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Buzz Words - October, 2004

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. Massachusetts Beekeepers' Meeting
3. Claire’s Corner
4. More Kudos
5. Health and Beauty Tip
6. Glassware
7. Extraction Assistance
8. Interesting Facts
9. Farm Festival Day
10. Recipe Corner
11. Club Rates for Bee Journals
12. Other Items for Sale
13. Classified Ads

Next Meeting: Tuesday, October 12th, 7:30 P.M. AGAIN at the West Barnstable Fire Station on Route 149. Barnstable Landscaper, and BCBA member, Tim Friary will speak to us about native plants that our honeybees favor, how to propagate some of those favorites, and of his work with the Cape Cod Conservation District.

Massachusetts Beekeepers' Meeting
The Massachusetts Beekeepers' Association will hold its Fall Meeting and Honey Show at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Fitchburg on Friday and Saturday, October 29th and 30th. Featured speakers are Dr. John Skinner of the University of Tennessee, and Jennifer Berry, University of Georgia Apiary Manager and Dr. Keith Delaplane's Research Co-coordinator. I invite you all to cross over the bridge and come on Saturday for an educational field trip. A registration form is enclosed, and further details and information, as well as honey show rules, can be found at our website: -- Paul

Claire’s Corner
As Indian Summer passes, and colder weather settles in, our beekeeping season is nearing its end. It is certainly not time to put our feet up and forget our girls until March, however. Our final preparations now will ensure winter survival and a bountiful spring in 2005. It is an anxious time, especially after the last few harsh winters. So, what should we do?

Location has long been established, but heavy winds can take their toll on a hive, so a wind break is needed if your hive stands out and alone. And, your hive is the perfect warm environment for all those cute little field mice looking for a winter nesting site. Get those mouse guards in if you haven’t already.

The most senseless loss of a hive is due to starvation. It has been a struggle with many of our hives this year due to lack of stores. Heft the back of your hive. It should be difficult for most of us to lift. The top deep super should be nearly full of capped honey. If not, feeding is in order. Much confusion arises when we need to mix sugar syrup. It needs to be thick for fall feeding, therefore a 2:1 syrup is called for. This is easily remembered by dissolving 5 pounds of sugar in 5 cups of hot water. A batch or two should include a teaspoonful of Fumagillin-B to ward off spring Nosema. Keep feeding till they take no more.

As new beekeepers, we felt the need to tighten up the hive so the girls could huddle and cuddle all winter. Why not, I use an electric blanket (nearly year-round)! But these girls build up condensation quickly. Ventilation is critical! Air flow through the hive and venting out through the notched inner cover will not chill the cluster. It is amazing how much moisture can accumulate on an insulation board or under the inner cover. Very little heat is lost from an adequately ventilated colony. The heat will be maintained in the cluster.

An insulation board can be cut from Homasote or fiberboard (not Styrofoam). It should be the same size as the inner cover. A ten inch long cut is made from the front edge towards the center and placed on top of the inner cover. This will help absorb the excess condensation and provide an upper entrance. Don’t forget the wooden wedge used all season placed between the outer cover and the insulation board. We have had success using several layers of newspaper over our queen excluders which rest on the inner cover. The vent stick is still used. Another successful approach to hive-top insulation is to screen the bottom of a shallow super, fill it with shavings, and place it over the inner cover.

Wrapping a hive is almost as controversial as the use of queen excluders. A single sheet of tar paper stapled around the two deep supers does break the wind and provides a little heat absorption on cold, sunny days. As long as one has access to the inner cover to feed, no harm will be done. On the other hand, there are those who feel that it is unnecessary and that wrapping has little effect on survival.

Feeding with syrup can continue till our first killing frost. Beyond that, it will be difficult for the bees to dispel with the excess liquid. If feeding continues to be necessary after that , one should switch to candy over the cluster. That recipe will be printed in a future newsletter.

One final tip as you ready the hive for winter. Before flipping the inner cover over to the deep side down, scrape the cover clean of all burr comb. It is a real bummer to find your candy won’t fit over the cluster because the cover is so covered with comb and it is 20 degrees in January. Been there!

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More Kudos
Cindy Mesmer won a Blue Ribbon at the Barnstable County Fair this summer with her honey. She then took the honey to the Marshfield Fair, and came away with another Blue Ribbon. Way to go, Cindy!

Health and Beauty Tip
As cold, blustery days move in, remember - "A dab of honey on your lips acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the air to your skin, keeping your lips soft, plump, and kissably sweet." Taken from the Sept/Oct issue of Remedy.

The B.C.B.A. will have a glass-moving party at Ed Osmun's, 18 Solomon Pond Rd, E Sandwich on Saturday, October 9th, at 9 A.M.. All members are invited. The more that come, the less glass each has to move. Last year we set up a case brigade and moved the glass from the garage to the attic in about 25 minutes. If you hurry and get your glass before we move it, you will get it at the advertised prices. If you wait until Ed has to go up in the attic to get it for you, the price will be $1.00 more per case.

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Extraction Assistance
Andy Morris has a shiny new motorized 18-frame extractor just waiting to be used. If you are one of the fortunate folks who have honey to extract this year, but have no extractor, give Andy a call at 508-362-7448. He will guide you through the process and allow you to use his extractor. Such a deal!!

Interesting Facts
I picked up a flyer that Robert Lichtenstein made up this summer while at the Fair which contained some interesting facts. I asked for permission to use some from time to time. Here are a few concerning beeswax.

In Roman times, beeswax was a major product of commerce in Europe. Taxes, rents and tributes were commonly collected in the form of beeswax.

During World War I, some British beekeepers were exempted from military service so they could continue to produce beeswax for the war effort. Beeswax was used to coat the thin fabric making up plane exteriors.

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Farm Festival Day
is a celebration of all farms in the Falmouth area. Leslie Lichtenstien will be at the John Parker bogs in East Falmouth on Saturday, October 9th , from 10 AM to 2 PM with a honeybee observation hive and all sorts of information on how our honeybees help the local farmers produce all that delicious local produce. Tony Andrews Farm and Smithfield Farm will be open to visitors, as will the Cape Cod Winery, and the Coonamesset Farm will have spinners demonstrating their craft, as well as having their animals on display, and enticing goodies at their organic snack bar.

Recipe Corner
Now that your honey is harvested and you are looking for ways to use it, try adapting some of your favorite recipes. A favorite of ours follows having converted it from a chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe.

Oatmeal Craisin Drops

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup flour
  • cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • cup honey
  • tsp salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cup quick, uncooked oats
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 6 oz Craisins or raisins
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
Heat oven to 360. Beat honey, shortening, and sugar till creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Combine flour, soda and salt, mix well. Stir in oats, craisins and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9-10 minutes until golden brown. Cool and Remove to wire rack. Makes 5 dozen.

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Hive Equipment for Sale
The widow of a former member has a 3 frame S.S. Extractor for sale. Powered by your 3/8" variable speed drill. Call Toni Gelotte at 508-888-3486.

Andy Morris has a nine-frame hand-powered S.S. extractor for sale for the bargain price of $350. He can be reached at 508-362-7448.

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 will also again have available Fumagillin-B ($1. per dose) and Apistan strips ($1.50 each). No large bills please! Classified Ads
Ed Osmun has 12 oz Flat Panel Bears- $12. per 24 for sale. You can catch him at the meeting or call him @ 508-833-9696.

back to top Last updated 10/10/04