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Buzz Words - May 2012

Tuesday, May 8th, 7:30 p.m. at the West Barnstable Community Building, Route 149. Master GardenerAnne Firth will speak about Gardening for The Bees. She will talk about growing perennials, annuals, herbs and even a few shrubs that specifically make your bees hum.

From the President
At the next meeting of the bee club, if we went around the room and asked members why they are keeping bees I suspect we might hear much of the following, “My grandfather kept bees,”  “It’s good for the earth,”  “I like honey,”  “It’s a good way to meet new people,” “I like to learn something new,” “Bees have always fascinated me,”  “It helps keep me out of trouble,” and many other responses.  Personally speaking, I subscribe to almost all of the above, and I have another reason to add.  “It’s a good way to engage youth.”

Four years ago, with the support of the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District and donations from Walter T. Kelley Bee Company and Bridges Associates (a nonprofit organization that I co-founded in 1989), I began Bee U, a bee keeping club at the Mattacheese Middle School in West Yarmouth.  Over the past four years over 100 students have assembled and repaired hives, tended the hive on school property, harvested honey, and made and sold bee related products.  The Barnstable County Beekeepers Association has donated veils for the students and Bridges Associates and the BCBA successfully wrote a grant two years ago to The Bilezikian Family Foundation for AV equipment that both organizations share.  In addition, this spring the same foundation has funded an extension of Bee U for an educational program to keep youth engaged during the summer.

As we all know, “Beekeepin’ ain’t cheap.”  For that reason Bridges Associates is very appreciative of support it has been pledged by the restaurant Not Your Average Joe’s at the Cape Cod Mall.  For the month of May Not Your Average Joe’s will donate 15% of the proceeds from lunch, dinner or takeout purchased on Tuesdays in May to Bridges Associates in support of three of its community based projects, one of which is the summer beekeeping program at Mattacheese.  To be part of this simply email or call 508-362-7692.  We will provide you with a certificate to present to your server at Not Your Average Joe’s and they will credit Bridges with 15% of your tab.  A good meal and a great cause!

Engaging youth can be as rewarding and confusing as raising bees.  No two youth, just like no two hives, behave the same.  But just as we endeavor to raise bees that are resilient in the Cape Cod climate, so too are we attempting to develop resiliency in Cape Cod youth.  Thank you for your interest and support.   -- John

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Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

Mark Marinaccio @

Tamar Haspel @

Disovery Magazine has compiled nearly 50 articles relating to issues and challenges facing bees. They can be read at:

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Thank You, Jan!
April of 1973 was the first organized meeting of the Barnstable County Beekeepers Association.  And now, nearly 40 years later, we number over 300 members. It has been a slow, steady build and is always rewarding when members add hives the following year as they are drawn in by this incredibly fascinating insect.

Every two years we change our leadership. As we go forward with new leadership, we wish to thank Jan, our outgoing President, for her willingness to step up and move our club forward. Jan has always been willing to help, direct, and contain a meeting in good order. We will continue to look forward to her artistic ability and creativeness.

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Pollinator Plant Sale
Saturday, May 12th at Meetinghouse Farm 9 a.m. to Noon

Directions - Route 6 to Exit 5, north on 149, 1/4 mile on the left cattycorner from the West Barnstable Fire Station

Annuals - Perennials - Herbs - Vegetables

New this year...Soil Testing!!!

Drop off donations at Meetinghouse House Farm Friday night or Saturday morning. If you are unable to drop off donations call Jan Rapp @ 508-428-6949 to arrange for pick up.

We can always use extra hands!! Proceeds split between Meetinghouse Farm and the E.A.S. Honey Bee Research Fund

Rev. Fr. Dugat in "The Skyscraper Hive" 3rd. ed. 1947
reprinted in "The Irish Beekeeper" June 1965

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Honey Balls (Marte)
1 c. peanut butter, 1 c. honey, 2 c. nonfat dry milk powder, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1/3 c. wheat germ

Mix peanut butter & honey in bowl. Add milk powder, mix thoroughly. Stir in vanilla and wheat germ. Shape into small balls. Roll in additional wheat germ, if desired. Chill thoroughly. Yields 50 balls.

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Upcoming Meetings
Saturday, 12 May, the Bee Building will get a facelift. If you have hammering skills and an urge to help, we will be there from 9 a.m. coating the back and ends of the building with cedar clapboard. Step ladders and staging might be of value for the tops of the sides. Pizza and …….. will be provided at lunchtime. Call Paul (508-888-2304) if planning to come.

Saturday, May 19th, 10 a.m. in Centerville. Learn how to make Walk-Away Splits and/or On The Spot queen rearing. Stay Tuned. Watch for email with directions.

Saturday, June 23rd, UMASS Agronomy Farm, So. Deerfield. Keep an eye on our website – – to learn the latest, and how to rent a reduced rate room at the local Red Roof Inn.

