We will reconvene at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route
149, on Tuesday, September 11th at 7:30 p.m. Getting
ready for winter with timely tips will be the topic. Instructors
will demonstrate with what and how they prepare their hives for
those long winter months soon to be upon us. Prior to the meeting,
consider putting your mouse guards in as the days shorten and nites
» Barnstable County Beekeepers 2007 Survey (pdf)
From the President
Oh those hot, lazy days of summer. Whew. Even the bees are fanning.
The property owner where I have my hives told me today they were
going to charge me for water because the bees keep draining the
birdbath to air condition the hives. I thought just maybe the sun
was helping to evaporate it also. Then he gave me one of his heirloom
tomatoes. Yummy!! I also had yellow jackets having dinner (I think)
in my hives. Stealing is more like it, and my hives were very defensive.
I received about 10 stings on arthritis arms and legs. One hive
was totally empty of nectar but had brood. What a disappointment.
So I cut 3" wide strips of window screen to desired lengths,
folded them in half and stuffed them in to reduce the entrances.
Since they were fanning without my reducing the entrances, I thought
this would let in more air or heat out then the wood entrance reducers.
I only left about 2" opened for the bees to enter. I'll check
them in a few days.
Needless to say what honey I have in my winter surviving hive
I am keeping to boost the other hives if they need it in the fall.
I started 2 new hives this summer but they need to grow before winter
set in. A third is still a "nuc" size from a swarm that
had about 50 bees that had settled in a stack of empty supers. I
had a beautiful queen that was not laying yet but now she has disappeared.
So I'm trying to raise another queen. I may have to combine it with
one of the other hives as time is running out for her to be able
to produce enough bees for winter. I sure hope you are having better
Keep the Fall Harvest Fair in mind for selling your surplus honey
at a great price. We had no problem selling it at the Barnstable
County Fair at $7.00 per pound.
I will be in Prince Edward Island for our next meeting but we will
have speakers on getting your hives ready for fall and winter. So,
I'll see you in October. -- Marte
The glassware has arrived and is stored at Ed Osmun’s farm on
Lombard Rd, in W Barnstable. The B.C.B.A. Glass Store is available
– by appointment – on the first and third Saturday’s
of September. Call George Muhlebach at 508-362-8693 or email him at
firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your pickup time.
Prices are as follows: 24 x 8 oz - $9.00, 24 x 16 oz - $9.00, and
12 x 32 oz - $7.00
George will not have change. Please bring correct amount or a check.
Meetings of Interest
Massachusetts Beekeepersí Association Fall Meeting and Honey Show
Saturday, October 13, 2007
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Knights of Columbus Hall, Leicester, MA
Featured speaker will be Ross Conrad, author of Natural Beekeeping
Offering organic approaches to modern apiculture
Enter your honey or wax products and see if you can take one of
those blue ribbons away
from the likes of Jim Gross, Claire Desilets, or Dan Conlon
Southern New England Beekeepers Assembly (SNEBA)
Saturday November 17, 2007
Unitarian Society of New Haven,
700 Hartford Tpke, Hamden, CT
Theme: Healthy Bees
Speakers: Dewey Caron, Jennifer Berry, Janet Brisson, Larry Connor
Mulling over the recent phone calls and emails, a few important
issues surface as we begin our fall and winter management. So we
will put all thoughts of CCD on the back burner for now and concentrate
on a trio of situations that might be lurking in your hive.
Reviewing the club’s textbook would be helpful, but let’s
think wax moth, varroa and AFB. Unfortunately all these diseases
and pests are causing havoc locally. Wax moth is the easiest to
deal with, but keep in mind that the Greater Wax Moth is an opportunist
and is ever present in ALL our hives. When visiting a good productive
hive we tend to forget what can happen. The numbers of wax moth
will only spiral in a failing hive. It might be best to reduce a
failing hive to one deep. That way the bees can easily maintain
their household. The wax moth feed on pollen, cast larva skins and
honey in comb.
When storing honey equipment that has been exposed to brood (no
queen excluders) para-dichlorobenzene (not moth crystals) should
be used to keep wax moth away. Damaged frames can be scraped clean
and put aside for new foundation in the spring.
Varroa destructor is lurking in all levels in all our hives. Populations
are the highest in the fall as all that brood has been reared all
season long. Use those sticky boards for a 3-day count. If the count
exceeds 50 mites per day, some form of treatment must be applied
or the hive will be in trouble.
The least innocuous, but effective, treatment is the confectionary
sugar application. Ideally we could have/should have been using
it monthly as a prophylactic measure. A tip we picked up at EAS
is to spread the powdered sugar over a piece of window screening,
placed over the open hive. Using a bee brush, brush the sugar through
the screen and it falls quite finely (?) on the bees and frames.
Do not expose the brood to the sugar, but just let it drift down
between the frames. Skewering the drones of late has shown very
low mite levels in our hives. Perhaps sacrificing all those drones
from medium frames all season long has proven effective.
Thirdly, a little seen disease has surfaced. How easy it is to
forget the big, bad and ugly when varroa and small hive beetles
are always on our minds. American Foul Brood (AFB) has made its
ugly appearance in a few hives. Please take a healthy look at your
brood pattern and appearance the next time you are in your hive.
If your is highly populated and has a surplus of honey, and a solid
brood pattern, you should be clean. However, if your numbers are
down and there is a spotty brood pattern with dark wax, look carefully
for perforated, sunken cappings. With a twig or toothpick open a
few suspicious cells. Remember the ropey test?
