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Buzz Words - May 2009

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bees, Bees, Bees
4. Annual Pollinator Plant Sale
5. Claire's Corner
6. 4-H Junior Beekeepers Club
7. The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
8. Library
9. News from Bee U
10. Classifieds

The May Meeting will be on Tuesday, the 12th; 7:30 p.m. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. The 2009 Bee School continues with a program on “The Beauty of Bees in Your Garden“ by Roberta Clark, educator, botanist, and entomologist of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension. If you need to know what to plant for your bees, this is the program for you.


Drinks -?
Nibbles - Lynn Heslinga and Sue Vroom 

From the President
As of this writing, a week ago, everyone was complaining that spring has not arrived, that we will, again, go directly from winter into summer.  Well those people are not beekeepers.  We can see signs of spring, which other people cannot.  We know that spring is here when we see our foraging bees return heavy with pollen and their bodies covered yellow, green, orange and sometimes even bright red.  Isn’t it great to see these signs most people do not even know about?

Now it’s also time to reverse the brood chambers to allow the hive an upward expansion.  This is also a good time to renew some old comb.  Remove two to four frames and replace them with foundation.  Spring is the time of hive expansion and the bees are ready to build new comb.

We already received about half of the ordered new bees.  I am one of those.  If I am remembering correctly, for the first time in over 25 years I had queens which died in their cages and I had to scramble to get them replaced.  Claire Desilets had one queen left (thank you Claire).  The other one I had to order from Georgia and I am waiting.  In the meantime, I introduced a frame with eggs and young brood (thank you Sue) into that hive and I am hoping that they will produce their own queen.  It’s a long shot, but worth trying. Experimenting is better than just sitting back and waiting.  If it works out, I will use the ordered queen to start a nuke and if it does not, she will be introduced to the waiting hive.  -- George

Bees, Bees, Bees
1- The following individuals will pick up their bees on May 9th, 3:30 p.m., at Bill’s Bog on Route 124, in Brewster, north of Route 6.  Veils should be worn for the installation demonstration. The bog owner requests that you park on the side of the road opposite the bog. Stay OFF the bog or you will be trespassing.  Watch for BEE sign.
Brown, Stuart Eldredge, Jeff Lindgren, Cynthia
Cezanne, Jeannette Haggerty, Anne McCullough, Debra
Cheek, Kevin Hersey, Lucy Minear, Beth
Clemens, Kate Hopper, Louise O’Donnell, Susan
Diehl, Brian Johnson, Linda Pariseau, Bob
DiMartile, Holly & Rob Labranche, Robert Shaw, Leslie
Doyle, Michael Labranche, Steve Sweetland, Anja & David
Duquay, Paula Latimer, Peter Wade, Tim & Beth
Lay, Marion Morris, Andy

2- The following individuals are to pick up their bees on May 9th with an installation demonstration at 3 p.m., at 186 Old County Rd, East Sandwich.  Mid-Cape (Rte 6) to Exit 4, north off ramp, ½ mile, left onto Old County Rd, first driveway on left.   Parking on our property is limited, so please park along the neighbor’s fence and between our driveway and the corner of Old County/Chase Rds.  Veils are recommended.
Abril, Judy Gall, Brett Molloy, Dan
Allen, David Hatfield, Jim Mulcahy, Sheila
Bailey, Ellen Heavey, Alex Murphy, Stephanie
Bangs, Bryan Hendricksen, Corinne Netto, Joe
Bavelok, Kate Herman, John Parker, Bob
Binder, Steve Johansen, Carl & Judy Peterson, Mark & Liz
Ferranti. Beth Kiley, Mary Raneiri, Kim & Mary
Cadieux, Pete King, Julee Rowitz, Ray
Casper, Sally Kurker, Fred Schmidt, Norm
Churchill, Matt Lenk, Geoff Schneckloth, Chuck
Chute, Toni Leonard, Margee & Tom Sheehy, Lisa
Crabbe, Alicia Leone, Catherine Spencer, Peggy
Desilets, Claire Stergis, Lou
Dimitri, Arthur Meriot, Fran Sullivan, Jean
Gauthier, MaryAnne Minnegerode, Kevin Tran, Cahn
Donovan, Donna Miskiv, Donna Vizgaitis, Monika
Egloff, Kalliope Modzelewski, Joan Wood, Lucy
George Muhlebach Worrall, Andrea

Please be aware that these are living creatures and must be hived in a timely fashion. We will not be responsible for those not picked up on days assigned. If you cannot pick up on those days, please have someone do so for you.

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Annual Pollinator Plant Sale
Saturday, May 16, 2009, from 9:00 – 12:00, at the Meetinghouse Farm, Rt. 149, West Barnstable.

If you cannot be there during those hours, feel free to ask for someone to pick up your goods or drop them off yourself at the Farm the night and morning before the sale.

If you are making your plant starts, please plan on putting a few more seeds in pots in anticipation of our annual plant sale. Those divided perennials are hot stuff, too!!

Proceeds benefit the further education of now and future Beekeepers as well as funding Bee research.

Interested in helping? Please call Jan @ 508-4238-6949 or email

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Claire's Corner
Lots to do, lots to remember as the season is upon us. Remember your water source to avoid neighborhood confrontations. Best idea we have seen is the use of a plastic chicken waterer with the tray lined with small stones. Bird baths tend to evaporate quickly, but this Agway product will last for days.

Feeding bees, when and how much, is always a source of confusion and differences of opinion. The consensus of opinion is that new packages and splits and nucs need feed stimulation. Even if the package is going into a dead-out with honey, faster buildup is made possible with a 1:1 sugar syrup. Here the thinking is the hive network believes a honey flow exists creating a need for more workers, thus more eggs to be laid by the queen.

