Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - January 2015

January Meeting
Barnstable County entomologist Larry Dapsis will be the featured speaker at the year’s first meeting, at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 13, at the West Barnstable Community Building, Route 149, West Barnstable. Donations of sweets and treats gratefully accepted.

From the Board
Hi, and welcome to the deepest and darkest of winter! I gave beeswax candles for holiday presents as it seems to make the best sense, in a number of different ways. The long, elegant, slow-burning tapers bring a spark of light to this dark time. Our divine bees.

While the weather is not insanely cold as it was last year, I am sure we’ve all prepared for the worst, whilst hoping for the best. This year I fed the bees at Cape Cod Organic Farm bee patties. Rebecca Matarazzi’s talk on successful overwintering persuaded me to add more to the hives, rather than relying purely on honey. Another item I’ve purchased to help the bees overwinter are bee cozies. They slip over the hive as a tea cozy would. During the day they inflate and then slowly deflate during the evening so as to prevent a severe temperature change, as might happen with other black coverings, according to Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s horticulturalist, Russ Norton. I haven’t put them on as of yet, the temperatures as still pretty reasonable and I don’t want to coddle my hives. Hardy bees are what I am after.

The Beekeepers’ Ball is a theoretically lively intersection of education and entertainment that was approved to be explored by the board of directors. Thus far, we have several committee members willing to open the conversation about what would be possible. The inspiration for this event was the Cape Cod Fishermen’s Alliance’s “Hooker’s Ball.” In the interest of education I would point out that a “Hooker” is a colloquialism for the kind of fisherman who uses hooks and tub trawling to catch groundfish. In any case, it is a super-fun event that I’ve either attended or volunteered at in the past. It inspired me to consider hosting a Beekeepers’ Ball, in a similar vein. Email me ( if you are interested in joining this committee. We are considering the first event for September of 2016.

Elections for the officers and directors of our beekeeping association will be in April. If you are interested, please come to the April meeting and throw your hat in the ring. It’s a nice group and we have lively discussions with like-minded folk, which is pretty durn cool.

It is my sincere hope that you and your bees have a wonderful and healthy new year! All my best, Kalliope Egloff

—Julie Lipkin

back to top

Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin -

BCBA discussion group -

Tamar Haspel -

Facebook page -

back to top

Dues and Membership
The approach of a new year means it’s time to renew your club membership. Please complete the form attached to this email and bring it to the next meeting, or follow mailing instructions. (Note that dues are now $20 per household.)

back to top

Dues are Due
The BCBA board of directors has agreed to set up a feasibility committee to explore the possibilities of an annual BeekeePlease use attached form to pay 2015 dues, a bargain at $20 per household.

back to top

Quick Trick
Winter stores are critical! Heft your hives every few weeks. A quick peek is OK to judge what fondant or feeding remains. If we have any snow, clear the entrance to maintain good ventilation. Clear dead bees (some are normal) from entrance to make way for cleansing flights during January thaw. In late January new brood should be present, and pollen substitutes may be fed.

Sugar brick update: A 4-pound bag of sugar blended with 12 tablespoons of water creates a nice brick. When feeding, if too many bees cover the frame tops, add a stick to prop the brick so no bees are crushed.

Claire Desilets

back to top

2015 Bee School
Thursday, Jan. 8 - Introduction to beekeeping
Thursday, Jan. 22 - Equipment workshop
Both at 7:30 p.m. at the West Barnstable Community Building, Route 149, West Barnstable

back to top

Packaged Bees for 2015
A limited quantity of packaged bees will be available for current club members. A list of other sources of bees/nucs will be published shortly.

back to top

For Top-bar Hive Enthusiasts
… and those who find the pollination of crops of interest: Check out this website by Wyatt Mangum for videos of pollination and bee installations.

back to top

Retiring beekeeper offers for sale his “gently used” equipment as a single package. Complete double deep hive (with 15 frames/no foundation), third deep plus three shallows with foundation, feeder and a few spare parts. Painted and well-cared for; ideal for a new beekeeper. Suggested offer is $245. East Sandwich area. Contact Carl Johansen at or 508-888-8401.

Beeswax for sale. Former beekeeper wishes to sell his cappings. Contact Joe Biddle at 508-479-3573.

Josh Morgan of Sandwich has a beehive with bees and supers for sale for $100. 508-364-0185.

back to top

Bee Recycling
Two bee species in Canada have begun using plastic waste to build their nests, hinting at the extent of plastic pollution as well as nature’s limited ability to adapt, as this blog details.

back to top

Did you know?
Many of you have heather blooming in your winter garden. It is encouraging to see honeybees bouncing from bloom to bloom collecting pollen mid-January. 'Tis a good sign that the queen has begun to lay as daylight is increasing. But how many of you have any Helleborus in your yard in full bloom now? I was gifted one for Christmas; this Lenten rose, or Christmas rose, I am told, produces both nectar and pollen midwinter for our girls. Depending on the variety (of which there are 20), Helleborus, an evergreen, blooms from December to February. Mine is planted just off the dining room in the back of the house, where it will like the shade most of the day. And I can keep an eye on it from my computer chair. Check out if interested. Many thanks, Sue.

Claire Desilets

back to top

Fondant Recipes

Microwave recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)

  1. In a 1-quart or larger microwave dish, thoroughly mix 1½ 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-by-6-inch pieces)

  1. Mix 5 pounds granulated sugar, 1 pint corn syrup, 11/3 cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Hold over medium heat to 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. VERY IMPORTANT TO HOLD THE 240°.
  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 quarter-inch thick.
  8. Cool and slice into patties.

Mountain camp feeding – from Kelley Bee News (Nov 2011)

  • Use 1- or 2-inch spacer placed directly on top of brood box.
  • Add two sheets of newspaper directly on frames (leave one-third of frames exposed).
  • Mist paper with water spray or sugar syrup.
  • Dump 1 to 2 pounds 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.

back to top

Recipe of the Month
Honey-glazed black pepper roast bee*

2 Tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. coarse sea salt
1 (4-pound) beef top round roast
6 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. expeller-pressed canola oil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub beef all over with pepper and salt and place on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast beef, undisturbed, for an hour.

Meanwhile, whisk together honey, vinegar, and oil in a medium bowl. After 45 minutes of roasting, brush beef all over with honey mixture. Continue to cook 15 minutes then reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Roast 10 to 30 minutes more, until roast has reached desired degree of doneness, brushing it every 15 minutes with glaze. Note that the meat will continue cooking while it rests after being removed from the oven and the temperature will rise another 5 or 10 degrees. Let meat rest 15 minutes before slicing thinly. Serve with pan juices drizzled over the top.

* Recipe reprinted from Whole Foods Market,

back to top Last updated 1/9/15