Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - October, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Claire's Corner
4. Meetings of Interest
5. Andy's Ramblings
6. Holiday Market
7. Fumagillin
8. Interesting Web Site
9. Honey Jars
10. Bee and Blossum
11. Classifieds

NEXT MEETING - 7:30 P.M., Tuesday, October 10th will be held at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, on Route 6-A in Brewster where author Holley Bishop will tell us about writing her book: Robbing the Bees. Says George Muhlebach, “I didn’t think I was going to like this book when an early chapter mentioned what comb was. Too basic, I thought. I’ve never been that wrong. Well maybe a few times. This is a book that you can safely gift to a non-beekeeper. They won’t feel lost and they will enjoy it. It will also appeal to a veteran keeper because it s jam-packed with information on most aspects of beekeeping and honey. Even though Holley has a degree from the Columbia School of Journalism and therefore must be a bookworm, the amount of research that went into this book is staggering. The reader travels from modern migratory beekeeping to bees on Mississippi riverboats; from hive products in medicine to bees used in warfare; and from mead making to cooking with honey. It is a fascinating journey.
Holley will read from her book and answer questions on writing about bees and writing a book about bees. Be there to welcome her.


From the President
Where did September go?  I can't believe it's time for the newsletter already.  We had a nice turnout for the September meeting and I want to thank all the volunteers who signed up to bring refreshments for each monthly meeting.  And I also want to thank Andy and Ed for their help with "harvesting your honey" and the question and answer period.  I received a few ideas also for meeting subjects but we can certainly use more.  So please contact any of the board members by email or phone when and if you have more suggestions for this year's calendar of events.  We will be meeting shortly to line up your meeting interests.  Our October meeting will be held at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster and will feature Holley Bishop, author of “Robbing the Bees”.  It will be an interesting subject now that you have probably extracted your honey for the season and are preparing the girls for a long winter's nap on the Cape.  --  Marte

back to top

Claire's Corner
Thoughts, Trivia, Tips and a Tale

As we begin to tuck our girls in for the winter, our thoughts trail back to successes and failures of the waning season. Two thoughts surfaced recently. We began a few nucs raising our own queens from a frame of eggs and newly hatched larva. In addition to the sugar syrup in the division board feeder, a pollen patty was laid across the top bars. Wow! Even with goldenrod pollen coming in, they chomped their way through those patties.  Thought #1 - with our new packages in the spring, let’s add a patty per hive before the dandelion opens up. Let’s fatten up our bees with better nutrition early on.

Trivia - Did you know that a hive uses 44 pounds of pollen in a season?  Thought #2 – Many new and veteran beekeepers can never see eggs. Why not purchase one frame of black plastic foundation for the brood deep to help these newbees.

Tips- Mouse guards or hardware cloth are essential NOW!  Mice are looking for that nice warm corner of your hive. Oh, what a disgusting mess come spring if they make their way in!

Sugar Syrup (2:1) can be fed now with a teaspoonful of fumagillin. It is quite a thick syrup, so we have been using a paint mixer or our drill to get all sugar into solution.

We will publish the fondant recipes next month, as it is a good idea to lay a block across the top bars beginning in November.
Tale (of woe) – There are times when we beekeepers are our own worst enemy. Most of you witnessed the healthy observation hive at the Barnstable County Fair. It was necessary to remove a frame of brood and bees again in August (the third this season), as swarming was imminent. This took place in late August after locating the marked queen. IF the beekeeper were thinking, the queen would have been caged while manipulating the frames. Not so. She was led down to the lower frame and moved out of the way. The upper frame of brood and bees was removed and placed into a neighboring hive; a new empty frame was installed, the hive closed up carefully; then, we double-checked for the queen. Oh, No! Where did she go? Did we put her into the other hive? That blue dot was so beautiful, how did we miss it?

Well, days past and she was nowhere to be found. The continuous noisy uproar in the hive told us we had goofed big time. In early September, three queen cells appeared, definitely cementing the fact that a beekeeper mistake had occurred. Working the days back, wouldn’t you know that the queens would emerge while we were away on vacation.

The hive has been observed daily for nearly three weeks. It has been sucking down syrup; the odor of goldenrod pollen is very evident; but where is the queen?

It is getting closer to the Farmer’s Market/Harvest Festival at the end of September as the worker numbers begin to dwindle. A comforting thought was that even a marked queen is difficult to find. O.K., one last peek as we put this newsletter into the computer. Glasses are on; the flashlight is in hand, and YES! There she is! And, what’s that? Oh my, it is a larva nestled amongst the cells of pollen and nectar. Phew, all is not lost!

