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Buzz Words - September, 2004

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. Buzzwords
3. Claire’s Corner
4. Glassware
5. Kudos to Claire
6. The Osterville Saga
7. Fall Treatments Available
8. Gardeners Gab
9. Hive Equipment for Sale
10. Classified Ads

Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 14th, 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Fire Station on Route 149. This particular meeting has evolved to display many types of extracting tools and techniques as practiced by some of our veterans. Due to the meeting location, a "dry" extracting demonstration will be given, as will many useful tips and hints.

I only had a few folks respond to my request for email addresses, so if you have such and would like to save the club the cost of reproducing and mailing this fine newsletter, please send your current email address to and set your spam filters to allow mail, with attachments, from that sender. Thank You. -- Paul

Claire’s Corner
Seven Springs Resort is nestled in the southwestern corner of Pennsylvania. Each of the ten floors facing the ski slopes enjoyed a private balcony. It was a very impressive view when lit at night, but not your usual location for a beekeeping conference with apiary. The week at the EAS conference was very informative with numerous researchers and workshops and very enjoyable accommodations. The weather did not cooperate this year with two days of rain and extremely heavy fog (just like Cape Cod).

It's our goal to come home with lots of information on better beekeeping. After a week of classes, workshops, and beekeeping gab, the following bits and pieces were gleaned.

Quality of Queens - A queen under a year old will lay twice as many eggs than those over 12 to 15 months, resulting in a shrinking brood pattern.

Did you ever compare the texture and color of queen cells? We haven't. Note from here on that an emergency queen cell is dark and smooth, while a good quality queen cell consists of light wax and a very sculptured, or mottled, shell.

If a new virgin queen is confined to the hive due to bad weather for over three weeks, she will lose her egg-laying ability.

Genetic diversity in drones is important for a good laying queen and a strong hive.

We repeatedly heard that beekeepers should be raising their own queens. By choosing the survivors, with good honey production and low mite count, a few queens could be reared. Sounds easy, right?

Larval Life - Once a worker egg hatches, the resulting larva needs 2000 t0 3000 feeding visits from the nurse bees who must maintain a brood temperature of 95 to 97 degrees. Did you wonder why the sugar syrup went down so fast and so much pollen arrived at the entrance? Hive stores are important year-round. Currently we have found little to no excess honey/nectar stored in most hives. Supplemental feeding is not far off.

The lava will go through five instars, the first being the first hatch. When first capped the larva will defecate for the first time. The reason for this delayed activity is at that point the brood food has been consumed; otherwise the food would be contaminated.

Hive Entrance - Our one short stay in the apiary proved informative. Many a time we have seen activity of concern at the front of the hives in mid-afternoon. Is it robbing, or preparation for swarming? It could be, but if you return in an hour or two and all is quiet, you may have witnessed many new foragers orienting themselves to the outside world. This activity could continue for a day or two before they are full-fledged foragers.

IPM - Little was gleaned regarding integrated pest management. There are no new safe pesticides available. One should really do periodic mite counts using either a sugar roll or sticky board before treating. Apistan strips are available from the club, but the varroa mite is becoming increasingly resistant to fluvalinate. Those of us with hives over-wintered from the spring of 2003 will probably see unhealthy numbers of varroa if no treatment was used. Strong hives in July can be depleted by late August and the deformed wing virus is rearing its ugly signs.

This was to be the year that our honeybees produced lots and lots of honey. It makes no sense that the Black Locust blossomed (with no rain) for 9 days with very little nectar making its way into the hives. Clethera bloom followed in August with the very same disappointing results. This is not a local situation, but exists throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. (Bee-L posts are reporting similar situations in the Mid-West as well as the far north and as far as Manitoba). The "girls" need to bone up on the textbooks. Hopefully, goldenrod nectar will find its way into the hives, or Domino Sugar Co. will be the stock to invest in.

To compound our personal dilemma, a split shipment of queens arrived all in the same day, with poor weather predicted. Many 2-frame nucs were made, but the overnight temperatures dropped into the 40's, causing chilling of the brood (nearly all capped) and queen loss. The upbeat news continues with the use of Honey Bee Healthy and same day queen introduction. Strong hives, some with honey supers still on, were rendered queenless and caged queens were immediately introduced. Fresh eggs were evident 7 days later.

A late, large swarm (approximately 3 pounds) arrived the other day in a perfect location, three feet off the ground. We quickly shook it into a deep hive body and placed it over a weak hive. Within a half-hour, a good-sized clump of bees returned to the apple tree. We shook it into a bucket and dumped it back into the hive. Before we left the apiary, scouts had again returned to the branch. We left to continue our work, but returned the next day to find a large cluster remaining in the hive with a laying queen and a small cluster still in the apple tree. We placed a nuc below the swarm and within minutes the scouts were entering. They settled in by that afternoon. Were there 2 queens? Stay tuned.

