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Buzz Words - July, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Claire's Corner
4. Seasonal Tip
5. Andy's Ramblings
6. Save this Number!
7. Recipes
8. Classifieds

Sunday, July 16th, 10:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the Bee Building at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds. It is PREP DAY to ensure that our Building is spic and span and ready for the hoards of visitors looking for THE QUEEN.  After all is scrubbed, painted, washed, weeded, etc, we will partake of a pot-luck lunch. The club will provide paper goods, plastic utensils and drinks. If you would be so kind as to bring your favorite salad, lite fare or dessert to share.

From the President
Welcome to "Summer", more swarms, and extra supers are on, I hope.  Now, to get that honey extracted for the fair.  It's a great place to sell at a nice profit. You will also have a chance to sell it again at the September fair if you don't have enough to extract this month. 

I have had a nice response for volunteers to work our building at the fair.  In only one month the schedule is about half full.  Thanks for the nice response.  You can still email me ( or phone (508-539-1774) to find a shift available.  Evenings are the hardest to fill even though I shortened it to only 3 hours this year.  The tickets and passes will be handed out on clean up day, July 16th.  Clean up day is in place of our regular meeting. For those who cannot be there on the 16th, they will sent by mail.

Again for the "newbees", you will not be alone on a shift.  There are 3 or 4 people per shift so you can also have a "coffee break".  We all look forward to another successful, fun time at the fair.

For the "newbees" and anyone who has not "worked" at the fair, it is not a "work" day.  It is a rewarding experience since you already know more than the average person about bees.  It is an opportunity to share your knowledge and to educate the public about our honey bees vs. yellow jackets that are constantly mistaken for "bees" instead of wasp which can repeatedly sting.   We have lots of information around the booth to help you keep a conversation going and Claire will have her observation hive there for everyone to ask you "where is the queen".  And this is where our members may sell any of their bee related products.  We are encouraging you all to bring your products in for sale and also enter in the judging for a prize/ribbon. Also, anyone selling products is expected to do a shift at fair. There is a percentage given to the club. Last year we had requests for raw/unfiltered honey and comb honey of which we had none. 

The "cleanup day" will be the Sunday prior to the fair, July 16. In the past we have had a fun potluck for lunch break.  If there is interest we can do the same again this year.  Just show up around 10:00 and bring your gloves, pruners, rakes, clippers, and maybe shovels, ladders, brooms, flowers to help around the building.  --  Marte

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Claire's Corner
What’s Buzzing at Your Library” is a state supported summer reading program. Many Cape libraries have requested speakers and ideas. Remember, the club has the Tew Traveling Observation Hive and other items for loan for your presentations.

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Seasonal Tip
Thanks to the beginning of the last series of rainy days, the Black Locust flow came and went without much accumulation in the hives. But, once the rain slowed to a light mist, and then the sun came out, the girls went bonkers. We are looking at some serious amounts of honey in those 3 and 4 shallows. It’s gotta be better than last year. 

For you new folks, and those working a shift at the fair, comes a great chance to market your local honey to the visitors, many of whom come to buy honey from Chatham or East Falmouth or Centerville.

If you do not have extracting capabilities, equipment is available to borrow, but it must be done quickly so that someone else may use it.

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Andy's Ramblngs - Swarm Stories
I have received a number of phone calls this year regarding swarming honey (Apis mellifera) bees. In fact, contrary to most years where you spend fifteen minutes describing what a honeybee looks like and if there is wax or gray paper matter present, every call this year has been of honeybees or ‘the right ones.’ Most of the calls have been from wintered over colonies well established in the walls of cozy homes and on the second floor if there is one, thus a referral call goes to Mr. Phillips off Cape (hmmm… this guy must have a hundred colonies by now).

1-  One interesting story to share is the call of bees, the chimney and the curtain. The owner’s attempt to have the exterminator remove the bees prompted the call to me at the office. Listening to the scenario I said I would stop by in the evening to assess the situation. Being in the construction business the 40’ ladder was already in place upon my arrival. Gratefully, this homeowner was very willing to don my extra veil and grab some garden gloves and lead me up the roof.

Seeing the bees fanning on the lip of the chimney made me curious so a jaunt down for a flashlight and a boost up onto the top of the chimney by the homeowner was called for. Seeing very little I proceeded to collect bees on a drawn frame and shift them into a nuc box.  There was mention of bees on the living room curtain so I decided to scout that out next. Sure enough, there were some bees in the firebox and no obstructed views sighting thru the chimney liner (this is unique because the damper is on top of the chimney). The small cluster on the curtain was no bigger than a fist, but worthy of removing from the house to please the occupants. In the meantime, we took pieces of burlap and made a smoldering fire to prevent more bees from seeking refuge in the living room. Making a trip up the ladder to fetch my nuc box I carried the curtain outside and set it on the nuc. Bingo, that small cluster scurried in like no tomorrow. Well, given their behavior it was becoming apparent the queen was on the curtain yet the balance of the bees were on the chimney. Well, another trip up with the nuc proved worthwhile as those girls picked up the scent and climbed into the nuc. This saga lasted 2 ½ hours but was most rewarding with a mission accomplished. The homeowner was thrilled we could save them and felt it was a great learning experience to boot. My guess is he will be enrolled in bee school in January.

