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Buzz Words - February, 2004

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bee Hive Candy Recipes
4. Claire’s Corner
5. Package Bees
6. Equipment Order
7. Dues are Dues
8. Upcoming Meetings
9. Club rates for Bee Journals
10. Other Items for Sale
11. Want Ads
12. Classified Ads

Next Meeting: Tuesday, February 10th, 7:30 p.m. in the small room at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149.

Program: Member Ed Osmun will speak about the beneficial effecst of pollen, for both bees and humans, and its collection and processing. Also on this evening, in the large room, the Bee School attendees will learn about the occupants of the hive, their life cycle, and a touch of anatomy. In this program Claire Desilets will use the support of a series of slides.

From the President
The days are getting longer, but these cold nights don’t seem any shorter. We all worry about the bees, but surprisingly, several people have indicated seeing activity in a number of hives after the last subzero chill. Introducing sugar candy on top of the frames or simply pouring granulated sugar around the oval inner cover and dusting the opening a little can help get them through this deep freeze. Don’t open the hive for any length of time though! It is best only to peek when it is above freezing.

Welcome new bee school members! It looks as though we have 24 families attending the class this year. It is a pleasure that we can instruct beekeeping to new members and we look forward to getting you hooked on honey for many years to come. We encourage you to attend all the classes because we cover a great deal of ground and it’s difficult to back peddle in the next session.

See you all in February. Geoffrey

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Bee Hive Candy Recipes
Provided by Andy Morris

Microwave Recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)
  1. In a 1-quart or larger microwave dish, mix thoroughly 1 & ˝ cups granulated sugar and ˝ cup light corn syrup.
  2. Microwave on high, stirring every few minutes until the mixture is clear and bubbles become thumbnail -sized (about 10 minutes). STOP immediately if the mixture begins to brown. A wooden spoon is very effective for stirring, as it can be left in the dish while heating.
  3. our into a shallow mold made of 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 can consume it.
Stovetop Recipe
  1. Heat 1 pint of water to boiling in a large pot on stove.
  2. Stir in as much sugar as can be dissolved. This will be about 5 pounds.
  3. Boil, uncovered, stirring almost constantly until the temperature reaches 234 degrees. It takes awhile.
  4. Pour into shallow molds of cardboard or containers lined with waxed paper or butcher paper. The candy will harden as it cools.

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Claire’s Corner
It is hard to envision the management of 12,000 hives. Not just the timeliness, but can you just imagine the resulting honey yield? Andy Card and his son Wesley, of Merrimack Valley Apiaries, led us about their operation from nuc building through pollination through slides. Perhaps the most vital piece of information that came away with was the value of feeding our bees. Comparing our feeding habits, we feed an average of 4 gallons of sugar syrup per “season”. This represents 30 pounds of “solids”, or sugar. The Cards average 35 to 50 pounds per hive using high-fructose corn syrup. It looks as if we are starving the girls and should feed more, and more often.

We were perusing the bookshelf recently to “bone-up” on pollination for a garden club presentation and came across a copy of “Sex in your Garden” by Angela Overy. What an informative book! Seriously! The pictures are simply gorgeous, but the text rally puts into perspective the relationship between insects and the flower blossom. Can that beautiful sunflower be considered promiscuous as it advertises its availability for pollination? Take a peek!

Speaking of books, “Following the Bloom”, by Douglas Whynott has been updated (available next month) and now features coverage in Andy Card’s Merrimack Valley Apiaries, located in Billerica.

And, finally, as a new season unfolds, we would like to pass on a challenge. At the EAS 2003 conference at Bowdoin College, Dr Marla Spivak, of the University of Minnesota Entomology Department, suggested the following new set of rules: (repeated here courtesy of Bee Culture, Jan 04)

  1. Stop right now any preventative feeding of antibiotics.
  2. Cull combs to remove AFB spores and pesticide/antibiotic residues.
  3. Leave mites in colonies; do not try to eliminate them all; in some cases bees can sustain 10% to 15% infestation with little harm.
  4. Pesticides “pamper” bees; let them use their own innate defense mechanisms. Use selective breeding to give bees tools to work with and then leave them on their own. This includes incorporating hygienic behavior, SMR and characteristics of other stocks (Russians).
  5. Use IPM now! This means thinking before acting; apply pesticides only as a last resort. Use soft chemicals when possible. Again, leave mites in the colony so bees have a long-term fighting chance on their own.

