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Buzz Words - February, 2005

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. Bee School 2005
3. From the President
4. Bees
5. Websites
6. Carbaryl Petition
7. Equipment
8. Library Resources
9. Claire's Corner
10. Gardner's Gab
11. Seasonal Tips
12. EAS Raffle Tickets
13. Classified Ads
14. Races of Bees

Next Meeting: Tuesday, February 8th, 7:30 P.M. back at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. - Our speaker this evening will be Judy Ellal, a wildlife rehabilitator from the Cape Wildlife Center, of West Barnstable, who will have a slide presentation titled “Wild Neighbors”.

Dave Simser of Cape Cod Community College will return with a program on Beneficial Insects in March. We were sorry that Inez Narbis could not be with us in January, but hopefully we can schedule her again for some time in the near future. In April, we will have Kenneth Warchol, an experienced beekeeper from the Worcester County Beekeepers. Ken is a seasoned seasonal bee inspector with the Department of Agricultural Resources and will help us recognize problems in our hives hopefully before they become devastating.

Finding a meeting space for a group of our size has become a problem. After utilizing the West Barnstable Community Building for many years now, we find we are being “squeezed out” due to the building’s popularity. Since we have members from Wellfleet and beyond to the east, and Woods Hole to the west, and from off-cape as well, we are attempting to keep the meeting location in a more or less centralized location, with easy access to Route 6, but it is proving difficult to do so. Members are surveying various sites but in the meantime, we will stay in the general area. Be sure to note the meeting location in each month’s meeting notice so that you find yourself at the right location.

Bee School 2005
Bee School will be held at the Whelden Memorial Library, Route 149 (corner of Lombard Av) in West Barnstable on Thursday evenings, and began on January 13th. As I write this, I am still snowbound and hope that most folks are able to get out to make the meeting on the 27th, which will occur prior to this getting to the print shop. February sessions are on the 10th and 24th.

A reminder to all that when Cape Cod Community College cancels evening classes, so do we.

From the President
Frigid greetings to all! I hope by now that everyone is dug out from the 100-year storm. I couldn’t get out the doors at my home in Sandwich. I had to climb out a window and dig the doors out!

Don’t forget that your girls will have the same problem if the snow has closed off the front entrance. Even if you have top exits on your hives it will be important to get the snow off the front entrance for ventilation. Remember it’s moisture that’s a problem in the hive in the winter – not cold, so ventilation is crucial to the survival of your bees. It’s also time to pay attention to the amount of stores left in your hives for the bees. Heft the back of the hive to determine how heavy it is – if necessary feed some fondant candy.

Welcome to all our Bee School Participants. Remember that Bee School is open to all members. If you want to refresh some of your skills feel free to sit in on any or all of the classes. Stay warm.

Pete C.

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It is almost that time. Are your bees alive? Will they be in April? Do you want to add a hive or two?
We have again reserved 3# packages with Italian Queens to be brought up from Georgia. Price will be $60. Arrival will probably be the first weekend in April.

We have also made arrangements for Nucs with Merrimack Valley Apiaries. They should be available late April, or early May. Price will be $75. for 5-frame nuc with your choice of Minnesota Hygienic (Italian), Russian, or New World Carniolan queens. More details to follow.

Call, or email Claire, with your needs and get your check in the mail, or bring to the meeting.

Bored with winter yet? Since the catalogs are not yet coming in, check out the following websites for your beekeeping equipment needs.

Carbaryl Petition
I received word after last month’s newsletter from the petition originators that they had an avalanche of responses and sent a large number of names to the EPA with a request to add to the original petition. EPA reacted favorably, but noted that the addition of so many names would slow their action on the labeling.

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If you have not yet sent Ed your equipment order, time is running nigh. We will be ordering from Brushy Mountain, Walter Kelley and Mann Lake this coming January. Bee school members will be given a list of recommended items. The rest of the club membership can order anything from any of those 3 catalogs. The freight savings alone will make your order worthwhile, not to mention the discounts that we receive on many items ordered in bulk. Don't forget, most prices go up in February when the new catalogs come out. We try to beat those increases.

PLEASE print your order clearly, or use the order forms in the catalogs and bring to the January meeting, with your check. Don't forget to put your name and phone number on the order. If you won't be at the meeting, mail to:
Ed Osmun
18 Solomon Pond Rd.
E. Sandwich 02537

Library Resources
One of our many “selling points” is our comprehensive library of both books and videos. It has been found however, that many members have books and videos outstanding. Please check your shelves and return those items to the librarian at the next meeting so that our newest members may take full advantage of these valuable resources.

Next month we will name names of who signed out those items still outstanding if not yet returned

Thank You.