Two weeks later there are nice capped brood waiting to hatch out and adapt to a full hive body in July.

Someone more creative than I can strike a moral to this story; but this queen ventured a little too far for her fleet of followers to make it down the tunnel of darkness to the living room curtain. She is Martha now to me.

2-  The advantage to storing all those extra hive bodies, supers and partially capped frames of honey in ‘tote’ storage containers is it raises the level of curiosity amongst the gals. It also keeps the rest of the family out of one’s shed. But, one of those rainy days or two, I inadvertently left the shed door open. I strolled out there early one morning to assess the water levels and peek at the robbing of the ‘tote’ box thru a pin hole in the handle as I had witnessed before. A few moments later my eyes gazed upon the hank of rope coiled on top of the ‘tote’. Son-of-a-gun there rested a five pound swarm of bees looking for a better place to be when the rain lets up, if ever. I can’t swear these are my bees as my two backyard hives are very full and very active.  I am poised with 2 or 3 deeps plus three shallows on both hives, trying to anticipate the much-needed room for these wintered-over colonies. Well as this swarm story goes… the rope was placed on a deep and in short order these girls had a new home. It was strenuous to move that coil of rope a foot, but I managed pretty well. I then granted a gallon of syrup as one would with a new package of bees to the thriving colony. I have attempted saving bees from walls of homes, from a cherry picker in a roof, to basement ceilings and limbs of trees, but never so effortlessly as my own tool shed!   --  Geoff Lenk

3-  One of the Easiest
I was at a friend’s house picking up a load of manure (Don’t even think it!!) when I spotted, across two driveways and through a line of trees and vegetation, a swarm happening. I honestly did consider just forgetting about it. I mean, I have more hives than I really want right now, so let nature take its course and add another one to the feral hive population.

By the time I was finished and ready to leave, I decided to go and see what was happening. I walked over to the backyard where the swarm was calming down and saw the condition of things. “What the heck,” I thought, and rang the doorbell by the front door. The lady of the house came to the door. It seems she had been painting the trim of her house and had gone inside for a couple of minutes. When she returned to her task, the entire backyard was “full of bees”, and she didn’t know what to do. I offered to remove them for her and the relief on her face was quite evident.

I went to my truck and got a nuc box (something I always carry with me), and suited up. There were still plenty of bees idly milling about but the majority of the bees were either on the leg of a sawhorse or in a three-foot circle on the ground. I put the nuc box near the edge of the mass of bees and shook the bees off the sawhorse into the nuc box and shut the lid. It was so cool to watch as, within fifteen minutes, the mass of bees went into the nuc box.

To give the homeowner some comfort and space so she could get back to painting, I moved the nuc box about twenty feet away. I waited a little while to see if things were as they should be, when I saw that the bees were once again getting active. I guessed that the queen was no longer in the nuc box. I went to my truck and got one of my queen catchers. It took another five minutes to find the queen (she was wandering about on the outside of the box). I captured her in the queen catcher and, after showing her to the homeowner, put the queen, still inside the queen catcher, into the nuc box.

I returned the next morning, early, while the temperature was cool, and shut up the entrance. With a strap to secure the top, into the back of my truck went the nuc box.

I got another swarm and a grateful, new honey customer.  

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Save This Number!
If you get a call dealing with bees in a house, or a chimney, call this number 781-293-2297.

John Phillips of Hanson in as carpenter by trade, and has been removing nests from buildings for years. John also guarantees his work. The bees and the attractants that lured them will be gone.

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Following are some summery recipes that we picked up at the Mass Bee Field Day a couple of weeks ago.

Tomato-Honey Vinagrette
1 cup spicy vegetable cocktail
3 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar  
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate

Ultra Garlic French Dressing
½ cup honey
½ cup catsup
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup canola oil    
½ teaspoon paprika 
1 teaspoon salt   
dash of pepper    
4 cloves of grated garlic

Combine the ingredients in a blender or shaker and mix until smooth.

Tear two heads of cleaned Romaine lettuce into bite sized pieces. Shave Parmesan cheese over greens and toss. Pour about ½ cup of dressing over salad and toss well. Add more dressing to coat greens well. Garnish with additional shaved Parmesan and serve.

Roasted Salmon with Honey Soy Glaze
1 whole salmon filet ( about 3 pounds)
½ cup soy sauce  
½ cup honey     
generous sprinkling of black pepper

Mix honey and soy sauce, pour over salmon filet. Marinate, covered in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Place salmon on parchment lined sheet pan. Dust surface with black pepper. Roast at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.

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Ed has 12 oz bears for 50 cents each in lots of 24. Call him at 508-833-9696

Frank Smith of Onset has given up beekeeping and has equipment for sale, consisting of shallows, deeps, covers, etc. He may be reached at 508-291-2911 or

back to top Last updated 07/12/06