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Buzz Words - August 2007

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Glassware
4. Upcoming Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Andy's Ramblings
7. The Bee Building
8. Seasonal Tips
9. Classifieds

Tuesday, September 11th, will see a discussion on preparing your hives for winter. August is left to the enjoyment of our Cape Cod.

There will be NO MEETING in August, as we cannot use the Community Building in the summer.

Annual Survey
» Barnstable County Beekeepers 2007 Survey (pdf)

From the President
Thanks to all the wonderful helpers who prepared the booth for the fair and worked during the fair to make it a successful week. It's always fun to exchange conversations, helpful tips and educate the public. I really appreciate all your help and cooperation; some of you worked up to 3 shifts to fill in the blanks in my schedule. Again, many thanks to all. -- Marte

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The glassware has arrived and is stored at Ed Osmun’s farm on Lombard Rd, in W Barnstable. The B.C.B.A. Glass Store is available – by appointment – on the first and third Saturday’s of September. Call George Muhlebach at 508-362-8693 or email him at to set up your pickup time.

Prices are as follows: 24 x 8 oz - $9.00, 24 x 16 oz - $9.00, and 12 x 32 oz - $7.00
George will not have change. Please bring correct amount or a check. Thank You!

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Meetings of Interest
Massachusetts Beekeepersí Association Fall Meeting and Honey Show
Saturday, October 13, 2007
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Knights of Columbus Hall, Leicester, MA
Featured speaker will be Ross Conrad, author of Natural Beekeeping
Offering organic approaches to modern apiculture
Enter your honey or wax products and see if you can take one of those blue ribbons away
from the likes of Jim Gross, Claire Desilets, or Dan Conlon

Southern New England Beekeepers Assembly (SNEBA)
Saturday November 17, 2007
Unitarian Society of New Haven,
700 Hartford Tpke, Hamden, CT
Theme: Healthy Bees
Speakers: Dewey Caron, Jennifer Berry, Janet Brisson, Larry Connor
Hampden, CT

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Claire's Corner
Glasstown Queens are here!
Well, have you heard the exciting buzz emanating from the Upper Cape? Six queen cells hatched on Friday the 13th, have mated, and each now head a new “household”. Mark’s girls are gorgeous Italians raised from a winter survivor and mated with (we assume) drones of varying heritage.

One household in particular has grown from a 2-frame nuc to 5 frames and has now been moved to an 8-frame hive. To prevent robbing (it is in a yard with 5 full-sized hives) during this dearth they are being fed fondant and a pollen patty in the division board feeder.
Upon emerging, this queen was a stubby little creature. When attempting to mark her, as there were queen cells in the mating nuc, would you believe she flew away? Gulp!! A few minutes later we saw her fly back, land on the entrance board and march right back in to do her thing. Phew! A few days later, the workers had torn down all queen cells. We then knew who was in charge.

We hope this is just the beginning of our queen-rearing project. We will keep you posted.

How to treat – watch that hive tool and heat sterilize it. If only a frame or two seem affected, remove them and treat the hive with terramycin. The hive can be shaken onto new equipment and treated, but all removed frames should be burned or bagged for incineration. The hive bodies can be sprayed with full-strength bleach, and then scorched with a propane torch. More extensive infections of AFB, when discovered, should be destroyed entirely. Bees and equipment should be incinerated a.s.a.p.

How do these infections sneak up on us? It is hard to find a common denominator as frames get swapped, hives moved, used equipment purchased, and new packages and nucleus colonies are moved in. Preventative treatment with terramycin has been discontinued due to the buildup of resistance to the drug. So, just be ever aware of all the possible infirmities and problems that might affect your honeybee hives.

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Andy's Ramblings
Well, the Barnstable County Fair is over. I hope everyone who stood a shift in the Bee Booth had a good time. I know I did. The club members with whom I spent time were wonderful. Some had more experience than others. I think that is important because it gives the visitors to the booth a chance to see that we are not all wizened old people who have lost their sanity as proven by their hobby: keeping bees.

