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Buzz Words - May 2008

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Pollinator Plant Sale
4. Upcoming Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Osterville Comment
7. Community Garden Looking for a Hive
8. The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
9. Classifieds

Next Meeting
On Tuesday, May 13th. A continuation of bee school will bring newbees a program on available pollen and nectar sources for our bees. Sue Phelan, beekeeper, organic gardener, and director of GreenCAPE, will provide us with color slides of what floral sources might, or could, be in your backyards and neighborhoods.

The following members volunteered to bring goodies and drinks to this meeting: Marte Ayers, Doris Krueger and Gail Hanlon are bringing drinks; Donna Tanis, Kathy Frucci, and Ray White promised to bring munchies. Thank You!

From the President
Well, spring has definitely sprung and the new bees and the “newbees” are here. I welcome all. The new bees have come and have found their new homes. Thanks to Claire and Paul Desilets for their heavy lifting, both physically and figuratively. I hope all the hiving went well. The weather cooperated, but it was a bit of a challenge the weekend after when it was time to remove the now empty queen cage.

It’s a joy to see the furious activities of the foragers, returning with their pollen baskets loaded with reddish, green, gray and various hues of yellow pollen; or to see them scrambling to get out and bring in another load. If you have new colonies, remember that the first three to four weeks are especially challenging. In established, over wintered colonies, the brood nest is expanding at a rapid pace now, and you should think about reversing the hive bodies soon (if you have not done so already), to allow the colony to continue its growth upward. Do this when you have one solid box of bees—if they have already expanded into the box below them, you’ve got a very strong colony and reverse right away.

When you reverse, renew some old combs. Remove four of the oldest combs from the bottom deep, and replace them with fresh foundation. The bees are primed for comb building and expansion at this time of the year. Comb renewal is part of ensuring a healthy environment for the bees. Referring old combs to a solar wax melter (or other device) removes the contamination from the hive, and relieves that particular stress on the bees. -- George

Pollinator Plant Sale
Saturday, May 17th, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the greenhouse at Meetinghouse Farm on Route 149 in West Barnstable. Jan will begin at 8 a.m. for early drop-offs and could use extra hands from 8 to 11 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All donations should be labeled - plant tags will be available at the May meeting, or you can use Popsicle sticks or disposable plastic knives. Perennial splits, seedlings and the like are needed to load the benches.
Questions? -- Jan Rapp -- 508-428-6949

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Meetings of Interest
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Earth Day at Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
B.C.B.A. shall have a display. Could use a few more volunteers to help Marte. You get free admission.
For more details, call Marte

Saturday, May 10, 2008
1 P.M.
Requeening and Splits
Hands on in Marstons Mills. The location is a bog on Race Lane, the entrance is at #1198 which is on the right side of the road just 7/10’s of a mile from the rotary at Route 149. Mystic Lake is on the opposite side. Look for the bee windsocks by the driveway. Parking will be around the bog edges.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
7:30 P.M.
Pollinating Plants for your gardens – Monthly Meeting in West Barnstable

Saturday, May 17, 2008
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Pollinator Plant Sale
Bring plants to sell, bring money to buy

Sunday, May 18, 2008
1 p.m.
Hive Opening for “Newbees”
Michelson Bog on Old County Road, East Sandwich. Parking along the road by the bog at the Route 6-A end of Old County. Look for those same bee windsocks.

Sunday, June 15, 2008
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Queen Rearing – hands on with Larry Connor , 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.
Members - $15. and bring bag lunch & Protective clothing. Limited attendance, contact Claire.

Monday, June 16, 2008
Honey Bee Biology Essentials with Larry Connor, PhD at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History

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

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Claire's Corner
May is playing out to be a very busy month with a number of club workshops and activities. Let’s hope the weather continues as warm and sunny as April. It is hard to recall better weather than we experienced when installing our new packages. Other than a few queen mishaps, most of the Georgia girls have settled in well, nibbling their pollen patties, slurping down the syrup and hitting the boards with quite an array of pollen colors.

The over-wintered hives have been a real treat to work. Most were quite gentle when rotating the deeps, checking brook patterns and exchanging out old comb. It was a pleasure to see no small hive beetles scurrying around, with but a few “shells” with the detritus on the sticky boards. The strength of the hives was most encouraging especially with queens arriving to make splits and nucleus colonies.

As an advocate of drone comb for IPM control of the varroa mite, we were shocked at the amount of capped drone brood to date. Only mid-April and we filled a 5-gallon pail of capped drone and trapped varroa mites. Appreciating our enjoyment in skewering drone brood with a capping scratcher, we went to work doing just that when taking brood from each hive. Keep in mind that most of these over-wintered hives were new packages in the spring of 2007. Upon installation sticky boards were inserted looking for a varroa drop. These boards were clean in 2007. Drone brood during the season showed very few mites per multiple pupal pull. But now, as spring evolves and the hive builds, so does the varroa count. The numbers were not large, but of concern. So, the next step will be a sticky board with Crisco for a 3-day count. We will have some of these boards at the May 13 meeting. If the count is over 50 mites per day, we will begin dusting with powdered sugar. Keep in mind that varroa love the life cycle of the drone. Add to that the fact that drones can fly 5 to 6 miles and they tend to drift into other hives. This is how the mites spread across the country.

