Monday, June 16th, at 7:30 p.m., replaces the normal day and place
for our monthly meeting. We will be at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural
History in Brewster, once again hosting Larry Connor who will speak
to us about Honey Bee Biology Essentials. Larry is the owner of
Wicwas Press, which publishes bee books and sells books on bees
and gardening; he is the author of Bee Sex Essentials and Increase
Essentials; and is featured in many issues of both Bee Culture and
the American Bee Journal.
The following members volunteered to bring goodies and drinks to
this meeting: Carl Monge, Serena Watson and Linda Johnson are bringing
drinks; Melissa Sanderson, Mary O’Reilly and Olivia &
Kalliope promised to bring munchies. Thank You!
From the President
Our plant sale was a great success. Many thanks to Jan Rapp who
did a great job in organizing the event and also contributed many
of the plants. The early morning showers did not keep our members
from coming and buying.
At the same time the club sold the equipment that was generously
donated by Pam and John Ashcroft. I am very sorry that the Ashcroft’s
had to give up beekeeping due to health reasons. I wish both of
them luck for the future and hope that they still will be able to
attend our meetings.
It’s an amazing time: Spring has arrived. With the warmer
weather and plenty of pollen available, both the over-wintered hives
and the packages are doing very well. In most of the new packages
six to eight frames are drawn out and it is time to add the second
deep. But continue feeding. For the over-wintered hives, the challenge
is to keep the bees in the hives and out of the trees. Check your
hives on a weekly basis for queen cells developing, and take some
action to forestall or prevent your hives from swarming. With the
public’s fear of bees in general, it’s just a good practice
to minimize the nuisance of a swarm landing in a neighbor’s
Please remember that the June meeting takes place on Monday, June
16 at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on 6A in Brewster.
Dr. Larry Connor is an exciting speaker and it promises to be a
great evening. We have many great presenters in our club. However,
the Board is trying to get some outside speakers to the Cape to
widen the range of our know-how. Please show your support with a
great attendance. -- George
Barnstable Residents Right to Farm By-Law
Bill Plettner, the Chairman of the Barnstable Ag Commission, recently
contacted me. The commission is compiling a list of farmers in the
town of Barnstable and he asked if I could supply them with the
names of beekeepers. I decided to let you contact him directly if
you wanted your name and addresses listed. It would be of benefit
to you in the event that some disgruntled neighbor, or one of those
folks that are deathly allergic to bees moves in to the neighborhood
and decides that they don’t want honeybees around, you could
be protected under a Right to Farm Bylaw. Brewster and Harwich have
one, as do many communities around the state.
Bill may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or home 508-362-9741
and cell (works best) 508-566-2988
I have been involved in some of the above situations while President
of Mass Beekeepers, and believe me; people can raise a big stink
and get towns to think of outlawing beekeeping. It takes a lot of
beekeepers with good stature in the community to dissuade the nay
Meetings of Interest
Sunday, June 15, 2008
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Queen Rearing – hands on with Larry Connor , PhD., of Michigan,
owner of Wicwas Press.
Larry will present a queen-rearing class in East Sandwich. If you
may be interested, speak up as the class is limited to 20 and still
has a few spaces left.
Members - $15. and bring bag lunch & Protective clothing. Limited
attendance, contact Claire.
Monday, June 16, 2008
7:30 p.m. – NOTE DATE & LOCATION CHANGE FOR MONTHLY MEETING
Honey Bee Biology Essentials with Larry Connor, PhD at the Cape
Cod Museum of Natural History
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Massachusetts Beekeepers 3rd Annual Field Day, sponsored by the
Franklin County Beekeepers, in South Deerfield, MA. There is NO
ENTRY FEE. More info to come.
August 4-8, 2008
Eastern Apicultural Short Course and Conference, Murray State Univ,
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Massachusetts Beekeepers Assoc. Fall Meeting and Honey Show
Our focus when entering the hive for inspection usually centers
on the activity of the queen. Can we find her this time? How is
her brood pattern? Is she running out of room to lay? Are there
excess drones spelling a problem with her fertility? Actually, we
are feeling guilty as we make our way through the beginning chapters
of Larry Connors’ new book “Bee Sex Essentials”.
