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Buzz Words - June, 2003

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Pollinator Plant Sale
4. Please Return Bee Packages
5. Integrated Pest Management
6. Important Dates
7. Glassware
8. Claire’s Corner
9. Interesting Facts
10. Classifieds

Next Meeting: 7:30 P.M., on Tuesday, June 10th, at the West Barnstable Community Bldg, on Rt. 149.

This month we will not be talking about bees. We will hear from Daina Juhansoo, a Physical Therapist on the staff of the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands (RHCI)

From the President
Rumor has it our weather pattern will change by the week of June 2nd and gardens may officially be planted! Our Pollinator Plant Sale may be well timed for this weekend.

An article in the May 24th issue of Science News entitled "Bad Dancers" — "Childhood chills give bees six left feet", discusses the Universitat Wursburg in Germany study of chilled brood and the ability of the honeybee to communicate or "dance well". "Bees lack the specialized physiology that keeps birds and mammals at even temperatures. Yet honeybees regulate temperatures for their offspring by carrying water to the hive and cooling it through evaporation or by madly flexing their muscles to generate heat" writes S. Milus. The study claims about 40 percent of the energy supplied by nectar gathered by a hive is devoted to temperature regulation. Therefore the University tested brood in the pupal stage, reared in different temperature controlled environments, and monitored their performance. The number of bees hatching was not affected, but their ability as foragers was inhibited. This was due to their dance back at the hive, which had "sloppier variations and fewer turns" in the cooler tested broods. The article concludes... "Researchers speculate that the chill affected the bees’ nervous systems during a critical phase, when it was changing to meet the adult demands".

See you at our next meeting when we learn some physical therapy techniques. - Geoffrey

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Pollinator Plant Sale
Saturday, May 31, West Barnstable Community Building
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

By the time you receive this, it may be too late for you to rush out and buy some fantastic plants (at great prices) that attract pollinators, be they honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, or other, and help out Honey Bee Research to boot. The proceeds from this annual event are divided between our educational funds, the Eastern Apicultural Society’s fund for Honey Bee Research and the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Service. But you do have until 1 p.m. to get there. Even bigger bargains near closing time.

Please Return Bee Packages
We do get a $2 per package rebate when we turn in clean packages prior to the truck going to Wilbanks in the spring. Unless you have a sentimental attachment to those packages, please return them to the next meeting, (leave them off to the side of Claire’s van — do not bring them inside) or drop them off by my shed. Packages only please, no cans, no covers, no queen cages. Thank you. Paul

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Integrated Pest Management
We are going to try something new this year. We have ordered from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm enough Medium SuperFrames to give one out to each member unit. This frame is to be used in place of one Deep Brood Frame and will serve as a "Drone Sink". That is, the bees will fill in the space below the bottom bar with drone foundation. When this is filled with drone brood and is capped, the beekeeper merely scrapes this portion off and replaces the frame into the hive. By removing this drone brood, the numbers of Varroa in the hive are greatly reduced.

In case you missed the May meeting, Ed will once again bring the frames to the June meeting. He will also have those additional frames that you ordered with him.

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Important Dates
Mark your calendars with the following dates:

June 14 - Heritage Gardens and Museum, in Sandwich, has asked B.C.B.A. to participate in their Kid’s Day program from 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. We will have a booth featuring observation hive(s), and volunteers are needed to help answer the public’s questions. Call Claire at 888-2304.

July 18-26 - Barnstable County Fair, our biggest educational opportunity. Connie Novitsky and Marta Hennigan are coordinating the scheduling of volunteers for this 9-day affair. Call or email them at the following to reserve your 4-hour stint. Remember, if you have honey to sell, you need to work a shift. Connie - 508-548-9539 or Marta – 508-255-6545 or

August 4-8 - Eastern Apiculture Society Annual Short Course and Conference, this year being held at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. For full details and registration form go to: and follow the links. This is a fantastic opportunity for new beekeepers! Attend if at all possible.

October 25 - Massachusetts Beekeepers’ Association Annual Meeting and Honey Show. Will be held in Chelmsford, and feature Dr. John Skinner, of the University of Tennessee. More details to follow.