A couple of times some of the information that I heard expressed as fact did not jibe with what I consider accurate, but it is true that if you ask ten beekeepers what they think on any bee related subject, you will get eleven opinions. Keeping in mind that we (the club) are an educational body, there is nothing written that everything we say in the booth has to be gospel. It just might be that the information came from another source, and is one of the ten opinions I didn’t read. We were being examined intensely and had to give our answers on the spot. That is not an easy thing to do. What ever, the passion was genuine and contagious. Many people took fliers and will consider joining the club. I guess the crisis concerning bees has hit home with many people. (I did meet several people who had not heard that there was a crisis…interesting.) And many people expressed what a wonderful and educational display we had.

Next week I leave with Claire and Paul Desilets destined for Delaware and the 2007 EAS (Eastern Apiculture Society) conference. I’m loading up my iPOD in case Paul wants to listen to country music all the way there and back. Maybe they will bring some ‘books on tape’ (hint, hint). Anyway, I have no doubt that we will be hearing the latest updates on CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) and what the future of beekeeping holds in store. Of course we will get that information to you any way we can. Perhaps, after next week I will be able to answer definitively the question, ‘What’s happening to the bees?’

Again, thanks to all involved in making the Fair a smooth operation. Marte and Claire for trying to coordinate people to fill slots at the booth, Leslie for her work on the gardens and the numerous shifts she willingly stood, and to everyone who put time in the booth, teaching to the public about the bees.

One good thing about this year’s fair being over is that, for sure, next year the queen will be marked with a different color.

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Fair Results
Mother Nature cooperated and gave us some fairly good weather, no heavy rains, but some days too cloudy for the beach. Even though we had very little Honey Candy, and the Honey Stick order was partially back-ordered, we still did well at the Fair. The club sold 21 Cook Books, approximately 6400 honey sticks and 30 pounds of honey candy. Add to that, all the member honey, pollen, wax, candles and skin products, and we generated $4437. Of that total, $2851 went back to the members for their hive products sold. Claire’s display on pollination elicited many comments and questions about the importance of honey bees to our daily meals. And, of course, the observation hive was the hit of the week!

We noted that many BCBA members showed a spirit of competition, with Jan Rapp, Leslie Lichtenstein, Pam Ashcroft, Cynthia Prapas, Ruth Walters, Joe Miksch, and Louise and Wally Miller all entered various veggies, honeys, and eggs. There are quite a few blue and red ribbons in members’ homes this week. Congrats, all.

We noted a disqualified honey entry due to a high moisture content. This happens on occasion due to wet, humid spring weather, which can lead to a moisture level of 19 to 20%. Even though the workers have capped the cells, honey, being hygroscopic, can still absorb water through the wax. This is an excellent reason to not store honey in your damp cellar.

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The Bee Building
Our aging building needs attention. Perhaps calls need to go out to all our handymen to correct a few sagging doors, and upgrade an aged window. Our newly shingled roof looks great, but it lacks a sign boldly proclaiming the presence of local honeys within. (Jan?) An upgrading of the ventilation fans is needed, and a battery-backup emergency lighting system has been suggested. And, our handicapped access ramp is in need of repair.

Many ideas have been received via email on how best to improve our displays and routine during fair week. The need to require proper labeling of extracted honey was evident and headed the list of complaints.

Seasonal Tips
Check for crowding. Swarming can occur in August with little hope of the swarm surviving the winter due to its size. Goldenrod and aster nectar should soon be available for winter stores, and, hopefully, some for the beekeeper.
Mite counts should be done, as varroa counts will peak at this time of year. Dusting with confectionary sugar is innocuous to the bee, but a deterrent to the mite.

Consider re-queening if yours arrived in the spring of 2006.
If you did not yet have honey to extract, keep in mind the one-day Harvest Fair, on Saturday, September 29th.

There is also a request from Lou Ann Colombo, of the Bee and Blossom in Hyannis, for local honeys to be sold in her shop. See Lou Ann at the corner of Main and South Streets. If you haven’t been yet, you’re in for a treat!


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Ed still has 12-ounce teddy's for sale at 50 cents each, in lots of 24. His cell is (508) 802-0509.

back to top Last updated 09/07/07