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Buzz Words - March, 2005

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. An Invitation From Mass Beekeepers’ Assoc.
3. American Foulbrood Irradiation Program
4. Bees
5. Websites
6. Recipe Corner
7. Equipment
8. Library Resources
9. Claire's Corner
10. Gardner's Gab
11. Seasonal Tips

Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 8th, 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. - Our speaker this evening will be David Simser, of Cape Cod Community College, with a program on Beneficial Insects.

In April, we will have Kenneth Warchol, an experienced beekeeper from the Worcester County Beekeepers. Ken is a seasoned seasonal bee inspector with the Department of Agricultural Resources and will help us recognize problems in our hives hopefully before they become devastating.

An Invitation From Mass Beekeepers’ Assoc.
Spring is nigh! Honest. (As I write this, there are 12 more inches of snow covering my landscape.) In just a few short weeks shrubs and trees will be budding, crocus will be in bloom, bees will be buzzing, and everything will be right with the world. Well, almost everything.

Reports from across the state, across New England, and across the country all have the same terrible message of 40 to 50% colony losses this past season. Woe is us!

I certainly hope that none of you have been hit that hard. We have. Fortunately, most or our surviving hives are real strong and will be split to start new colonies, with the addition of a queen. This poses another dilemma. What race of queen? What traits do we want in our queens? What breeder(s) do we buy from? Do we attempt to raise our own? (This last should be on the to-do list of all the retired folks out there. We need queens suited to local conditions.)

For answers to these questions and more, come to the Spring Meeting on Saturday, April 2 nd to hear Robin Mountain and Larry Connor impart their knowledge of queens and drones to help us make some informed decisions. For more information on our meeting, contact Paul Desilets, President, Mass Beekeepers

American Foulbrood Irradiation Program
Reseska Apiaries of Holliston will organize a drop-off point for boxed material to be irradiated and will arrange for transportation to and from the Stres Isomedix Facility in Northboro.

In order for the program to be cost effective, a minimum load must be met or exceeded. Price will be determined based on total quantity of material. Estimated to be $6 to $7 per box. A box will hold 1 deep super with frames and inner cover, or 1 medium super with frames, inner cover, outer cover, bottom board, or anything else that will fit in the box without distorting it. The boxes will be supplied. If the minimum load is not met, the program will be postponed.

Any interested parties are asked to contact Reseska Apiaries, 508-429-6872. Leave your name, phone number, and estimated quantity of boxes to be irradiated. When the minimum load of 192 boxes is met, calls will be made to those individuals with needed information.

Hive equipment contaminated with American Foulbrood can be treated by radiation and reused without any chance of re-infecting bees after treatment. Gamma radiation using Cobalt-60 at a dose of 1.5 – 2.0 Mrad is highly effective in destroying AFB spores.

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Our order for 3# packages has been sold out. Arrival is set for the first weekend in April. Once again we will have 2 pick-up locations – East Sandwich and Harwich- with installation demonstrations at each location. If you have not yet paid for your bees, please do so by the meeting date of March 8 th . If you will not be at the meeting, make check for $60/pkg. to BCBA and send to B.C.B.A., PO Box 808, East Sandwich, 02537.,

We have also made arrangements for Nucs with Merrimack Valley Apiaries. They should be available late April, or early May. Price will be $75. (includes a $10 box deposit) for 5-frame nuc with your choice of Minnesota Hygienic (Italian), Russian, or New World Carniolan queens. More details to follow.

Call, or email Claire, with your needs and get your check in the mail, or bring to the meeting.

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Bored with winter yet? Since the catalogs are not yet coming in, check out the following websites for your beekeeping equipment needs.

Recipe Corner
submitted by Marte Ayers

Recipe I saw in the Kraft Food and Family magazine sounds nice and it's easy.

