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Buzz Words - February 2008

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bees, Bees, Bees
4. Upcoming Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees, and Proves it with $$$
7. Library
8. 2008 Bee School Schedule
9. Fondant Candy Recipe
10. Think Spring
11. The Honey Drop™

Next Meeting
Our favorite entomologist, David Simser, will return on Tuesday, February 12th, 7:30 p.m. to the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. Do you remember in the mid-1970’s the large clouds of insects covering the Cape? The Cyclic Cicadas emerged in large numbers to cover yards and roadways. They are expected to return in the Spring of 2008. What should we expect, will they affect foliage, or hinder the honeybees? Come hear Dave’s presentation, always informative.

The following members volunteered to bring goodies and drinks to this meeting: Carl Monge (Drinks), Monika Vizgaitis (juice), Mary Ellen St George and Jim Coelho (Nibbles). - Thank You!

A sign up sheet will be passed around at the meeting for those wishing to provide drinks and nibbles for upcoming meetings and bee school sessions as well.

From the President
We have to let you know how exciting it is to have 36 newbees taking our course and regret we had to turn away 2 more that were interested in taking the course because of space in our library. They have ordered their equipment and are all abuzz with learning the trade. We had a nice turnout of members to help with the setup of the room and refreshments, and will ask for more volunteers at our next meeting for the remaining evenings of the course. Also, as members, you are welcomed to attend any class for a refresher. You can check our web site: for the schedule of lectures.

As I write this we are having our "blizzard" outside, and again I worry about my 2 little "nucs" wintering over. I'm just hoping there are enough bees to keep themselves warm as I started these late in the season when a 2-year-old queen became available to me from a late supercedure cell along with a daughter cell that hatched. I just don't know if there are enough bees to survive the winter. They were alive and flew on Jan. 7 when we had 50-degree weather. Only spring will tell.

I am interested in finding 2 or 3 members to form a nominating committee to present the slate of officers for our election of officers at the April meeting. If we assume the current officers will continue for another year, (the Secretary and Treasurer), and the Vice President moves into the President's position we only need a Vice-President. For those of you that are interested in performing this little procedure, please make yourself known at the next meeting or email or phone me. Thanks, Marte

Bees, Bees, Bees
Our packages this year are expected to arrive the weekends of April 5th and 19th. This year we will only be getting Hardeman packages, and each will have a marked queen and a pollen patty. Cost is $70, due by 28 FEBRUARY. They are going fast, so get your orders in ASAP. Please use the order form for payment.

» View Package Order Form (MS Word format)

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Meetings of Interest
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
As we pull this newsletter together, a winter storm is piling up snow around us. This is a timely reminder that we should have a good size weight on the outer cover of the hive and the openings should be cleared of snow as soon as possible. Snow can be insulating and protect the hive from wind, but good ventilation remains critical.

When feeding fondant a few weeks ago, we were amazed at the continuingly large cluster size in the hives. Italians of course, but also noted was the weight of most hives. It appears the appetites were small this winter. That is a good sign as we approach the final two months of winter, with an increase in mouths to feed as the queen by now should have returned to her maternal duties.

And, speaking of fondant, a member posed an interesting question. Do you suppose the bees become dependent upon the fondant or candy that we supplement their stores with? Really good “food for thought”.
At times routine goes without thinking. Our concern would be the long extended cold snaps where the cluster consumes adjacent honey and then starves as they fail to break cluster and move about. At least with a patch of fondant overhead, they should move up and not have to move across frames. Do we hold the fondant on a few heavy ones?

Another comment on fondant – be very aware of what you put into your hives. Checking out the ingredients of the baker’s fondant a member picked up at A.C. Moore, we found a recipe full of unnecessary additives and preservatives. Definitely not wanted in a honeybee hive!

A final thought as we emerge from this relatively mild winter. If the hive remains heavy with stores, and if the cluster remains large in numbers, spring will arrive with crowded hives. We preach again the need for that extra nuc box or ready equipment to prevent a swarm and the loss of your bees. You will know by early May if you might part with a few frames of bees and brood to keep the neighborhood intrigued but not panicked. There just might be a source for those nuc boxes.

NEWS FLASH! – Oh my! Oh my! How did we miss it at bee school on the 24th? I just peeked at the observation hive and there is a HUGE patch of capped brood on both sides of the bottom frame. At this rate we will have a swarm by March! Definitely a great queen to rear daughters from.

And speaking of queen rearing, we are putting together a queen-rearing program for Sunday, June 15th with Larry Connors, PhD., of Michigan, owner of Wicwas Press. If you may be interested, speak up as the class is limited to 20.

