Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - March 2008

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bees, Bees, Bees
4. Upcoming Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Andy's Ramblings
7. Library
8. 2008 Bee School Schedule
9. Fondant Candy Recipe

Next Meeting
On Tuesday, March 11th, member Malinda Mayer will have a powerpoint presentation titled “Apitherapy. Healing with products of the hive” at 7:30 p.m. to the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149.

This is a short presentation on the history of apitherapy and the traditional and current applications for the substances produced by the honeybee. And you thought they only provided us with honey! Well, come and learn how much more our favorite insects help mankind.

The following members volunteered to bring goodies and drinks to this meeting:Lynn Heslinga and Joe Cotellessa are bringing drinks; we could use a couple of batches of edibles, so that there is something for those drinks to wash down! Thank You!

A sign up sheet will be passed around at the meeting for those wishing to provide drinks and nibbles for upcoming meetings and bee school sessions as well.

From the President
Well it's only a month or two before we know which hives made it and how strong is the force for spring collections. Hopefully, there is enough food to feed on until the first skunk cabbage appears, crocus blooms or pussy willow produce that nice pollen. On a nice calm, warm day (which is 50 degrees at this time of the year) take a peek or heft the back of the hive. I haven't figured out how to tell this way but others have mastered the technique of lifting the hive back. I should be repairing those frames and body parts that have been on my workbench all winter. However, there always seems to be something more interesting to divert my attention. Once every couple of weeks I can blame it on the bee school. Our 37 newbees are in the depths of our course now and they are still hanging in there. Everyone will soon have the hive parts in possession and should be putting parts together for the April delivery of our packages. So you newbees, ignore the sentence above on my procrastination!!!

We are having a Board of Directors meeting on March 6 and if anyone is interested in volunteering for the Vice President position, we will accept nominations. I still need a nomination committee of 1-3 people to present the slate of officers at the April annual business meeting. Anyone interested can email or phone me. Also, if anyone has a special interest that you would like brought before the Board, please contact me prior to the meeting.

I'm off to look at those hive parts and plant a few seeds for the plant sale. See you at the meeting.--
Marte ( (508) 539-1774

Bees, Bees, Bees
Our packages this year are expected to arrive the weekends of April 5th and 19th. This year we will only be getting Hardeman packages, and each will have a marked queen and a pollen patty. Cost is $70, due by 28 FEBRUARY. They are going fast, so get your orders in ASAP. Please use the order form for payment.

» View Package Order Form (MS Word format)

back to top

Meetings of Interest
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Massachusetts Beekeepers Assoc. Spring Meeting, featuring Dr. Tom Seeley, of Cornell Univ. and David Simser, Cape Cod Extension Entomologist, speaking on Ticks and Lyme Disease. Door prizes, raffle items and a silent auction are always a part of our meetings, as well as the presence of local equipment vendors.
For more info, check out our website

April 4-6, 2008
American Apitherapy Society, Seattle, WA

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Larry Connors, 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.

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, Murray, KY

Saturday, October 25, 2008
Massachusetts Beekeepers Assoc. Fall Meeting and Honey Show

back to top

Claire's Corner
As the weather breaks, some of you will be peeking into your hives for the first time since October or November. Shame on you! Except for several days in February, the bees have been able to participate in cleansing flights on the milder days. This temperature also enables the cluster to adjust its location around more stores, thereby increasing its chance of survival. If the hive hast not made it through the winter, here are a few things to consider: (1) review your notes and diary (you do keep notes, right?); (2) what is the age of your queen and what was her brood pattern in August and September? (3) hive location in regards to sun; is it in a low-lying area, which could cause excessive moisture and mold? Did you wrap and leave an opening for ventilation? (4) what were the stores (# frames of honey) going into winter? (5) what was your mite load in August? (6) do you have undrawn, plastic foundation? (7) what is the size and location of the dead cluster?

These aren’t answers, just observations that we need to make and, many times, it just happens even given the greatest of care.
March is a critical month for feed. Sugar syrup consumed too early may cause trouble if we have cold, wet weather. Stick with the solids for 3 to 4 more weeks. We watched the observation hive queen lay the other night, so there are more mouths to feed on a daily basis.