Saturday, July 16th to Saturday, July 23rd, Barnstable County Fair. Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, August 13th to Friday, August 17th, Eastern Apiculture Society’s Annual Meeting, held this year at the Univ of Vermont Campus, Burlington. Go to for details.
» Downloard Flyer (pdf)

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Do you want to compete?
How good are your honey, candles, photos, or baked goods?  Are they prize worthy?  Whether you are planning to attend EAS this year and compete with the veterans, or just want to be sure your items are the best they can be, the 2012 EAS Honey Show Committee has made a new page on the EAS website. By investigating and using the material collected for you on the site, you will develop skills that improve all your hive products, whether for competition in local fairs, at EAS, or for sale locally.

N.B . - We are always looking for folks to enter their honey and wax products for competition at the Barnstable County Fair. Local judges will critique your entries and provide helpful hints to achieve a better product. A good way to prep for the BIG competition at E.A.S., or at MA Bee’s Fall Meeting, or to enter the marketplace.

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Tips for the Season

  • Feed those packages until nearly all 20 frames of foundation are drawn, or the bees stop taking syrup.
  • Water is a Constant & Continuous must.
  • Watch the brood pattern and read up on requeening.
  • Keep ahead of the Varroa and Small Hive Beetle (BCBA now stocks Beetle Blasters)
  • Integrated Pest Management is critical for our over-wintered hives. Varroa will continue to increase as brood increases.
  • Harvesting drone comb helps to deplete these pests.
  • Swarming season is upon us – add those honey shallows on over-wintered hives, based on nectar flow in your area.
  • Autumn Olive is about to bloom on the Upper Cape and it smells heavenly.

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Grant Update
Carniolan Breeder Queens will be arriving mid-May. Once established in nucs, we will be able to begin a new season of queen rearing. Also in the “clan” will be daughters of our original Vermont Russians, local survivors, and over-wintered Ohio Carniolans.

Our goal this season is to teach many of you how to make a split or 5-frame nucleus colony. These little colonies will be given a locally raised queen cell and you will nurture them into, and through, the winter. Not only will this program help teach us what is needed to build mini colony, but will provide more locally raised queens heading hives across the Cape. Successful overwintering will offset any losses incurred over the winter.

Nine packages have already been hived by 8 members. They will manage these until late June or early July. Once queen cells are available, these hives will be split into nucs and sold. It is our goal that many of you will partner with one of the following bee wranglers, help make up the splits, and become an owner of one, having paid a small fee. Our volunteer wranglers are: Marte Ayers, Mark Marinaccio, John Beach, Bill Brown, Bobby Waldron, Rebecca Matarazzi, George Muhlebach, and Claire Desilets.

If you have taken bee school, but did not start a hive, this is a great way to get acquainted with hands-on beekeeping on a small scale. You will need to purchase protective gear and a few tools.

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Workshops and Hive Openings
Saturday, May 5th, 1 P.M.
Checking status of new packages and brood patterns
Sunday will be rain date, but check with presenters if demo’s will be available

1- Soares Nursery, Sandwich Road, East Falmouth – Marte Ayers ( Park BEHIND greenhouses, NOT in customer lot.

2- Cape Cod Museum Natural History, 869 Route 6A, Brewster – George Muhlebach ( Park in the lot across 6A from the Museum.

3- John Portnoy, 60 Narrowland Rd., Wellfleet – From the south: Take Route 6 into Wellfleet and pass all the turnoffs for Wellfleet Center and Harbor. Opposite Moby Dick Restaurant, turn east (right) onto Gull Pond Rd. Travel 1/2 mile, take left onto Chris Drive. Bear right at top of hill onto Mayflower Drive. About 200 meters at bottom of hill take right onto dirt/gravel road - Narrowland Road (home-made sign). We (Narrowland Farm) are second house on left about 200 meters just before you hit the power lines; street number 60. (508-349-9618)

4- MA Audubon Long Pasture Sanctuary, Bone Hill Rd, Barnstable – Claire Desilets ( Minimal parking in small lot to the left before the curve, or park on roadside (well off the road, please)

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Hive Equipment
I have mentioned in the past issues that we do have some equipment not on the list that I send out, due to donations, no pick-ups, etc.  Some of these are cone escape boards, Boardman feeders, Hive-top feeder (inserts only, no box)
» View Equipment Order Form (pdf)

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Member Jeff Howard has a complete hive, fully assembled and painted, never used. Interested? Call Jeff 508-888-1016

GOT HONEY???? NEED JARS????? Call Ed Osmun, 508-802-0509 to order your glassware. Ed has ˝, 1 & 2 pound Classic Honey Jars in stock. Sold in case lots only.

back to top Last updated 03/05/12