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Buzz Words - March, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Meetings of Interest
4. Bee School 2006

Pollinator Plant Sale

6. Claire's Corner
7. The Osterville Comment
8. Library
9. Andy's Ramblings
10. Bits and Pieces
11. Packaged Bees
12. Spraying for Mosquitoes
13. Fondant Candy Recipes
14. Classifieds

Tuesday, March 14th, 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. Our program will feature Liz Westwater of West Star Herbs of Mashpee. Liz conducts workshops and consults on the use of herbs in the home. Her program will center around the interrelationship of bees and herbs and include many culinary ideas.

From the President
As our current year comes to a close and we consider a new slate of officers, a big THANK YOU to our outgoing president, Peter Cadieux. Pete has directed us over the past two years, providing not only leadership, but also many evenings teaching bee school and various programs at monthly meetings. His carpentry skills were instrumental in upgrading construction of the bee building.

Fortunately for us, he will sit on the board for a few more years.

Thanks, Pete

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Meetings of Interest
If looking for some good information, and don’t mind traveling a bit, the following meetings are sure to be interesting:

Saturday, March 18th, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, in Leicester, MA, the Worcester County Beekeepers are hosting Jennifer Berry, Apiary Research Coordinator at the University of Georgia. Jen is a great speaker, a favored presenter at the E.A.S. conferences, and this year’s E.A.S. President. Her topics are “The New World of Beekeeping” and “Queens and their Drones”. Her presentations begin at 9 A.M.
There is no charge for this meeting. For more info, go to:

Saturday, March 25th, at the Univ of Albany, Uptown Campus, S.A.B.A.’s Annual Spring Seminar will be held from 9 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Speakers will include Jim Bobb, President, PA Beekeeper’s, Larry Connor, WicWas Press, Tony Jadczak, Maine Apiary Inspector, Aaron Morris, SABA member & owner of Bee-L, and Robert Sheehan, CT meadmaker. Cost is $25 per person, or $40 per couple. This is always a very good program. Preregistration requested, Walkins add $5. Further Details, Anne Frey

Saturday, April 1st, the Massachusetts Beekeepers’ Association will host their Spring Meeting at the Topsfield Fairgrounds. A series of short presentations and demonstrations will segue into a Summer Workshop, on June 17th, to be held at the UMass Agronomy Farm in Sunderland. More on these meetings to come. We are planning to offer carpooling for these meetings in order to get you folks “over the bridge”. Much local (read MASS) knowledge will be available from commercial and backyard beekeepers.

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Bee School 2006
Remaining sessions at the Whelden Memorial Library, just across Lombard Ave from the W.B.C.B., on the second and fourth Thursdays of February and March. We remind all members in good standing that they may attend bee school sessions at no charge. Click here for the 2006 Bee School Schedule.

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Pollinator Plant Sale
Barnstable Beekeeper's Association Annual Plant Sale, Saturday May 20th, 10:00 - 1:00; Annuals, Perennials, Herbs, and Vegetables. OPEN EARLY for drop off. Call Jan Rapp @508-428-8442 if you are unable to drop off your donations and she will arrange for pick-up. New This Year: Heirloom Tomatoes (sale will benefit Mass Agriculture in the Classroom), Bags of manure (sheep, goat and chicken). Help needed the day of the sale..

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Claire's Corner
“If your skin a bee should sting, lemon balm relief will bring.” I have not tried it, have you? Reportedly invasive, lemon balm (Melissa officinallis) has many uses which will be revealed by our March speaker. Container grown will keep it corralled and make it simpler to harvest the leaves midday when the oils are at their peak. It can then be used fresh in salads or with fish. Drying the fresh picked leaves over a screen will take a week, stirring daily. Packed in a tight jar, they can be used all winter in a soothing tea. Several cuttings can be made before and after it flowers.
If you are interested in herbal workshops, the Candleberry Inn in Brewster ( a BCBA member) sponsors West Star Herbs several times a year. Call Charlotte @ 508-896-3300.

Coming in April will be a new shipment of Honey Bee Healthy. This product has saved us immeasurable time over the last two years of use. The essential oils of lemongrass and spearmint will mask pheromones in the hive. Thus its use becomes two-fold. A capful in 1:1 sugar syrup placed in a spray bottle and misted in the hive will block the alarm pheromone (iso-pentyl acetate). A smoker does not need to be fussed with as the bees become quite content and busy themselves cleaning each other off. Do you suppose this chore can help deplete the mite population and increase hygienic behavior?

Secondly, requeening time can be shortened by 24 hours. In the past, when requeening or building a nuc, we have left the hive queenless for 24 hours. Now, we need not revisit the hive a day later to install the queen. With new queen in hand, we lightly mist the queen cage, the adjacent frames and across the top bars with HBH in sugar syrup. Here again the pheromone of the new queen is masked while everyone cleans themselves off.

As we become more health conscious consumers, many of us are reading food labels more. If you have a few minutes and a computer visit and check out Jim Fisher’s “Wall of Shame”. See which honey-labeled products really contain honey or are heavily laden with sugars. Very Interesting!

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The Osterville Comments
At The New England Flower Show running from 3/11 - 3/19, Bartlett Tree will have a seaside scene complete with lighthouse, featuring a very rare weeping cedar tree from Armstrong-Kelley Park. Flowers in bloom today (3/1): hellaborus, witch hazel, snow drops and heath. Winter jasmine should bloom this week. Before the deep freeze we had lively bees from all five of our hives. We had fed the ladies fondant. Thanks, Carl Mongé

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The library has seen an increase in returns, but many books and videos still remain grossly overdue. Remember, each book and video has a card which members need to sign and date when borrowing an item and place the card in the appropriate file box. Upon returning the item, simply find the card, sign and date it, and place it back in the book or video jacket.