The poor drone is so neglected, yet so necessary, and is quite an
interesting member of the family.
Drones are not the beggars we always thought, but upon reaching
one week old they no longer need to be fed by nurse bees. At this
point they move out of the brood nest and to the outside frames
where they can feed on those frames of honey and pollen. It is always
a scare when pulling that first outside frame and realizing the
number of drones scurrying around. This is normal. They are here
tanking up on nutrition and becoming sexually mature.
Interestingly, our hive will average 5,000 drones per season (April
through September), but only one-half will reach sexual maturity.
The population will vary according to the necessity of the hive.
If the queen is failing, the workers sense the decrease in queen
pheromone, and create more drone cells for fertilization of any
supercedure virgin queen. For the same reason in crowded hives,
less pheromone available, more drones are produced prior to swarming.
You just might see drone pupa on your hive’s front stoop during
a dearth in nectar. Workers will dispense with drone brood first
and will actually cannibalize them when pollen and nectar stores
become low in the hive.
In the early afternoon, one might observe lots of activity at the
hive’s entrance. Drones need to orient themselves to hive
location and each decent day will leave for this activity and taking
longer flights. According to Dr. Connor, the mating flights to the
drone congregating areas begin in earnest when drones are over two
weeks of age, and again depend upon sufficient nutritional stores
in the hive. Weather permitting, this activity continues until the
drones are over 40 days old or successfully mate, causing a quick,
Drones can roam 5 to 6 miles from the hive and are not intimidated
one bit by venturing into a neighboring hive. Drifting is common
and the main cause of the spread of varroa and tracheal mites across
The more we read, the more guilt we fell as drones are sacrificed
for IPM measures and varroa counts. So we will keep reading and
relate additional tidbits to encourage more appreciation of these
Pollinator Plant Sale
Saturday, May 17th, though rainy, was a good day for gardeners to
visit our sale. We took in $564, which is less than past years,
but still a good amount. Thanks to Jan Rapp and to all members who
brought plants and who bought plants.
The equipment sale netted $531. We had so many folks wanting equipment
that we probably would have needed 4 to 5 times as much to satisfy
everyone. Thanks to those who purchased, and to those who wished
to purchase but could not.
Barnstable County Fair
This is our last meeting before the Barnstable County Fair and I
have a lot of openings to fill on our booth schedule. I thank those
that signed up at the last meeting to start the ball rolling. The
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11:00-3:00, 3:00--7:00, 7:00-10:00.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 4:00-7:00, 7:00-10:00. The
fair runs from July 18th through July 26th. As usual the evening
shifts are the hardest to fill but they are only 3 hours. You receive
an admittance ticket, which will be good for the entire day so you
can come early or stay after your shift to see the fair. I will
be checking on the parking situation for this year and will report
at our next meeting. The admin. office at the fair mentioned last
year that we might have to park across the street instead of in
front of the main gate since I need about 80 passes for the duration
of the fair. Also, they want the entire schedule presented to them
by July 1st. So I really need your commitments early this year.
For all our "newbees" -- there are usually 3-4 people
per shift, which means you are not alone and can have a short break
on your shift. You already know more about bees than the average
visitor to our booth so you won't have any problem with answers
to questions and you have a backup crew working with you. The most
popular question is, " where is the queen"? So you can
handle that one easily as she is marked and she plays hide and seek
It's a chance to sell your products, (i.e.) candles, cosmetics,
jewelry, and honey. I hope we have more comb honey this year as
we are getting more requests for this every year. Also, if you have
something to sell in our booth you must work at least one shift.
