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Buzz Words - August 2012

There is no meeting in August, but if you look further along in the newsletter, you may find a listing of Hive Openings.
Tuesday, September 11th – Seasonal Experiences and Problems
Tuesday, October 9th – Presentation by 4-H Ambassadors
Sat-Sun, September 29/30 – Baarnstable Harvest Festival at the Fairgrounds

From the President
Well, the Barnstable County Fair has come and gone. Kind of marks the midpoint of the summer. Did you go? Did you volunteer at the BCBA exhibit? I did my shift on Thursday afternoon. Met a number of people and got to know my two fellow volunteers, Pete Cooper and Dick Liddy, a bit. Don't know what they'd say about me but I enjoyed talking with them.

My rough math says that about 70 of you did the same, that is volunteered a shift or two at the Bee House. With 300 members in the BCBA, that means that means about 23% of the membership helped out. I call that pretty good and my appreciation goes out to each of you. Thank you! Also the Bee House looked better than ever, with its new siding and the tidy plantings out front. I know this didn't happen by magic. The improvements bore the finger prints of many BCBA volunteers. Were you one of them? Thank you again! Having done my stint at the fair for several years running, I am fascinated by the predictability of some of the questions. "Where's the queen?" "Are the bees really disappearing?" "How do you get started in this?" "What do you do with a swarm?" "Is there a bathroom here?" are regular questions each year. But you also get a few new ones. "How did you make those honey sticks?" "How does the dark honey taste in comparison with the light honey?" "Why is the honey candy in several different colors this year?" were new levels of inquiry this time around. From those of you who volunteered, I would be interested in learning what questions you were asked. If we could assemble a list of FAQ's (and your answers), it might serve as the basis for a poster in the bee house at next year's fair. Below is a Q and A box. If you are willing, please fill it out and return it at the next meeting in for September. Thanks your help.

-- John

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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 - Fair Winner
Jan Rapp -- Hyannis Country Garden award for second highest points on vegetables; Ist beets, also "Mahoney's best vegetable award"; Ist pickling cukes; 2nd garlic; 2nd onions; Ist glads also "Best in Flower Show"; Ist Statice; Honorable Mention Honey

Leslie Lichtenstein -- Ist Home Garden Basket; Ist "I Love the Fair" flower arrangement; Ist honey zucchini cookies; 2nd marigolds; 2nd snapdragons; Ist dark colored fleece, also "Best Colored Adult Fleece", also "Best Fleece in Show"; Ist fine white fleece; 2nd light colored fleece

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More Barnstable County Fair News
I would like to thank everyone who helped with our building at the fair and filling in at the last minute with the shifts that were light in manpower. Everything seems to have run smoothly and I am hoping you all enjoyed the fair. I don't know the results of the sales but it seems we sold more than in the recent years.

Now the newbees should feel confident that they "do" know more than the average person. Perhaps you could write a paragraph in our next newsletter about your experience. Again thanks to Claire and Paul. The building looks great with it's new siding and the display was very informative "Saving our bees" using "green" pesticides. Interestingly the Cape Cod Organic Gardeners' tent had a display about the GMO crops and also about pesticides affecting bees.

We can do this again at the Harvest Fair in October!!!!!!!! So you will have an opportunity to sell your honey again. Again thanks for your support. -- Marte Ayers

Total Fair Income was slightly over $6060.00. Of that, $4143.00 went back to those members that sold their honey, wax, candles, and skin care items. The remainder of the income was due to Honey Stix and Honey Candy sales. Thanks to all. -- Paul

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Grant Update
Queen rearing will be winding down as the summer wanes. Although we struggled, many members will have purchased cells, virgin or mated queens. It has been rewarding to hear that a number of members, including newbees, have taken a leap and made their own nucs using locally raised queens. With successful overwintering, these nucs in spring of 2013 could be used to make a 5-frame nuc and allowed to make their own queen. With increased success, our locally raised queens will grow in numbers across the Cape.

As a result of workshops, attached is an instructive outline on how to make a split or 5-frame nuc. John Portnoy and Brian Boyle developed this procedure which will be added to the textbook. Please save it for future reference.

