 frame colonies for $240 (6 frames of brood) 360-770-9509 and 360-395-8339

Stay safe and healthy everyone! 








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Skagit Valley Beekeepers · 2926 Schattig Ln · Oak Harbor, WA 98277 · USA

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