So, if everyone brings in products to fill the shelves, I will fill
If you cannot make the next meeting, you may contact me at Mfoura32@aol.com
Thanks for all your support. -- Marte
The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures
of Paul ’n Patty
by Andy Morris
It was about noon when Paul came into the house. He had been out
in one of their gardens, weeding some perennials and pruning the
three fruit trees they had started from seedlings about five years
earlier. He had poured himself a glass of ice water and was drinking
it with his eyes closed, awaiting a brain freeze. It was curious
what he saw when he opened his eyes…a very distorted Patty
grinning at him through the bottom of the glass. Placing the glass
down on the drain board of the sink, Paul asked, “Don’t
make me guess. Just tell me what you are grinning about.”
“I just now got off the phone with the secretary of the bee
club,” Patty volunteered. “And I am happy to report
that we are in luck. I signed us up for…(insert drum roll)…Bee
School, which happens to start tonight.”
“But,” Paul started, “tonight is the final show
of “Most Talented”, and I wanted to find out who wins.”
“I’m sure it will be a headline story in the morning
news cast,” said Patty. “You won’t be missing
anything important. School starts at 7 o’clock. We’ll
need to leave here by 6:30.”
Panic set in quickly. Paul hated being uninformed, so he sat down
at his Mac and called up the search engine he used the most. The
only problem now was he didn’t know what to search for. He
tried to think of all that knew about honeybees, and determined
that he didn’t know very much. On a whim, he typed in Honeybees,
and to his surprise, millions of hits appeared on his screen. It
seemed like this was going to take all afternoon…at least.
Patty came in just at that time. “Whatcha doin’?”
she asked. I thought I’d find out some stuff about bees before
we go to school so I don’t look stupid,” said Paul.
“I hate not knowing something. The only problem is there is
too much information. I can’t learn it all before this school
“Well, we know there is a queen bee,” said Patty. “Why
not start with a search for queen bees?” Paul typed in ‘Queen
Bee’ and got nearly as many hits as before.
“Sure seems like there is a lot of information and research
being done on honeybees and queen bees,” said Paul. “I
think I’ll just look at the recent stuff, since we are really
interested in what is going on with the bees today.”
Bee School was being held at the community center next to the public
library. There were about fifteen cars in the parking lot when they
drove in. Several people were walking up the steps toward the large
double doors. Paul, in a slight panic, and Patty, thrilled about
the prospect of attending bee school, walked hand in hand toward
those same doors.
Inside, there was a registration table. A genial elderly lady and
a gray-bearded, wrinkled gentleman sat the table. The lady smiled
and said, “Welcome. We are taking new students for our annual
bee school. If you are interested, please sign your names on this
list, pick up a registration form and an information packet, and
go on into the room. You can sit anywhere…it isn’t church,
so feel free to sit up near the front. You’ll better be able
Paul ’n Patty entered the large room. Paul turned left toward
the back of the room and Patty turned right, headed for the front.
Their hands separated. Paul stopped, his head dropping. He turned
toward the front of the room and shuffled after Patty. They sat
on the metal folding chairs and looked around at all the stuff.
Boxes were stacked on boxes. In the front of the room, things that
looked somewhat like picture frames were on the table. There were
metal tools and things. It all looked somewhat mysterious and intimidating.
In one corner of the room was gathered a cluster of people who obviously
knew each other. One could catch snippets of their conversations.
Phrases like, “Hurt like Hell…” and “Got
‘bout sixty pounds” and “Gah damn mice, prolly
gotta git a cat now” were floating about the room.
Soon a bespectacled lady, about fifty years of age, walked in front
of the table and quietly asked for everyone’s attention.
“I believe you are all here to learn something about the art
of keeping bees. Let me introduce myself, and some of these other
disreputable folks up here with me. I am Eileen, the secretary of
the Bee Club. This is my husband, Ben…Ben Dover. As you can
guess, I didn’t marry him for his last name. He will be teaching
tonight’s lesson with me.
“The young lady at the desk where you signed in is Sandy.
And the gentleman next to her is her husband of forty years, Rocky
Beach. Both are proof that keeping honeybees keeps one young.