How to treat – watch that hive tool and heat sterilize it.
If only a frame or two seem affected, remove them and treat the
hive with terramycin. The hive can be shaken onto new equipment
and treated, but all removed frames should be burned or bagged for
incineration. The hive bodies can be sprayed with full-strength
bleach, and then scorched with a propane torch. More extensive infections
of AFB, when discovered, should be destroyed entirely. Bees and
equipment should be incinerated a.s.a.p.
How do these infections sneak up on us? It is hard to find a common
denominator as frames get swapped, hives moved, used equipment purchased,
and new packages and nucleus colonies are moved in. Preventative
treatment with terramycin has been discontinued due to the buildup
of resistance to the drug. So, just be ever aware of all the possible
infirmities and problems that might affect your honeybee hives.
Ode to Jim Gross
There once was a Jim from Nantucket
Whose skills with honey weren’t luck. It
Won E. A. S. Blue
Ribbons, one more than two.
That sweet talking Jim from Nantucket.
Congratulations to Jim Gross. He had the confidence to enter his
honey in the annual EAS Honey Show, and beat last year’s blue
ribbon by an additional two. It couldn’t have happened to
a nicer guy. Well, perhaps there might be one person nicer…
While at EAS, a place for many of the people concerned about bees
and their well-being to meet, I had the fortunate opportunity to
discuss issues about bees, their plight, and pollination with many
of the foremost experts in the world. Although there were many lighthearted
moments, the atmosphere was frequently grave. The causes and effects
of CCD were on everyone’s tongues, hearts and minds. As yet,
nothing definitive has been discovered. One problem standing in
the way of a possible solution is funding. The monies with which
the researchers have at their disposal are what I would call meager.
I overheard Mike Palmer from Vermont say that if one third of the
cattle in this country came down with Mad Cow Disease, there would
be no shortage of funding for research. But, when a third of the
pollinators in the country die off, no one cares. I put it this
way: Just think of the national reaction if a third of the pet dogs
were to suddenly disappear. And they don’t provide even a
little bit of the food on your plate. Perhaps it is time to get
political and write to both state and federal representatives to
look at the problem and get involved. Perhaps Paul knows some addresses
or phone numbers we can use. After all, we pay their salaries…they
work for us!
The nicest thing to happen to me related to EAS 2007, occurred
after I returned home. While it is true that New England was well
represented, as was Massachusetts, the Barnstable County Beekeepers
had significant numbers in attendance. And the most enthusiastic
representative of our club was Bobby Waldron. I’d like to
say he was as excited as a twelve year old boy at a nudist camp,
but that might be too crass, so, instead I’ll just say he
had a great time. Anyway, that nicest thing I just mentioned happened
at my place of employment. Bobby showed up with a folder of photographs
he had taken of the group of us from the Cape and Nantucket. These
were for me to keep. These are photos I will keep. A grateful thanks.
On a musical theme, the chorus from a Hall and Oates song:
(She's Gone Oh I, Oh I'd
Better learn how to face it.
She's Gone Oh I, Oh I'd
Pay the devil to replace her
She's Gone - what went wrong?)
seems appropriate. I had, just three days before, made a split;
a couple of frames from another hive, introduced a queen in her
cage and let them release her. Only problem was, when I checked,
she was still in the queen cage. No problem, says you. Just pry
the screened top open and let her crawl down into the frames. Only
problem was…she flew away!! I lost track of her with all the
circling bees and after waiting several minutes, I closed up the
Nuc and walked away. I checked later that evening thinking bees
might gather around her on some branch nearby but thee was no indication
of a cluster. The next day I couldn’t check (I had a very
important golf tournament), so today, Monday, August 27, 2007, I
cautiously opened the Nuc and removed the outside frame. Low and
behold…no queen. Disappointment slowly began descending. I
pulled the next frame and to my surprise…no queen. Well, there
were two more frames to go. There was still hope. I pulled frame
three. The first side got scanned as carefully as possible…no
queen. I flipped frame three over and there, decorated with her
bright yellow dot was the queen, and she had already laid eggs.
I think she is my favorite.
Thanks to Claire and Paul Desilets for, once again, putting up
with me. I can hardly stand me, but they seem able to tolerate me
some how. Perhaps they are just the best people.
Ain’t life good?
Monetary results for the 2007 Fair week are: $4437 in sales, minus
$2581 to members for sales, $952 for candy, and set-up costs, left
the treasury $904 richer.
Fall Harvest Fair
On Saturday, September 29th the bee booth will be open at the Barnstable
County Fairgrounds*. The educational display will be resurrected
and we could use YOUR HONEY for sale.
Honeysticks will be available and we were able to purchase 4 cases
of honey candy to keep our visitors happy. The observation hive
will be there after having a 4th frame of brood removed this season.
It is just a gangbuster hive!
*This one-day event (10 a.m. to 4p.m.) is sponsored by the Barnstable
County Agricultural Society, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and
Cape Cod Chapter of the Mass Farm Bureau Federation to promote agriculture
on Cape Cod.
National Honey Month
September is National Honey Month sponsored by the National Honey
Board. A kit has bee provided with ideas for promoting our golden
liquid. Contact us if you need ideas for any events this month.
With all the media hype on CCD this year, the door is wide open
for beekeepers and beekeeping articles, news releases, radio and
television interviews, etc.