Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - January 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. Fondant Candy Recipes
11. Classifieds

TUESDAY, January 12th, 7:30 P.M., at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. George Muhlebach and Paul Desilets will share their techniques for working with wax. Discussion will include safety measures, wax cleaning, melting, candle production, etc.

Nibbles are needed.  Donna Miskiv is bringing drinks

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 you all had a happy holiday and I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. I hope that the weather will be nicer to our bees.

Just like last year, we had a long relatively warm fall, some colder weather with quite a lot of snow just before Christmas and now close to New Year, it’s in the forties, almost fifty. These large swings in temperature allow the bees to go out for their cleansing flights, but they are also more active and need more food. So keep on feeding them with Fondant. The top of the hives can be opened for a short period of time whenever the temperature is above freezing to allow the addition of Fondant.

We finally have gotten the contract for the queen rearing grant from the State. Claire and her team are busy planning for the start of the program. She will keep you up-to-date in our monthly meetings and in the newsletter.

Again, we have a good group of people signed up for our bee school. I want to welcome them to our club and encourage them to start attending our monthly meetings. They are the best place to ask questions, discuss issues and share experiences.

Happy New Year, may the weather be nice and warm, the rain fall during the night and the honey be sweet and plentiful. –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
January 12th – Wax Cleaning, preparation and safety, candle crafting – George and Paul

February 9th – Small Hive Beetle - Arnie Howe

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
December through March have to be the “nail-biting” months for most beekeepers. Don’t you feel helpless when you cannot peek in? During spring and summer beekeepers are able to make decisions when inspecting a hive; but, come November, when the temperature dips and the cluster tightens, we become somewhat helpless til late March.

Ample stores should have been confirmed in September. The least artificial feeding, with sufficient honey stores is ideal. That luxury does not always exist here on Cape Cod. And then, many of us will offer the extra candy/fondant square. In the event of extended cold spells, the outer shell of the cluster may reach for nibbling.

Here are a couple of thoughts occurring recently when plodding through muck, mud and snow. 450 to 500 days are most difficult to feed as the cluster has spread across the top bars. On colder days the cluster is down between the frames and it is easier to add the block of fondant directly over them. Work quickly!

What has worked well for us and saved a few hives from starvation is the candy board. An inner cover works well. Plug the center hole with duct tape and mix up the 5-pound batch of fondant. Just before pouring into the winter-side of the cover, mix in a teaspoonful of Honey Bee Healthy and pour evenly on the board. Make sure the cover is level and on a heat-resistant surface. Place the inner cover candyboard directly over the cluster, after removing the duct tape. The microwave fondant recipe is the perfect size for a 5-frame nucleus colony inner cover.

Any of you craftsmen could easily construct a rimmed board with vent holes to prevent starvation, or you might add a second inner cover to your next equipment order.

back to top

Equipment Order
We have received queries regarding a club order for supplies.  The club does stock the basics and will continue to do so.  At this time, I will entertain an order for those basic items. Accompanying this newsletter is an order form for the basic items.  Don’t forget to add in your freight.  Brushy’s PA facility is a Zone 4 for us. Send your order to me by January 20th, with your check made out to B.C.B.A.   – Paul

back to top

Grant Update
The grant contract has been signed and returned to Boston. The equipment has been ordered. Sites are being visited and will be confirmed by month’s end. The “hammering” party is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6th, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the W Barnstable Comm. Bldg. We have 7 members committed with 3 compressors. Perhaps 2 more volunteers might spell the others, but please email Claire with your commitment, as space is limited.

Now is the time to seriously consider your participation. Will you have the equipment to receive a queen?

back to top


  • Reread your 2009 notes onhive activity. Perhaps you might try a new approach to last year’s problems.
  • 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 equipment early.

back to top

Did You Know?

  • that if you store your queen excluder off the hive, it might absorb odors so that the bees won’t want to go through it when you put it back in its usual place next season?
  • that bees maintain a temperature of 920 to 930 F in their central brood nest, regardless of whether the outside temperature is 1100 or -400?
  • that the brain of a worker honeybee is about a cubic millimeter, but has the densest neuropile tissue of any animal?

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 01/03/10