Imagine. We knew that there are plenty of drones in the area; but, to think that this gal made hew way out the 12 inch plastic tube for an afternoon flight and found her way back – not to a big white or green hive, but to a 3-inch square piece of screen landing pad and into a 1 and ½ inch diameter hive entrance.

Honeybees never cease to amaze us!

back to top

Meetings of Interest
First is the Mass Beekeepers’ Fall Meeting and Annual Honey Competition, to be held Saturday, November 4th at the Best Western Royal Plaza in Fitchburg. Details, signup sheet and honey show rules are part of this newsletter.  Speakers are Dann Purvis of Purvis Brothers Apiaries in Georgia, a dynamic new queen breeder from North Georgia, and Dr. William (Bill) Coli, an adjunct lecturer with the Division of Entomology in the Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences at UMASS, Amherst. He is the overall coordinator of the Mass Extension Integrated Pest Management Program. Dr Coli will speak to us about IPM and pollination.

Next is the SNEBA meeting on Saturday, November 18th, in Hamden, CT. The theme is Queens, Drones and Stock Improvement and the speakers are: Dr. Diana Sammataro, USDA/ARS Tucson, Dr. David Tarpy, No Carolina State University, Raleigh, Mr. Michael Palmer, Commercial Beekeeper, President, VT Beekeepers Assoc., Dr. Larry Connor, WicWas Press.  For more information on this meeting, go to

Far off in the distant future is the last time you will be able to head Dr. Dewey Caron speak in New England. Dr. Caron is retiring from the University of Delaware next year and will be spending his time between Venezuela and the Pacific Northwest. He will be the principal speaker at the Spring Meeting of the Massachusetts Beekeepers’ Association on April 7th, 2007 in Topsfield, MA.

back to top

Andy's Ramblngs - Swarm Stories
What To Do…?

I had just removed honey supers (shallows) from some hives in Harwich. My technique is slow and time consuming. It entails me removing each frame from the shallow, shaking off as many bees as possible back into the hive and brushing off the rest. After I inspect it for quantity of capped/uncapped honey, and possible un-hatched brood, I then place the frame in a different shallow, which is some distance from the hive, and sitting on a inverted outer cover (to keep the bottom of the frames clean of dirt and detritus, and to collect any dripping honey). I then load the shallows into the back of my truck and drive away.

As I was driving west down Route 6, between exits 10 and 9, I felt her caress on my right calf. It was gentle and it tickled. I found it very distracting as I tried to negotiate the road. She began moving up my leg, slowly, driving me nuts.

What to do…? What if she kept ascending my leg? Was I ready for that kind of commitment? As you have probably guessed, one of my bees had crawled, first, up my boot, then over my sock, onto my leg. If I were to slap her, chances are she would retaliate and we both would lose. I could try to squish her within a fold of my pants with both of my hands but I was driving on a historically dangerous stretch of road so I couldn’t use both hands.  If I moved my leg to apply the brakes and pull off the road, I might antagonize her and she might just sit down.

 What to do?  

back to top

Holiday Market
You may think we have lost it, BUT, there are less than 90 days ‘til Christmas! And less than 75 days ‘til the now Annual B.C.B.A. Holiday Market. Time to start making up those candles, lotions, soaps, and special honey products, for the club members to purchase. You may even have honey to bring to sell to those not so fortunate as to have had a crop this year.  Keep Tuesday, December 12th in your sights. It will be here before you know it!

back to top

Fumagillin has arrived for those wishing to treat this fall with your fall feedings. It is a preventative for “gut-wrenching”  nosema in the spring. Standard usage calls for 1 teaspoonful per gallon of 2:1 sugar syrup, given twice in the fall. It will be available in single dose containers for $1. at the October meeting, or by appointment. 508-888-2304

back to top

Interesting Web Site
The following web site comes to you courtesy of Al Needham, publisher of the Plymouth County Beekeepers newsletter.

Plans for Beekeeping Equipment are available here are free for personal or non-profit use.

back to top

Honey Jars
George has asked that we remind members that the "glass store" is open the first and third Saturday of the month from 10 AM to noon at Ed's Aquaponics Farm on Lombard Rd in West Barnstable

back to top

Bee and Blossum
Member Lou Ann Colombo of Brewster has opened a florist shop at 675 Main Street in Hyannis. She also caters to her love of bees and is selling bee-related “things”, honey, some beekeeping equipment, and offers teas and coffees. Lou Ann invites members to stop by and visit her shop in the West End. She is desperate for local honey.

back to top

Ed Osmun still has 12 oz. Bears for sale. He is charging $12 for 24.  Call 508-833-9696
Paul has clean 5-gallon food-grade plastic pails, for honey storage, with lids. $3. each  508-888-2304

back to top Last updated 10/1/06