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Buzz Words - January, 2004

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bee Hive Candy Recipes
4. Claire’s Corner
5. Package Bees
6. Equipment Order
7. How Did You Spend Christmas?
8. New Year's Resolution
9. Tip
10. Other Items for Sale
11. Want Ads
12. Classified Ads


Next Meeting: Tuesday, January 13th, 7:30 P.M. in the large room at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149.


Featured will be commercial beekeeper Andy Card, of Merrimack Valley Apiaries in Billerica, detailing the Life of the Professional Beekeeper. His Power Point presentation also includes some information on nuc building.

Also on this evening, in the small room, is the no-commitment, introductory session of Bee School 2004. Come meet your bee school mentors, ask all the questions you can think of.

From the President
I want to thank everyone who contributed to the December meeting in which we displayed some bee by-products and enjoyed holiday cheer. There was enough positive response to repeat it next year. We will plan ahead better and get firm commitments from members to display their goods.

January tends to be a slow month for our girls. Keep snow off the entrances and heft the hives to judge stores of honey remaining. Feeding sugar syrup is frowned upon now because of the moisture build up in the hive, however one can sprinkle sugar gentle over the top of the frames for their consumption (or at least around the oval inner cover so as to not expose the entire box to the elements). But don't go messing around if it it's freezing out. If you need to venture a peek, do so on a forty or fifty-degree day.

My heath is not pink yet, but I trust it will begin to show color soon. February and March the girls go wild on warm sunny days. About the same time they forage on my pink helleborus too, often poking around the crusted snow weighing down last year's foliage.

Bee School is beginning soon! Please let your fiends know if you think they have an interest. Our first class is introductory and holds no commitment at all.

Happy New Year to everyone! Geoffrey

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Bee Hive Candy Recipes
Provided by Andy Morris

Microwave Recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)
  1. In a 1-quart or larger microwave dish, mix thoroughly 1 & ˝ cups granulated sugar and ˝ cup light corn syrup.
  2. Microwave on high, stirring every few minutes until the mixture is clear and bubbles become thumbnail -sized (about 10 minutes). STOP immediately if the mixture begins to brown. A wooden spoon is very effective for stirring, as it can be left in the dish while heating.
  3. our into a shallow mold made of 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 can consume it.
Stovetop Recipe
  1. Heat 1 pint of water to boiling in a large pot on stove.
  2. Stir in as much sugar as can be dissolved. This will be about 5 pounds.
  3. Boil, uncovered, stirring almost constantly until the temperature reaches 234 degrees. It takes awhile.
  4. Pour into shallow molds of cardboard or containers lined with waxed paper or butcher paper. The candy will harden as it cools.

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Claire’s Corner
As this newsletter takes shape, a new year again has quickly sprung upon us. The hives are wrapped, candy is being made, bee school is scheduled, queens and bees are ordered, and the days are getting longer. Are we ready? Probably not! Should we make resolutions to become better beekeepers? That's relatively easy, 'cause just reviewing our notes could help refine our direction. Notes? Yes, notes. Write down every step you take, every move you make, and include a diary of the weather. That variable alone affects our successes.

Candy making has not gone well as we attempted to include some form of webbing to keep it from cracking into small bits. Recycling those onion bags from queen shipments worked the best, but thickness is critical. We now have more "kibble" than squares.

Roger Morse, formerly of Cornell's Dyce Laboratory, has written that our queens, even in the cold northeast, will begin to lay in late December or by mid-January. This will greatly depend on food source and available house bees. Perusing your notes, were you happy with your queen's performance last season? Is it time to requeen? More and more beekeepers are requeening yearly. This theoretically prevents swarming and the bees are less likely to build resistance to medications and pesticides. What race will you choose? What used to be a handful of choices has now developed into pages of breeder claims (SMR, Mite-Resistant, Hygienic) and hybrids. (December issue of Bee Culture advertises 16 breeders with assorted races and hybrids) Encouraging are new strains with Suppressed Mite Reproduction and hygienic behavior.

