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Buzz Words - December, 2005

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Andy's Ramblings
4. Happy Birthday
5. Second Annual Honey Competition
6. Claire's Corner
7. The Osterville Comment
8. Fondant Candy Recipes
9. Classifieds

Tuesday, December 13th, 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. This will be our Holiday Meeting and Market. Many delicious treats will be available to munch as we socialize and peruse the wares of our fellow beekeepers.

The club will have tees, golf shirts, B.C.B.A. Cook Books, copies of Ed Weiss’ “The Queen and I”, honey stix and honey candy for sale. Please, no large bills or credit cards.

Sandy Wilkins will bring soaps, hand and body creams and lip balms. Ed & Betty Osmun will have candles, honey and pollen for sale. Paul and Claire will have beeswax holiday tree decorations available. We would ask those bringing items to sell to please bring their own tables as those at the WB CB are limited in number. Pete will also be bringing lip balm.

From the President
December greetings one and all! ‘Tis the season to be jolly, so let’s make our next meeting one to remember. This is our annual Marketplace Meeting. Bring all your hive products (honey, creamed honey, candles, cosmetics, beeswax, whatever) to sell to other members. Let’s make it a little more special this year by bringing along a festive treat to share. Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays to all.

— Peter

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Andy's Ramblings
October 15 was the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association, held in Fitchburg. It was an interesting experience.

I estimate five members represented our club. Of course, Paul and Claire were there, working hard as usual (the only way they know). Their daughter, Andrea, who is the treasurer of Mass. Bee, was also working hard (good parental modeling?). Our Nantucket member, Jim Gross was there with his wife, noted author Laura Simon. I was there, also. I drove up alone Saturday morning.

The lectures were timely and informative, dealing with queens, queen breeding, and queen rearing techniques. These are topics affecting every one of us who take the hobby or business of beekeeping seriously. We must keep up our education in this area. It is good to hear the information from those of us who attend these meetings, but keep in mind that this information will be, at best, second hand, and only as accurate as we can remember. Also, there is no opportunity to ask questions of the experts.

You should have seen the honey and wax competition. My goodness, some of the honey was beyond belief, so clear and light it was both inspirational and depressing at the same time. And the wax products were equally impressive. I don’t have much experience processing wax (I did try some one ounce bars in the Barnstable County Fair), only enough to realize that it is an art. But the wax at Mass. Beekeepers was superior to anything I could imagine producing.

There was talk of seven hundred hives producing 57 tons of honey. The hives ranging from 150 to 350 pounds of honey each. Ouch!! That’s a lot of honey and work.
You should have been there!

Thank you, and, you are welcome!
Thanks to all of you who came to my house to extract your honey. Since I live alone much of the year, it is nice to have occasional visitors, especially visitors with interest and enthusiasm toward my hobby. I had six beekeepers come to use my extracting equipment. Every one was pleasant, curious, and excited to see their crop pour from the extractor.

My one plea for next year is that everyone bring at least a couple of food-grade-plastic, five gallon buckets, with covers, in which they can transport their honey. This will reduce the need for me to loan out my buckets and wonder what I'm going to do with my honey.

That having been said, please remember---all are welcome to use my equipment. If you are unsure of what to do, or have questions, do not worry. I will be nearby to give instructions and answer questions.

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Happy Birthday
One of B.C.B.A.’s founding fathers will reach a milestone on December 18th. Herb Graham of Woods Hole will celebrate his 100th birthday.
Happy Birthday Dr. Graham, and Thank You!

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Second Annual Honey Competition
Extracted Honey Only, 2 x 1# matching glass jars (Classic or Queenline), no labels,judging forms provided . Prizes will be club gift certificates good for use on equipment purchase, dues, or magazine subscriptions


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Claire's Corner
Whoever you are, please call again! After the last issue was mailed, a female member left an order for a package on our machine, but no name or phone number. Please try again.

