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Buzz Words - May 2009

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bees, Bees, Bees
4. Annual Pollinator Plant Sale
5. Claire's Corner
6. 4-H Junior Beekeepers Club
7. The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
8. Annual Elections
9. News from Bee U
10. Web Sites of Interest

The April Meeting will be on Tuesday, the 14th; 7:30 p.m. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. George Muhlbach will present his Swarm and Swarm Prevention Program. Very timely as once spring arrives to Cape Cod, our bees will be building up rapidly and we need to be wary and ready to prevent  losing half of our colony to swarming.  There will also be time for the newbees to ask their final questions before the bees arrive.

Drinks - Julie Lipkin
Nibbles -Corinne Hendricksen and Suzanne Hill  

From the President
Even though it’s still cold, it is good to be back on the Cape.  It will be already one year that you elected me as your president.  For this year’s election, it looks like the entire slate of officers and board members are up for re-election.  Several club members also expressed their interest to be new members of an enlarged board.  This is very important for several reasons.  More members ensure that the board better represents the membership and new members ensure that the board does not get stale in established ruts.  Thus, I thank all of you for volunteering to become officers and board members.

Last Saturday, early in the morning when I went outside to get my newspaper, a copy of the March 7th issue of  “The Economist” was stuck into the handle of the screen door, left there by an as yet anonymous friend (Thank you, who ever you are).  In that issue is a very good article under the title: ”The Bees are Back”.  It mentions that while for the last few years, the California almond growers had difficulties to get enough bee to pollinate their crops do to the colony collapse disorder.  The article goes on to explain that the disorder is probably a combination of various factors (too many to get into in this short summary), but it seems that monocultures of crops deprive the honeybees of some of the needed amino acids and proteins.  Beekeepers have realized that and started feeding their bees a balanced diet and this year, combined with the general downturn of the economy, there is a glut of bees available to the almond growers in California.  A balanced diet is not only important to us!!! Interesting.  -- George

   Article ( )   - Dissolution of the Association

If at any time, the Association shall dissolve, any Association assets or monies realized through the sale of the Association property shall be given to education and/or charitable organizations, as approved by the Board and voted on by the Association membership according to pertinent Internal Revenue Service regulations.

If this article is approved by a majority of the membership at the Annual Meeting in April, we can then continue work on our application for not-for-profit status.  This will enable us to seek grants for future projects such as queen-rearing, educational programs, etc.

Bees, Bees, Bees
1-The following individuals are slated to receive their packages on April 19th or 20th. We hope on Sunday and not Monday. Pick up will be at 186 Old County Rd.  Mid-Cape to Exit 4, north off ramp ½ mile, left on Old County,  1st drive on left.

Amans-Kaiser, Holly Heslinga, Lynn Tom Miller
Armstrong-Kelly Park Hill, Suzanne Mogardo, Bruce
Beach, John Hilliard, Hugh Morris, Andy
Borowick, Diane Houghton, Sue Muhlbach, George (CCMNH)
Brown, Bill Howe, Arnie Mutti, Cal
Burr-Tarrant, Corinne Janoplis, Michael O’Donnell, Brian
Cabaniss, Deborah Junker, Steve Osmun, Ed
Clark, Rocky Kelley, Laura Pandya, Dina
Coelho, Jim Lichtenstein, Leslie Phelan, Sue
Currier, Paul Light, Gene Prue, Paul
Desilets, Claire Lipkin, Julie Rapp, Jan
Elder, Kathy Litwinowich, Rhonda Roosen, Ellen
Fielding, Rodney Marinacchio, Mark Ruggles, Ray
Ferrante, Beth Matarazzi, Rebecca Ross, Heather
Gross, Jim Matfis, Steve St. Claire, Arianne
Gauthier, MaryAnne McConchie, Craig St. Romaine, Kelly
Hammond, Mel Mesmer, Cindy Starr, Gordon
Miksch, Joe

