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Buzz Words - August 2011


There is no meeting in August. Next Meeting is Tuesday, September 13th

BELOVED Bee Keeper Mel Hammond died at his summer home in Wellfleet on July 13, 2011. As Mel would’ve wanted it, he died with his pith helmet on, on a visit up to his hives. At his funeral, Mel was dressed in his Bee Khakis with his trusty bee notebook in his breast pocket and his knife on his belt-the way he always dressed. His surroundings were completed by one of his homemade NUC boxes, a smoker, an observation hive, hive tools, jars of honey and several dead bees scattered about. Mel had a keen way about him with people from all walks of life who were interested in bees. He always lit up when he talked about bees and talked about bees up until his last bee visit. Mel leaves behind a loving family and a long list of friends and mentees who are bee lovers, bee keepers and fans of this knowledgeable and kind man. In addition to being a member of the BCBA, Mel was a valuable teacher, a State Bee Inspector and a bee keeper himself for over 50 years. You can find DVD’s/videos of Mel’s teachings in our library and the Wheldon Public Library.

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From the President
“Hey Lady, do you make honey?” A man has slowed down his black SUV, lowered his window and is aiming this query at me in a south Boston accent thick enough to make me start looking for the godfather and wondering how fast I can pedal my way out of there if my answer is not to his liking . We’ve met once, he explains, at the local body shop where he was having some work done (repainting job?) and I was negotiating my daughter’s fender bender.

“No, I don’t make honey but I do harvest it from the bees that make it…why do you ask?” I say, coming to a stop, straddling my bicycle and subconsciously searching for the quickest escape. “I hoird that if you eat honey that comes from close to where you live it can help wid your allergies and lady, what I got is allergies, so I wanna get some.” I gulp, “Well, I don’t have any right now and I don’t sell it but I do give it away and I might have a little something to give away in a couple of weeks,” is my hesitant rejoinder. “OK lady, I got your numba and I know where you live,” he exclaims with a satisfied look on his face as he speeds away. I hop back on my bike and pedal in the opposite direction reflecting on the many ways bees have become a part of the me others see.

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Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

Mark Marinaccio @

Tamar Haspel @

Disovery Magazine has compiled nearly 50 articles relating to issues and challenges facing bees. They can be read at:

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Barnstable County Fair
I would like to thank everyone who volunteered to work in our building during the fair. I really appreciate how everyone came forward to volunteer and also those late bloomers who filled in my vacant spaces. I hope everyone enjoyed their time there chatting with the public and selling our wares. I also want to thank those who brought in more honey after my SOS went out on the second day. It was amazing to see what was stored on your back shelf and I hope you are happy with the unexpected money in your pocket. We made a lot of people happy after we re-stocked our shelves so thanks to everyone for the extra effort to fill our shelves. I also hope you took advantage of your admission and checked out the fair. Did you see our President took quite a few blue ribbons in the veggie and flower category? Also a big thank you to Paul and Brian who worked a couple of days installing new fans to cool us while we were working. Leslie, thank you, the gardens look great and thanks to all the help that showed up on "work Sunday" to prepare the building for the fair. —Marte Ayers

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Fair Award Winners
I hope that I did not miss anyone’s ribbons in the vegetable and flower areas. Jan Rapp took blue ribbons in the following categories: Garden Basket, Beets, Garlic, Yellow Onions and Red Onions, and a Third Place in Dahlia’s, BUT she took the State Award for her Fava Beans.

Leslie Lichtenstein took a First in the “I Love The Fair Bucket” with her piggy entry, and a Red ribbons with Celery and also her Garden Basket.

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Upcoming Meetings
October 29, 2011
Mass Beekeepers Fall Meeting, Colonial Hotel, Gardner, MA -- Details to follow
November 19, 2011
Southern New England Assembly of Beekeepers, East Lyme CT. for details

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4-H Junior Beekeepers
The 4-H Junior Beekeepers worked at the county fair on Tuesday, July 19 at the 4-H kitchen all day (11 am to 9 pm.) The 4-H kitchen is a great fundraiser for the county 4-H program. The club was happy to work and it was a good day! The Pollinator Garden that the 4-H maintains at the fairgrounds won a "Best in Show" ribbon and the beekeeper scarecrow won an honorable mention. This ribbon added $28.00 to the bank account for the club, plus a good deal of happiness on the part of the club members who maintain the garden and constructed the beekeeper scarecrow. The club will be representing 4-H and beekeeping at the West Barnstable Village Fest on August 20th and Marstons Mills Village Day on September 11th. Please come and visit with us!

