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Buzz Words - July 2010

From the President
Sam Comfort got me all jazzed up. I think a part of that good feeling is a freshly coined reverence for enthusiasm and hope. Always it is easier to come by in youth than in the middle/late years and I didn’t expect to find it on the BCBA meeting floor. Part of what was so enervating was the conviction in Sam’s tone and the all ‘round embrace of what could be a more holistic approach to farming and beekeeping. Already in many places around the world a viewpoint and method closer akin to what Sam preaches is in place and successful.

The history, experience and vision Sam brought to the floor did not seem to be a function of one man’s single mindedness rather it was a well thought-out and researched response to a system in crisis.

Sam Comfort joins Michael Pollen (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Joel Salatin (owner of Polyface Farms) and others who are beginning to nudge growers and consumers alike in a direction that eschews industrial method and global monoculture practices in favor of a more local less interfering agricultural methodology. 

–Jan Rapp

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Tips - Critical to STAY AHEAD of the Bees
Give plenty of room to new packages and continue to feed while foundation remains undrawn

Add Honey Supers when all but 2 frames in the second deep are drawn

DO NOT FEED with honey shallows on, and, DO NOT use a Queen Excluder if your supers have undrawn foundation!

IPM- grease sticky board (white plastic w/ graph) with Crisco and leave under screen bottom board for 3 days. Count Varroa mites. If over 10 mites per day, you might consider dusting with 1 cup powdered sugar per deep body sifted over the top deep and brushed down between the frames. You get ghostly bees.

Drone Comb Removal – tis getting late in the season, but placing a shallow or medium frame in the 2nd or 3rd position in the top deep might be tried. When burr comb is filled out and capped with drone comb, scrape it off and replace the frame to be rebuilt. The Varroa mite’s life cycle best coincides with the 24 day drone cycle, so you should capture and destroy those Varroa that are dining on your drone brood.

By scraping off an area 3” x 16” you will remove over 1500 drone, as there are roughly 16 drone cells per square inch. Imagine! If you had but one Varroa per 20 drone cells, you are eliminating 75 mites with the slip of your hive tool. Think, if each Varroa can lay at least 5 female eggs each time they hunker down in a cell……………….  You do the math from here!

While writing about drones, keep attuned to this fact - while your apiary is experiencing a dearth and stores are minimal, the drone pupa will be sacrificed first. You just might see drone pupa on the stoop or on the ground in front of your hive. This “management method” maintains fewer mouths to feed and does not reflect disease.

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Upcoming Meetings
July 29th-Aug 1st - Northeast Treatment Free Beekeeping Conference, Leominster (info & updates can be found at

Oct 2nd - MA Beekeepers, Fall Meeting and Honey Competition, Leicester
Dr. David Tarpy, North Carolina State University
Dr. Joe Latshaw, Latshaw Apiaries, New Albany, Ohio

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Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

Mark Marinaccio @

Tamar Haspel @

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Barnstable County Fair
There are no meetings in July and August; this is our summer meeting.  Please consider giving back a few hours to the club. It is fun and you are doing your part to help educate the public about the incredible activities of the honeybee. You will have a working observation hive to watch and explain; and honey, honeystix, honey candy, and beeswax products to sell.

The schedule is attached. Contact Marte to schedule your shift(s). If you plan to sell honey or other products from the hive, you need to work one shift. Items must be properly labeled; Honey must include weight and producer’s name. Bring your items prior to Fair opening and pick up after closing.  NOTE- If you sign up early enough, you get free admission for the day you schedule, plus a parking pass for the VIP lot for that day.

Clean-up Day is Sunday, July 11th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Bring your rakes, weeders, brushes and brooms to get the building spiffed up for the fair.  Window cleaning supplies will be provided, as will a shopvac. Pot luck lunch at 12 noon, when selling prices will be decided. The club supplies drinks, ice, paper goods and plastic utensils; but, entrees, salads and desserts will be needed. Bring your favorite summer recipes to share.

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Honey Competition
The Adult Building at the Barnstable County Fair is always looking for honey products for the interest of the fairgoers. Check online ( for classes, but most entries must have two matching products. The liquid honey must be in 1 lb glass jars (Queenline or Classic) and have NO LABELS.

Items need to be entered on Thursday, 7/15, from 5 to 7 p.m., or Friday from 8 to 10 a.m.

Guidelines for Preparation of Honey for Competition:

  • Clean and free of flaws, air dry to prevent lint in your entry
  • Clean caps, no rust, bring an extra set when entering as no honey can be on inside of cover
  • No fingerprints on outside, protect with paper towel
  • Free of lint, dirt, wax and foam
  • Fill jars so there is no visible gap between honey level and cap when screwed on
  • Both jars must be of equal fill and same color
  • Flavor is important, no fermentation, and no overheating
  • No crystals visible under a polariscope. Best to warm honey in pan of water to dissolve

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2010 Package/Queen Survey
Please continue to fill in the package/queen survey as the season progresses. By mid-July everyone should be able to compete the form and return it by August 1st. 
» Download the 2010 Package/Queen Survey

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Grant Update
The grant hives all have honey supers on due to their rapid buildup. John, Marte and Claire have all experimented with procedure as written in the grant. John has raised a few queens and Claire has 3 cells residing in the queen castle as of 6/25. Robbing nearly spelled disaster; but, of late, all resident hives have been on their best behavior. This week we will make splits with the Vermont Russians that are enroute. Once established, we hope to email all regarding a workshop.

Thanks to the Bilezikian Family Trust and their $2000. Award for power point presentation equipment. B.C.B.A. now have a Nikon Digital Camera, 2 Flip cameras for videos, an Epson projector and will soon have a public address system for the meeting hall. As the queen rearing grant progresses, so will our educational power point program. We are very grateful to the Bilezikian family for their support of our projects.

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back to top Last updated 07/09/10