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Buzz Words - March 2010

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Queens
4. Future Meetings
5. Claire's Corner
6. Equipment Order
7. Grant Update
8. Tips
9. Pollinator Plant Sale
10. Sierra Club Bee News
11. A Different Story About Bees
12. News from Bee U at Mattacheese

Tuesday, March 9th, 7:30 P.M., at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149.  Another in-house program, this on bee-related publications, journals, blogs, and resources presented by members Leslie Lichtenstein, Julie Lipkin, and Jan Rapp.

Nibbles are needed.  Kate Clemens is bringing Juice

Don’t forget to periodically check out member Julie Lipkin’s blog, AND add your comments to let her know that your are in fact reading her efforts.

From the President
I miss my bees. I saw them last flying on a relatively warm day in mid January and I hope they are still doing well. Just one more month until the official start of spring (but when will spring arrive on the Cape?) From the weather forecasts which I was able o follow on the internet it seems that we are having a relatively good bee winter. Cold weather when the bees are not too active too soon and do not need too much food interrupted by warm spells during which they can have their cleansing flights and when they can move closer to the food supplies in the hive. But now more than ever, they need food for themselves and soon for the start of brood rearing. They still need fondant and shortly (hopefully) we can switch to sugar syrup when there will be enough 50 F days to allow regular days for flying. In the meantime, Claire and her helpers are busy getting ready for the Club’s queen rearing project. Thank you Claire. I can’t wait until I see my bees. Yes, I miss my bees.  –George

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We have confirmed an order for Minnesota Hygienic queens to arrive in 2 shipments of 20 each. They are scheduled to ship on May 17th and June 7th. These will be available for members to requeen or to make a split to prevent swarming. This might help to add to our genetic mix for our grant queens.  The price is pending, right now between $17 and $20.

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Future Meetings
March 9th - Bee-related publications, journals, blogs, resources - Leslie Lichtenstein, Julie Lipkin, Jan Rapp

March 20th – Mass Beekeepers Spring Meeting (Topsfield)
» Registration Form (MS Word)

March 27th – Southern Adirondack Beekeepers Assoc. Spring Seminar (SUNY Albany) Seeley, Spivak, & Hayes

April 13th
– Swarming, how to control, how to capture - Andy Morris and George Muhlebach

May 11th – Pollinating Plants – speaker TBA

May 15th  - Annual Pollinator Plant Sale  -  Club fundraiser

June 8th - Sam Comfort of (check out his website)

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Claire's Corner
Saturday, February 20, 50 degrees – just gorgeous as the bees were flying and moving about the hive. We had the chance to feed a few pollen patties and add a tad more fondant. It was the perfect day to take the starving observation hive outside and exchange an empty frame with a frame of honey. To date, there is no brood, but this makes sense as there are no stores to feed any young. But, the gang has filled lots of cells around the cluster with nectar/syrup/honey. Must be a sign of good things to come.

Here is something we did try with the most hungry hives. Granulated sugar has never been of much value when poured around the hole of the inner cover. Walter Kelley sells a Mountain Camp Rim (not needed) but its use intrigued us. Using a half sheet of newspaper spread over frames, pour a cup or two of granulated sugar on the paper. Mist the sugar with water (we used the HBH sugar syrup) until it clumps, not too wet. This is working well on a few of our very hungry hives – so far. The nice part is it does not crush the bees and it provides more munching for more mouths.

March is the critical month for bees and beekeepers. Food needs to be monitored closely. If by mid-March we have occasional days of 45-500 , we can begin feeding sugar syrup (1:1) or (2:1) if really hungry, but watch the weather. Cleansing flights are imperative if serving sugar syrup.

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Package Bees
The 300 packages are sold. We have compiles a list of possible sources of nucs and packages. Contact Claire or Paul for the list; BUT, be aware that ordering and pickup is on your own.

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Grant Update
Thanks to 11 members and one 4-Her, all equipment was assembled in less than 3 hours. That included 360 frames and 37 boxes. By the time this epistle arrives, all boxes will be painted and all foundation will be installed.

The packages of bees for this project should arrive on April 9th. We will email all when they arrive and set a time and place for installation for those wishing to participate.

