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Buzz Words - April, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Annual Meeting
4. Packaged Bees Delay

Pollinator Plant Sale

6. Claire's Corner
7. The Osterville Comment
8. Library
9. Andy's Ramblings
10. Tips
11. Special Club Rates

Tuesday, April 11th, 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. We welcome our new beekeepers to their first meeting where we will discuss Honey Bee Pests and Diseases, with slides for identification, and suggestions for an IPM approach. The annual election of officers will open the meeting. See the slate of nominees elsewhere in the newsletter.

Tuesday, May 9th, TBA
Tuesday, June 11th, Representatives From Bartlett Tree Experts


From the President
Happy Spring one and all!  I guess it’s only a happy spring up here.  From what we hear from way down south, they’re not having a very good spring at all.  Because of the fluctuating spring temperatures (hot then freezing then hot again) the business of raising bees to sell has turned into a nightmare.  I’m just giving you a heads up – I’m sure Claire will fill you in. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for the privilege of serving as your Fearless Leader for the past two years.  I’d like to extend a special word of thanks to all those on the Board of Directors who have worked very diligently and spent many hours to make BCBA an organization that you can be proud to belong to.  Bee Happy!!  THANK YOU ALL !!  


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Annual Meeting

This meeting will start with a short business meeting culminating with the election of officers.
All officers and board members listed at the end of this newsletter are willing to serve again. Marte Ayers will succeed Peter as president, George Muhlebach has assented to accepting the Vice-President position. The following members have expressed interest in serving on the board: Leslie Lichtenstein, Deb O’Connor and Sue Phelan. Anyone wishing to join the board or wishing to nominate from the floor may do so at that time.

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Package Bees Delay
Once again weather has plagued the south and our Wilbanks packages have not only been delayed a week, but our shipment has also been cut by 25%, with the balance due in May. For those of you who have ordered bees through the club, your pickup notice is enclosed on a colored strip. There will be disappointments as the last 20 members to order and pay will have a May delivery date.

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Pollinator Plant Sale
Barnstable Beekeeper's Association Annual Plant Sale, Saturday May 20th, 10:00 - 1:00; Annuals, Perennials, Herbs, and Vegetables. OPEN EARLY for drop off. Call Jan Rapp @508-428-8442 if you are unable to drop off your donations and she will arrange for pick-up. New This Year: Heirloom Tomatoes (sale will benefit Mass Agriculture in the Classroom), Bags of manure (sheep, goat and chicken). Help needed the day of the sale..

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Claire's Corner
Claire is taking a well deserved month off.

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The Osterville Comments
Armstrong-Kelley Park -- After her 15 minutes of fame at The New England Flower Show, A-K Park's 16 foot tall by 20 foot wide, $25,000, two ton, very rare weeping red cedar returned to a new location within A-K Park.  The new home allows the lady unending growth and view of the passersby from her window on Main Street.  Our bees are becoming active on our crocus, snow drop, witch hazel, heath and winter jasmine blossoms.  Visit our "lady" and bring your pet (bipedal or quatropedal) any day or night.  Our Walkways are illuminated and wheel chair accessible.

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The library has seen an increase in returns, but many books and videos still remain grossly overdue. Remember, each book and video has a card which members need to sign and date when borrowing an item and place the card in the appropriate file box. Upon returning the item, simply find the card, sign and date it, and place it back in the book or video jacket.

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Andy's Ramblngs
March 12, 2006
I’m sitting here in a dorm room at Pembroke College, Oxford University, England, looking out at grey skies; dark grey slate tile roofs; old, and yellowish-grey stone buildings, thinking about, what else? My bees. And feeling depressed.

When we left Cape Cod the temperature was in the mid fifties and sunny, and the forecast for the rest of the week was for better than normal. When we arrived in London, the temperature was a balmy negative one degree Celsius. I think that translates to about 29 degrees or so on the Fahrenheit scale.

To top it off (no pun intended, as you will see), the doorways were designed for either really small people or Hobbits (Tolkein actually taught and held a chair here at Oxford) because they are about four inches lower than my six feet in height. I no sooner got here when I cracked my head on a door lintel and rattled my teeth. It was actually a “groovy” experience. The groove has gone, but the area on the top of my head is still painful.

I was thinking and hoping I would get to visit Buckfast Abbey, the home of Brother Adam and the world famous Buckfast Honeybee, but our time is pretty much allocated to other tours and meals. Not that I mind the eals, to which anyone who has met me can attest, but some beekeeping history would be nice, especially in a country from which so much of our own history has descended (Not to mention that is also the home of Monty Python, George Washington, and the Beatles). I mean, after all, the honeybee has played an extremely important roll in the advancement of human kind and civilization. In our own country, the honeybee is not indigenous. It did not, in fact, exist on this continent before the arrival of the Pilgrims, and, after its introduction by the English, preceded the advancement of Europeans on this continent by an estimated hundred and fifty miles. (Ya gotta love that swarming inclination.)

Let’s go back to my sitting in a dorm room in England. My bees, at home, are flying and loving life. What should I be doing to help?  My crocuses, when we left for this trip, were just beginning to bloom. I should be mixing up and administering pollen substitute. I should be buying sugar so I will be able to make up sugar syrup (at a one sugar to one water ratio) to feed the girls so as to stimulate wax production. I should be double-checking my equipment. Do I have enough deeps to make splits and maybe recover a couple of swarms this season? Do I have enough Nuc boxes if I want to experiment with queen rearing? What if we have a great, warm spring, with no winter moth damage? Do I have enough honey supers to get the most out of Nature’s bountiful offerings? Did mice get into and ruin my stored frames? I should be airing-out those stored frames because they were stored in paradichloro-benzene, and without adequate airing, the bees won’t store any honey in them.

What should I be doing? Who knows? I’m here in England, freezing my butt off.  What’s your situation?

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Sugar syrup feedings may commence as the weather is now suitable for daily cleansing flights. Dandelions should be out shortly (for those of us who do not pre-treat our lawns). This is our cue to rotate the deep hive bodies. Clean and scrape the bottom boards and replace a few old frames in the brood box. The girls will be happy to have a 1 to 1 sugar syrup as a substitute for the nectar flows yet to come. (5 lbs sugar dissolved in 5 pints of warm water)

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Special Club Rates
One of the benefits of membership in a county organization such as ours is a healthy discount on subscriptions to the monthly magazines. Special forms are available from Claire for Bee Culture ($19.00/1 yr, $36.00/2 yr.) and American Bee Journal ($17.96/1 yr, $34.05/2 yr., $47.89/3 yr)

back to top Last updated 04/09/06