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Andy's Ramblngs
Well, even though we are still in the depths of our astronomical winter, we have had days of unbelievably unseasonable weather. I feel sorry for those oil companies…not getting all the profits they can out of my pockets.

This is the time of year I start looking for flowers in my yard. That’s right! I have flowers blooming in my yard at this moment. I don’t mean pussy willows, which will be blooming soon, or skunk cabbage, which will likewise, soon be blooming. I mean there is in my yard a shrub with flowers having petals, stamens and pistils. It is the witch hazel plant.

My first exposure to this interesting plant, other than seeing it’s extract in that rectangular bottle in the medicine cabinet (which no one ever used), was during one of the first years of my being a beekeeper. I was living in Sandwich then. Anticipating spring one warm February day, I wandered over to my single hive to see if anything was happening. My bees were flying. They were very busy, busier than I had seen them previously. As I stood beside the hive, I was shocked to see them bringing in baskets of pollen. Pollen in February! This was absurd and contrary to my knowledge of flowering plants. Of course I had no way of finding out where the pollen was coming from.

Later that day I was taking a walk with my daughters. It was a beautiful day, no wind, and brilliant blue skies. Our walk to the Sandwich Boardwalk brought us down Jarvis Street, just a block away from our house and my hive. There was a bush with weirdly shaped yellow flowers teeming with honeybees. They were my bees (I asked them.). But what was this plant?

We will have witch hazel plants available for sale at our Annual Plant Sale, late in May. I hope you will consider purchasing some for your garden. They are an interesting plant. They give much needed pleasure during that time of the year when there is a dearth of blooming plants, and provide sustenance for our bees.

I also hope you will consider contributing some plants from your gardens. We always need vegetable plants (tomatoes were in demand last year), and any plant you divide from your gardens. Ask your friends for their thinnings and divisions. It is amazing what appears at the sale. Pick-ups can be arranged prior to the day of the sale. Every year I say I won’t be buying anything because I need no new plants, but every year I buy something unusual and interesting. I hope to see you there.

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Bits and Pieces
The following was on Bee-L last week. Claire has been an advocate of using Baggie Feeders for some time now. This hint is a good addition to that feeding solution.
- Place the ZipLock bag inside a 2 lb coffee can or equal. Pour the syrup inside the ZipLock bag. Zip the bag and remove it from the can. Place a queen excluder on the hive. Place the filled baggie on the excluder and cut the slits for bee access. The coffee can is a good consistent measure of volume and if you ever tried filling a loose ZipLock bag from a 5 gallon jug, from the tail gate of your truck you will realize the real advantage of this method. If you ever need to move a plastic bag full of liquid with holes in it, you will realize the value of the queen excluder

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Packaged Bees
We still have a few packages available. Just a reminder that payment of $63 for each package that you have ordered MUST be received no later that Friday, March 10th. You can add your $10 dues to that same check, made out to BCBA, and send it to Claire Desilets, P O Box 808, East Sandwich, 02537

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Spraying for Mosquitoes
At the last meeting the question was raised about spraying by the state for Eastern Equine Virus infected mosquitoes. I have emailed Mark Buffone at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and asked him if they had plans to spray the Cape and should we be mapping (GPS) our hives. His response was “No….I don’t want folks to be overly alarmed here……. Again the purpose of my initial emails was to get folks thinking/ ready for something that may not happen” He went on to say that the material that they would be using if they did spray would be Anvil 10 +10 or Sumithrin at very low rates. It would be done in the evening into the night likely in August. The Anvil does not have a bee caution on the label. We would have to be in a situation that would have to be deemed public health event and spraying would be done for that purpose.

The way we will be notified if spraying is going to be done is they will be notifying your association and then you will be notified by B.C.B.A...

So until we get notified that things have changed I would not worry about it unless you would just like to know where your hives are by GPS for your own information. – Ed Osmun

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Fondant Candy Recipe
Microwave Recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)

  1. In a 1 quart or larger microwave dish, thoroughly mix 1 & ½ cups granulated sugar and ½ cup light corn syrup. No water.
  2. Microwave on high, stirring every few minutes until the mixture is clear and bubbles become thumbnail size (about 10 minutes). Stop immediately if the mixture starts to brown. A wooden spoon Is very effective for stirring, as it can be left in the dish during cooking.
  3. Pour into a mold made from cardboard or a container lined with paper to cool. The candy will become brittle and can be slipped on top of frames where the bees will consume it.

Stovetop Recipe (makes nine 5” x 6” pieces)

  1. Mix 5# granulated sugar, 1 pint corn syrup, 1 & 1/3 cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Hold over medium heat to 240 d on a candy thermometer. VERY IMPORTANT TO HOLD THE 240 F.
  3. Stir only occasionally, it takes a while.
  4. At 240 , place the pot in a sink of cold water.
  5. Change the water a few times.
  6. Beat with a mixer, cooling the mixture to 190
  7. Pour onto greased (Pam) cookie sheets to ¼ inch thick
  8. Cool and slice into patties

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Dear Fellow Beekeepers, I am a member of the Rhode Island Beekeepers Association. I have an extractor for sale. It is a Fritz SS 4-8 frame tangential extractor hand crank. It was used for one season only and the apiary was dismantled due to an allergic reaction. Contact Edward Marsland, 401 568-6514

NOT FOR SALE- Faith has sold her extractor, and was actually overwhelmed by the response.
FOR FREE- Sandy Wilkins has much manure for you gardeners out there. Her pile grows daily and she wishes to share it with you all. Call Sandy at 398-4808

If you have anything bee-related to sell, or wish to purchase, this is the place to list it. Call Paul at 888-2304 or email to

back to top Last updated 03/05/06