Over-wintered hives with 4 or more frames of honey should need little feeding. Excess frames of honey should be removed to prevent swarming in the next month or two. If a new package is established in close proximity to an over-wintered hive, it is advisable to feed both at the same time. This will prevent robbing. The ole gals are looking for an easy source of carbs for their growing numbers. What could be a better kitchen than a new package just setting up housekeeping.

New packages should be fed until the 2nd deep is nearly drawn or the hive becomes independent and no longer takes the sugar syrup. Thus they have found their own source of nectar.

It has been suggested that if you intend to dust with confectionary sugar, do so now with over wintered hives before much of the first brood has hatched, thereby ridding of some of the phoretic varroa. New packages should not be dusted for 2 to 3 weeks after installation. Let the workers settle in and the queen is laying for several days.

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New 4-H Junior Beekeepers Club Has Formed
14 youngsters have signed up!!
Meetings are the first and third Mondays each month from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.!
at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds Administration Building.!
Next meeting is Monday, May 4th, 2009!

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

“We’ve got problems!” exclaimed Paul. “I just looked at my hive and there are these little black beetles all over the inner cover!”

Patty’s eyes nearly popped. This usually cool lady rushed to the garage and hurriedly donned her bee suit. She sprinted out to the hives, turned on a dime and sprinted back to the garage. She had forgotten her gloves. Once back at the hives, she removed the brick holding down the outer cover on her hive and the cover itself and uttered a caustic expletive. She sprinted back to the garage and retrieved her hive tool.

Before she could return for the third time, Paul gave her a huge hug. “Honey,” he said. “Settle down. It’s not the end of the world. Let’s just sit on the bench by the hives and watch them for a while.”

With his arm gently draped over Patty’s shoulders Paul guided her to the garden bench and eased her to sit.

“Now, tell me what we learned in bee school about the Small Hive Beetle,” he coaxed in a gentle voice. They discussed the lesson taught a school and all they heard at the meetings. Patty began to relax as they talked and Paul gave her a hug. Back in the garage as they were cutting up corrugated boxes to make their beetle traps, Paul cleared his throat. He then grinned at Patty and said, “Want to some even worse news? I think my hive is queen-less.”

With great care they dismantled Paul’s hive. They could not find the queen, and neither could they find any eggs. That afternoon they ordered a new queen from one of the vendors recommended by their mentor. They thought they would try a different variety from the Italian that came in the spring with the package. Feeling that the Cold War was well over, they ordered a Russian queen. A couple of days later Patty answered the doorbell to find their Letter Carrier, Natalie Dressed, holding at arms length, an onion bag.

“Here’s your queen bee,” she shakily stated, pretending to be brave. “Could you warn me next time? I’ve been a nervous wreak since I began my run this morning.”
Patty accepted the onion bag and smiled, saying, “Thank you, Natalie. This little girl wouldn’t hurt you. Paul will be so thrilled now that she’s here.”

That afternoon, they introduced the queen with no hesitation or trepidation. Without realizing it, they were now experienced beekeepers.

To be continued . . .

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A select number of books and videos from our library has been permanently moved to the Whelden Library in West Barnstable.  This will make them available to all via the CLAMS system.  Regular Library Rules apply.

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News from Bee U
The arrival of a new package of bees was enthusiastically anticipated by the students in the Bee Club at Mattacheese.  Despite the promise of an apparently healthy wintered over hive in March, the hive was dead shortly thereafter despite ample honey stores.  Not having been in the bee business very long, the one thing I have figured out is that as soon as you have it figured out, you don't.    I guess that keeps it interesting.  At any rate, the good news is that it gave me the opportunity to do an installation for the students.

On Sunday afternoon, April 19, I got a package from Claire and Paul's around 2:30 and made it back to the school in time for a planned 3 PM installation.  I was not sure if any students would show up, despite my reminding them, as it was the first weekend of spring vacation.  However, when I pulled into the driveway at 2:55, there were several cars waiting for me (and the bees) and included students, parents, siblings, and even grand parents!  I had originally planned to take a few other packages I had ordered home first and install them first so I could get any kinks out but time did not permit this.  So here I was, with many eager onlookers, and no time to have practiced the installation routine.  The crowd followed me out to the hive and a few students donned suits so they could join in the work.  They sprayed the bees, tapped down the package, sprayed 'em again, and pried off the top.  So far, so good.  To pull out the can of syrup was a bit trickier- am not sure if 6 hands made the job easier or harder, but the one hand that was supposed to be holding the tab to the queen cage malfunctioned and she descended into the mass of workers.  However, one (brave?) student quickly reached in and retrieved the cage but the metal tab used to hang it had fallen off.  Fortunately I had a few push pins in my pocket (I've had this problem before) and was able to rig a mechanism to suspend the cage in the hive.  At the end I received many thank you's from the families for the opportunity afforded their children (which were appreciated) and compliments for the smooth installation (which wasn't as smooth as it appeared!). 

Yesterday I was checking the syrup supply after school and was joined by a teacher and students from another after school activity at the school.  They had heard about the club and were curious about how the bees were turning a hive into a home.  I think they're ready to join the club too.  This thing is growing!

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5 FRAME NUC BOXES for sale  (used only once) Great for quick splits or swarm catching.   $10.00
Call Claire and Paul @ 508-888-2304  Can bring to May meeting.

Honey B Healthy is available $20/pint at meetings and at bee pick-up in East Sandwich.

back to top Last updated 05/05/09