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Buzz Words - May, 2004

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Claire’s Corner
4. Pollinator Plant Sale
5. Heritage Garden
6. Tick Season
7. Bee School
8. Attention
9. Educational Resources
11. Club Rates for Bee Journals
12. Other Items for Sale
13. Classified Ads

Next Meeting: Tuesday, May 11th, 7:30 p.m. at the West Barnstable Fire Station on Route 149.

Program: Combined meeting for Bee School and a refresher for the general membership. George Muhlebach will provide us with the reasons that honeybees swarm and give us the means and wherewithall to (hopefully) prevent these swarms.

From the President
Dandelions! It’s time for dandelions. Not in my yard. I don’t have dandelions – well, not too many. Not as many as my bees would like. Well, maybe as many as they’d like. Bees love dandelions – probably because there’s not much else to graze on. Dandelions are a signal for us as keepers of the bees to check the hives and see if the bees have moved down into the lower hive body. If your bees are still up in the top of the hive this is the time to switch your deeps. If your cluster is split between your deeps – leave well enough alone. All of you with new packages make sure you keep plenty of sugar syrup in/on your hives. Your girls will need lots of food to produce wax to draw out all the new foundation. Pay attention to how fast the bees are drawing out the comb. After 7 or 8 frames are drawn out you can put your second deep on. I’m looking forward to hearing some installation stories at the next meeting.

Happy Spring – Pete

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Claire’s Corner
70.1 degrees today! Unfortunately, I was in the office looking out the window. We are getting closer to more enjoyable weather, and looking out my bedroom window, the perennial garden seems a bit greener. Sedum, both “Frosty morn” and “Autumn joy”, are emerging. Goldenrod and Blue-globe thistle are everywhere. A nice patch of Leopard’s Bane is spreading (a great find at a past Pollinator Plant Sale).

On the deck we are nurturing several flats of a pink perennial aster (Aster dumosus) “Peter Harrison” for the plant sale. Blossoming in late summer, it will reach 16” and spread nearly 12” in diameter. Definitely a nice addition to your bee garden.

Been looking at the hive we installed on April 18th. The queen was laying as fast as the workers could draw out the new foundation. What a sight – pristine white cells with eggs galore newly laid! By May 4th we should see our first capped brood. Be sure to keep that syrup bucket replenished.

As exciting as it was for some on the 18th, it was a great disappointment for others. Our smallest order of package bees in recent years was cut by 20% and some of us are still waiting for the call. Still no word on the nucs – watch your answering machine for that blink.

In May, George will walk us through the how’s and why’s of swarming. Believe it or not, on 4/25 we already found queen cells galore in one very strong hive. We immediately split the hive – cells in one and the elusive queen (we hope) in the other, and added a second deep to each. Splits, or nucs, are a quick solution to prevent a swarm. Those of you buying Merrimack Valley nucs might consider keeping the well-built nuc box for $10. A few old frames tucked into it and placed near your apiary would serve as an excellent swarm trap. Secondly, it would provide a great temporary home for an overcrowded hive readying to swarm.

Nuc boxes also work well when requeening becomes necessary. Pull 2 or 3 frames of brood (mostly capped & some uncapped) with bees and place in the nuc box. Add frames with honey and pollen and set it on top of the hive to be requeened. Don’t forget to find the whereabouts of that elusive queen. Foragers will return to the hive below and the nurse bees will remain in the nuc. Let the nuc rest for a day and then add the new queen. When the queen is out and laying, go below and kill (ouch!) the old queen. Let the hive rest for a day, then mist sugar syrup over bees of both hives and return the nuc frames to the original hive. Really works well – most of the time!

How many of you read the article on “overnight splits” in the April 2004 Bee Culture ? Michael Palmer of Vermont makes it sound so easy to make a split. With 30-odd queens arriving early in May, we will give it a try. The concept is still the same, as he utilizes nurse bees lacking aggressiveness and capped brood soon to emerge to take care of the new queen.