Our bees are fed, wrapped, sticky boards are in, and insulation is over the inner covers. Fondant candy (recipe elsewhere) will be tucked near the cluster by year’s end. And it will be 60 F this week. Will the weather ever again cooperate? Warmer weather could deplete stores that are not up to par, therefore early feeding with candy is suggested. Continuing to feed sugar syrup could be detrimental at this point in time. As the temperature drops, the bees cannot expel the excess moisture. The solid candy is better utilized and can be placed right on top of the frames next to the cluster.

Wrapping hives is probably as controversial as the use of queen excluders. Hives in open locations with no wind break will need help. The black tar paper does block the wind, and may help warm the hives as the black paper absorbs heat from the sun. In theory, this warmth may be sufficient on those cold days for the cluster to move about towards the stores.

A time-saving tip- cover your sticky boards with plastic wrap to keep them clean come spring. (Thanks to Jim Fisher of Fisher’s Bee Quick).

If you own a queen excluder, store it between the inner and outer covers, layered over with several sections of newspaper. It is amazing how much condensation/moisture will be absorbed. Keep your vent block between the outer cover and the excluder. A piece of fiberboard or homasote, cut 16 ¼ x 20 also works well as an insulating board. This should have a grove cut 10” long x 3/8” deep, 3.4” wide and placed over the inner cover, with the groove toward the front if you tip your hives forward.

Jan Rapp, our Pollinator Plant Sale Coordinator is planning the 2006 sale for late May. As the seed catalogs begin to trickle in, consider starting a few extra seeds for B.C.B.A. We are always looking for tomato plants and herbs.

Thanks to Peter our library has a new addition, a copy of Mario DeGregorio’s book, Cape Cod Wildflowers – A Vanishing Heritage. The slides he showed at our November meeting are beautifully depicted in this book. AND, speaking of our library our librarian is retiring, and we need a member to step forward and help control the flow of books and videos at each meeting.

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The Osterville Comments
Our bees have been consuming a gallon of sugar syrup a week for each hive for the last four weeks. One hive with tray feeder has consumed two gallons a week. Are others using as much honey?

Armstrong-Kelley Park is glowing from dusk until 11:00 PM daily until New Years. Our Liam's Train is fun for toddlers to five year olds. Christmas Tree for Critters could use your gifts to feathered and four legged wildlife friends. The water garden flows all year and a new cobble fountain named "JOY" bubbles a welcome to all visitors.

Merry Christmas from The Grumpy Old Men and Gorgis Gals of Armstrong-Kelley Park, Main St. Osterville.

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Fondant Candy Recipe
Microwave Recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)

  1. In a 1 quart or larger microwave dish, thoroughly mix 1 & ½ cups granulated sugar and ½ cup light corn syrup. No water.
  2. Microwave on high, stirring every few minutes until the mixture is clear and bubbles become thumbnail size (about 10 minutes). Stop immediately if the mixture starts to brown. A wooden spoon Is very effective for stirring, as it can be left in the dish during cooking.
  3. Pour into a mold made from cardboard or a container lined with paper to cool. The candy will become brittle and can be slipped on top of frames where the bees will consume it.

Stovetop Recipe (makes nine 5” x 6” pieces)

  1. Mix 5# granulated sugar, 1 pint corn syrup, 1 & 1/3 cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Hold over medium heat to 240 d on a candy thermometer. VERY IMPORTANT TO HOLD THE 240 F.
  3. Stir only occasionally, it takes a while.
  4. At 240 , place the pot in a sink of cold water.
  5. Change the water a few times.
  6. Beat with a mixer, cooling the mixture to 190
  7. Pour onto greased (Pam) cookie sheets to ¼ inch thick
  8. Cool and slice into patties

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Al Needham, publisher of Plymouth County Beekeepers’ Newsletter sent along a very interesting article on Pollen which can be found in Wikipedia at:

FOR SALE-(for 1 or 2 hive owners) Limited quantity available of tar paper wrap cut to fit 2-deep hives ($1/hive) at the meeting.

FOR FREE- Having a deck re-done, and we have lots of P.T. 2” x 6” lumber too good to throw away. Great for hive stands. Call Paul at 888-2304

If you have anything bee-related to sell, or wish to purchase, this is the place to list it. Call Paul at 888-2304 or email to

back to top Last updated 12/6/05