I have it on good authority that spring will come some day. With that our girls will have some extra honey for us. Do you have your glass jars? The bee club is putting together the clubs glass order. I need to know how much everyone wants so I can get the best price. I will not have prices until I get some idea of what everyone will want. If this is your first year or you have just a couple of hives and a long list of people who want your honey. Try the ½ lb jars or the 12 oz. bears. I will be ordering ½ lb jars 24 to a case, 1lb jars 24 to a case, 2lbs 12 to a case. This year your club will be offering 5lbs plastic jug lots of 4.

This is important I do not have unlimited space for extra jars. So order now, your club will not be stocking much for extra jars!

Betty and I will have 12 oz bears for sale $.50 each in groups of 12.

Anyone ordering medium frames for drones at the last meeting I will be bringing them to this meeting. The club still has a few bottling buckets for sale. Let me know so we can save you one. - Ed Osmun

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Claire’s Corner
Let us hope as this newsletter is published and the pollination plant sale takes place, that the rain has subsided and the temperature is warming. The flowering trees seem unaffected by last year’s drought, the harsh winter, and the continuous spring rains. We understand the apple blossoms to be 5 to 7 days behind “normal” but quite showy with blossoms at this time. Autumn Olive is soon to follow. Black Locust should excite us any day now, usually appearing by month’s end.

Pollination? Is it happening? Perhaps in little spurts as the weather breaks. Flight activity was certainly diminished the last few weeks. T’was necessary to keep those feeders full to help feed the emerging young. And are the young chomping their way out of those cells! We have been following George’s hive population graph noting installation dates. Comparing our various package arrivals (3), it was interesting how accurate the graph portrayed the population increase with the 4/13 and 4/27 packages. Second deeps of drawn foundation went on 3½ weeks after hiving with honey shallows to follow soon. The last installation in early May is developing much slower due to (we are assuming) the cold, rainy weather. Queens are fed available sugar syrup only. No nectar and little fresh pollen are coming in and being stored to feed emerging young; thus egg laying has slowed considerably. We are really counting on an early June nectar flow coupled with cranberry pollination to help build up those last arrivals.

A second observation, or assumption, is the poor acceptance rate of new queens due to the weather. Ideally, when re-queening or making splits, a nectar flow is occurring. Rain delayed the shipment of queens and upon arrival they were installed in a timely manner, then came more rain. Splits with capped brood had the best acceptance rate, while requeened hives chose to reject their new queen. Full division board feeders did not make a difference. It appears that a few hives will need to create their own queens.

For those of you using IPM methods and taking advantage of the club’s Drone-Sink program, remember to mark that frame with paint or thumb tack for an easy ID. Once drawn with cells you will have 14 to 20 days in which to remove the cells before they begin to hatch.

P.S.- In addition to the requeening results above, the observation hive remains a small cluster. The queen is alive (sans red dot) but not laying. Amazingly, the small cluster remains the same size. In a week or so, I will give up the project and create a new hive with a young Italian queen and her entourage should be strong and ready for the Fair.

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Interesting Facts
A few weeks ago, I received a USDA publication containing results of monthly and quarterly surveys including Bees and Honey. Here for you are some interesting numbers from New England alone. Beekeepers with 5 or more colonies produced 1.4 million pounds of honey in 2002, an increase of 42% over 2001. Per colony yield averaged 58 lbs (24,600 hives), an increase of 35 percent over the previous year. Total value was $2.1 million, up 67% from 2001.

Ed Osmun has the following items for sale. You can catch him at the meeting or call him @ (508) 833-9696
  • 12 oz Flat Panel Bears- $12. per 24.
  • Menthol- 50 Gm Packets for Spring Treatment, $3.75. Mesh bags also available.
  • Type S Pollen Traps- Built by Amish craftsmen $59.
  • Maxant Extractor- 10 frame parallel radial. $800. (New approx $1500).
Joe Homan (508-394-0611) has 2 complete hives and an extractor for sale.

2-Frame (SS) Extractor w/ base and Used Hives - this info just in and I cannot contact the source for more info. If interested, Call Sandy Wilkins at 508-398-4808

The club purchased 5 gallon bottling pails with a good 1½-inch gate with the last order. These can be had for $20 apiece. See Ed.
back to top Last updated 07/12/03