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Buzz Words - March 2014

Next Meeting
Our next meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149 in West Barnstable. Speaker is club member Dr. Bruce Gordon, an ear-nose-and-throat specialist who will address the topic of bee stings.

As always, sweets and treats are welcome.

From the President
As we break cluster and reinvigorate ourselves for the new beekeeping season, please be mindful that the BCBA board needs to reinvigorate itself too. The board is looking for BCBA members to step forward and volunteer to join the board.

Personally speaking, board membership and certainly board presidency were never things I aspired to. Like most of you, I was simply a dues-paying BCBA member and a fair-to-middlin’ beekeeper. However, out of the blue I got a phone call one evening from a BCBA board member asking if I would join the board. Being caught off guard and not quick with an excuse, I muttered, “OK.” In hindsight it was one of the most fortunate tongue-tied comments I have made. As a board member I have met some fun and knowledgeable people and learned a great deal more about bees, all without consuming an inordinate amount of time. I attend quarterly board meetings, assist at bee school and monthly meetings as time and skills allow, and may volunteer for specific board tasks.

So as we prep for the new season, ask yourself: Did you order bees or equipment through the BCBA? Did you attend bee school? Were you mentored? Do you benefit from the monthly newsletters or monthly meetings? If you answer yes to any of these, now is your time to pay it forward. Please contact me at my email ( to join the board. We need help and you will benefit too!

—John Beach

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Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

BCBA discussion group -

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Do the Dues, Dudes
Last call for 2014 dues! The next issue of "Buzz Words" will no longer arrive in your email box unless 2014 dues have arrived at P.O. Box 808, East Sandwich 02537.

Please know it is not the $15 that is needed in BCBA's coffers. We have 250 members to date who are 2014 members. There are 121 of you who have not remitted your $15 to BCBA. Again, it is not the income, but we value all you good folks, Each of you has experiences, both victories and failures, creative ideas, super mentoring abilities and a love for this awesome honeybee. Plus, the Cape Bee program is gaining momentum, with seven live hives coming through this challenging winter, and we would love to spread these genes!!

—Claire Desilets

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The club’s nominating committee is looking for volunteers to be nominated for the open positions of president and vice president to be presented before the annual April meeting. This is the only official general business meeting we have during the year, which will be conducted before our speaker. It would be helpful to have the slate of officers ready to quickly present for voting before we start the speaker portion of our meeting.

Please forward your nomination(s) to Marte Ayers, or phone 508-274-8754, as soon as possible. Technically we need to publish the slate of officers 15 days prior to the meeting per our bylaws. We have two members resigning from the board of directors and could refill these also.

Thanks for all your help in filling these positions.

—Marte Ayers

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Dues are Due
Membership to the Barnstable County Beekeepers Association runs January to Dec. 31 and costs $15 per household. Dues may be paid at the meeting or may be mailed to: BCBA c/o Desilets, P.O. Box 808, East Sandwich, MA 02536. PLEASE INCLUDE your name, mailing address, hometown, email address and a phone number.

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Bee School
Thursday, March 6: Swarming; prevention; capturing
Thursday, March 20: Predators; pests; diseases

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Bees in Fiction
I stumbled on a relatively new novel that is rich with bee lore, most obviously in its titular nod to an ancient tradition from the British Isles. “Telling the Bees” by Peggy Hesketh is nominally a murder mystery, but those not especially drawn to that genre shouldn’t be put off. It’s told from the perspective of Albert Honig, a very old and lonely beekeeper who grows up next door to two sisters whose murders he discovers. Each chapter begins with a fact or story about honeybees, and Albert’s beekeeping activities are woven through the tale. The title is a reference to the old English belief in the necessity of informing bees of major goings-on in the life of the beekeeper.

—Julie Lipkin

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Did You Know
In the very most basic terms, honey is bee vomit. (Go ahead. Take a moment to assimilate that as you prepare that dollop for your cup of tea.) Honeybees drink nectar from flowers, then regurgitate it back and forth to each other to partially digest it.

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Lessons from Aesop
Andy Morris shares Aesop’s Tale of the Bees, the Wasps and the Hornet

A store of honey had been found in a hollow tree, and the wasps declared positively that it belonged to them. The bees were just as sure that the treasure was theirs. The argument grew very pointed, and it looked as if the affair could not be settled without a battle, when at last, with much good sense, they agreed to let a judge decide the matter. So they brought the case before the hornet, justice of the peace in that part of the woods.

When the judge called the case, witnesses declared that they had seen certain winged creatures in the neighborhood of the hollow tree, who hummed loudly, and whose bodies were striped, yellow and black, like bees.

Counsel for the wasps immediately insisted that this description fitted his clients exactly.

Such evidence did not help Judge Hornet to any decision, so he adjourned court for six weeks to give him time to think it over. When the case came up again, both sides had a large number of witnesses. An ant was first to take the stand, and was about to be cross-examined, when a wise old bee addressed the court.

“Your Honor,” he said, “the case has now been pending for six weeks. If it is not decided soon, the honey will not be fit for anything. I move that the bees and the wasps be both instructed to build a honey comb. Then we shall soon see to whom the honey really belongs.”

The wasps protested loudly. Wise Judge Hornet quickly understood why they did so: They knew they could not build a honey comb and fill it with honey.

“It is clear,” said the judge, “who made the comb and who could not have made it. The honey belongs to the bees.”

Ability proves itself by deeds.

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Harvard Study
Preliminary results (not yet analyzed) are in from the Harvard School of Public Health study of neonicotinoids in pollen and honey in beehives. As expected, our bees are bringing some of these ubiquitous pesticides into our hives in amounts detectable in our honey. See attachment for a few RAW results from local hives.

CLASSIFIED – Available 2 Langstroth hives with 2 deep bodies, 2 medium supers, bottoms and tops. Each hive awith nearly 60-75% full of honey. Also includes 2 extra deep bodies, 1 medium super, 2 shallow supers, extra frames, foundation, a bee suit, hats, smoker and misc items. Mike Purdy, So Dennis call 774-368-3139

—Claire Desilets

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Speaker Wanted
AmeriCorps volunteer Valerie Falconieri, who is currently attending bee school, is helping plan Brewster Conservation Day in July as part of her separate gig working at the Brewster Department of Natural Resources. Brewster Conservation Day is held in Drummer Boy Park and offers many educational exhibits to the public. Anyone who would be interested in leading an educational exhibit about beekeeping at Brewster Conservation Day may contact Valerie at

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Interesting Link
For newbees in particular, Forest Hill Bee Supply has a great 15-step primer on installing package bees, with photos for each step. Go to

—Leslie Lichtenstein

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Honey Recipe of the Month
To fight off winter dry skin, try a homemade facial with honey and no artificial ingredients. Here are three variations.*

Bumblebee Facial Mask
1 Tbsp. dried milk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. honey
Mix honey with the egg yolk and then stir in the dried milk powder. Mix into a paste and apply. Remove after 20 minutes with cool water.

Glorious Green Face Mask
½ cup oatmeal
1 smashed avocado
1/3 cup honey
In a bowl, mix smashed avocado with the honey, then continuously add oatmeal. When all ingredients are mixed well, apply to face and relax for 15-20 minutes. Remove with a splash of cool water.

No Monkey Business Mask
½ banana
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. sour cream
Smash the banana and add the honey and sour cream. Apply to face and leave on 15-20 minutes. Gently wipe off with a damp cotton washcloth

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