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Buzz Words - April, 2004

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Claire’s Corner
4. Package Bees
5. Slate of Nominees
6. Dues are Dues
7. Upcoming Meetings
8. Tip of the Month
9. Library Additions
10. Pollen Patties
11. Club Rates for Bee Journals
12. Other Items for Sale
13. Want Ads
14. Classified Ads

Next Meeting: Tuesday, April 13th, 7:30 p.m. in the small room at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149.

Program: Member Jay Barthelmeus will be there with his glorious collection of pollen and nectar providing plants that the honey bees just love to visit. Jay is getting to be in demand in this part of the world for his ever growing slide presentation.

This meeting will be combined with bee school and also features our annual business meeting, to satisfy the articles of incorporation.

P.S. Due to a WB Civic Association use of “our” meeting place, the May meeting will take place just down the street at the West Barnstable Fire Station. Swarming, a most important and fascinating occurance will be the program’s theme.

From the President
While members have begun looking under the lids of their hives finding no signs of life, we have been struggling to locate additional packages of bees to replace them. Supply is very tight this year, so if you didn’t order early you may be out of luck. There is a lesson in here.

Bee School continues to go very well and I thank all those who have participated during the instruction this year. 29 people attended last Tuesday’s meeting!

This being my last paragraph as President, I personally want to thank the Board of Directors for making this club one of the best in the State of Massachusetts. Paul & Claire Desilets remain the most dedicated members, participating in numerous county, State and out-of-State bee meetings. Their willingness and ability to help other beekeepers is outstanding and we all have to appreciate and respect their dedication. Another quiet hero to BCBA is Ed Osmun, who works to compile our equipment orders and store the goods for member pickup. This is no easy task and requires time, something we all seem to run out of when asked to help in this day and age. Other board members bring ideas to the table and share time organizing Bee School, the Pollinator Plant Sale, the Barnstable County Fair and the fall Harvest Festival and other local community events. We have an outstanding presence in the community and we continue to fascinate the young and the old about beekeeping. You are a great group to work with and I appreciate the opportunity to be with you. Peter Cadieux shall carry the torch for the next two years.

Thank you very much, Geoffrey Lenk

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Claire’s Corner
The bees have been able to fly for a number of cleansing flights, so bring on the 1:1 sugar syrup! Pollen was sighted on workers returning to our observation hive on 3/26, as the temperature finally reached 56 degrees here. We can now safely rake clean the bottom board and take a quick peek as to cluster size. In 3 to 4 weeks the dandelion will blossom and that is our clue to reverse the deeps. Pay attention to the cluster formation because if it is centered in both deeps you may want to wait until the weather warms consistently. Separating the cluster can chill the developing brood, spelling disaster.

Those of us with colonies surviving from last year’s packages need to diligently survey our mite drop. It would be nice to know those bees are hygienic and are keeping their varroa mite loads low; but, if not, these second year hives could explode with a large varroa infestation by late summer.

The Dadant catalog advertises a new topical miticide. Sucroside is considered a safe product for both beekeeper and honeybee. (Sucroside is a sucrose octanoate ester derived from sucrose (table sugar) and an octanoic ester found in plants and animals. Upon contact with mites it actually dissolves the waxy protective coating, which in turn causes the mite to dry out and die.) After dilution the beekeeper sprays the frames and bees with the solution. Heavily wetting the bees is necessary for best mite kill. It is unknown what damage may occur when Sucroside comes in contact with uncapped brood. This approach is practical for the hobbyist, but much too time-consuming for the sideliner. Sucroside is mentioned here solely as an alternative treatment when a high mite count is detected, especially for those not wishing to use a “hard core” pesticide in their hives.

Most definitely, the season now upon us is my favorite. To watch the green emerge from the soil, crocus blossoms peeking through the winter debris, ants in the kitchen, robins splashing in the birdbath, and of course, and the honeybees searching for pollen all provide renewed energy after the long, cold winter. The difficult decision arises as to which seed or nursery catalog to peruse, keeping the order conservative based on available space and time. As you consider your 2004 garden, please keep in mind our Pollinator Plant Sale on Saturday, June 5th, at the West Barnstable Community Building. Putting aside a few seedlings, garden divisions or special purchases will increase our sales and add to our educational funds. In the past part of our proceeds have gone to honeybee research.

One nursery catalog offered a $20 coupon, so arriving here in May will be purple and white liatris and globe thistle to share at the sale. So save a little space in your garden for some of our members’ favorite bee-loving species.

Another local plant sale, taking place now, is the Cape Cod Conservation District’s annual affair. The order form is available at, but hurry as the deadline looms near.

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Package Bees
Please make note that the bees will not arrive on Easter Sunday. They are now scheduled for arrival on Sunday, April 18th due to cold, wet weather in Georgia.
Pick up time is Sunday, April 18th, after 1 PM, at 186 Old County Rd, East Sandwich. An installation demonstration will be done at this time and bees distributed afterwards.

