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Buzz Words - January 2012

Tuesday, January 10th,  7:30 p.m., West Barnstable Community Building, Route 149 & Lombard Rd, West Barnstable, will feature Larry Dapsis, Entomologist with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. Larry will talk to us about winter moths, snow fleas, and honeybees. Should prove to be an interesting evening.

From the Board

Wishing You All A Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!!!

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Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

Mark Marinaccio @

Tamar Haspel @

Disovery Magazine has compiled nearly 50 articles relating to issues and challenges facing bees. They can be read at:

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Due to the change requested by the membership, the dues year and payment now run January through December. This means that at the end of this newsletter you will find a form reminding you to pay your dues. Please use the form, whether you mail your dues in or bring them to the next meeting. If you want to be sure that payment has been credited, USE THE FORM!!!!! Dues are $15 per year.

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Bee School Begins
Thursday, January 5th – Introductory Session      7:30 P.M. W Barnstable Community Building
Thursday, January 19th – Equipment Session / Order Placing

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Upcoming Meetings
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Massachusetts Beekeepers Spring Meeting, watch our website for details
Saturday, March 31, 2012
at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, BCBA will present Tom Seeley, author of Honey Bee Democracy for you listening enjoyment.

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Politics in the Hive
For honeybees, there’s no place like home, and every year, they must find a new one. A study published this month in Science suggests that the honeybee swarms use inhibitory signals when house-hunting, paralleling the human brain’s decision-making process. Every spring, about two-thirds of the honeybee colony split off from the group to form a new swarm, but until they find a roomy, hollow tree to call home, most of the bees wait on a tree branch as a few hundred scouts explore new prospects. After canvassing one potential home site, each scout returns to the group and reports the quality of the site by doing a waggle dance on the outside of the swarm. Individual bees don’t compare multiple sites, but visit only one and instinctively know the difference between a so-so spot and a great one. The better the digs, the longer and more vivaciously they dance, thereby recruiting more bees to their site. The scout who recruits a certain threshold number of bees wins, and the swarm heads to that bee’s scouted location to set up shop. But if two nests are equally cozy, the bees risk a deadly stalemate. The swarm has only one queen bee, after all, so it can't split up, and thus must agree on a single nest site.

To find out how they avoid deadlock, bee biologist Thomas Seeley of Cornell University and his colleagues set up two identical nest boxes on a remote Maine island, then released a swarm of honeybees. Scouts who visited one nest box were painted with a yellow stripe, while those who visited the others were painted pink. Then, the researchers watched the scout bees jockey for one nest or the other. The scouts waggled for their sites, but they also took time out from dancing to stop other bees from doing their jigs—by head-butting them and emitting a high-pitched beep. Using these inhibitory signals allows the bees to break deadlock and decide on a home faster, because once one site gains even the tiniest edge over the other, there are more bees on the winning nest side to stop the other side’s waggling, accelerating the inequality and allowing the bees to  choose a site more quickly. “It amplifies differences in the support for the two sites that are actually equal in quality,” Seeley said. While prior research had shown that bee head butting could warn bees away from risky foraging situations, this is the first time it’s been shown to hasten the consensus-reaching process
T. Seeley, et al, “Stop Signals Provide Cross Inhibition in Collective Decision Making by Honeybee Swarms,” Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1210361, 2011.

After reading this it made me think our congress seems to approach decision making in a similar way, but even though they seem to do a lot of head butting & emitting a lot of high pitched noises they fail to reach consensus on anything!  


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Wintering Tips From Experience
Watch food stores with this unseasonal warm weather. Minimal stores are consumed at an ambient temperature of 400. With our 500 to 600 of late, (and if you have already wrapped) stored honey could be munched quite readily.

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Mountain Camp Feeding from Kelley Bee News (Nov 2011)

  • Use 1 or 2 inch spacer placed directly on top brood box
  • Add 2 sheets of newspaper directly on frames (leave 1/3 of frames exposed)
  • Mist paper with water spray or sugar syrup
  • Dump 1-2# sugar on paper and mist sugar to clump, repeat sugar and spray once more
  • Misting sugar to clump will keep bees from carrying it out as a foreign material
  • Condensation from cluster heat will be absorbed by newspaper
  • If bees have not used all sugar by spring, use it to make first batch of 1:1 syrup

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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

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Recipes from Nature's Golden Treasure Honey Cookbook
Bee-Best French Dressing
Combine all in blender until well blended. Serve over mixed greens or fruit.
1/3 c honey, 1/3 c oil, 1/3 c vinegar, 1/3 c catsup, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp celery seed, 1/2 tsp paprika

Fluffy Honey Dressing
Yield: 2 cups. Serve with fresh fruit
2 eggs beaten, stir in next 4 ingredients -- 1/2 c Honey, 1/2 c lemon juice, 2 tbsp Frozen Orange Juice, 1/8 tsp salt cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened; cool; fold in 1/2 c heavy cream, whipped, 2 tsp grated lemon rind

Cleopatra's Facial Balm
Combine 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp milk, 1 egg white. Beat well and apply to thoroughly cleansed face & neck. Leave it on for 1/2 hour. When it feels dry & brittle, wash off with a soft washcloth & lukewarm water. Then, splash on cold water & you will feel your skin tingle. Cleopatra used this formula on her entire body to keep her skin beautiful and soft. (I wonder how they know this? Marte)

Honey for the skin
Treat rough, dry areas of skin anywhere on the body with a mixture of equal parts of honey, lemon juice & vegetable oil. This honey lotion should be rubbed into the dry area & massaged well for a few minutes; it will lighten the skin tone & add a new resiliency and softness to the skin, if used regularly.

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Bees and Nucs for 2012
BCBA will be participating in two package orders in April of 2012. We WILL NOT be offering nucleus colonies through the club. Attached is a list of nuc suppliers. Any member wishing nucleus colonies must order and pick up their own from the provider.

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Grant Update
Although our queen rearing grant ends in May 2012, the committee has been contemplating how to best go forward. It is evident that more members need to be included and more workshops provided.  If more members were able to create their own splits or nucleus colonies, more hives would be available for more Cape Cod Queens, or queen cells.  This will be our focus in 2012. Queen rearing will go forth…… Our goal continues to depend less on southern packages and the better overwintering of our hives.

Our New Year’s resolution to you is to provide more workshops; but, in return we are looking for members willing to take that extra step to prevent a swarm by “sacrificing” or “plundering” a few frames of brood and bees to benefit everyone. Keep in mind the club has available a supply of 5-frame nuc boxes for $25. 

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Hive Equipment
Just a note that the club maintains an inventory of equipment for members who look to expand, or to replace older equipment. We have purchased a larger than normal quantity of deep frames and foundation if you are looking to replace any over the winter months. The list of equipment carried is a part of this issue of Buzz Words. Prices on this list are valid thru February 28th, 2012.
» View Equipment Order Form (pdf)

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GOT HONEY???? NEED JARS????? Call Ed Osmun, 508-802-0509 to order your glassware. Ed has , 1 & 2 pound Classic Honey Jars in stock. Sold in case lots only.

back to top Last updated 01/06/12