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Claire's Corner
This is being penned as we are “marooned” on our little estate thanks to the Blizzard of ’05. Currently awaiting the arrival of a front-end loader as our third day of confinement draws to an end, we wonder about the condition of the hives on the bogs. Snow is a great insulator, but ventilation is critical at times like this. Snowshoes and hive tools will pair up to clean those entrances in a few days.

Our January meeting (due to weather conditions and the absence of the scheduled speaker) proved to be a healthy and informative discussion on packages, nucs, and queens.

The ideal queen, or race of bees, for Cape Cod has not arrived to date. Many of us have winter survivors and isolated good honey producers. And that changes from season to season. Our spring Italian packages are the best way to start, but requeening for winter survival and mite resistance has become necessary. So, what do we order? Whose claims do we believe?

The journals of late have been filled with encouraging articles on queens and hardy, surviving races. Russian/Russian and Minnesota Hygienics appear to have taken the lead. Available with desirable traits also are New World Carniolans, Carniolans, Caucasians and Buckfast, in no special order.

Desperately needed are local queen breeders in Barnstable County. Recording of successes and losses is most important if we are to find the “best” queens for our locale.

One final bit of information gleaned from Larry Connor in an article in the January issue of Bee Culture helps explain the failures of requeening. If you decide to change the race of a queen in a hive, the “unrelated or foreign” stock is not always accepted as the worker bees can tell the difference. This must be the reason why Russian queens are so difficult to introduce into an Italian colony.

Gardener's Gab
Tentatively, we have set Saturday, May 21st for our 9th Annual Pollinator Plant Sale. As you peruse those catalogs, plan a few extra pots for the sale. Jan Rapp will chair this event.

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Seasonal Tips
Continue to heft your hives from the back. Honeybees use their honey reserves more efficiently at 45F. Except for a few days late in December, the temperature has been ideal for our hives this winter. The candy placed near the cluster on the frames will stave off starvation. The days are slowly lengthening and, believe it or not, the queen will start laying soon. Placing your sticky board back in will help keep the brood warmer.

Ventilation is most important! Be sure to clear ice and snow away from the entrances.

EAS Raffle Tickets
Last chance!!! See Paul at the meeting if you want to take advantage of this terrific opportunity for a free trip to the EAS 5oth Anniversary Conference to be held at Kent State University, Ohio. I have the last few remaining tickets in Massachusetts. What doesn't sell at the February meeting will be offered to other clubs. $5 can save you $500!!

Classified Ads
The editor has not been notified that the below merchandise is, or is not, still available, so will list them again this month. Please, when items have found new owners, let us know.

Lucy Wood has 20 plastic frames for sale @$1.00 each. 508-540-1813

Ed Osmun has the following items for sale. You can catch him at the meeting or call him @ 508-833-9696
- 12 oz Flat Panel Bears- $12. per 24.
- Type S Pollen Traps- Built by Amish craftsmen $59.

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Races of Bees
Outlined below are characteristics of the various races of bees you will see available in current journals:

Buckfast -originated at Buckfast Abbey in England. -brought to the US in 1967 by Weaver Apiaries, Navasota, TX. –not a true race, but a hybrid of several races -good honey producer, with little propolis
and burr comb -demonstrated disease and tracheal mite resistance -low incidence of chalk brood - small winter clusters, using moderate amounts of stores -slow spring buildup with resultant swarm activity -do well in cool, wet spring -supecedure queens become very aggressive

Carniolan -true race originated in Autria/Yugoslavia -rapid spring buildup from small over-wintered cluster -most gentle race -produces little propolis or brace comb -heavy swarmers due to rapid spring builup -forage in cool, rainy weather, and at long distances - some SMR properties

New World -developed at Ohio State Univ, by Sue Cobey -has increased mite resistance

Caucasian -Originated in the Caucas Mtns in the Black Sea area -true race -very gentle -longest tongue of any race -slow spring buildup, low tendency to swarm -able to fly in unfavorable weather, cool temps, and even rain -produce excessive amounts of propolis -susceptible to Nosema -shut down brood production in mid-October

Italian -most common in US, coming from Northern Italy in 1861 -short distance foragers -greater tendency to rob -slow spring buildup, low swarming tendency (given enough room) -late brood rearing and high over-winter food consumption -produce more propolis than Carniolans Minnesota Hygienics -remove diseased brood -clean mites with better grooming habits

Russians -result of breeding program fostered by USDA Lab, Baton Rouge, LA -color ranges from light to dark -gentle, excellent honey producers -difficult to introduce into non-Russian hive -egg production shuts down during nectar dearth -more resistant to mites and disease -require constant feeding for spring buildup -do not expand well on undrawn foundation -most promising for drug-free apiary

back to top Last updated 2/13/05