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Buzz Words - May 2010

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Tips
4. Future Meetings
5. Claire's Corner
6. 4-H Junior Beekeepers
7. Pollen Patties/Honey B Healthy
8. Workshop
9. Pollinator Plant Sale

Next Meeting – Tuesday, May 11th,  7:30 P.M., at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149.  Blooms, blossoms, pollens and nectars will all be wrapped up in an informative power point. Bee School 2010 continues with Roberta Clark, our Cape Cod Cooperative Extension educator presenting colorful suggestions for your foraging bees.  

Many questions come up throughout the bee season. In order to benefit all members, the following format has been proposed by a board member.  Throughout the month, members can email questions to Claire and Paul. At the next monthly meeting, three of the most pertinent questions will be offered for  discussion.

2 liter soda or iced tea - Geoff  Lenk
1 gal Water - Geoff Lenk
Cookies, Brownies, Dessert Bars, Etc - Cal Mutti & Julie Lipkin

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 was a bit nonplussed at the last meeting and don’t think I gave a loud enough or long enough accolade to George for his impeccable role as outgoing President of the BCBA. He led with humor, intellect and wisdom not to mention many hours of physical involvement. His leadership was one of the reasons it was difficult for anyone to step up to the plate, after all it will be very difficult to follow in his footsteps.
My years as a beekeeper number only eight and some of those years I have to admit to being pretty hands-off. Now I have settled into active experimentation in organic technique.  Different approaches to overwintering, feeding and using integrated pest management technique. For the first time I caught two swarms last year only to lose them because I didn’t build them up fast enough before the cold set in. But it increased my knowledge base and I sure know what to TRY next time.

I am an art and ceramics teacher at Cape Cod Academy with a degree in Medical Illustration. I serve on the newly formed Energy Commission in the Town of Barnstable and was a past president of the Cotuit Library Association and past long-time member of the Barnstable Town Library Committee. So, though I don’t bring years of beekeeping experience to the floor I do know my Roberts Rules.

And though I am a bit cantankerous about having to attend every meeting (only because I can’t ride my bicycle safely there) I will make every effort to be available, and actively promote, most particularly, the educational mission of the Club. 

–Jan Rapp

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  • Rotation should be done along with housecleaning – scrape bottom board and exchange old or damaged foundation
  • Feed 1:1 sugar syrup to encourage the queen to lay, if stores are minimal
  • Over-wintered hives should be supered in anticipation of that first honey flow
  • Consider a split when queens become available to prevent swarming

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Future Meetings
May 11th – Pollinating Plants –Roberta Clark, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension

May 15th  - Annual Pollinator Plant Sale  -  Club fundraiser

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

June 26th - MA Beekeepers Association, Annual Field Day, UMASS Agronomy Farm, S Deerfield

July 29th-Aug 1st - Northeast Treatment Free Beekeeping Conference, Leominster (info & updates can be found at

Oct 2nd - MA Beekeepers, Fall Meeting and Honey Competition, Leicester
Dr. David Tarpy, North Carolina State University
Dr. Joe Latshaw, Latshaw Apiaries, New Albany, Ohio

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Claire's Corner
The 2010 bee season is proving to be a most challenging one to date. It has been disappointing in that we have delivery delays due to cold weather early on in Georgia. On the flip side, reports of queen cells and crowded hives in March are really fascinating situations to experience.

Why would a hive supercede or setup a swarming situation when so few drones have emerged? Remember that drones are not sexually mature till 14 days old. Was it that stretch of unseasonably warm weather we had in addition to all that available pollen? Jeepers, every season is so very different!

Here is an example of this spring’s activities: email on 04/03 – overwintered 2009 hive both deeps literally loaded with bees, honey and brood. Brood pattern solid with very few cells left open. April 3rd? No queens available, no drones for mating. What to do?  Immediate solution is to add a third deep for more room. That was done, with new, undrawn frames. April 24th, (3 weeks later with 3 deeps) now has filled 3rd deep and a minimum of 14 queen cells have developed. We should all have this queen!

Rather than attempting to cut out all queen cells (NEVER a good idea), an knowing that our beekeeper had equipment for a new hive, it was suggested to remove frames of brood with bees and queen cells and establish a new hive. Add a frame of honey and let them raise a new queen. Undrawn foundation replaced the frames of brood and honey and this alone provides more room and slows down this prolific queen. Reduce this hive to two deeps with the 3rd deep and queen cells now in the new hive location.

Well now there is a new package due in shortly, so why not establish this new package over a double-screened board over the queen cell hive. The top deep will have a different entrance and should be fed sugar syrup.

Once both queens have begun laying, evaluate their pattern and sacrifice the poor producer. Remove the screened board and replace with newspaper and let the girls coexist. The result will be two very strong hives and should be ready for honey shallows mid-May.

And, remember that the club has that extra equipment when the need arises. 

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4-H Junior Beekeepers
The 4-H Beekeepers will be maintaining the hive at the county fairgrounds. The club now has a hive at the county farm, New Alchemy/Falmouth, Sandwich, Fairgrounds/Falmouth, and Mashpee. The club will also be planting and maintaining a Pollinator Garden at the 4-H Youth Hall at the Fairgrounds, thanks to 4-H Advisory Council. If anyone is interested in donating equipment, the club needs 2 bucket feeders, 1 bottom board, 1 top, 2 entrance excluders, and any small-sized gear (gloves, etc.).

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Saturday, May 22nd, from 10 a.m. to Noon
We will assist Bobby Waldron, of 1198 Race Lane, Marstons Mills, make splits or new nucleus colonies from strong hives.  Watch for BEE signs and drive past the house to the bogs in back. (Approximately 0.7 miles west of the roundabout  at Route 149 and Race Lane and across from Mystic Lake.)  Bring your veil.

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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
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Meetinghouse Farm, Route 149, West Barnstable

Vegetables – Perennial and Annual Flowers – Trees – Herbs

Rain or shine as we conduct the sale inside a greenhouse.

We definitely could use some help anytime from 8:00-12:00, marking plants and helping customers.

PLEASE donate all that you can in the way of divisions, dug-up trees or extra seedlings. To make the donation just drop off at the Meetinghouse Farm anytime Friday or Sat morning.  Leave inside the greenhouse w/ a note if no one around to help.

Call (508) 428-6949 or email if you would like help digging stuff up or picking stuff up; or if you would like to carpool in my truck on Sat AM, day of.

back to top Last updated 05/10/10