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Buzz Words - August, 2003

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Barnstable County Fair
4. Hive Openings
5. Glassware
6. Claire’s Corner
7. Classifieds

Please note that we do not meet at the West Barnstable Building in July or August.

In place of a structured meeting in August, we will hold hive openings. Check the dates, times and locations further along in the newsletter.

Our September meeting will find us back at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. This meeting will focus on methods of extracting your honey from the comb. More on that in next month’s issue.

From the President
As we cross the half way mark of the summer I hope everyone is enjoying life and keeping a watchful eye on their honeybees. I took the short route this summer and gave each hive ample honey supers (3) knowing I wasn’t going to get into them as often as I desire (Not a good practice to preach though). I still like what I see for activity and the honey being stored. We will be taking August off for a regular meeting, but we’ll be offering a few hive openings instead. These can be very informative for all beekeepers. Please make a point to email or call each instructor if you are coming as a matter of courtesy.

The Fair was a success for BCBA although attendance was down from what people say. I thank all of you for making the effort to volunteer at the booth. Your commitment is why people continue to return every year to see our displays and purchase our honey/products. It is really a joy to see and hear about the repeat customers. Many of you brought in things to sell and not everything moved off the shelf. Certainly with this audience pricing can be a concern as well as packaging, labeling and overall appearance. This is a good learning experience too. Don’t get discouraged. Think about how you can make your product more intriguing to the consumer and plan for next summer now.

Claire really went all out again to make the entire display and I felt the simplicity, content, color and attractiveness was terrific. We all owe her a big "Thank you."

Connie, our thanks for your daily trek to the Fair. It is great to know that we have an overseer with an eye to the needs and care of our exhibits and wares.

If you have thoughts about the Fair please let me know. Constructive criticism is good! Hope you can make a hive opening in August. September will bring us into extraction and bottling honey. Sticky around for that one. -- Geoffrey

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Barnstable County Fair
I hope you folks got out there to see the great-looking display that Claire put together. A real eye catcher. Hopefully, the visitors got the message about how honey comes to be. Thanks to all the folks who answered the questions that our inquiring public posed. See, it wasn’t so hard after all. The economy hampered our overall sales somewhat; but we still had a good week and netted approximately $1,100 dollars for our treasury. It will definitely pay the yearly rent for our meeting space.

Api Life VAR
After many months of field trials, our friends at Brushy Mountain Bee Farm have received Section 18 authorization to market Api Life VAR, a multi-ingredient biopesticide formulation containing thymol, menthol and eucalyptus, for the purpose of killing Varroa destructor.

A request by Massachusetts Dept of Agricultural Resources for Section 18 authorizaton is a “work in progress” according to an email I received last week from State Apiarist Alfred Carl. When that approval is received, licensed pesticide applicators will be able to apply the product to “broodless or near broodless” colonies. Tests are being conducted for the amount of residues (if any) left in wax by the use of this product. If no residues are found, the product should be available for general use with out emergency restrictions.

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Hive Openings
We hope to have three (3) separate hive openings so that more of you may be able to attend. There are many things for new beekeepers and old to see and differentiate.
  1. Andy Morris will open his Cummaquid hives (Route 6A behind Sweet Pea’s Nest Antique Shop, across from Bone Hill Rd) on August 16th at 2 P.M., with a rain date of Sunday the 17th
  2. Geoff and Carl Monge will have one at the Armstrong Kelley Park in Osterville on Sunday, August 24th at 3 P.M.
  3. Paul Desilets will have one at 186 Old County Road East Sandwich at 930 A.M. on Wednesday, August 27th. There will be Wilbanks that were started in April on foundation, and York’s started in late April on drawn comb to compare. There may also be some newly made splits.
Don’t forget to bring your veil.

It is not too early to start thinking about your glass needs. Ed is checking with suppliers in order to obtain the best possible prices for our members. More on this in a later issue.

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Claire’s Corner
As I jot these notes, I am “resting” on our deck and watching Geoff’s bees enjoying flowering pots yet to be planted. It is a very striking blossom that the bees have found on Coreopsis ‘Limerock Ruby’. A new hybrid, the daisy-like flower is a deep red with a muted yellow center. The attraction for the honeybee appears to be the pollen. Initially, this was advertised as a perennial for our zone, and came from Blooms of Bressingham. The industry now realizes it is not hardy for our area and will reclassify it as an annual. For more information, log onto

Watch the club website for more photos as we and other members experiment with new digital cameras.

During stints at the Fair booth, I am always amazed at the intelligent questions asked, and at how little the public really knows about honeybees and pollination. The exhibit on honey is a result of those questions. Many do not really know where nectar comes from.

How about featuring the queen in 2004? How she comes to be has to be the most frequently asked question, and folks are so amazed when we relate the process.

How many of you fair volunteers noted the disease in the observation hive? Just prior to the fair we exchanged a frame, adding a frame of capped honey. One never knows what the gardens will provide for our girls during their 9-day stay. Upon cleaning out the debris, I noted a host of chalk brood mummies, not only on the bottom, but a good number still in the brood cells. Doesn’t this seem unusual? Remembering our March meeting on diseases, George explained chalk brood as a fungal disease caused by wet spring weather. It can be stress related, but usually clears itself as weather warms and the nectar flows come on. There is no chemical treatment, and re-queening is usually advised. This is a new Wilbanks queen that arrived in one of our spring packages.

Since chalk brood should not be a problem in July, I went back to my notes. The hive was established in early June during all that rainy weather. The brood was capped when taken, so I could not see the contents. Only now, after the bees settled in, did they exhibit hygienic behavior and began cleaning and making room for the queen to lay. Also, in mid-July they had consumed all their stores and went bonkers when we added a frame of honey. Starvation = Stress. Or, could it have been stress-induced when one of two raccoons invaded our house this summer and decided to hide behind the observation hive and rock it and disturb it to the point where the bees were flying at 3:00 A.M.?

The drone sink program seems to be working in most cases. In some hives we have been able to do 2 scrapings to date, some we missed, a few remain undrawn and a few actually created a mess. Why in some hives the bees connected the excess comb from the drone sink down to the brood frame below is unclear. What a mess it makes! Perhaps in the stronger hives, burr comb is found everywhere and this is the reason. We have indeed violated that bee space and the bees did indeed fill it up. Is it working for you and what are the mite counts? We have seen but very few mites and only in single numbers. What needs to be done now is to do a 3-day mite count using the sticky board under the screened bottom board. Wipe the sticky board with a thin layer of Crisco or petroleum jelly. The "Pams" and other aerosols do not create a sufficient "stickyness."

As you read this, we will be heading north to Brunswick, Maine for E.A.S. 2003. We hope new information will be forthcoming to share with you all.

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Member Ray Ruggles has upgraded to a 10-frame extractor and is looking for a home for his older, 2 frame, hand crank stainless-steel model. If interested, call Ray at 508-778-4035.

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.
back to top Last updated 09/05/03