The final report for the Specialty Crop Funding Grant will be filed soon. Although the purpose remained constant throughout (to raise winter-hardy northern queens here on Cape Cod) the project veered somewhat from its original direction. The intention was to teach a large number of members how to raise a few of their own queens using the Miller Method. This proved to be impractical. Consequently, a few members turned to grafting in hopes of increasing the numbers produced. It has been an educational, yet frustrating, experience. The Committee does appreciate all the volunteer hours by many members to carry this project forward.

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Upcoming Meetings
Monday, August 13th to Friday, August 17th, Eastern Apiculture Society’s Annual Meeting, held this year at the Univ of Vermont Campus, Burlington. Go to for details.
» Downloard Flyer (pdf)

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Grapes with Honey Cream
For some reason this looks spectacular. Everyone expects it to taste delicious and it does. Lovely sherbet glasses help the presentation

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 3 tbs Drambuie or an orange flavored liqueur
  • 3 tsp lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 lbs seedless grapes, washed & dried
  • coarse raw sugar for garnish (optional)

Mix everything but the grapes & raw sugar. Just before serving, toss the grapes with the sauce & spoon the mixture into sherbert glasses. Top with raw sugar, if desired. Serves 6.

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Prize Winning Honey Zucchini Cookies
1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 egg, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 ½ cup grated zucchini, 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup rolled oats, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 cup raisins

Cream together, butter, honey & sugar until smooth, Beat in egg & vanilla, then stir in zucchini & oats. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon & ground cloves, stir into zucchini mixture. Stir in raisins, cover dough and refrigerate at least an hour (can go over night).

Preheat oven to 375 F, Drop dough by teaspoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes in preheated oven until set. Cool slightly on cookie sheets before removing to wire rack.

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Tips for the Season
Getting Ready for Winter in August

Good Brood Pattern? ?Requeen???
Sufficient honey/nectar being stored (4 full frames needed at this time to keep queen laying)
Watch for robbing if you need to feed
Low mite level (below 20 mites in 24 hour natural drop)
Few frames of Pollen

A goal by mid to late September is to find the upper deep nearly filled with capped honey or open nectar. August is an ideal time to requeen and also the most frustrating when attempting to find a queen within two deep boxes jammed with bees. A queen excluder placed between the deeps is helpful. Check 3 days later and find eggs. Now you at least know which box she is in. Best not to use smoke as it makes it more difficult to find the queen. We have resorted to making a 2 or 3 frame nuc if the queen is impossible to find. Once a new queen is accepted in the nuc and laying, repeated attempts will eventually find her. Once dispatched, wait 24 hours and introduce the nuc with new queen back into the hive.

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Google Group for B C B A
Thanks to a member with a career in hi-tech, and the initiative to establish a discussion forum, one now exists for the B C B A. Go to our website to access it – http:// The bottom of the page has the invite.

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< p>Workshop – Saturday, August 11th, 1 p.m.
Wellfleet, CCMNH, and Long Pasture
Hive Inspections, Getting Ready for Winter, Re-queening, and Over-wintering 5-frame nucs
If you need directions to the sites, check last month's newsletter.

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< p> One Last Fair Thought
Many veterans and newbees assisted at the bee building. We are confident all were great beekeeping ambassadors as we have already received new membership applications. The building belongs to the B C B A and we are always looking to make improvements both inside and out. We have already received suggestions, but please let board members know your ideas in the next few weeks before the board meets in late August.

Yes, we know it was frustrating when attempting to find the queen. She will be marked, for the 4th or 5th time, later this week, and half her daughters removed. We females should be as lucky as this queen who is treated so "royally". Acrylic paint pens do not last, thus an enamel dab will be used. Check her out on September 29th and 30th at the Harvest Festival, and bring your honey for sale.

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Unfortunately, Ed Osmun has notified us that he can no longer provide glassware to members.

However, a local firm, Cape Bottle Co. has honey jars in stock. They are in Manomet, take Exit 2 off Route 3, left off the ramp and they are behind the CVS on the left. 508-833-6307 or 888-833-6307 Mon-Fri 9 to 5

Also, with harvest season upon us, check with your local hardware stores. Many are having sales on canning jars. These can be used to sell your honey (but not to compete). .

back to top Last updated 08/05/12