Directions: Mid-Cape Hwy (Rte 6) to Exit 4. Head north off the ramp on Chase Rd for approximately ½ mile. Take a left onto Old County Rd. and take the first driveway on the left. We have a rock at the end of the driveway with 186 engraved in it.

For those of you east of the Dennis-Yarmouth line, Ed will have your packages at the Harwich Public Gardens at 11 A.M. and Jay B. will do an installation demonstration. If you cannot make this location at this time, you will have to make arrangements to pick your bees up in East Sandwich. Directions to this site are as follows: From Rt. 28 in Harwich, take the North Rt. 39-124 road (across from Cape Water Sports) past the Shaw’s Market. At approximately ¼ mile from Rt. 28, take a LEFT onto dirt road of Harwich Gardens, go to the end and bear left. Questions with directions – Jay 508-430-2740.

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Slate of Nominees
Looking for your vote of approval as officers of this association at the April Annual Meeting are the following members: President – Peter Cadieux; Vice President – open; Secretary – Claire Desilets; Treasurer – Paul Desilets; Board of Directors -- Andy Morris, George Muhlebach, Ed Osmun, Jan Rapp and Richard Rys. Nominations from the floor will be accepted for all of these offices and also for one vacancy on the board.

Dues are Dues!
It is that time of year again. Check your mailing label. If there is a 03 there, it is time to send in your dues payment. Such a deal, you get this great newsletter each and every month (along with a few other goodies) for a measly $10 per family, per year. Act now, or this will be your last newsletter!

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Upcoming Meetings
Massachusetts Beekeepers' Association will hold its Spring Meeting at Coolidge Hall on the Topsfield Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 3rd, from 9:30 to 4. Speakers will be Dr Diana Sammataro, researcher at the USDA's Carl Hayden Bee Research Lab, in Tucson, AZ. Her topics will cover current research at the bee lab, and "The Softer Side of Mites". Also on the agenda is Deerfield beekeeper Daniel Conlon who will share some of his marketing techniques with us. Dan has ideas that would be useful for clubs to undertake to promote beekeeping in their areas. For more info and registration form, go to or call Paul at 508-888-2304.

Tip of the Month
Continue to heft hives. Adequate stores critical for hive survival and growth.
As bees begin to forage pollen, there must be stores enough to feed developing brood. Feed 1:1 Sugar syrup - Pollen substitute may be added to the diet.

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Library Additions
Lots of helpful hints and good formulae for making your own candles and cosmetics utilizing products from your hives can be found in the recent additions to the library. Check out the following: Beginner’s Guide to Candlemaking, Making Candles, The Candlemaker’s Companion, Making Aromatherapy Creams, The Natural Soap Book, The Soapmaker’s Companion, Making Wild Wines and Meads, Making Candles and Potpourri.

Pollen Patties
This from the people at B&B Honey:
Mix 5 lb pollen substitute with 1/2 gal. 2:1 syrup (sugar: water), pour out about 1/2 inch thick and let stand overnight. Cut and feed. This is fine to freeze if it makes too large a batch to be used right away.

When mixing, add the pollen substitute gradually if you don't want to lose most of it when you start to stir since it's so powdery. Plan on a great upper body workout when you work to get it all moistened. I put mine out on sheets of waxed paper, covered with another sheet and patted it to about the right thickness. Left all on the kitchen cabinet overnight, then cut it with a large knife and put into freezer bags paper and all since the paper keeps the pieces from drying out completely.

I made up a batch a couple days ago. The bees are gobbling up the pieces that I put on top of the frames and the hive that we thought was dead now looks as though it's about to overflow, though that's only from the top - too cold to split the supers to check further, I thought.

Maybe this way of feeding pollen substitute might make it a bit easier for people. –Connie Novitsky

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Club Rates for Bee Journals
Make your check out to the appropriate vendor and give, or send, it to Paul

  • Bee Culture - 1yr - $17.00, 2 yr - $32.00
  • American Bee Journal - 1 yr - $17.20, 2 yr - $32.75, 3 yr - $46.05

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.

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Classified Ads
Andy Reseska has a 16 Gal Maxant Honey Clarifier, used one season, asking $500. 508-429-6872.

Andy Reseska is selling 4 frame nucs (disposable box) with marked, over-wintered in Mass, New World Carniolan Queens for $85, picked up in Holliston, the second week of May. 508-429-6872.

Andy Card (Merrimack Valley Apiaries) is offering nucs to be picked up in Billerica. You can order your nuc with your choice of Russian, New World Carniolan or Minnesota Hygienic Queen. Call Claire to order

Member Frank Smith has a hand-crank 4-frame plastic extractor for sale. Frank is asking $80. 508-291-2911.

Bruce Mogardo is looking to pass on some equipment that he no longer uses: 50 snap-lock brood frames, 60 sheets of Duragilt brood foundation, and a 3-frame queen rearing kit. 508-540-8789

back to top Last updated 3/29/04