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Buzz Words - January, 2003

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. From the Editor
4. Mass Beekeepers' Association
5. January Equipment Orders
6. Bees, Bees, Bees
7. Claire’s Corner
8. Recipe Corner

Next Meeting: 7:30 P.M., on Tuesday, January 14th, at the West Barnstable Community Building, on Route 149.

Program: This will be the introductory session of Bee School 2003. The basics of what is involved in time, money and commitment will be presented by various members. Following this will be a discussion on queen introduction as our regular monthly meeting. Jan 22nd and 29th, both Wednesdays, will deal with the equipment needed to keep bees, how to put it together, what and how much to order. For more information please see the
Bee School Shedule.

From the President
Happy New Year to you and your Girls,

Winter is when we feel somewhat hopeless as to how our hives are doing. We have made efforts by the book or by our book or by your book... to manage what we have and Mother Nature take it from here. One can heft the hive for stores of honey (by weight) and treat accordingly, read on further, but there is little we can do for a weak hive this time of the year. I’ve lost two, but the stronger ones are quite active on sunny days.

Bee School begins shortly and I hope we have a good turn out. Early enrollment indications are strong and we may need your help. Aside from instructors, we are interested in any first year beekeepers that are willing to come to a session or two and share your experience with the new class. If you would like to participate as such, give Claire Desilets or myself a call so we can spread the wealth across the program. We want to make these classes better every year. Randomly showing up to a class isn’t our first choice of participating. Special thanks to George Muhlebach for amending the BCBA Text and formatting it into common software for easy maintenance and to Claire Desilets for her knowledge and guidance in the process.

Please give some thought to your equipment order! You should be taking an inventory and bee ready to hand over your purchase order this month if you want to take advantage of club discounts. Also, start thinking about honey jar orders for your 2003 harvest. Plan ahead and we can help you, procrastinate and you’ll be using mayonnaise jars.

If you are getting into this hobby... we recommend you attend the Eastern Apicultural Society’s (EAS) 2003 Conference, which will be held August 4th thru the 8th on the Bowdoin College campus in Brunswick, ME. You can attend 2½ days of bee school (2 levels) and/or 2½ days of conference classes. There is an unbelievable amount of talent mentoring and instructing at these events. Hands on hive inspections, numerous beekeeping vendors displaying wares, and good fun are had by all. I mention it because it may be a few years before it gets back to the Northeast. You can attend a partial week as well.

We have ordered a videotape taken in 2001 at the conference BCBA spearheaded so you can get a flavor of the conference at a future club meeting.

See you shortly, Geoffrey

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From the Editor
I would be remiss if I did not inform you that one of our members has been selected as Massachusetts Beekeeper of the Year at the Fall Meeting of the Massachusetts Beekeepers’ Association. Claire Desilets was nominated by B.C.B.A. Past President Jay Barthelmeus in recognition of all her efforts to educate the public about the benefits derived from the amazing Apis mellifera mellifera. Please join me in congratulating Claire on receiving this honor.

Mass Beekeepers’ Association
Mark your calendars for March 28th and 29th, for the Spring Meeting of the Mass Beekeepers’ Assoc. This meeting will be held at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Fitchburg, at Exit 28 off Route 2. On Friday evening, a workshop will be presented on judging honey for those interested in doing so. Saturday will be a pot-pourri of harvesting products other than honey from your hives. More information will be available at the January BCBA meeting, and registration forms will be included with the next newsletter.

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January Equipment Orders
For those of you who have been with us awhile, you know that this is the time of year when we get together and place our spring equipment order. As in the past, you have the run of the Walter Kelley and Brushy Mountain Bee Farm catalogs. Since it is still too early for the new catalogs, we will utilize last year’s prices and adjust when we receive our invoices. We will utilize Kelley predominately for supers and frames, while Brushy will receive the orders for covers, bottom boards, smokers and gloves. We still have some Maxant Hive Tools in stock, left over from EAS ’01.

Order forms will be available at the next meeting, and are due in by the second Bee School meeting on January 29th.

We do have foundation on hand. Call Ed with your needs at 508-833-9696.

Bees, Bees, Bees
Claire has received notice from Peter Wilson that he will again send a truck to Wilbanks Apiaries in Georgia for spring packages. Price will be $55 for 3 lb. with queen. Expected arrival is Sunday, April 13.

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Claire’s Corner
A number of comments and bits of information have surfaced following our December meeting on “value-added” products. Most important when making your lip balms and hand creams, Ed reminds us to always know where our wax has come from. Contamination with Coumaphos and/or Apistan is possible if the wax is harvested from old brood frames. The purest wax will come from the cappings left after extracting your own honey supers.

Pam and John, our creamed honey connoisseurs, noted the availability of a creamed honey starter kit from Dadant. It does include a one-pound bag of simple sugars in powdered form, which both they and I would hesitate in using. We would prefer to use reserved batches of our own creamed honey. To complement Peter’s and Richard’s products, Paul found the following websites for suppliers of suitable containers:

It will be necessary to consider our needs for bees and queens as early as possible this year. We’ve discovered one queen breeder has already sold out for May, the ideal time for making splits on Cape Cod.

Losses to date are slowly increasing. Why? No single reason is to blame, however the hardiness of queens is suspect. Requeening every two years appears to no longer be reasonable. And, of course, varroa still plays havoc with their subsequent viruses. Starvation should not be a reason for hive decimation. It is controllable and the critical time will be here shortly. With longer days, the queen will begin to lay, causing an increased demand on stores. The following recipe is a simple solution and a chunk of fondant candy placed directly on the top bars near the cluster will help ensure survival.

Fondant Candy
5 lbs sugar
1 pt corn syrup
1 1/3 cup water

Mix all in a large pot. Heat over medium heat to 240 d. on a candy thermometer. Stir only occasionally- it takes a while. At 240 d, place the pot in a sink of cold water. Change the water a few times. Beat with a mixer, cooling the mixture to 190 d. Pour onto greased (Pam) cookie sheets ¼ inch thick. Cool and slice into 4" x 5" cakes. May be stored in the freezer until needed.

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Recipe Corner
(This month’s recipes are treats for your skin, brought to you by the National Honey Board –

Facial Toner: In a blender, puree 1 tbsp. honey with a peeled, cored apple. Smooth over face. Leave on 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Firming Facial Mask: Whisk together 1 tbsp. honey, 1 egg white, 1 tsp. glycerin, and enough flour to form a paste. Smooth over face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water.

Smoothing Skin Conditioner: Mix 1 tsp. honey with 1 tsp. vegetable oil, and ¼ tsp. lemon juice. Rub into hands, elbows, heels, and anywhere skin feels dry. Leave on 10 minutes. Rinse off.

Soothing Skin Clarifier: (for minor acne flare-ups) Mix ½ cup warm water with ¼ tsp. salt. Using cotton ball, apply directly to blemish. Maintain pressure with cotton ball for several minutes to soften blemish. Using cotton swab, dab honey on blemish. Leave on 10 minutes. Rinse and pat dry.

back to top Last updated 01/05/03