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Buzz Words - July 2011


SUNDAY, July 10th,  10 a.m., Bee Building, Barnstable County Fair, Route 151, East Falmouth
Annual clean up the building in preparation for THE FAIR.  Many hands make short work.  Bring hand tools, garden tools, your favorite hot weather dish to share.  Clean up usually takes about 2 hours, then we sit and enjoy people’s favorite summer recipes, discuss selling prices, etc.  The club provides paper goods, utensils, and drinks.

Marte will have your admission and parking passes at this time.

Barnstable County Fair
The Barnstable County Fair is from July 16th through the 23rd.  We have our own building where we sell member honey along with homemade items; homemade soap, jewelry, and beeswax items, candles along with the famous honey sticks and candy. It’s a great opportunity to sell honey at an attractive price.  The past two years' charge was $8.00 per pound. For our "newbees" this is a chance to rub elbows with the more "experienced" beekeepers that will be with you for the shift, pick their brains and also talk with the public. You already know more than the average person and usually everyone wants to just see the queen. Claire will have her observation hive on display.  The time always seems to fly by for me.

Attached is a schedule with 3 shifts per day as some of you felt that a 5 hour shift was too long.  However, for those who would like to work longer, please feel free to sign up for double shifts.  With 4 people per shift there is plenty of time to take turns going around the fair, sample the food and refresh yourself.    You receive free VIP parking at the front main gate and an admission ticket which is good for the whole day.  So come early or stay after your shift and enjoy the whole fair.  You can view the entertainment for each day on and pick the day you would like to work.

Please email Marte with your choice of day and shift at or phone her on her cell at 508-274-8754.

There is also a cleanup of our building on the Sunday before the fair which is July 10th.  Bring a dish to share for lunch and gloves, shovels, hammers, etc. The garden needs cleaning up, if Leslie leaves it for us to help before she does it all herself ahead of time.  We usually start about 10:00 AM and are finished for lunch with many hands making light work. We vote on the price we will charge for our honey during lunch. You will also receive your tickets at that time and bring your honey and other wares for sale on this same day.

Looking forward to hear from you, Marte Ayers

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A Bit of Trivia
In her book “Wicked Plants: The Weed that Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities,” Amy Stewart reveals that honey made from the nectar of oleander can be poisonous. That led me to dig a little deeper. Here’s what I found on Wikipedia: “Honey produced from the flowers of oleanders, rhododendrons, mountain laurels, sheep laurel, and azaleas may cause honey intoxication. Symptoms include dizziness, weakness, excessive perspiration, nausea, and vomiting. Less commonly, low blood pressure, shock, heart rhythm irregularities, and convulsions may occur, with rare cases resulting in death. Honey intoxication is more likely when using ‘natural’ unprocessed honey and honey from farmers who may have a small number of hives. Commercial processing, with pooling of honey from numerous sources, generally dilutes any toxins. Toxic honey may also result when bees are proximate to tutu bushes (Coriaria arborea) and the vine hopper insect (Scolypopa australis). Both are found throughout New Zealand.” -- Julie

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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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Besides being the greatest little pollinators in the world & responsible for 30% of US food supply, our girls are also making a contribution to research in human health issues. The honeybee genome was originally sequenced in 2006 & an updated version 4.5 with additional sequences was just published this January 2011. Research labs have found the honeybee to be an ideal model organism for studying a number of human health problems. Current research being conducted in over 150 labs worldwide includes: immunity & allergic reactions, antibiotic resistance, some development & mental health issues & diseases of the X chromosome. Longevity is also being studied since queens & workers have identical genotypes (DNA) but queens can live many years longer. Identification of genes responsible for the honeybees’ life span differences have important implications for human aging & longevity. Early results indicate genes implicated in respiration & the insulin pathway as being responsible for the differences. -- Leslie

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Upcoming Meetings
July 19 to 24,2011
Northeast Treatment Free Beekeeping Conference for information
July 25 to 29, 2011
Eastern Apiculture Society Annual Short Course and Conference, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cranston, R.I.
See the website for details A real go-to event.
October 29, 2011
Mass Beekeepers Fall Meeting, Colonial Hotel, Gardner, MA -- Details to follow

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Grant Update
Queen rearing is underway. Email us to add your name to the waiting list. We are still waiting for the Ohio queens to add to our drone or genetic pool. Poor weather in Ohio has delayed the project for two months. Weather permitting, workshops on making splits and re-queening will be scheduled.

