Skagit Valley Beekeepers March  News Letter
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Skagit Valley Beekeepers 
 Seth Smith,  President              770-0481                            Rob Johnson,  Board                        770-6170 Diane Dong,  Vice President     391-9876                            Steven LeBlanc,  Board                   202-2266 Robert Niles, Secretary                        Bruce Bowen,  Board                      422-5106  Scott Rhodes,  Treasurer          856-2652                            Robert Preinesberger, Editor            610-8091
The next Skagit Beekeepers meeting,  will be our annual potluck and auction.  It will be held Thursday, March 9th, 6:00pm,  at the Sedro Woolly Senior Center at 715 Pacific St, in Sedro Woolley.   All proceeds go to the SVBA.

Beekeeper Down

We lost one of our own this last month.  On February 21st Bob Price passed away from complications due to a massive stroke.  He was a avid beekeeper,  gardener,  was very active in his church and by all accounts,  a very stand up guy.  In lieu of flowers,  the family has asked that you donate to his favorite charities.  Here is a link to Bob's obituary that tells more about his life and times.  

Bee Class's

March 15th, 22nd, 29th and April 5th,  will be the dates for the apprenticeship bee keeping class.  The classes will be held at the Skagit Farmers Supply admin building at 1833 Park Lane, in Burlington,  at 7:00pm.  This year's class could be one for the annals of our association.  The state,  in its infinite wisdom,  decided to do away with the old curriculum and test,  before they created curriculum.  The good news is,  although they aren't providing any study material,  they have come up with the new test that will be given.  Good luck Seth and our apprentice hopefuls and remember,  when in doubt,  pick C!  (just kidding)
Seth will be teaching queen rearing classes April 8th and 9th.  Everyone will meet at Seth's house at a time TBD.  (I'm guessing about sunrise). The class is free. 

   Nucs will be here around the end of March.  Seth can only get one order of 200 nucs,  so this is it folks. All payments are due by March 15th and it is $145 a nuc.

Tales from the hive

This year has been a exceptionally difficult year for Skagit Valley beekeepers and beekeepers across the country.  There have been a lot of dead bees and mortality rates of over 60% in apiary's.  There have been some new discoveries by Jim Burritt , microbiologist turned beekeeper from  Wisconsin, and his team of college students,  that could shed some light on why our bees are dying.  I won't get into the gory details and will post a link but...they were able to extract blood from bees and mites and were able to identify a bacterium in the blood, that causes something like septic poisoning or a staff infection.  They poured through literature to determine if this was something that had already been discovered,  or if it was something new...turns out,  it was new.    Of the hives tested,  the number that tested positive for the bacterium and the percentage of the infected hives that perished that winter were staggering.   Contact with this team,  to get our bees tested has been met with no response.  I speculate they are probably pretty swamped with many beekeepers trying to identify the cause for their colony's collapsing.  Here are two links,  the first link is the teams findings and long answer,    the second link is a more condensed overview of the team and their findings.  



 Things to do this month
  •   Feed your bees!  March is prime time for your bees to starve.  They've been inside all winter,  living of of stores.  Mountain camp style,  dry sugar in comb,  however you decide to do it.  As the weather warms and we start to get a daily average of 40 degrees,  we will be able to start feeding syrup.  Start feeding and get your bees ready for spring.
  •   Treat for mites. We all know mites are a drain on a colony and contribute to hive collapse.  They are parasites that could and probably do,  spread disease.   Your hive has mites,  you need to treat them.  If you have questions about when and how to treat for mites,  come to the meeting and we can talk about how to do it.  
  • Get your equipment ready.  Bees are coming soon and a good clean house will be much appreciated.   Do you have propolis and wax buildup that needs to be scraped?  How do your frames look?  And do you have enough equipment to cover the honey flow that is about to start?  All good questions.  Make sure you know now,  because if you wait until you need it,  it may be too late. 
  • I just watched a beekeeper treating all of his super boxes with paraffin.  They heated up a large vat of paraffin and were dunking their boxes two at time.  It looked really nice,  but for the back yard enthusiast like myself,  paint and stain are probably safer and easier. 
  • Its time for our annual potluck!  Ham,  paper plates and utensils will be provided,  you bring your favorite entree, side,  salad or dessert,  auction items and your wallets.  There will be bee keeping equipment to bid on and arts and crafts to spruce up your hive.  You can share your bee keeping stories,  tell tall tales and have a big time.  If you don't have something to bring,  show up anyway,  there will be plenty to go around so come on out.  I would like to say thank you,  ahead of time, to our VP  Diane Dong,  for her hard work behind the scenes, getting the ham and setting things up.  Thank you for taking care of us!
  • Last but not least,  someone has the club extractor.  The equipment checkout list was lost,  so we don't know who has it,  but we do know that someone has it.  Could whoever has it,  bring the extractor to the meeting or contact Diane Dong and make arrangements to get it back to her.  Thank you!



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

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