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Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees, and Proves it with $$$
Imagine a world without honeybees? Not going to happen if the makers of Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream have anything to say about it. In a Press Conference held at the National Beekeeping Conference in Sacramento two weeks ago a Häagen-Dazs spokesman outlined a vigorous and ambitious program supporting honeybees, honeybee research, and a plan to generate awareness of the plight of the honeybee. Because Häagen-Dazs brand uses only all-natural ingredients in its recipes, bees are essential in the creation of many of their ice cream flavors – nearly 40 percent of all their ice cream flavors, in fact, so they feel they have a vested interest in preserving honey bee health, thus pollination.

The Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees campaign will begin in mid-February with a website, print and online advertising program dedicated to the problems honeybees are facing right now, including Colony Collapse Disorder. In a show of support for its petite pollinators the Häagen-Dazs brand will tag each pint of honey bee-affected flavors with their brand new icon – HDLovesHB, plus they have a new flavor – Vanilla Honey Bee.

In addition they are donating $250,000 to fund sustainable pollination and CCD research at both Penn State and UC Davis, (very near the Häagen-Dazs corporate headquarters).
Starting in mid-February log onto for more information.

This message brought to you exclusively by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping

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Books and Videos are missing from the Library
Please look around and return them- we won’t look as you sign them in.
#2 Extracting Honey
#7 Tracheal Mite Detection
#26 Delaplane – Honey Bees, Beekeeping
#29 Tew – Opening & Manipulating a Hive
#46 Weiss – An Intro to Beekeeping
#56 Delaplane – Honey Bees & Beekeeping
#61 The Honey Bee Files – A Bee’s Life Book
#75 Small Scale Honey Harvest
#78 Setting Up A Package Swarm
#2 – Hive Management
#7 – Biology of the Honeybee
#53 – Beekeeping for Profit & Pleasure
#54 – First Lessons in Beekeeping
#59 – Bees & Their Keepers
#74 – The Beekeeper’s Handbook
#81 – The Beekeeper’s Handbook
#81- Honey – The Gourmet Medicine
#94 - Making Wild Wines and Meads
#96 – Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions
#100 – Cape Cod Wildflowers – A Vanishing Heritage

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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

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Think Spring
Cold winter days are a good time to look at seed catalogues & think about spring planting. And while you are thinking of new flowers to plant around the house, why not look for bee-friendly ones. Purple and blue are our girls’ favorite colors. This is followed by yellow and orange, but remember they can't see red at all. Many white flowers that look plain to us, like Sweet Alyssum, actually have an ultra violet pattern that makes them very attractive to bees. Unfortunately many of the new hybrid annuals, especially those ever-blooming varieties, are deceptive to bees, because although they may have attractive colors, they lack the pollen and nectar bees like. Plants like "Proven Winners" are great for easy care baskets on the porch but remember if you don't have to dead head to keep them flowering, it means they don't set seed & there is nothing there for our girls to eat!

Pick some perennials attractive to bees, that are out before and after our usual summer flowers. Early spring bulbs such as glory-of-the-snow and crocus, and the fall blooming asters and goldenrod are favorites. Try to grow some late-blooming asters, or cut our regular New England Asters back (remove about six inches of growth) in June, in order to have late fall flowers for the bees. Don't be too vigorous about summer weeding, remember bees love summer clovers and milkweeds! Our girls also like to have a good-sized area of one kind of flower all together. It may not be as aesthetically appealing to us but they aren't as attracted to a mix of colors together as they are to a good-sized patch all the same. – Leslie Lichtenstein

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The Honey Drop™
Island Abbey Foods Ltd. today introduced the worlds first 100% pure, no mess, non sticky honey product: the Honey Drop™ - a honey you can hold.

The Honey Drop™ solves a common problem: liquid honey can be messy. The Honey Drop™ is an individual serving (one teaspoon / 5 g.) of 100% pure dried honey without any additives or binding agents. It is ideal for sweetening tea or coffee. Simply drop into a hot beverage and stir. You have all of the natural honey flavor without the usual honey mess.

Inventor and entrepreneur John Rowe first conceived the concept of no mess honey after several 'liquid honey accidents' in the 1990's. Mr. Rowe thought that dried honey would be the ideal solution to the messy honey issue. After spending many years searching, Mr. Rowe realized that an all natural, dried honey product did not exist. "I have seen many dried and candied honey products, however, they all contained sugar, corn syrup, or other additives," stated John Rowe. "In my search for a natural, non messy honey this was simply unacceptable. I did not want corn syrup in my tea. I decided to take measures into my own hands, and several years later the Honey Drop™ is the result."

The Honey Drop™ comes in two flavors: pure honey and pure honey and lemon. The Honey Drop™ is available in packages of 20 units for retail sale or in bulk for food service. The Honey Drop™ has a shelf life of one year and does not contain any artificial coloring, flavoring, or preservatives. The Honey Drop™ is an all natural product of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

This message brought to you by Bee Culture, The Magazine Of American Beekeeping

back to top Last updated 02/12/08