If any member is willing to host a few fellow members for a hive opening or requeening event, please email the editor. The Housing Assistance Corp’s Community Garden in Sandwich has offered their 3 hives for workshops. We just need to find an available Saturday morning. Bee in touch.

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Seasonal Tips
Review “Being a Good Neighbor”, our Best Management Practices on our website or in your text book. Beekeeping is enjoyed by hundreds on the Cape; but, we do not want to create problems.

Provide DAILY a water source for your bees so they do not find your neighbor’s swimming pool, bird bath, or outdoor shower. Plan to remove honey only when you will extract within the following 24 to 48 hours; thereby preventing damage from the small hive beetle.

Continue to feed 1:1 sugar syrup if you have undrawn frames, but avoid the use of Honey B Healthy if there is no nectar flow. This might help to cut down on robbing.

Heft your hive from the back of the bottom board to get an idea of how stores are building up.

Mid-July is the perfect time to try making that summer split in your nuc box. Two frames of brood and nurse bees, a frame of honey with pollen, and add 2 drawn or undrawn frames for queen to lay or as room for stores. Add your queen 24 hours later, or check out for instructions on making a walk-away split.

Varroa monitoring should be on a monthly schedule. Use the white board under the screened bottom board. Coat it with Crisco and insert for 3 days. The daily natural mite drop should be under 20 mites. Sugar dusting (see will help knock the Varroa count down with little disruption and contamination of the hive.

If you have undrawn foundation in your honey shallows, DO NOT USE your queen excluder. Put it away until your supers are fully drawn out.

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Are You Planning on Competing with Honey and/or Wax?
As thousands of fairgoers walk through the exhibit halls at the fair, it would be spectacular to see multiple jars of honey lined up for competition.

Perhaps you make beeswax candles, cut comb honey, or can compete with a perfect frame of honey.

If you have already extracted or have two 1-pound glass jars of honey left from last fall, drop them by on 7/14 between 5 and 7 p.m. or on the morning of 7/15 from 8 to 10 a.m. for competition in the Adult Hall.

Jars should be unlabeled and without fingerprints, filled to the line (ridge) above the bottom of the cap. No honey can be on the inside of the lid, so bring an extra set of caps to replace. It is not about the ribbon, but the quality of the product you are producing.

Apiary Products – Dept 28

1- Glass honey jars only. 1# Queenline or Classic
2- No labels or identification on jars
3- Premium checks must be cashed within 60 days of receipt
4- MUST be 19 years of age or older – NO EXCEPTIONS
CLASS A – Honey
AO1-Best 2 one-pound jars of honey, be they light, AO2-amber or AO3-dark, they MUST be a pair
AO4-Open Class – any unlisted product pertaining to beekeeping
AO5-Cut Comb -- best two square containers, clear on both sides
AO6-Chunk Comb – best two one-pound round glass jars
AO7-Creamed Honey – best two one-pound jars
AO8-Special Class – person with disability
B01 – beeswax three 1 ounce blocks
B02 – beeswax item- pair of candles, mold, etc
B03 – Best display of pure beeswax
BO4 – Special Class – person with disability

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Current Nectar Flow
If your hives are very busy this week, it appears there is a nectar flow from the Winterberry (Ilex verticillata). It is not known to many as it has a very inconspicuous, tiny flower. This shrub will have showy, bright red berries come late fall. Thanks to John P, Helen, Rebecca, Sue & Beth.

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back to top Last updated 07/07/2011