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More Fair Information
Marte thanked everyone for all their help: now we want to thank Marte for calling all those folks to work the fair shifts, to clear up the misinformation’s, for getting the tickets and parking passes, and for picking up the cash those many nights. Members that sold honey, skin products, wax products earned between $22.50 and $1099.80, for a total of $2864.70. The total sales to the club consisted of Honey Candy and Honey Stix for a total of $962.00. Thanks to all that answered those simple questions, sold and bagged candy and honeystix. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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Because the Blueberries are ripe
Honey Blueberry Bread Pudding
Spread honey on 6 slices of bread (French or Italian bread works best but any bread is OK even stale hamburger buns!) place in a lightly greased 1 ½ quart baking dish. Sprinkle with about 3/4 cup of Blueberries.

In a medium sauce pan heat 2 cups milk (or ½ & ½ ) over medium heat just until it starts to form a film on top; add ¼ cup butter, stir until melted. Cool to lukewarm & stir in 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, and ¾ teaspoon of nutmeg. Pour over bread & bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until set.

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Claire’s Corner
As we just returned from the EAS conference in RI, we thought it best to relate a bit of information gleaned from 3 days of speakers and workshops.

Laurence Cutts, Florida’s former Chief Apiary Inspector, and designer of the BeetleBlaster Trap, offered a number of programs on Small Hive Beetles. The SHB will die when exposed to temperatures below 630F. They do survive in our hives subjected to those temperatures as they bury themselves in the bee cluster. Interestingly, the pupa can survive -200 for 2 weeks as their bodies are solid glycerin. When pupating in sandy, moist soil they can be found anywhere for 6 inches to 3 feet into the ground. Hives are best located in full sun as SHB do not like light. Keep hives strong, using beetle traps to keep the activity down.

Use caution when feeding pollen patties. Feed only small amounts that can be consumed in a day or two. Pollen patties should be of high sugar content for quick consumption, and it is best to completely cover the patty with waxed paper leaving only a single slit placed over the top bars where the bees will have access to it.

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Grant Update
What a thrill to watch the tiny larva, once cradled in a brood cell, develop into a laying queen. It sounds like a pretty simple process; however, we have experienced several challenges here on the Cape. The encouraging news is that our program has reared many Cape Cod Queens (20) to date and they reside in members’ hives. The flip side of this is that we have lost a number of cells and queens through various “accidents”.

Robbing during a dearth has destroyed a number of cells, and a marauding queen has eliminated several more. Grafting has become our current direction and lack of experience has produced but a handful on the Upper Cape. And then there were the two laying beauties that flew away when attempting to mark them for sale. Oh, what a sinking feeling! New techniques and practice will bring it all together.

There were to be a few workshops, but life and weather have intervened. The latest addition to our grant family (numbered Carniolan Queens from Ohio) finally arrived July 6th. They are now laying and will be used for grafting a late family of queens for sale.

We would like to offer an open house/workshop on Saturday, August 13th (rain date Sunday, Aug 14th) from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at 186 Old County Road, East Sandwich, where four grant hives reside along with several mating nucs. If all goes as planned, queen cells will be moved (very carefully) into mating nucs, hive openings will be offered with perhaps a requeening, or a summer nuc will be built. Park on the street (ala bee pickup) as the driveway and yard may be clogged. Bring veils and protective gear if you care to participate.

Additionally, the grant committee has included with this newsletter installation instructions to assist you when purchasing our queens. It has been disheartening to hear that a few of our queens were not accepted into their new hives. We offer these suggestions for a successful introduction.

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Seasonal Tips

Preparing for Winter So Soon?
Heft your hive from the back of the bottom board to get an idea of how stores are building up. As August ends it should be getting difficult to lift for most of us. (EAS 2011 Info) If you had scales, a double deep w/ bees, but empty of honey weighs70#. A winter storage goal should be 130 to 140#. A hive can gain 10 lbs with each gallon of 2:1 sugar syrup, according to Mike Palmer of St. Albans, VT. He suggests a flash feeding of 5 x 1 gal pails all at once will result in much storing in under a week for starving hives. A gallon of syrup will most likely be consumed and not stored at this time. Remove honey supers if brood chambers are light with stores. Continue Varroa monitoring as mentioned in the July newsletter.

Honey shallows can be taken and extracted if they are 90% capped. Plan to remove and extract within 24 to 48 hours, thereby preventing damage from small hive beetles. There is another opportunity to sell your honey at the Fall Harvest Festival at the Bee Booth on the Barnstable County Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, October 1st and 2nd, 2011.

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Books and Videos

While at EAS, we found and purchased a few bee-related (what else) books and videos. Look for these in the CLAMS system shortly. Books

  • The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore by Hilda M. Ransome
  • Beeing by Roseanne Daryl Thomas
  • Colony – The Endangered World of Bees
  • Silence of the Bees
  • City of the Bees
  • Swarm Plus
  • Queen Rearing

back to top Last updated 08/24/2011