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Buzz Words - August, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Claire's Corner
4. The Osterville Comment
5. Andy's Ramblings
6. The Big E
7. Competing at the Fair
8. Lyme Disease Diagnostics
9. Honey Jars
10. Bee and Blossum
11. Classifieds

No meeting until September.


From the President
What a great year we had at the fair.  Our Treasurer, Sandy Wilkins, reported we took in $4664.25.  What a great way to sell your extra honey.  I think we just about sold out of all the honey that was brought to the fair.  We were busy "salesmen" at times in that building.  And thanks to Claire for bringing in her observation hive.  Finding the queen is always a delight to young and old and she cooperated nicely in showing herself.  For those of us who didn't have any honey to extract for this fair, we have another chance at the Harvest Festival, same place, Saturday, September 30th.  Maybe there will be more information in this newsletter from someone else on this subject.

I want to thank everyone who helped make this event such a huge success.  Every little bit of volunteering helped make this easy to pull together.  Our garden and building looked great all cleaned up with new flowers and paint.  Thank you everyone. 

We also had success in the judging contests.  First place blue ribbon and Best in Show for the honey went to Raymond Ruggles, and 2nd place went to Debbie Binder. We had also entries from Laura Kelley and 2 non-members.   In the wax contest, 1st place went to Connie Novitsky and 2nd place went to Paul Desilets.  What fun to see so many of our members enter and win.  Next year we will have to remind the membership earlier, so we can have even more entries.  Congratulations to all.

 There is no meeting this month as we are usually busy extracting along with having summer fun.  For the "newbees", when there are 6-7 frames filled add another super. They don't have to be capped over.  You will want as much as possible for the new hives to survive its first winter.  You will be lucky if you have one super filled along with the 2 brood boxes but one never knows how busy those little girls can keep themselves.  See you on September 12th.  --  Marte

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Claire's Corner
Well, another Fair has passed wit relatively pleasant weather, great sales, beaucoupinformation spread amongst the attendees, new members gleaned, and a great corps of volunteers on hand to accomplish it all. Team work was very evident. Communication, however, needs some improvement. Although we did not run out of honey, cand, honeysticks, and brochures were gone by Friday (day 8 of 9). That means we sold 50 pounds of candy, nearly 7,000 honeysticks, and handed out 200 brochures. Perhaps day 5 should be designated decision day, in order to rethink our stock and not lose sales.

Saturday, September 30th is the annual Fall Harvest Festival at the Fairgrounds, providing another opportunity to sell your honey and hive products. We will again need volunteers on that day from 10 AM to 4 PM (shorter shifts).

Yes, we will have honey candy and honeysticks and cookbooks, and more brochures.

While Cape Cod broiled with 99 degree temperatures last week, three members were comfortably enjoying the EAS conference in the Smokey Mountains of Georgia. Andy, Paul and Claire found this northern section of Georgia very picturesque with enjoyable temperatures. Of course, all but the beeyard was air-conditioned, but that was rarely needed. A Hog Roast, Low Country Boil, Southern Fried Chicken, Georgia Moonshine (yuck!) and music (Bluegrass and Celtic) were all just a small part of the conference. The information gleaned from various researchers and speakers will be forthcoming.

It is evident that the fairgrounds and gardens were the perfect location for the observation hive. Prior to its arrival, it was merely existing, taking sugar syrup daily. You must all have seen the queen laying because they are fast running out of room with a gorgeous sealed brood pattern on both sides of the upper frame. There are few open cells remaining and the hive has consumed 1 ½ jars of sugar syrup since their return home 11 days ago. I wish all our queens were so productive as they near 18 months of age. On the other hand, a source of nectar or feed is vitally important in the growth of a hive. All those new mouths need to be fed, and fed constantly. No meds or drugs have been used in those 18 months except Honey-B-Healthy.

The queen is a Minnesota Hygienic from Merrimack Valley Apiaries.

While on the subject of queens, seven Purviss Gold Line Queens were purchased in GA and made their way home to Cape Cod (Thanks, Jim!). They were purchased to requeen hives with 18-month old girls. The text says fall requeening is best as your hives will enter the winter with a vigorous young queen, lots of brood, and will experience less swarming in the spring. The drawback, of course, is trying to find the old girl with 50,000 offspring buzzing around. Never, never, never before has such luck been on our side as we searched for six queens. Late one afternoon, we began the project hoping to find at least 2 out of 6 before dusk fell. In just over one hour, 6 queens lay dead on the ground. All were in the top deep, moving around the brood. It was sort of a bittersweet moment as doing away with a queen is really a sorrowful experience; but, at least it was over quite quickly. All hives were given a new queen 24 hours later. Will keep you posted on the results. And now only 16 more queens need to be replaced in the next few weeks. We will miss the constant piping emenating from the kitchen counter.