Now, what we will be teaching will seem overwhelming. There is a
lot to know about keeping bees. However, most of what you will learn
will be over a period of time and by trial and error. Each of you
will be assigned a mentor. This person will guide you through problems
you will encounter. We recommend that you work closely with your
mentor and not look for advise from others, at least to begin with.
You see it is common knowledge that if you were to ask ten beekeepers
the same question, you will get eleven different answers.
You will be working with animals, even though they may be tiny insects,
and because of that, nothing is written in stone. No two hives will
be the same. Look upon your hives as children. If you are a parent
you know that none of you children will turn out the same. Some
of your hives will be a gentle as spring lambs, and others may be
quite aggressive. You will learn why these differences happen and
how to adjust things to make them somewhat easier. Remember, we
do not have all the answers. The school is arranged so that in eight
lessons a variety of topics will dealt with in depth. There will
be different instructors for each lesson and a question and answer
period in case you get confused.”
Sandy walked through the students, about fifteen in all, handing
out yellow binders. Rocky counted out papers and asked that they
be handed down each row so everyone got one.
“The binders,” Eileen continued, “contain the
information we will be covering in the lessons. There is a lot of
other information in there also. The single sheet Rocky passed out
shows the schedule for this bee school. The schedule can also be
found on our website.”
With a big smile on her face, Eileen said, “If you miss a
lesson, don’t worry. We will be appointing you some committee.
We are always looking for volunteers.” The over-obvious wink
brought some nervous chuckles.
The rest of the lesson concerned the equipment they would be needed.
There were a couple of things called hive tools. Patty immediately
thought they were in big trouble because Paul and tools don’t
go together well. When she saw them, however, they looked simple
enough. The boxy looking things, called deeps and shallows, seemed
simple enough until they were also referred to as brood boxes and
supers. And then there were the mediums, recommended if you were
elderly or not strong, but it seemed as though no one used them.
On the table there was a pile of sticks, and some rough textured
waxy sheets. “These,” started Ben, “are the fun
part. These all go together to make what are called frames. They
look like this…kinda like a picture frame. And this,”
he held up the waxy sheet, “is called foundation. It fits
into the assembled frame so the bees can make their cells.
“You will be ordering your equipment next time, so bring your
check book,” said Ben. “Also, there will be a sort of
workshop next time, while people are ordering, on how to assemble
The lesson ended after about an hour with many doubtful and shocked
looking people shuffling about. It seemed as though everyone wanted
to talk to Eileen. The scene might remind one of a bunch of newly
hatched ducklings gathering around a nearby golden retriever, bonding
to the first thing they see.
To be continued . . .
Please return all books and videos to the June meeting. We need
to re-catalog, and assess what needs to be replaced. If you cannot
make the meeting, you can mail the items to BCBA, P O Box 808, E
Sandwich, 02537, or drop them off at 186 Old County Rd, East Sandwich.
Just leave them on our breakfast table.
Honey Ice Cream
Leslie Lichtenstein sent in this easy summer recipe for us to try:
6 egg yolks, 1/2 cup honey, 1 & 1/2 cups whole milk heated,
1 cup whole milk or cream cold
Using a wisk, mix egg yolks and honey, till well blended
Warm 1 & 1/2 cups milk (don't boil)
Add the warm milk to the egg & honey mixture & then heat
the mixture on low, stirring until it starts to thicken. Be sure
not to get the mixture too hot or the eggs will harden & the
lumps will need to be strained out.
Cool, then add the last cup of milk or cream
Chill over night & then place in your freezer
Web sites of Interest
Members researching solutions for problems in their hives sent the following sites to us:
And, don't forget to periodically check out Julie Lipkin's blog at:
Ed Osmun has division board feeders for sale at 50 cents each. He
also has Kona Queens available. Call Ed at 508-833-9696 if interested.
There is still a hive carrier and an extractor available. Contact
Claire or Paul for these items. As the restaurants say: “Pris
fixe.” The carrier sells for $79.50 in the catalogs, we are
The extractor, used 4 times, is a motorized Maxant Model 3100, which
will extract 6 shallow frames at a time, lists for $799.00. We will