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Buzz Words - December 2007

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Feeding
4. Upcoming Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Woodenware and Foundation
7. Library
8. 2008 Bee School Schedule
9. Fondant Candy Recipe

Next Meeting
Tuesday, December 11th at 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149, will feature our annual holiday market meeting.

Members will be searching for stocking stuffers of soaps, lotions, candles and honeystix. Club cook books and Queen Bee Candy will be available as well. Tee shirts, anyone?

All club crafters are invited to display their wares, and we hear that naturally-dyed hand knit items will be available. The evening is meant to be fun and informative, and to assist members to sell their wares.

If you are bringing items for sale, you may wish to bring tables as those in the hall are few and weak.

The following members volunteered to bring goodies and drinks to this meeting: Matt Bresette, Connie Hendrickson, Suzanne Hill and Peter Cooper. Additional holiday treats would be welcome. Thank You!

From the President
Happy Holidays everyone!

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All liquid feedings in your hives should now have stopped. As the temperature remains low, the bees will have no chance for a cleansing flight therefore only solid candy should be utilized if needed. Following are the fondant recipes, which when properly made, sit right on the frames over the cluster. Beware of recipes that include cream of tartar. We understand that bees cannot tolerate it in their diet.

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Meetings of Interest
January – a program on Sustainable Food, presented by Kirsten Valentine Cadieux

March – Apitherapy (Bee Sting Therapy) presented by member Malinda Mayer

March 29th, Massachusetts Beekeepers Assoc. Spring Meeting, featuring Dr. Tom Seeley, of Cornell Univ.

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Claire's Corner
At a recent conference we attended a few points of interest surfaced. One speaker was an organic farmer from California. In the natural progression of things her beekeeping interests followed. Using IPM measures, which included screened bottom boards (she has her own design for sale, available from Jones Apiaries), Janet Brisson utilizes only a confectionary sugar dusting for mite control. In the spring before adding honey shallows she dusts with 2 cups of confectionary sugar (the presence of cornstarch is not a concern) once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. This is followed just once a month when the honey shallows are not on. Due to the meticulous nature of the bees, cleaning themselves of the powdered sugar helps loosen the grip of the varroa mite and they will drop through the screening. The method suggested by Randy Oliver (writes in American Bee Journal ) will be discussed in detail in the spring.

The second subject of note was a presentation by Jennifer Berry of the University of Georgia, on small cell beekeeping. In the last few years, several articles have surfaced claiming the value of reduced cell size for mite control. Dadant now produces both 5.1 and 4.9 foundation for those who wish to regress their bees from the currently popular 5.4 mm foundation.

The University of Georgia embarked on a study to see if there was any value to this use. Following are significant cell sizes – Africanized Honey Bees = 4.7 to 4.9, commercial foundation = 5.2 to 5.5, Small Cell foundation = 4.9, feral colonies = 4.7 to 5.9, (with an average of 5.3)

There has to be a slow regression of the cell size. In other words, one cannot just introduce small cell foundation into the hive as the bees will totally mess it up with lots of burr comb, reports Jennifer. The regression, to do it successfully, must be done over a period of 2 to 10 years. But the final results in Georgia were that it was not an effective IPM with no decrease in varroa mite counts.

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Woodenware and Foundation
We hear that many members are thinking of increasing hive numbers – ahh, they have been bitten by these incredible “bugs”! So, as cold weather sets in, get out your catalogs and start listing your needs. January’s newsletter will have the order form. All orders will need to be in by the end of January. Actual closing date will be announced in the January Buzz Words.

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Please return all books and videos to this meeting, so the library staff can update our lists. Thank You.

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Bee School
The schedule has been prepared and is available on the club website.
» 2008 Bee School Schedule

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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

back to top Last updated 12/5/07