Many of our “Buckeye Reb” queens arriving on May 12th and 18th have been reserved, but a few remain looking for a new home. These are gentler black bees of Canadian Carniolan heritage flying in from Black Lick, Ohio. Thirteen dollars will take one to a new home. Call Claire at 888-2304

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Pollinator Plant Sale
Mark Saturday, June 5th on your calendar. This will be our annual pollinator plant sale, to be held at the West Barnstable Community Building. To borrow Geoff’s wording from last year’s notice –“ Please bring some (donate) plants for the club to sell at this event. Surplus perennials overflowing your gardens, small saplings, favorite fun blooming plants, annuals started from seed…. Whatever suits you best. We get a nice turnout for this event so everything usually goes over well. We can use help the Friday evening before hand to set up and price items as well as hands on deck Saturday to assist in sales, carrying items to cars, etc. Please mark what you bring so the public knows what they’re purchasing, and if special instructions are necessary, please bring them along.” Friday setup begins at 8 PM

Sale hours are 10 AM to 1 PM. Even if you have nothing to contribute, you can always come out and find a new plant or two for your gardens.

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Heritage Gardens – Rhode-O Weekend
Not into plant sales? Like to talk about bees? Then we have just the thing for you! Also on Saturday, June 5th, from 10 to 3, we have been asked to return, with our bee display, to Heritage Gardens in Sandwich. Peter and Claire will be there talking themselves hoarse, and could use some additional input from members. Call either Pete (888-9519) or Claire (888-2304) to volunteer for 2,3 or more hours.

Tick Season is upon us
We were out both Saturday and Sunday rotating and feeding our hives. When we finished, we had many moving “spots” on our suits. The one benefit of a white suit is the ease of picking ticks off. Be careful out there, and be sure to check yourself when you come in.

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Bee School
The last session of bee school is a hive opening. Claire will host this session at the cranberry bog at the northern end of Old County Road in East Sandwich, on Saturday, May 15th, at 1 P.M. As you come down Route 6A in East Sandwich, Old County Road is opposite the Post Office. The bog is immediately to the right. Please park on the roadside and walk in. This event is open to all members. Raindate - Sunday

Continue to heft hives. Adequate stores critical for hive survival and growth.
As bees begin to forage pollen, there must be stores enough to feed developing brood. Feed 1:1 Sugar syrup - Pollen substitute may be added to the diet.

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Educational Resources
Keeping in mind our mission to foster beekeeping on Cape Cod, if you receive a request to present to a school group, social or civic club, etc., BCBA has a traveling one frame observation hive, a miniature demonstration hive, and laminated study prints available for your use. Just call Claire (888-2304) to schedule pickup.

Put the power of the Internet to work for you, for free! The Mass Bee web site has a new section available now for Mass Bee members to advertise their beekeeping related services. They have separate areas for listings of honey, beeswax and other hive products for retail sale; honey, beeswax and other hive products for wholesale; Bee Removals and Swarm calls; Pollination Services; Public Speaking and Beekeeping Equipment Suppliers. All of this (and more!) can be found at the Mass Bee web site at, select the "Services" link, and follow the instructions to add your own listings to the system.

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Club Rates for Bee Journals
Make your check out to the appropriate vendor and give, or send, it to Paul

  • Bee Culture - 1yr - $17.00, 2 yr - $32.00
  • American Bee Journal - 1 yr - $17.20, 2 yr - $32.75, 3 yr - $46.05

Other Items for Sale
We will have at the next few meetings Ed Weiss’s text "The Queen and I" and the B.C.B.A. Cookbooks will be available. We also have "Bee a Cape Cod Honey" tees and B.C.B.A. polo shirts available. If you would like a shirt, call Paul or Claire at 888-2304 a couple of days prior to the meetings with sizes and we will be sure to have them there for pickup.

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Classified Ads
Ed Osmun says he will have extra Kona Queens available. Cost is $16. These girls do the waggle dance to a hula beat. He also has Type S Pollen Traps for $59. and 12 oz flat-panel bears at $12 per 24.

Andy Reseska has a 16 Gal Maxant Honey Clarifier, used one season, asking $500. 508-429-6872
New Assembled Woodenware, Pierco frames, HFCS, etc. Save time and money. Reasonably priced. Call for price list. Reseska Apiaries,Inc. (508) 429-6872

Member Frank Smith has a hand-crank 4-frame plastic extractor for sale. Frank is asking $80. 508-291-2911.

Mary Alexander also has a 4-frame extractor, but hers is powered. Asking $100. Mary is at 508-775-7989.

Claire has taken on a dealership for Honey B Healthy. A feeding stimulant made up of spearmint and lemongrass oils, it promotes healthy, vigorous bees, aids in requeening, and calms bees when used as a spray. 8 oz./$13.00

back to top Last updated 3/29/04