Over-wintered hives will probably be experiencing high numbers of varroa  mites at this time. Decisions need to be made after establishing your mite fall, using sticky boards. A mite fall of less than 50 per day is encouraging and no treatment is needed. Dusting with confectioner’s sugar is effective in aiding mite drop. Just be careful not to go heavy on the open brood cells. Mite-Away II (formic acid), ApiGard, and ApiLife Var (requires Section 18 pesticide license) are available (not from BCBA) for treatment from Betterbee, Brushy Mountain Bee Farm. Reading the labels is of utmost importance and all honey supers must be removed prior to treatment. Your screened bottom boards will assist in the final fall of your varroa levels.

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The Osterville Comment
At Armstrong-Kelley Park, we are going to try to extract and bottle honey in one of our on site buildings rigged with a screen over the side door and the overhead door hopefully closed tight enough to prohibit bee entry.  We have learned that our customers really don't have much of a preference of glass or plastic so I am switching to all plastic.  I just bought 600 8 ounce bottles which are lighter, easier to ship and don't tire Grumpy Old Men.  Our honey flow appears to be better than average but we'll know better by September 1st when we have completed extraction and bottling.  We sell our honey for $5.00 per 8 ounce bottle and we sell out in a matter of days. 

Our gardens are in full bloom and the fragrance of Casablanca lilies competes with the dinner plate blooms of perennial hibiscus, the giant butterfly bush blossoms and the unique array of flowers in our gardens.  Recent visitors include the Centerville Library summer school and two Osterville Baptist Church Sunday services.  A cheap date is to buy one $5.75 sandwich at Fancy's Market across the street, split the sandwich and bring your own beverage for a picnic in the park at one of our picnic tables or at a bench by our water garden.  --  Carl Mongé

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Andy's Ramblngs - Swarm Stories
July 11, 2006

I had to put off writing this latest "Ramblings" because the ring finger on my right hand was swollen and I couldn’t type very well. How did that finger come to be swollen, you ask? Well…it all started on July seventh, a Friday morning…

Ed Osmun called to tell me that he could bring his trailer over and we could get the poor, old tractor we have here at Earthsong Farm to the repair shop. I elected to ride with him in his truck, instead of having him follow me through Hyannis, possibly getting caught up in that traffic, and, well, you know summer traffic on the Cape.

On the way to the repair shop, Ed mentioned that, after dropping off the tractor, he was going directly to Wareham to pick up this year’s order of glassware. Every year the club places a bulk order for glass jars for bottling honey, thereby getting the best possible price on both the jars and shipping. The order is delivered to Claire’s brother’s nursery (R. F. Morse) in Wareham, and Ed graciously volunteers to pick up the order for distribution. Since Ed was driving his big truck and towing his large trailer, I thought this would be a quick trip to Wareham and back, so I volunteered to go with him. My gosh, was I ever wrong!

The trip to Wareham went smoothly. Traffic was not bad. We got to the nursery and located a forklift operator to put the four pallets of glassware on the trailer. Two of the four pallets were about five and a half feet tall and the other two were about six and a half feet. The operator brought the first pallet to the trailer and we found that, not only could he not drive up the ramps at the back of the trailer, because the forklift was so low to the ground, he also couldn’t lower the pallets from the side because of the one foot high railing around the trailer.

The next step was to try and use a low loading dock. Nope! The only solution we could think of was to unload the back of Ed’s truck, remove the sides, and load the glassware. The only problem with this method was we could only get two pallets on the truck. We would have to make another trip. Remember, this is a Friday, going on to the Cape, after July fourth. What fun!

We got to Ed’s farm in West Barnstable, dropped of the trailer, and, using Ed’s tractor with forks, unloaded the smaller of the two pallets. The larger of the pallets was too heavy for his tractor to lift. We had to break down that pallet onto another pallet and then unload them. Now, back to Wareham to get the other two pallets.

Did I mention that, before we left Wareham the first time, the forklift operator accidentally nudged one of the pallets and pushed the boxes of glassware off the pallet?  This trip we had another forklift operator, who had some colorful names describing the previous operator. He loaded the second of the large pallets of the truck, but Ed and I had to hand load the entire fourth pallet because the forklift couldn’t be used. This is when my finger began to swell. We were loading and sliding across the truck bed two and three boxes of glassware at a time, to get them into a secure position for the trip home. The truck bed is not smooth and this one time my boxes got hung up. I reached over the boxes to lift the front edge and slide them further when I got this sharp pain in my finger. I thought it was a splinter, but when I looked at my finger, there was a honeybee hanging from it. It was my first sting of the year. Ed will tell you that I complained for the rest of the afternoon, but don’t you believe him.

It was now mid-afternoon. We were worried about traffic. It was a breeze getting home. We were crawling for about five minutes approaching the Bourne Bridge. Not bad!