Lastly, we have included below a graph compiled by George Muhlebach on hive population in a new package. This should be helpful for our new beekeepers and a good idea for all to label the dates that you received your package. Close to four weeks after hiving the package our hive population will have taken a dip as the older workers die off, but it is uphill from there as your brood begins to hatch. By mid to late June your hive bodies should be teeming with workers.

hive population

back to top

Andy's Ramblings

I just got an email from US Airways informing me that there will now be a $25 fee for checking a second bag on one of their flights (Of course this will exasperate something that really irritates me; those people who carry on bags, and then need assistance stuffing them into the overhead compartment (leaving no room for the infants) as large as the one I just checked.). The reason was the high cost of fuel. What a surprise. I hadn’t noticed any increase. What’s going on?

I frequently get catalogs or look on-line for products. Usually, these items are available locally, but the prices from the catalogs or from the Internet are usually quite a bit cheaper. However, when I get to the page listing the shipping and handling costs, I nearly choke. The prices usually balance out, and it’s important to support the local merchant. Now, however, with the increase in the cost of fuel factored in, perhaps it will be more economical to shop mail order. But then soon, like US Airways their price will be increasing. Can you see the spiral?

A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a Sunday morning news discussion show about the Economic Stimulus Package endorsed by our President. One of the panel members quipped that the six hundred dollars to be received by tax paying individuals will go a long way to counter balance the increased cost of gasoline during the past year. Here’s a thought: The money we spent on fuel this past year was money we worked hard to earn and spent out of our pockets. It went to the fuel companies who have reported unbelievable profits over the past few years, while they continue to receive Federal subsidies and tax incentives. The money we will be getting from this Stimulus Package is already our money. We earned it, and it was taken from us before we even touched it. How can money we spent be balanced by money returned to us? I’m still $600 out-of-pocket poorer. Where am I going with all this raving (without getting at all political)? I don’t know, but I’m beginning to feel better. Thanks for listening.

Actually, I’m slowly getting to my point. I sell honey. I have one retail outlet, which is enough for me. Most of my sales are to individuals, both old and new, who contact me for my product. Because of the increased cost of gasoline, I chose to increase the cost of my honey. I pondered this increase, and how big it should be, for a long time. I justified the increase by considering my costs: fuel (already mentioned), equipment (S&H, already mentioned), and the cost of replacing dead hives. My increase does nothing for me but help me offset, rather counter balance, those increased costs. My time and my energies are donated. Unbelievably, none of my clients have complained. Many have told me the price is still reasonable.

Perhaps by buying locally we can cut down on the amount of fuel used to transport things. Last night I wandered, for my first visit, into a grocery store in Hyannis. I was amazed at the variety of products. As a matter of fact, the store was especially proud of their genius at finding special and unusual foods from all over the world. All these foods from all over the world require transportation. Transportation requires fuel. Fuel consumption produces pollution. Pollution poisons our environment. A poisoned environment affects our honeybees. Perhaps we should localize our lives and buy more locally, reducing fuel consumption, fuel costs and pollution.

Someone once told me that what goes up must come down. Concerning our economy, and the cost of living the way we do, I can’t see it happening any time soon.

back to top

Books and Videos are missing from the Library
Please look around and return them- we won’t look as you sign them in.
#2 Extracting Honey
#7 Tracheal Mite Detection
#26 Delaplane – Honey Bees, Beekeeping
#29 Tew – Opening & Manipulating a Hive
#46 Weiss – An Intro to Beekeeping
#56 Delaplane – Honey Bees & Beekeeping
#61 The Honey Bee Files – A Bee’s Life Book
#75 Small Scale Honey Harvest
#78 Setting Up A Package Swarm
#2 – Hive Management
#7 – Biology of the Honeybee
#53 – Beekeeping for Profit & Pleasure
#54 – First Lessons in Beekeeping
#59 – Bees & Their Keepers
#74 – The Beekeeper’s Handbook
#81 – The Beekeeper’s Handbook
#81- Honey – The Gourmet Medicine
#94 - Making Wild Wines and Meads
#96 – Making Aromatherapy Creams & Lotions
#100 – Cape Cod Wildflowers – A Vanishing Heritage

back to top

Bee School
Thursday, 13th– Swarming and Swarm Prevention -- George Muhlebach
Thursday, 27th – Honeybee Pests and Diseases -- Jan Rapp & Claire Desilets
» View 2008 Bee School Schedule

Please note: A reminder that if Cape Cod Community College cancels evening classes due to weather or road conditions, then BCBA meetings and bee school sessions are cancelled as well. Hopefully, we won’t need to present this caveat until at least next December.

back to top

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

back to top Last updated 03/6/08