Buzz Words - December, 2003
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Next Meeting: Tuesday, December 9th, 7:30 P.M. in the large room at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. Featured will be the beekeeper’s mini-mall and lots of holiday treats.
Program: Our guest speaker in January will be Andy Card, a commercial, migratory beekeeper, based in Billerica. Andy and his wife, Crystal, also make up hundreds of nucs each year, both for their own needs and for sale
From the President
Our December meeting is going to be a social fair (affair)! I hope many of you will bring samples of your honey products to show to members, and sell them if you so choose. This is an opportunity to develop and share ideas with other members of the club.
Show us your labels, jars, marketing ideas and bring a tasty holiday treat if you can. We will allow some time for brief discussions on member products (how to make lip balm, soaps, honey dippers, creamed honey or whatever we may have on hand), or we can simply roam around the tables and speak one on one with members. This is meant to be festive and good cheer for all. Keep in mind, not all beekeepers got honey this year so there may be an opportunity to buy honey for holiday gifts or personal consumption!
The BCBA had a good year in 2003 and we hope 2004 will be even better. Tell your friends about Bee School starting in January and let’s foster more hives on Cape Cod and the Islands.
On behalf of the entire board, we wish you all a wonderful holiday season.
(Editor’s Note- the club will have available for purchase Honey Cook Books, Bee A Cape Cod Honey Tee Shirts, BCBA Golf Shirts, and Ed Osmun will have some Pollen Traps available for sale)
Bee Hive Candy Recipes
Provided by Andy Morris
Microwave Recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)
- In a 1-quart or larger microwave dish, mix thoroughly 1 & ½ cups granulated sugar and ½ cup light corn syrup.
- Microwave on high, stirring every few minutes until the mixture is clear and bubbles become thumbnail -sized (about 10 minutes). STOP immediately if the mixture begins to brown. A wooden spoon is very effective for stirring, as it can be left in the dish while heating.
- our into a shallow mold made of cardboard or a container lined with paper to cool. The candy will become brittle and can be slipped on top of frames where the bees can consume it.
- Heat 1 pint of water to boiling in a large pot on stove.
- Stir in as much sugar as can be dissolved. This will be about 5 pounds.
- Boil, uncovered, stirring almost constantly until the temperature reaches 234 degrees. It takes awhile.
- Pour into shallow molds of cardboard or containers lined with waxed paper or butcher paper. The candy will harden as it cools.
It seems appropriate to reminisce as 2003 comes to a close. For some it was a banner year, an exciting first year for others, but the vast majority had a challenging year. Weather certainly holds a firm grip over a successful harvest and the health of the hive. What’s the best way to prepare for a more positive and fruitful season?
As we tell all the new beekeepers, there is no one-way to be a successful beekeeper. Our notes and methods should give us a clue, and perhaps a new direction for 2004.
Starting with over-wintering techniques, do we wrap? Or not? Why not wrap some and leave others unwrapped. Definitely, we need to add insulation of some sort over the inner cover. Too much condensation can be deadly here on Cape Cod, with the wide range of temperatures we can experience in a 24-hour period. Some hives were quite light, and after several syrup feedings, have added some weight, but candy will still need to be added. This, placed just over the cluster on the top bars, could be our lifesaver.
Have your Apistan strips been removed? Constant contact during the winter could result in varroa becoming resistant to the strip. ApiLife Var was used in several hives here. Three successive treatments seems to be labor intensive, but we hope it will add a less toxic product to our mite treatment program.
ApiLife Var, a strongly odiferous thymol product was used in three apiaries. In one yard no other pesticides were used, nor have any been used to date. In the other two apiaries, half the hives were treated with Apistan, and the balance with Section 18 Thymol. Sticky boards will be added in the spring once brood rearing has begun in order to denote any difference in mite drop. The mention of sticky boards bring to mind the suggestion of adding the board under the screened bottom boards in late December to mid-January to cut down on drafts in the hive as the queens begin to lay small numbers.
The catalogs and order forms for bees and equipment will soon be available. Do you want to try something different? The hive is an amazing source of products, other than honey and wax. Our first year with a pollen trap was a real interesting venture. Three months of constant use on one hive netted us 14 pounds of pollen! Now stored in the freezer, this will be fed back in the spring to stimulate brood rearing. Honey production is sacrificed if the pollen trap is left on continuously. Next season, during nectar flow, we have the option of closing off the trap, so the bees will forage for nectar.
Propolis traps are a bit more difficult to manipulate. The hive must be exposed to light by leaving off the inner cover and raising the outer cover. The bees then fill the trap, which is placed in the freezer for a few days in a large plastic bag. Once hardened, this can supposedly be easily snapped out and processed. A number of antiseptic products can be prepared using propolis.
We will once again have the option of having Wilbanks Italian bees trucked directly from Georgia. Our new source has scheduled delivery later in April (3rd or 4th Sunday) resulting in better quality queens. And, speaking of queens, how many of you need to requeen? Do you want to stay with Italians, or move to Carniolans (Old World or New), Canadian Buckfast, or Russian? Check out a short article in the December issue of Bee Culture on Russian Bees. Can you patiently wait 12 days before your queen is accepted?
And, finally, what local sources of pollen and nectar did your bees have? Could you share or spare a
donation to our annual Pollinator Plant Sale? Keep Saturday June 5th in mind for this great event.
Our Tuesday meetings are a great source of information for newbees and veterans alike. There is always something to learn, or a different approach to a problem to try. Do come and contribute.
Bee Well and Bee Happy in 2004!
...make nice Christmas presents. The gift that keeps on giving, as they say. Claire will have Association Subscription Forms available at the next meeting for American Bee Journal. Rates are $16.45 for 1 yr, and $31.30 for 2 yrs. Bee Culture Association Rates are $17.50 for 1 yr, and $32. for 2 yrs. These rates represent 25% savings over non-member subscription rates, so be sure to mention your status in Barnstable County Beekeepers.
Other Items for Sale
We will have at the next few meetings Ed Weiss’s text "The Queen and I" and the B.C.B.A. Cookbooks will be available. We also have "Bee a Cape Cod Honey" tees and B.C.B.A. polo shirts available. If you would like a shirt, call Paul or Claire at 888-2304 a couple of days prior to the meetings with sizes and we will be sure to have them there for pickup.
I have individuals looking for used extractors. If you have such to sell, contact me with details and I will put these individuals in touch with you. This newsletter gets wide distribution, so do not be surprised at where the contacts come from.
Ed Osmun has the following items for sale. You can catch him at the meeting or call him @ 508-833-9696.
- 12 oz Flat Panel Bears- $12. per 24.
- Type S Pollen Traps- Built by Amish craftsmen $59.