2- The following individuals will pick up their bees on May 9th, 3:30 p.m., at Bill’s Bog on Route 124, in Brewster, north of Route 6.  Veils should be worn for the installation demonstration. The bog owner requests that you park on the side of the road opposite the bog. Stay OFF the bog or you will be trespassing.  Watch for BEE sign.
Brown, Stuart Eldredge, Jeff Lindgren, Cynthia
Cezanne, Jeannette Haggerty, Anne McCullough, Debra
Cheek, Kevin Hersey, Lucy Minear, Beth
Clemens, Kate Hopper, Louise O’Donnell, Susan
Diehl, Brian Johnson, Linda Pariseau, Bob
DiMartile, Holly & Rob Labranche, Robert Shaw, Leslie
Doyle, Michael Labranche, Steve Sweetland, Anja & David
Duquay, Paula Latimer, Peter Wade, Tim & Beth
Lay, Marion Morris, Andy

3- The following individuals are to pick up their bees on May 9th with an installation demonstration at 3 p.m., at 186 Old County Rd, East Sandwich.  Mid-Cape (Rte 6) to Exit 4, north off ramp, ½ mile, left onto Old County Rd, first driveway on left.   Parking on our property is limited, so please park along the neighbor’s fence and between our driveway and the corner of Old County/Chase Rds.  Veils are recommended.
Abril, Judy Gall, Brett Molloy, Dan
Allen, David Hatfield, Jim Mulcahy, Sheila
Bailey, Ellen Heavey, Alex Murphy, Stephanie
Bangs, Bryan Hendricksen, Corinne Netto, Joe
Bavelok, Kate Herman, John Parker, Bob
Binder, Steve Johansen, Carl & Judy Peterson, Mark & Liz
Ferranti. Beth Kiley, Mary Raneiri, Kim & Mary
Cadieux, Pete King, Julee Rowitz, Ray
Casper, Sally Kurker, Fred Schmidt, Norm
Churchill, Matt Lenk, Geoff Schneckloth, Chuck
Chute, Toni Leonard, Margee & Tom Sheehy, Lisa
Crabbe, Alicia Leone, Catherine Spencer, Peggy
Desilets, Claire Stergis, Lou
Dimitri, Arthur Meriot, Fran Sullivan, Jean
Gauthier, MaryAnne Minnegerode, Kevin Tran, Cahn
Donovan, Donna Miskiv, Donna Vizgaitis, Monika
Egloff, Kalliope Modzelewski, Joan Wood, Lucy
George Muhlebach Worrall, Andrea

Please be aware that these are living creatures and must be hived in a timely fashion. We will not be responsible for those not picked up on days assigned. If you cannot pick up on those days, please have someone do so for you.

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Annual Pollinator Plant Sale
Saturday, May 16, 2009, from 9:00 – 12:00, at the Meetinghouse Farm, Rt. 149, West Barnstable.

If you cannot be there during those hours, feel free to ask for someone to pick up your goods or drop them off yourself at the Farm the night and morning before the sale.

If you are making your plant starts, please plan on putting a few more seeds in pots in anticipation of our annual plant sale. Those divided perennials are hot stuff, too!!

Proceeds benefit the further education of now and future Beekeepers as well as funding Bee research.

Interested in helping? Please call Jan @ 508-4238-6949 or email

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Claire's Corner
The season is upon us and it is time to check on those over-wintered hives. Feeding 1:1 sugar syrup can commence as the bees will have good warming days for cleansing flights. Review the FAQ provided in a previous newsletter for all the inspections needed.

A tip on replacing deep frames every few years is to mark the frames with a dab of paint, or a thumbtack corresponding to the queen-marking color for the year on one end of the top bar.                                    

Pest control should begin based on your decisions on controlling varroa and small hive beetle. A good time to add your cardboard SHB trap is after reversing your deeps and cleaning the bottom board of detritus. Also, a quick dusting with confectioner’s sugar is in order to rid those free-loading mites off adult bees before brood starts to hatch.

Lastly, on the next 60 degree day, inspect all brood frames quickly for pattern, amount of brood and any sign of disease.
How do you evaluate strength at this time? At a recent Mass Beekeepers meeting (nice to see BCBA so well represented) a speaker on spring management listed the following evaluation:  1 or 2 frames + weak hive, 3 or 4 frames is average, and 5 or more frames denotes a strong hive that can eventually be split or a nuc made in order to prevent swarming.

EMS (Eastern Mountain Sports) will hold their annual “club” weekend on April 17, 18, & 19.  All  BCBA members may enjoy a 20% discount on purchases at that time. Again, we have been invited to set up an informational table – manned or unmanned . Anyone wishing to help in this endeavor, please contact Claire.

