Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - February 2010

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
4. Future Meetings
5. Claire's Corner
6. Equipment Order
7. Grant Update
8. Tips
9. Did You Know?
10. Pollinator Plant Sale
11. Fondant Candy Recipes
12. Classifieds

hive in tree
Andy took this photo in Bourne, in November. The comb is still there, he says, but he is not sure if the bees are alive
Tuesday, February 9th,  7:30 P.M., at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. An in-house program by one of our well-read members. Arnie Howe will present his findings on our latest pest, the Small Hive Beetle.

Kalliope asked me to include this last month, but it slipped my mind.  She wishes to acknowledge and thank Cal Mutti for donating his winnings from the Barnstable County Fair to the club.

Nibbles are needed.  Richard Sheehy is bringing Juice

Don’t forget to periodically check out member Julie Lipkin’s blog, AND add your comments to let her know that your are in fact reading her efforts.

From the President
I hope all of you were able to see your bees fly during the few relatively warm recent days.  It’s a sign that a) the bees are alive and b) that spring is getting closer (is it?).  However, the critical time for the hives is coming.  It is during February and March when the hives are running out of food or succumb to the tracheal mites.  You can check your hives by lifting the back (to gauge the weight) and feeding them with fondant.  Nothing can be done now if your hive has a tracheal mite infestation.

Winter is the quiet time of beekeeping, isn’t it?  Just ask Claire Desilets.  She, together with Andy Morris and Ed Osmun, has started the bee school, this year with 50 participants (I think that’s a new record).  But, Claire is also busy getting the queen rearing project into gear.  She is evaluating locations for the new hives, setting up the paperwork, ordering the equipment and more.  Thank you, Claire.

Sue Angus, Julie Lipkin, Brian O’Donnell, and John Portnoy have been very helpful in reviewing drafts of a set of guidelines on how to be a beekeeper and a good neighbor.  The work is almost finished and I will be able to present it to the Board at our March meeting.  Thank you Sue, Julie, Brian and John. –George

back to top

Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education
The following link on controlling honey bee diseases and Varroa mites provided by Linda Johnson

back to top

Future Meetings
March 9th - Bee-related publications, journals, blogs, resources - Leslie Lichtenstein, Julie Lipkin, Jan Rapp

March 20th – Mass Beekeepers Spring Meeting (Topsfield)

March 27th – Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Assoc. Spring Seminar (SUNY Albany) Seeley, Spivak, & Hayes

April 13th
– Swarming, how to control, how to capture - Andy Morris and George Muhlebach

May 11th – Pollinating Plants – speaker TBA

June 8th - Sam Comfort of (check out his website)

back to top

Claire's Corner
It is so nice to leave work and have daylight follow us home, and it gets better. But, we wonder what is going on inside the hive. Has our queen begun to lay her first eggs of the 2010 season?  According to the late Roger Morse of Cornell Univ., she begins her duties as the daylight hours lengthen and January is not too early even here in the northeast.  If the number of workers is sufficient to feed and incubate the larva, and if there is sufficient food (honey & pollen) new life will emerge.
We have a wary eye on the observation hive, but to date no sign of brood, even in their toasty surroundings. One reason for no brood could be their rapidly dwindling stores. Most all the capped honey is gone and they are not breaking cluster to sip on their sugar syrup. One approach we have never taken, but will desperately try in a day or so will be to feed a piece of fondant on the lower level. Also we will add a piece of a pollen patty to test their appetite.
As for pollen patties, a few members have asked if the club would make them available. We have not in the past due to shipping costs. Is there any interest? Let’s hear it via email.

More articles in the journals are expounding on the need for a better balanced nutrition in the hive. Whether it is the concern of CCD or just less vegetation available, researchers are suggesting we supplement the bees diet with a protein, pollen substitute or local pollen. Two thoughts though: small hive beetles love to dine on pollen patties and to buy another beekeeper’s true pollen is risky due to contamination.

We have found this past fall that the girls love the combination of our collected pollen, Megabee, and sugar syrup with Honey B Healthy made into a patty. They really munched away and this diet probably should be introduced this next month as the winter wanes. One drawback with instituting this feeding is that it cannot be stopped until local pollen is available. And that would be crocus, snowdrops, swamp maple, and dandelions in mid-April.

So, is there interest out there?

back to top

Equipment Order
Don’t wait too long, packages are going fast. In order for us to make our deposits, payment is requested by February 15th.

back to top

Grant Update
The pallet of equipment has arrived and the “construction party” is still on for Saturday, Feb. 6th, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the W.B. Comm. Bldg.  Please email me if you can help with hammer, nail gun or muscle.  I promise coffee and nibbles. Foundation will be installed in March, so don’t feel left out if you are not available in February.

Where will our “breeder queens” come from? The committee has decided against California queens and has ordered winter-hardy Russian queens from Vermont. A second option was New World Carniolans from Ohio; but, at $500 each, they did not fit into our budget.

Weather permiting, we hope to start the first cells by mid-June. Workshops will be organized in May.

back to top


  • Following the wintering techniques previously published, add fondant if the hive is hungry.
  • Keep the hive entrance clear of debris, leaves, ice and snow.
  • Remove dead bees from the entrance if needed.
  •   Contemplate your 2010 needs and order your replacement packages early

back to top

Did You Know?

  • Honey can be used without any side effects for any kind of disease.
  • Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm Diabetic patients.
  • It is found that a mixture of honey and cinnamon cures most diseases.
  • If a paste is made of honey and cinnamon, spread on bread, instead of jam or jelly, and eaten regularly for breakfast… it reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves the patient from heart attack
  • Two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water, when drunk, will reduce the risk of bladder infections.
  • According to a Danish study, arthritic patients were treated with a mixture of one tablespoon of honey and a half teaspoon of cinnamon daily before breakfast. Within a week, 73 out of 200 patients were totally free of pain.

back to top

Pollinator Plant Sale
Are your mailboxes getting stuffed with plant and seed catalogs? Don’t forget to plan some items for the annual pollinator plant sale coming in May. We will be looking for pots of tomatoes, herbs, and all sorts of plants attractive to bees and butterflies.

back to top

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 02/04/10