We got to Ed’s farm again and unloaded the cases. What I thought would be a quick trip to Wareham and back, a gesture of friendship and thanks to Ed, turned out to be an entire afternoon. I’m glad I went, because Ed would have been stuck doing all that work by himself and he does enough for the Bee Club. But it turned out to be a real pain in the….finger!

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The Big E

The Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Sept. 15th  to Oct. 1st

  I have given a lecture for the past 2 years and I am looking for someone to share this fun time or pass on to others.  It's usually 3 days, 2 lectures per day of 3/4 hour in length.  We can talk anything about bees/wasps to educate the general public.  There are usually questions interjected during the talk which can help to keep the talk moving in the direction of interest. 

  For this we are provided an air conditioned trailer with 2 bedrooms (double bed and 2 bunks, in the pass), free parking and admittance.  During the "off" time we can see the whole fair, shows or whatever.  We just provide our own meals. I usually work my way through the state specials and there is a very nice restaurant also.   I can try to get the date that is the Massachusetts day which has all MA events, bands or any other state of interest to you.

  Please contact me by as soon as possible if you are interested. I can give you more info when you phone me 508-539-1774 or email: --  Marte Ayers

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Competing at the Fair
Blue Ribbon! Best in Show! How did this happen to me? I’m writing this vignette to tell a tale of the Barnstable County Fair and the entries from the Cape Cod community to be judged in their respective categories. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of attending the fair, it presents a diverse collection of wonderful entries from arts, crafts, livestock, and agriculture. Actually, our Apiary culture fits all those categories!

The entries from our club this year included cut comb, candles, wax molds, and of course bottled honey, in categories separated by color. I would love to help more club members participate in shows. I enjoyed meeting and greeting event planners and volunteers, and to anticipate the judging!

I entered in the bottled honey category. I have wanted to enter my honey for years but found it hard to get the spring harvest out, cleaned, bottled, and labeled in time to enter. OK, so you don’t label honey you enter in contests, but you can never have enough excuses! Sometimes you can enter any honey in a show, and sometimes there are specific requirements that make the competition all the more interesting. As for the BCF, it was easy to enter. All they required were two unlabeled one-pound glass jars of honey. That’s it!!!

As I said I have wanted to enter for a long time. Over the years, Claire Desilets has been printing and handing out the requirements for different shows as well as instructions on how to prepare your honey. I have read these memos and gleaned a little more info every time. My dream of being organized enough to enter on time looked like it might come true this year, and indeed in this Spring of 2006, I got it all together and entered.

I had enough supers filled and then relied on my friends, Debbie and Steve Binder, to break from their busy lives and bail me out by helping me extract my honey on a hot and buggy summer night, finishing at 10 pm. (Although honey makes us all fabulously wealthy, we all have day jobs too.)  There are more shows coming up and I would be happy to help anyone enter—give me a call. Thanks you guys.

So, with the heavy lifting out of the way, I just followed Claire’s advice and bottled my honey. I will give a brief description on bottling for shows but keep in mind that I am not an expert. I don’t even play one on TV. Simple rules: Filter honey well. Check (or hope) that your water content is right. Heat your honey before the show to dissolve minute crystals. Keep your jars clean. And remove anything that floats to the top. I’m sure there’s more you can do, but I keep learning as I go along.

There are more shows coming up and I would be happy to help anyone enter—give me a call. My thanks to our club and its participants.   Keep the girls Buzzing!  -- Ray Ruggles

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Lyme Disease Diagnostics
UMass Extension, in cooperation with researchers at UMass Amherst, will assess deer ticks for the presence of Lyme Disease. There is a fee of $35 per sample. To submit a sample, follow the directions at the UMass Extension tick diagnostics website at (or Google: UMass Extension Tick). After submission, results will be reported within 10 business days. BE ADVISED: If someone has been infected by a tick bite, symptoms may begin to occur even before the results of tick testing are available. People should not to wait for tick testing results before seeking medical advice should any symptoms develop. For specific information, contact: Dr. Craig Hollingsworth, (413) 545-1055,

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Honey Jars
George has asked that we remind members that the "glass store" is open the first and third Saturday of the month from 10 AM to noon at Ed's Aquaponics Farm on Lombard Rd in West Barnstable

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Bee and Blossum
Member Lou Ann Colombo of Brewster has opened a florist shop at 675 Main Street in Hyannis. She also caters to her love of bees and is selling bee-related “things”, honey, some beekeeping equipment, and offers teas and coffees. Lou Ann invites members to stop by and visit her shop in the West End. She is desperate for local honey.

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Ed  Osmun still has 12 oz. Bears for sale. He is charging $12 for 24.  Ca;; 508-833-9696
Claire has Honey Bee Healthy for sale. $20 for club members. Call 888-2304.

back to top Last updated 010/1/06