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Pollen Patties/Honey B Healthy

  • Bee Pro patties have arrived. They will be put up in packages of 2’s for $4.00. Freezing leftovers is acceptable.
  • Honey B Healthy will be available at meetings for $20.

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Pollinator Plant Sale
Are your mailboxes getting stuffed with plant and seed catalogs? Don’t forget to plan some items for the annual pollinator plant sale coming in May. We will be looking for pots of tomatoes, herbs, and all sorts of plants attractive to bees and butterflies.

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Sierra Club Bee News
The most important thing you can do now is ask your friends, family, and colleagues to take action too. It's easy! Simply copy the message below into a new email.

Hi friends,

Honeybees serve as crucial pollinators, yet their population has been significantly dwindling over the past few years - a phenomena known as Colony Collapse Disorder. At issue are the nicotinyl insecticides (also known as neonicotinoids) being used in a new way - as seed coatings. For years, farmers have been spraying neonicotinoids onto their crops to stop insect infestation. Now agribusiness corporations are acquiring patents to coat some of their proprietary seeds with these neonicotinoids. These neonicotinoid coatings are extremely persistent. They enter the plant and are present in pollen and on droplets of water on leaves.

Contact Congress today and call for action to protect our honeybees!

Check it out:

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A Different Story About . . . Bees from NPR

Bee Vs. Car: Who Gets More Miles Per Gallon?

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News from Bee U at Mattacheese
Lessons in Resilience

The Bee Club (Bee U) at the Mattacheese Middle School has now been running for two full years. The club keeps a hive behind the school which has afforded about 50 middle schoolers the opportunity to don a bee suit, work with the bees, and enjoy the fruits of the hive. There have been many exciting moments-the construction of the first hive, the first bee installation, the first taste of honey. But they also have encountered the trials of bee keeping. In addition to swarming, mites and nosema, the hive has also encountered human vandalism. The hive was taken apart in early January by unknown culprits and all the supers were left exposed on the ground. Club members responded and-to our amazement-found the bees still thriving. While we are concerned about the fragile nature of bees, we were struck by their resiliency on this occasion.

Despite these challenges, this past fall and winter have been particularly active and productive. The club quickly sold the 22 pounds of honey it extracted from the school’s hive this fall. Club members have also learned that bee keeping does not hibernate in the winter. They have opened the hive on warm days and stuffed fondant under the inner cover and have marveled at how quickly it disappears. They have also begun making a bees wax based lip balm. Being middle schoolers, they had to have specific flavors, such as root beer and chocolate mint. They must have done their market research as they sold out-140 tubes-in two days!

The goal of this entrepreneurial enterprise is to raise enough money to purchase more bee suits for the club. However, gratification is hard to delay when you are twelve. With a profit of $270 on the honey and lip balm sales, they were faced with the business school 101 dilemma-do we pull our profits out or do we roll the money into more inventory? After due deliberation the club elected to re-invest the profits in supplies for more lip balm and a new project-hand creams-with the goals earning sufficient money to purchase five new bee suits and also have sufficient reserves to maintain inventory. The club is now hard at work one day per week after school preparing product for a spring sale. The club has also discussed the “branding” of its products and will continue to group them under the “Bee Proud” umbrella.

A successful club requires collaboration and support from the community. Along with support from the Dennis-Yarmouth Schools, the Bee Club has garnered community support. Bridges Associates, Inc., a local community not-for- profit (501c3) agency, a partner in the Cape Cod Youth Empowerment Initiative, has received funding for community outreach programs focusing on youth leadership. Funds administered by The Cape Cod Foundation (Cape Youth Force / Barnstable County 4H, The Elizabeth Garner Martin Fund, The Kingston Fund ) supported funding for a budding graphic artist who will be designing a professional Bee Proud Label for the Bee Club, and a program assistant who will be helping the students develop and promote their products.

This article began with an observation of the resiliency of bees. Why they do or don’t survive often escapes our ken. But why the bee club has thrived is perhaps easier to explain-enthusiastic members, school and community support-a resilient combination.

back to top Last updated 03/04/10