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Buzz Words - December, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Holiday Market
4. Dana Stahlman
5. Claire's Corner
6. The Osterville Comment
7. Fondant Candy Recipes
8. Classifieds

Next Meeting - 7:30 P.M., Tuesday, December 12th, at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149, just north of the West Barnstable Fire Station.  This has become our annual Holiday Fair, where members bring honey, candles, creams, lip balms, etc that they have crafted from the fruits of their hives to sell to other members.  It is also a time of great holiday treats, so come with your appetite as well as your purse.


From the President
I am hoping everyone had a nice Thanksgiving day as I write this note.  What great weather we have had for November.  The girls are still flying and one had gold pollen on one leg. Humm, I wonder if they are robbing someone's bird feeder.  I would have never figured that one out by myself so our last meeting was informative for me also.   I took the opportunity to open 2 hives with this warm weather. They have almost completed a super that I had left on one of the hives and it's capped over.  I think a mouse or mice are eating whatever droppings are on my sticky boards as they are clean except for their droppings. There is always something new to experience with these girls.

I'm looking forward to seeing all your great products at our meeting and purchasing a few stocking stuffers too since I haven't had time to make any (yet).  Feel free to bring your favorite Christmas party snack even though we have volunteers signed up.  -- Marte

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Holiday Market
In addition to all those items listed at the beginning of the newsletter, the club will have BCBA Cook Books listing many of our favorite recipes, close-out prices on “Bee A Cape Cod Honey” tee shirts, copies of “The Queen and I” by CT beekeeper Ed Weiss.

For those planning on selling their wares, please remember to bring your sales tables, as the three in the room will be needed for the library and for all the goodies.

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Dana Stahlman
Why local associations should encourage local production of queens.

We, as beekeepers, are being used by some queen breeders as fodder for their queens.  How many of you readers are aware that those who raise thousands of queens each year know that quality control almost does not exist.  The pressure to produce many queens in the spring of the year results in the luck of the draw when getting a queen.  Some are well mated and others are not.  The prevailing attitude of some queen sellers is quite disappointing.  Although there still exist in the United States some very reliable queen breeders, others are jumping into the business with the thought of making a lot of money and selling a lot of queens.  When ever I see an ad which promises resistance or gives some fantastic verbal description of the queens they sell, I see a red flag.  How many queen breeders advertise that they will replace bad queens?

Several individuals especially on the internet have become nothing more than middlemen between queen producers and the customer.  The buy their queens from queen breeders at reduced prices and resale them to the customer at inflated prices.  They usually do not replace poor queens and have the attitude "you bought it, it arrived alive, so it is yours."  Why should we put up with this attitude?  Because I fear the possibility of being taken to court, I will not name anyone of these companies but I assure you, they are there! 

Why locally produced queens are most likely better than the queens you buy and shipped in the mail?

  1. Some of your readers may not agree with this statement, but I am firmly convinced that queens selected by northern breeders are far superior to imported southern or western queens.  These queens could very easily exist in your own hives at the present time.  The reasons for the above statement are as follows:  Just remember that the queen mother producing these young queens must be selected with care for traits that are desirable.
  2.        a.  A queen from your locally produced queens will be adapted to your climate conditions.
           b.  These queens will not be passing on acquired AHB genetic material to queens raised from them.
           c.  If the local producer lives close to you, you can pick up the queens, see the queen operation, and trust the skill of the producer if you are getting good queens.  Usually the local producer will be interested in your success as well and want to make things right if the queen turns out to be poor.     
           d.  A person in your local group can add income from the bees by producing queens.  As they say, if you produce a good product, it will sell itself.

  3. A region working on selecting better queens can benefit all beekeepers in the region.  This is now in the works for New England and your support is beneficial not only to yourself but to all others.  It is important to identify and share your outstanding queen stock if you do not want to raise queens.

  4. A club can develop a project to help each member acquire queens, and make it a money making project by setting up their own mating yards.  The options are vast and the opportunities unlimited.

How many of your members have bought queens because they were advertised as new, improved, resistant, etc.  I know I have had my share.  I have had almost all of the queens advertised in the bee journals over the past 20 years.  The result:  The promise that I expected never materialized.  They either were poorer than the stock I had, or they displayed characteristics that caused me some concern such as excessive swarming behavior, or were difficult to introduce into a hive.  I am sure your members have had similar experiences.

Thus, the next letter to you will contain, information on how to set up a queen-rearing project for your club and model it after the East Central Ohio Beekeepers Association classes, which I taught.  This class was very popular for those beekeepers who were somewhat experienced (several years with bees).  Usually classes are for beginners and the club forgets about the needs of other members.  East Central Ohio had 16 people take the class and two of its members have received certification to raise queens commercially in Ohio. 

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Claire's Corner
As January arrives, so does a new session of Bee School. Attached is the schedule and we encourage members to sit in, comment, and help out when possible. It’s nice to have a snack and have answers for “newbee” questions.  Those of you already signed up for Bee School 2007 are welcome to stop by our holiday meeting. We hope you are enthralled and excited by all the products that can be realized from a bee hive.

We would be interested in hearing of more queen problems. Unusual things are happening in our hives and all members can benefit if we relate our queen tales as Heidi has done.

Our second installment in a series on queen rearing from Dana Stahlman is included here. Exciting plans are blossoming from a recent conference to establish a New England Bee Breeders Group. Just can’t wait till Spring!

Notes From S.N.E.B.A. -  It seems of late that we all give the queen top billing – always the main topic. Dave Tarpy, of North Carolina State University, at a recent conference, turned the tide and gave us some interesting thoughts on workers. Their short life consists of 3 three-week segments. They are considered brood for 21 days, hive bees for 21 days, and field bees for 21 days. Humm, never thought of that perspective.  As new house bees, workers’ hypopharyngeal glands develop first. That enables the worker to feed a larvae 100 visits each day. As they approach “middle age” the wax glands activate, followed by honey processing and guard duty.  Their final chapter finds the hypopharyngeal glands drying up as foraging for nectar, pollen, water and propolis begins. It is interesting to learn that workers do not store water, but it is used immediately when trucked into the hive. So when brood needs to be fed in January, and we have only “senior” workers with dried up glands, what happens? Well, that pheromone given off by developing brood  stimulates feeding with only the stored bee bread.

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The Osterville Comments
At Armstrong-Kelley Park, the perennial bachelor buttons and mum blossoms continue to compete for your eye.  The heath will start to bloom anytime now.  Bees are snuggling in their hives.  From 4:00 Pm until 11:00 PM our Christmas gifts glow, all 10,000 of them from our Gateway guiding you in to the Christmas Tree for Critters with 600 lights.  Liam's Train greets kids of all ages with a happy bell, wreathes, swags, an illuminated train and strings of lights.  Our boardwalks are lit from dusk 'til dawn and during the day our hollies have a bounty of berries, not only red but, yellow and black.  From American to English to Chinese, our Holly Dell says Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Hitch up your knickers Nellie and waddle your way to Armstrong-Kelley Park, in Osterville, the quiet corner of Cape Cod.  Too lazy to wiggle your waddle?  -- visit to see our lights, then punch up CCHS and see an idea for Christmas.  You can "GET A'BOARD"-----  Carl Monge

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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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The BCBA Glass Store is closed for the season. Ed Osmun still has 12 oz. Bears for sale. They are 50 cents each in lots of 24. Call Ed at 508-833-9696

back to top Last updated 12/6/06