Southern Italians produce well here on Cape Cod, but lack good over-wintering abilities. They head into winter with large numbers and require more honey for consumption. Minnesota Hygienic Italians are available. Ours did not survive last winter's continuous cold, but we should try again. Carniolans, both New World and Old, are a pretty black and gentle bee. New World Carniolans originated from Sue Cobey at Ohio State. Available mostly from California breeders, they are showing resistance to tracheal mites, are conservative with stores, and build slower in the spring. Just be ready as the hive builds. Many Old World Carniolan breeders have had success developing an SMR strain. For a number of years, we have been using a Buckeye Reb from Ohio. This line originated in Canada of Carniolan stock and has SMR qualities. They are gentle, but their success has been varied. This winter, with minimal stores, and mild temperatures to date, should give us a better indication of their adaptability here on the Cape.

Much has been touted about the Russian bee. Many of us jumped on the bandwagon and purchased Russian queens and nucs when they first came on the market. Their success has also appears to be varied. Current literature and journal articles state that we are closing in on a purer Russian with better mite resistance. The need for little, or no, pesticide use for this race is not far off.

Buckfast bees have been a favorite for many. They originated in England and until recently were only available from Texas. They can now be shipped in from Canada. The southern Buckfast were good producers and gentle a few years back, but have become very aggressive in behavior when superceded.

York Bee, in Georgia, advertises hybrids from their Italian and Caucasian lines. At the next meeting, check with Ed Osmun as to the success of his work with Kona Queens from Hawaii. As with all races, weather is such an important factor in the activity and viability of a hive, especially with the short season on Cape Cod. Utilizing a few different races for comparison will benefit all. Sharing our notes will enhance the value of what is best for our area.

Bee Well and Bee Happy in 2004!

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Package Bees
We will once again have the option of having Wilbanks Italian bees trucked directly from Georgia. Our delivery date has been set for the Easter weekend with pickup here in East Sandwich on Sunday, April 11th. Price this year for a 3# package is $57.

How many of you need to requeen? Do you want to stay with Italians, or move to Carniolans (Old World or New), Canadian Buckfast, or Russian? Better call your favorite queen breeder and place your orders now for spring delivery.

Equipment Order
Deadline is January 27th. Get your requests in to Ed Osmun or Paul Desilets by January 27th. For all of you who are not in bee school, the whole of the Walter Kelley and Brushy Mountain catalogs are fair game. Don't forget to include a check with your order. 2004 catalogs will probably not be available by then so you can use 03 prices and we will adjust when we receive the invoices.

If you would like to try a different source this year, beekeeper Andy Reseska of Holliston is offering woodenware crafted by Pennsylvania Mennonites. If interested, contact Paul for an order form.

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How Did You Spend Christmas?
Does your spouse/significant other think that you spend too much time with your bees? Have them read Murray Macgregor's tale of Christmas and Boxer Day. This humorous accounting of a commercial beekeeper's holiday activities was chronicled on Bee-L,
Read the story.

New Year's Resolution
Please be sure to return all borrowed books and videos at the following meeting so others may also enjoy them. Please be sure to thank Shelly for her work in keeping the library convenient. While speaking of Shelly, let us say "Thank You" for her dedication to the refreshment table.

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For a good drip tray under those extracted supers, try the large metal trays available at restaurant supply stores (i.e.- Northeast Restaurant Supply in Mashpee)

Other Items for Sale
We will have at the next few meetings Ed Weiss’s text "The Queen and I" and the B.C.B.A. Cookbooks will be available. We also have "Bee a Cape Cod Honey" tees and B.C.B.A. polo shirts available. If you would like a shirt, call Paul or Claire at 888-2304 a couple of days prior to the meetings with sizes and we will be sure to have them there for pickup.

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Want Ads
I have individuals looking for used extractors. If you have such to sell, contact me with details and I will put these individuals in touch with you. This newsletter gets wide distribution, so do not be surprised at where the contacts come from.

Classified Ads
Andy Reseska has a 16 Gal Maxant Honey Clarifier, used one season, asking $500. 508-429-6872

back to top Last updated 1/05/04