This is a warning for the 2007 “newbees” with over-wintered hives. We really, really, really need to stay on top of this critter. When it becomes out of hand, you will experience a fall decline of your hive. Be aware of the Deformed Wing Virus, which might accompany the varroa mite.

An article in the May 2007 issue of ABJ by Randy Oliver of California provides a simple and safe IPM of controlling varroa. We will demonstrate it at the hive opening. One can treat a 2-deep hive by sprinkling 2 cups of powdered sugar on a screen over the top deep frames. Brush the sugar through the screen, then brush the sugar off of each frame into the frame spaces to sprinkle down on all the bees. This will drop through both deeps to the screened bottom board. The sugar adheres to the mites’ footpad and the grip on the honey bee is lost. Thus, the mite falls down and out of the screened bottom board. Secondly, the honey bees are busy grooming themselves and additional mites will fall. The only possible damage to the hive might be a small percentage loss of eggs and larva, but this is only if one dusts too heavily. How often to use this depends on your mite count, but it can be done weekly if needed, or monthly for prevention. This really is a simple and cheap solution to a potentially devastating problem.

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Osterville Comment


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Community Garden Looking for a Hive
The new Dana’s Fields* Community Garden in Sandwich will provide area residents with inexpensive plots (25’x25’) to grow vegetables, herbs and flowers in an organic environment. The garden is open to everyone. There will be raised beds to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities.

Dana’s Fields is located in a 47 acre tract, off Route 130, in the Sandwich Industrial Park, on Victory Drive.
To rent a plot or learn more contact Bob Johnson at: 508-771-5400, Ext. 204 or
*(Dana’s Fields is a community where formerly homeless and low-income individuals and families will live, learn, and work)

LouAnn Colombo invites all to her establishment, Bee and Blossom, at Sherman Square, in the west end of Main St, Hyannis. She has a combination florist shop, bee-themed gift shop, with local honeys (she wants some of yours), honey truffles, honey soaps, lotions, candles, etc.

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The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
by Andy Morris

Paul ’n Patty were concerned about the planet. They subscribed to the philosophy of the “Four R’s”; Rethink, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. They had jobs near enough to so they could use just one car, and that was a hybrid, utilizing both gasoline and electricity. They had a worm farm in their cellar to dispose of their vegetable table scraps, and free-range chickens in their back yard for all the rest. Instead of fertilizer, they composted their yard and garden waste and surplus.

None of this seemed as important to them as what they learned from one fateful newscast on the television: that the honeybees were in crisis, that something called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was affecting them, and if something wasn’t done, and soon, the entire planet was in jeopardy.

Sleep didn’t come easy for Patty that night. She kept having visions of what the world might be like if this CCD weren’t dealt with. Her dreams were straight out of an early Mel Gibson movie, post-apocalyptic and violent.

Breakfast wasn’t much fun the following morning. Patty had her bad night but Paul had slept like a bear in January. Paul was all smiles and feeling frisky and she was grumpy and quite depressed.

Now Paul could sense something was amiss and asked, “Honey, what’s the matter. You don’t look like you slept too well last night.”

“Well, I didn’t,” she said. “And you shouldn’t have either!”

Realizing he had already lost whatever battle she was about to wage, Paul offered, “You’re right, Honey, but I couldn’t help myself. I was tired, the lights were out and I was in bed. Tell me what was bothering you so much that you couldn’t sleep.”

“It was the news last night, before we went to bed,” She said. “That story about the bees being lost and the possible impact on the world…it kept me up most of the night.”

Cautiously, Paul eased in that he thought it might be many years before the loss of the bees became a real problem and the impact wouldn’t and therefore shouldn’t bother them. That’s when he got “The Look”, and he knew he had made a very serious tactical error.

With her clenched fists on her hips and her head tilted to the left (never a good sign), Patty squinted her eyes and said, “Who are you? I don’t even know you any more!

“Whose idea was it for us to recycle? Yours.

“Whose idea was it to drive the hybrid? Yours.

“And now you have the nerve to say that this is not our problem? I don’t think so!”

Paul had retreated to the kitchen sink and was holding up a dishtowel in defense. He could not remember a time when he had seen Patty this angry. He wasn’t sure if she was angry with him so he tried to sooth things out. “Honey, you’re right. But what can we do?”

“I’m glad you asked,” said Patty, “because while I couldn’t sleep last night, I did some research. I called the fire department and asked…”

“You WHAT?” Paul exclaimed. “You called the fire department? But this wasn’t an emergency. There are laws against doing that!”

“…Them what they knew about honeybees. I knew they would be awake, so that wouldn’t be a problem. They told me about a local bee club. Can you believe it? There is actually a club, here in town, just for beekeepers. Today I’m going to call them and see what we can do to help out.”

Paul swiped his sleeve across his brow and let out whoosh of air as he sat down at the center island of the kitchen. He knew anything could happen when Patty was in one of these moods, and he tried to brace himself. He cradled his chin in the palm of his hand and wondered to himself, ‘What’s next?’

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John Portnoy of Wellfleet has converted to mediums and has six deeps left with frames and good drawn comb that he'll sell for $20 each - pick up in Wellfleet. He has never used pesticides or medications in these boxes, and they are in very good shape. --508-349-9618

Ed Osmun has division board feeders for sale at 50 cents each. He will also have Kona Queens available next week. Call Ed at 508-833-9696 if interested.

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