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Package Bees
We will once again have the option of having Wilbanks Italian bees trucked directly from Georgia. Our delivery date has been set for the Easter weekend with pickup here in East Sandwich on Sunday, April 11th. Price this year for a 3# package is $57.

Also available this year is a later delivery date of April 23rd, with pickup in Holliston. We also have 2 sources of nucleus colonies available. Look to the classifieds for more information.

Equipment Order
Deadline is January 27th. Get your requests in to Ed Osmun or Paul Desilets by January 27th. For all of you who are not in bee school, the whole of the Walter Kelley and Brushy Mountain catalogs are fair game. Don't forget to include a check with your order. 2004 catalogs will probably not be available by then so you can use 03 prices and we will adjust when we receive the invoices.

If you would like to try a different source this year, beekeeper Andy Reseska of Holliston is offering woodenware crafted by Pennsylvania Mennonites. If interested, contact Paul for an order form.

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Dues are Dues!
It is that time of year again. Check your mailing label. If there is an 03 there, it is time to send in your dues payment. Such a deal, you get this great newsletter each and every month (along with a few other goodies) for a measly $10 per family, per year. Act now, don't lose this valuable link to beekeeping knowledge.

Upcoming Meetings
the SUNY Uptown Campus in Albany, NY . Cost is $25 per person, and $40 per couple if registered prior to Feb 13th. Special room rates for Friday eve at Marriott Fairfield Inn just across the street

Speakers are Dr Nicholas Calderone, Professor of Entomology and Leader of honey bee research at Cornell Univ.; Dr Wyatt Mangum of Mary Washington Univ, a frequent contributor to ABJ and Bee Culture, as well as a presenter at EAS conferences and short course; and Dr Tom Seeley, Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell. For more details contact SABA at If you want to share a ride, call Claire at 508-888-2304.

Massachusetts Beekeepers' Association will hold its Spring Meeting at Coolidge Hall on the Topsfield Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 3rd, from 9:30 to 4. Speakers will be Dr Diana Sammataro, researcher at the USDA's Carl Hayden Bee Research Lab, in Tucson, AZ. Her topics will cover current research at the bee lab, and "The Softer Side of Mites". Also on the agenda is Deerfield beekeeper Daniel Conlon who will share some of his marketing techniques with us. Dan has ideas that would be useful for clubs to undertake to promote beekeeping in their areas. For more info and registration form, go to or call Paul at 508-888-2304.

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Club Rates for Bee Journals
Make your check out to the appropriate vendor and give, or send, it to Paul
  • Bee Culture - 1yr - $17.00, 2 yr - $32.00
  • American Bee Journal - 1 yr - $17.20, 2 yr - $32.75, 3 yr - $46.05

Other Items for Sale
We will have at the next few meetings Ed Weiss’s text "The Queen and I" and the B.C.B.A. Cookbooks will be available. We also have "Bee a Cape Cod Honey" tees and B.C.B.A. polo shirts available. If you would like a shirt, call Paul or Claire at 888-2304 a couple of days prior to the meetings with sizes and we will be sure to have them there for pickup.

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Want Ads
I have individuals looking for used extractors. If you have such to sell, contact me with details and I will put these individuals in touch with you. This newsletter gets wide distribution, so do not be surprised at where the contacts come from.

Classified Ads
Andy Reseska has a 16 Gal Maxant Honey Clarifier, used one season, asking $500. 508-429-6872 Andy Reseska is selling 4 frame nucs (disposable box) with marked, over-wintered in Mass, New World Carniolan Queens for $85, picked up in Holliston, the second week of May. He will also have Wilbanks packages available on 4/23 if that is more convenient for you. See Paul for order forms.

Andy Card (Merrimack Valley Apiaries) is offering nucs to be picked up in Billerica. You can order your nuc with your choice of Russian, New World Carniolan or Minnesota Hygienic Queen. See Claire for info sheet.

Member Frank Smith has a hand-crank 4-frame plastic extractor for sale. Frank is asking $80. 508-291-2911.

Bruce Mogardo is looking to pass on some equipment that he no longer uses: 50 snap-lock brood frames, 60 sheets of Duragilt brood foundation, and a 3-frame queen rearing kit. 508-540-8789

back to top Last updated 3/09/04