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Buzz Words - February 2014

Next Meeting
Our next club meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. Speaker will be Cape Cod Times photographer Steve Heaslip.

As always, sweets and treats are welcome.

From the President
As a rule of thumb a queen bee has a two year window of productivity. Isomorphic to that, the presidency of the BCBA has a two year term limit which, for me, means supersedure this spring. Anticipating that, I thought I would offer a job description, at least a de facto job description, of what I have done over the past 20 months. Unlike an old queen, I can’t say that back in the day I produced 2,000 eggs in a day, but I have presided over monthly BCBA meetings (at least the ones I have been able to attend), written a monthly Buzz Words article, volunteered at the County Fair, attended quarterly BCBA board meetings, tried to sound reasonably presidential when asked a bee related question, and answered innumerable emails and phone calls with bee related questions. As I am writing this it is Tuesday evening and I am simultaneously watching the State of the Union address. While it is apparent that Obama’s legacy is clearly tied to the fate of Obamacare, it occurred to me that I too could cement my legacy by rolling out a “connector site,” in this case a honey bee connector site, where members could be connected with others who might need their service. For example, as President I have fielded numerous calls and emails regarding where to obtain local honey, where to get pollen, where to get hand cream and lip balm or candles, where to find a beekeeper who would like to place a hive on their property, or where to find someone to catch a swarm. If you can supply one or more of these products/services, please email me with your contact information and services/products you provide, and I will serve as a connector between you and the inquiry. Mind you, if you like your honey or pollen or lip balm you can still keep your honey or pollen or lip balm, but if you want to provide affordable access to those who currently are going without these products/services, I look forward to hearing from you.

—John Beach

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Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

BCBA discussion group -

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Bees Overseas
A tour of beekeeping in Slovenia is being planned for late September or early October 2014. At our Feb. 12 meeting, Mark Simonitsch will be available at an information table to answer questions about the Slovenian bee tour before and after the evening's program. See the two documents attached for a description of the trip.

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Latest Bee Threat: Zombies
A parasitoid being called a zombie fly has been ravaging West Coast beehives. Apocephalus borealis, also called the phorid fly, pierces the bee’s abdomen and lays its eggs inside. Once the eggs hatch, the young flies set about attacking the bee’s brain, causing it to become disoriented and to fly at night (hence the term zombee). This summer, honeybees in a Vermont apiary were found to be infected with Apocephalus borealis, the first sighting of the parasite on the East Coast. Here’s a story on the finding, reported late last month:

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Dues are Due
Membership to the Barnstable County Beekeepers Association runs January to Dec. 31 and costs $15 per household. Dues may be paid at the meeting or may be mailed to: BCBA c/o Desilets, P.O. Box 808, East Sandwich, MA 02536. PLEASE INCLUDE your name, mailing address, hometown, email address and a phone number.

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Bee School
Thursday, February 6: Occupants of the Hive - Life Cycles
Thursday, February 20: Spring and Summer Management

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We want to thank those who signed up at the last meeting to help with our newbees mentoring program. However, we need a few more members for the 40 newbees who are taking our course.

Claire and I will be assigning mentor to newbees residing somewhere in your neck of the woods. Our mentoring goal is not to “hand-hold” our new beekeepers, but to provide a source to bounce off a question when it arises. Ideally, a quick email to your "mentee" will suffice. On occasion a visit to the hive might be necessary. And a visit to your hive could also be arranged along with our monthly club hive openings.

At times you might not be available to respond within a few days. On those occasions, they are told to feel free to contact any of the board members listed in the monthly newsletter, keeping in mind that the mentor system is designed to spread support services among many members so that the same folks aren't always being tapped for advice.

A page is provided in the newbee's workbook almost verbatim to these paragraphs so we are all aware of the commitment. This can be very rewarding for both of you by sharing your knowledge and excitement in beekeeping.

Please email (Marte) or (Claire) with your volunteering. This will make our task easier than contacting you first to ask you to volunteer than assigning someone to you and emailing you back with the assignment. One final note, if you are a 2 year beekeeper or more, you already know more than the newbee and can help for that first year as you will be a year ahead of him/her in your experiences. Plus you can phone one of the Board of Directors or your past mentor for an answer. The newbees are also encourage to continue to read and/or research their workbook, internet, and other books.

Thanks everyone for your help.

—Marte and Claire

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Seasonal Tips
OMG!! How many times do we see this expression these days on a message? Well, I do not do texting, facebook or any other of those social media things, but do love these abbreviations when I come across something exciting. And exciting to me is the appearance of larva in my observation hive. And it has arrived!!!

As we know, the queen’s cycle to start a new generation is based on the amount of day light or day length. So, as we experience earlier sunrises and later sunsets, our queen is beginning to lay small quantities of eggs. It is necessary that there be plenty of food in the hive along with a host of workers to feed and incubate this new generation. Thus, in spite of these cold and too many wintery days, new life is appearing in our hives. And there is ONLY 6 more weeks of winter!

Feeding and stores in the hive is now at a critical stage. Your hives can “blossom” with new life or thet can succumb due to starvation. Sunny, non windy days above freezing will be a good time to check the fondant or heft the hive from behind. A simple sheet of paper piled with granulated sugar right over the cluster just might help pull your hive through the winter. And snow is a great insulator for your hive, but the bees do need plenty of ventilation, so clean out the entrances of snow, ice and old dead bees.

—Claire Desilets

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Honey Recipe of the Month
Hot Honey Cider

4¼ cups apple cider
1 orange
10 whole cloves
2 Tbsp. honey
1 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
Dried apple rings

Pour cider into a medium saucepan, stud the orange with the cloves and add it to the pan along with the honey, star anise and cinnamon sticks. Stir. Warm gently over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Place 2 apple rings on the bottom of each heatproof glass or mug. Remove the orange from the saucepan and cut in half; squeeze the juice from one half into the cider. Strain the cider over the apple slices and serve.

* Recipe reprinted from “The Beekeepers Bible



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