Hyannis Country Garden will celebrate Earth Day, Sunday, April 19th, and has invited us to display information on bees and the B.C.B.A..  This is a busy bee weekend for us, but perhaps a few of you can help. The club will provide the handouts, etc.  Again, contact Claire.

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New 4-H Junior Beekeepers Club Has Formed
An Itroductory meeting will be held (Parents and children welcome)  at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds Administrarion Building at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, April 6th, 2009

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The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
by Andy Morris

Things finally quieted down. As usual, the meeting began a little late because beekeepers have a need to share thoughts and experiences, as well as to ask questions, so the conversations at the meetings are animated, vibrant, sometimes heated and always interesting.

After the President called the meeting to order, there was business that had to be taken care of. The first order of business presented to the club was by its librarian, Paige Turner.

“The Board of Directors met last week and decided the fate of our once extensive collection of books and videos. As you know, we offered these items to members of the club at each meeting. All that was asked was your name on the corresponding card so we could know who had the item. Well, it seems that was too much to ask. The books and videos were being borrowed but the cards were neglected. Now we have a dwindling collection. Those of us on the Board have donated our materials to the local library. This way the information will be available to the general public, we won’t lose any more books and I won’t feel any more anger, to the pleasure of both my husband and my psychiatrist. Thank you for your time.”

Murmurs and whispers echoed off the walls of the meeting hall as members either reproached themselves for having been partly responsible for the move of the club’s library to the town’s library, or they smugly told their neighbors that they were in no way responsible.

After the business was taken care of, Erin gave her talk on the importance of nutrition in the hive. She stressed that honey was the bees’ source of carbohydrates and pollen was their source of protein. Her thoughts were that if we left bees to their own devices, they would survive just nicely. “We let the girls work all summer only to take their food supply in the fall, right before the critical time, winter, when they really need it. We thank them with a substitute: sugar syrup, candy or corn syrup, and a poor soy-based substitute for their pollen.”

Erin then told the club the importance of pollen. “This substance is often ignored,” she said. “Much recent research has shown that in some part, the current problem with the bees globally might have a connection to what we feed them, or in some cases, don’t feed them.”

The meeting concluded with much talking among the members as they put away the folding chairs and cleaned up the table that held the snacks. As is typical, Erin was cornered by members who were either too shy to ask questions in front of everybody, or considerate enough of the other members to not stretch out the meeting. Erin was animated and accommodating, Patty was busy sweeping the floor and Paul was muttering, like an old drone. Upon hearing him, Patty handed him the broom and walked away to help elsewhere.

To be continued . . .

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Annual Elections
All club officers and board members are up for re-election. See the box on last page.
New members volunteering to join the board are: Holly Kaiser, Lynn Heslinga,  Kalliope Egloff, and Rebecca Matarazzi.  Thank You!

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News from Bee U
The Mattacheese Bee Club has been dormant this past month but will be breaking cluster and getting back to work the first week in April.  Early indications are that the hive has survived the winter although in the past I have counted my successful "winter overs" in April only to find them dead by Memorial Day.

In February I was down in Tepoztlan, Mexico, about 1.5 hours south of Mexico City.  The farmers' markets there are a daily occurrence and feature about every type of produce imaginable.  The agriculture must make for some very productive hives (or maybe the bees make for some very productive agriculture) as honey was very abundant in the markets and selling for about $2.40 for slightly over one pound.  The honey is very light in color and has a very smooth taste but very different from what I am used to here on the Cape.  My Spanish is such that I was unable to glean from the sellers what kinds of bees they have, what plants the bees might have been visiting, or the presence of the mites, CCD, etc. that we have here.  The climate and lack of rain there enable the bees to be active year round.  Not sure what that does to the productive life span of a queen.  I guess this gives me an excuse to brush up on my Spanish and go back there to try to get to the bottom of this!

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Web Sites of Interest
Solving the Mystery of the Vanishing Bees. In case you didn't see it yet-from the latest (April)Scientific American.  By Diana Cox-FosterDennis vanEngelsdorp
The mysterious ailment called colony collapse disorder has wiped out large numbers of the bees that pollinate a third of our crops. The causes turn out to be surprisingly complex, but solutions are emerging.
© 1996-2009 Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.  Thanks to Sue Phelan for this item.

Also, please check out Julie Lipkin's blog Beeing There

back to top Last updated 05/05/09