Honey Cream Filled Crescents
Prep: 10 min. Total: 24 min.
Honey is mixed into the cream cheese filling and then drizzled on top.
  • 4 oz. (1/2 of 8 oz. pg.) cream cheese -softened
  • 2 Tbs. honey, divided
  • 1/4 cup sliced Almonds (can substitute chopped pecans)
  • 1 pg (8-9 ct) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • Dash of ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mix cream cheese and 2 Tbs. honey. Stir in almonds. UNROLL crescent roll dough; separate into 8 triangles. Spread 1 rounded Tbs. cream cheese mixture onto each triangle; roll up each loosely, starting at the shortest side of the triangle rolling to opposite point. Place rolls on un greased baking sheet; curve each into crescent shape. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve rolls warm, drizzled with remaining honey. Makes 8 servings. 1

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Most of the equipment has arrived as of this writing; but, it still needs to be broken down. That should be accomplished next week and be ready for pickup on Sat & Sun Mar 5-6 th , at Ed Osmun’s, 18 Solomon Pond Rd., E Sandwich 02537 (508-833-9696). Be prepared to spend a few minutes picking up all of your pieces. You may want to bring containers (boxes) suitable for all the frame parts. Ed says that if you cannot make the pickup on this weekend, make arrangements to have someone pick up for you.

Directions- Route 6A to Meadowspring Drive (just past Sandy Neck Rd from the east). Go to the end and bear left onto Solomon Pond Rd. Take this thru the gated area just beyond the cul-de-sac, and Ed’s driveway is the second on the left.

Library Resources
One of our many “selling points” to membership in our organization is our comprehensive library of both books and videos. It has been found however, that many members have books and videos outstanding. Please check your shelves and return those items to the librarian at the next meeting so that our newest members may take full advantage of these valuable resources. Thank You.

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Claire's Corner
We have seen our first robins and tiny green shoots pushing their way through the frigid topsoil. Both are such a welcome sight, even if a few more inches of snow are predicted for this week. The observation hive lives on with a small cluster, small stores and a queen entering her third season. With flashlight and steady eye we have searched for eggs or larva. No pearly whites to date. So disappointing!

Disappointing also are the losses being reported. Across the country, the internet reports losses of 40% due to the varroa mite. What are the reasons on Cape Cod? So very numerous, we can assume.

Starvation seems to head the list. Poor nectar sources in 2004 and extended cold weather in January preventing movement from within certainly compounded the problem. Wrapping and candy on top of the cluster proved ineffective in many hives. Ironically, some of our survivors are the queens (18 months to 2 years) we intended to replace but did not, for various reasons. No single race takes survival honors.

An interesting number of callers complained of mold on the frames around the dead cluster. Heat generated by the cluster will create condensation on the inner cover. The moisture freezes, but will defrost on warm days and rain down on the cluster. This moisture will chill and kill the cluster because at this time of the year the bees cannot control this moisture and humidity. As a side note, mold does not damage the comb and it can be used as is, after drying. The bees will make short work of cleaning up the mold growth.

As you clean out your hives in preparation for your new bees, take careful note of the conditions – mold, cluster location, cluster size, how much honey remains and where. Information gleaned this past week on the internet blames the losses on varroa and accompanying virus (PMS). The varroa count was so high that dead mites have been seen on dead bees. So look closely.

We will be sending off a few select samples to the bee lab. 100 bees will be placed in a paper bag, a short description will be attached and mailed to: Bee Disease Diagnosis, Bee Research Lab, Bldg. 476, BARC-East, Beltsville, MD 20705. Don’t forget to include your name, address, and email if applicable. We will keep you posted on results.

Gardener's Gab
We have set Saturday, May 21 st for our 9 th Annual Pollinator Plant Sale. As you peruse those seed catalogs, plan a few extra pots for the sale. Jan Rapp is chairing this event and will probably have a new site for the sale. More information will be found in the April newsletter.

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Seasonal Tips
Continue to heft your hives from the back. February and March are critical months as the queen is laying and new hungry mouths demand more nourishment. Candy is still your best source as the bees cannot handle the extra water in sugar syrup at this time. Granulated sugar poured on the inner cover might help. Ventilation at this time is extremely important, so be sure to clean the entrances.

Sore throat? Mix ¼ cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of honey and take 1 tablespoonful 6 times a day. The vinegar kills the causative bacteria.

back to top Last updated 3/5/05