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Buzz Words - October 2013

Coming Up
Tuesday, Oct. 8, 7:30 p.m., West Barnstable Community Building. Speaker is Kimberly Concra, LDN, food safety and nutrition educator for the county, who will do a honey cooking workshop featuring the nutritional benefits of honey.


From the President
Did you notice the September 1 Sunday Globe’s front-page article, These Woods Are Lovely, Dark and Back? It notes how New England’s trees and wildlife are reclaiming land that had been chopped away since the first settlers arrived in 1620. According to the article, 80% of New England is now covered by forest or thick woods, compared to 30-40% in the mid-1800s. Much of what was farmland then has now returned to its original state. This is good news if you are a beaver, moose, deer, hawk or numerous other species that have enjoyed a resurgence in population with this favorable habitat. I wonder whether it is good news if you are a honeybee, however.

Before the first settlers arrived, there were no honeybees in America. Perhaps the deeply forested landscape offered limited nectar sources. However, as farms emerged and forests were transformed into meadows, a new habitat emerged that yielded a variety of flowers, vegetables, fruits, grasses and weeds rich in nectar and pollen, just the menu for honeybees.

I surmise, and I include myself in this bunch, that those of us who are involved with the natural world in one way or another might regard reforestation as a good thing. Indeed, one naturalist quoted in the article describes this transformation of the landscape as a “miracle.” However, change often has unintended and unanticipated consequences. While many species have benefited from this change, it may be one more challenge to our girls’ survival.
—John Beach

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Check Out Club Member Blogs

Julie Lipkin @

Tamar Haspel @

BCBA discussion group -

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Upcoming Meetings of Note
Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, MA
Speakers will be Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture, and Larry Connor of Wicwas Press.
Stay tuned: More information in the November newsletter.

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Bee Reading
New addition to CLAMS, thanks to a retired beekeeper. All three volumes of “Practical Beekeeping” by Michael Bush are now available. They reside in the Whelden Library in West Barnstable but can travel the Cape based on your request.
Claire Desilets

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Consider Winter Feeding
Ideally, our hives here on the Cape should be chock full of stores (nearly 10 deep frames of honey/nectar in TOP deep) come late October. The hive should be difficult to heft from the back. Too often this is not the case. And to find a dead hive lost to starvation come March is very sad and should not be the norm.

As a rule, sugar syrup (2:1) should not be fed to the hive from mid-October to late March. Lack of time to cure the syrup and too much moisture in the hive can cause dysentery. Below are a number of options for winter feeding. The fondant or sugar sheets are laid on the top of the frames directly over the cluster. If needed in an extended cold period where the bees cannot break cluster to reach stores, the bees will have this supplemental feeding readily available.

Methods of Winter Feeding

Mountain Camp Feeding – from Kelley Bee News (Nov 2011)

  • Use 1 or 2 inch spacer placed directly on top brood box
  • Add 2 sheets of newspaper directly on frames (leave 1/3 of frames exposed)
  • Mist paper with water spray or sugar syrup
  • Dump 1-2# sugar on paper and mist sugar to clump, repeat sugar and spray once more
  • Misting sugar to clump will keep bees from carrying it out as a foreign material
  • Condensation from cluster heat will be absorbed by newspaper
  • If bees have not used all sugar by spring, use it to make first batch of 1:1 syrup

Fondant Candy Recipe
Microwave Recipe (feeds 1 or 2 colonies)

  1. In a 1 quart or larger microwave dish, thoroughly mix 1 & ½ cups granulated sugar and ½ cup light corn syrup. No water.
  2. Microwave on high, stirring every few minutes until the mixture is clear and bubbles become thumbnail size (about 10 minutes). Stop immediately if the mixture starts to brown. A wooden spoon Is very effective for stirring, as it can be left in the dish during cooking.
  3. Pour into a mold made from cardboard or a container lined with paper to cool. The candy will become brittle and can be slipped on top of frames where the bees will consume it.

Stovetop Recipe (makes nine 5” x 6” pieces)

  1. Mix 5# granulated sugar, 1 pint corn syrup, 1 & 1/3 cups of water in a large pot.
  2. Hold over medium heat to 240 d on a candy thermometer. VERY IMPORTANT TO HOLD THE 240 F.
  3. Stir only occasionally, it takes a while.
  4. At 240 , place the pot in a sink of cold water.
  5. Change the water a few times.
  6. Beat with a mixer, cooling the mixture to 190
  7. Pour onto greased (Pam) cookie sheets to ¼ inch thick
  8. Cool and slice into patties

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Thank you
My family and I wish to thank you all for the thoughtful notes and cards received upon Paul's passing. The kind words, memories and offers for help were endless and much appreciated.

In the late 1960s, Paul was stationed at an Army hospital that received hundreds of wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam, thus “wounded warriors” created a very sensitive and patriotic person in Paul.Please know that we are ever grateful for the donations received in his memory.
—Claire Desilets

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Needed for the queen-rearing program: 15 clean but empty 1-gallon plastic Arizona iced tea containers, with caps, to be used to hold sugar syrup. Please bring to the next club meeting.
Lynn Heslinga

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Did You Know
Honey is, essentially, bee vomit. (Read more about honey and other cool bee stuff here

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Honey Recipe of the Month
Cranberry Chutney

Toast until fragrant, then grind together:
2 tsp. fennel
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. mustard seeds

In 3 Tbsp. oil, sauté:
½ c. chopped shallots until transparent

¼ tsp. ground ginger, plus spices from above
Cook 1 minute.

2/3 c. honey
¼ c. brown sugar, packed
¼ c. cider vinegar
12 oz. fresh cranberries
Zest of 1 orange

Cook until berries pop open.

Recipe courtesy of Marthe Ayers

back to top Last updated 10/2/13