Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - October 2007

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Glassware
4. Upcoming Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Andy's Ramblings
7. Library

Next Meeting
Tuesday, October 9th at 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. Phil Kyle, a naturalist with Green Brian Nature Center will speak on "The Birds and the Bees". Carl Monge tells us he is quite humorous and has been associated with the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. For the second half of the meeting Mark Marinaccio will relate his experiences with queen rearing this past season. Let's hope this is the beginning of a much needed program here on Cape Cod.

The following members volunteered to bring goodies and drinks to this meeting: Anne & Jim Canavan, Ariane St. Clair, Jim Coelho, Marion Lay, Ray Ruggles, and Gordon Starr. Thank you!

From the President
Another month has passed with temperatures being broken and we are still in some sore of drought. The warm weather has been great for the queens to continue laying a little longer (I hope) as I need more bees for winter in my new hives and more nectar also. I've been stealing from hive #1 to equalize the others for winter and still debating what to do with the small nuc that now has 3 rather small new queen peanut cells. What are they doing? What happened to the nice big peanut cell they had? It's always a learning experience with these girls. Today I was watching 2 hives with bees sweeping the landing board. Welllll, it was interesting to see but I couldn't figure out what they were doing. Maybe someone can enlighten me. All they were missing were the brooms and the landing was already clean. So maybe it was perfectionists "spring cleaning" time.

When you read this, we will have had the Harvest Festival behind us and some of you will have sold some or all of your harvested honey along with candles, creams, and other products from our hives. What you have left the health food stores are always happy to sell local honey for you.

The mouse guards should be on your hives by now and any fall feeding and medications, if you use them, in progress. If there are any questions, please don't hesitate to phone any of the Board of Directors or names from your Mentors List. We're all happy to help you along. I am still receiving phone calls about "bee swarms". So far they are all yellow jacket hornet nests. With the drought and very little blooming at this time, the hornets are looking everywhere for food and our bees are getting the blame again. If any of you give lectures or want to give lectures to a school, library, and such, our library has wonderful material you can borrow to help educate the public on bees and wasps/hornets. This is one area that needs education.
Have a beautiful fall month. -- Marte

back to top

The glassware has arrived and is stored at Ed Osmun’s farm on Lombard Rd, in W Barnstable. The B.C.B.A. Glass Store is available – by appointment – on the first and third Saturday’s of September. Call George Muhlebach at 508-362-8693 or email him at to set up your pickup time.

Prices are as follows: 24 x 8 oz - $9.00, 24 x 16 oz - $9.00, and 12 x 32 oz - $7.00
George will not have change. Please bring correct amount or a check. Thank You!

back to top

Meetings of Interest
Massachusetts Beekeepersí Association Fall Meeting and Honey Show
Saturday, October 13, 2007
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Knights of Columbus Hall, Leicester, MA
Featured speaker will be Ross Conrad, author of Natural Beekeeping
Offering organic approaches to modern apiculture
Enter your honey or wax products and see if you can take one of those blue ribbons away
from the likes of Jim Gross, Claire Desilets, or Dan Conlon

Southern New England Beekeepers Assembly (SNEBA)
Saturday November 17, 2007
Unitarian Society of New Haven,
700 Hartford Tpke, Hamden, CT
Theme: Healthy Bees
Speakers: Dewey Caron, Jennifer Berry, Janet Brisson, Larry Connor
Hampden, CT

back to top

Claire's Corner
The honey supers are off, the extracting is complete, and feeding for winter stores is underway. Pollen patties will be added in a few weeks, but goldenrod pollen is still available. How many of you were able to detect that odor coming from your hives? At first it is alarming, but we soon find it rather comforting knowing that the hive is serious about winter stores. One concern with feeding pollen patties will be the appetite of the Small Hive Beetle. Keep an eye on these patties and remove if wiggly white larvae begin to appear.

A healthy discussion on winter preparation occurred at the September meeting with a number of different ideas presented. There are no simple answers but what was evident is that utilizing different approaches, the results appear to be fairly consistent with losses.

To wrap or not is as controversial as using queen excluders. Perhaps the location of your hive may help you to decide. If your area is open to the wind, some form of protection might be considered. Your wood hive does breathe, so a loose wrapping with roofing felt will not cause overheating or moisture buildup. And, it just might increase the temperature a few degrees on sunny days so the cluster could move to more stores.

Perhaps, more importantly, will be a system to absorb the condensation under the cover. George uses a sheet of homasote with a channel to vent the circulating airflow out of the hive. We use several layers of newspaper on the queen excluder, which is stored over the inner cover. It is amazing how damp they may become.

Stores are most critical. We remember in past years by late July the top deep would be chock full of honey in anticipation of winter. Assuming the dry conditions this season are the reason, the hives are very light. If you have empty drawn frames in your top deep, here is a suggestion to add stores. After mixing your 2:1 sugar syrup, take a clean paintbrush saturated with syrup and brush into the empty cells.

Brushing from top to bottom should fill the cells sufficiently to add more stores. Place the filled frames as close to the cluster as possible.
Another controversial winter preparation is whether to add the sticky board under the bottom board to create warmth. It is interesting to note that Ross Conrad states in his new book “Natural Beekeeper”, that as a Vermont beekeeper, he leaves the board out all winter. Come November, ours are in and stay until March. We understood that with the added protection, the queen is able to start laying earlier and the workers able to keep the developing brood better incubated.

Come to the state meeting on Saturday, October 13th to hear about “the organic approaches to modern apiculture.”

back to top

Andy's Ramblings
Where did the time go

A short time ago, I went with the Desilets to the 2007 Eastern Apiculture Society conference. I attended many workshops and lectures, but the two I really wanted to learn more from had to do with the removing of honeybees from houses and buildings. Bill Owens and Cindy "Bee" Dillon each gave lectures and PowerPoint presentations on their techniques and experiences dealing with the topic.

I had done a couple of “extractions” in the past, but they seemed like too much work to be worthwhile. Consequently, this year alone I deferred and referred to another at least eight removal jobs. Because of the lectures by Bill and Cindy, I decided to take on at least some of the jobs.

Three weekends ago I got a call from a very nice lady who takes care of a summer place in Chatham. The house had honeybees and the exterminator would not deal with them. After checking out the job, I decided to commit to do it.

To shorten a long story, I removed the bees, spent probably too many hours wrapping up the job (the carpentry was part of the job), and brought the bee’s home. They were installed in an empty deep with their original comb and brood. After two days I opened up the new hive and was thrilled…there was the queen with a bright yellow mark on her back. She was a new queen this year and had swarmed.

Last weekend I went to feed this new hive and they had gone. Nobody was left in the hive. They had even abandoned the brood.

What the heck happened? Where did they go? Perhaps I’ll get a call to take some honeybees out of another house.

back to top

Please return all books and videos to this meeting, so the library staff can update our lists. Thank You.

back to top Last updated 10/10/07