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The glass order has arrived and very few folks took advantage of Ed's good nature on Saturday and Sunday, August 21st and 22nd. Now most of that glass has to be stored elsewhere and prices will probably increase by $1.00 per case over the following set Prices: $10 for 24 x 1 lb., $10 for 24 x 8 oz., and $7.50 for 12 x 2 lb. So, call Ed now and set up an appointment to pick up your glass order.

Kudos to Claire
Claire participated in the Annual Honey Competition at this year's E.A.S. with Lt Amber Extracted Honey, Chunk Honey, and Cut Comb. She just does it for the judges comments, to see how well her product fares (she says) amongst others. Well, this year she fared pretty well, because she took home 3 blue ribbons. Let me tell you, she was poppin' her buttons come Friday morning. Then came time for the Honey Exchange, and her 3 jars went to 3 of the first 4 people in line. Now next year she has to bring more, because there were folks looking for it that asked to do a private exchange.

The Osterville Saga
On 8/26, 8/27, and 8/29, we sold a total of 89 8 oz. bottles of Armstrong-Kelley Park honey @ $5.00 each. No sales on 8/28, we had a wedding at Park. Equal amounts of plastic and glass sold. On 8/27, we sold out of everything. We use the honor system. Make your own change. OF COURSE, IT'S OSTERVILLE HONEY. Our ladies are debs in Cape Cod's oldest (1930) and largest (8.5 acres) privately owned park open free to the public and their pets.

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Fall Treatments Available
While at EAS, we purchased Apistan strips and Fumagillin-B for fall treatments for your bees. Apistan strips will be available at $1.50 each. Four are normally required for a populous hive at this time of year. Fumagillin-B will be available in individual doses for $1 each. This is added to each gallon of 2:1 sugar syrup fed in the fall to prevent Nosema in over-wintered bees.

Gardener's Gab
The most visible fall nectar plants on the Cape are Goldenrod, Asters & the new invasive Knotweed. Goldenrod is one of the most widely distributed of all native plants. There are over 160 varieties of goldenrod growing in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. It is a late blooming plant that starts blooming in mid August and continues until frost. It grows in many roadside areas, along wasteland near streams and along the dunes all over the Cape. Honey produced from goldenrod has a yellow amber color and often granulates fairly quickly, but it makes a good winter food for bees. The pollen is a light orange to almost brown color and may vary quite a bit. Asters are late blooming plants, who's many small white to purple flowers will continue to attract bees into October. Japanese knotweed is a recent invasive that resembles bamboo, can grow to 6-7 feet and produces large plumes of white flowers. While the bees love it, it is very invasive and should not be encouraged. Bees feeding on these plants can produce a light amber colored and mild flavored honey when all mixed together.

For fall planting The New England Wild Flower Society's Garden in The Woods, in Framingham, is sponsoring a Big Bugs display July 17th through October 17th (August 7&8 was Bee weekend), and they have two new collections of native plants for sale. Bill Cullina, Nursery Director of the New England Wild Flower Society and author of the Society's Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers, designed the collections to attract butterflies (but are also loved by our girls). These are easy-to-grow perennial native plants. There are both early and late season plants for a long sequence of bloom and both host and nectar plants for butterflies and bees. The 'SUN COLLECTION has eight selections and includes 'fireworks goldenrod'', (Solidago rugosa ) one of the best fall nectar plants; the lovely 'butterfly weed' (Aesclepius tuberosa ) with bright orange blooms; black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia fulgida v. sullivantii ), a tidy plant complete with its own insect landing pads, and the dramatic late-season New York ironweed (Vernonia novaboracencis ). Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) will be an early season invitation and New England blazing star (Liatris scariosa v . novae-angliae ) provides mid-season nectar. New England asters (Aster -symph-novae angleae) and tall purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea ) complete the collection and the cost to cover a 12 foot by 6 foot area is $56 for non-members and less than $50 for members. The SHADE COLLECTION has six selections, including the stunning Labrador violet (Viola labradorica ) and the unusual heart-leaved Alexanders (Zizia aptera ). The blue wood aster ( Aster cordifolius) is great for naturalizing in the shade garden and is an important fall nectar plant. The lovely wreath goldenrod (Solidago caesia ) is a long-blooming variety with delicately arching stems. In some of the shade collections, the stunning cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) with its red flowers adds a burst of color to shade and half-shade moister areas. The sweet fragrant lavender-blue flowers of the wood phlox (Phlox divaricata) make the earliest nectar. This collection is $42 for non-members and an extra 10% off for members. -- submitted by Leslie Lichtenstein

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Hive Equipment for Sale
Members Susan and Richard Connor, of Sandwich, are giving up beekeeping. They have enough equipment for at least five hives for sale. Call 508-888-9136 for details and prices.

There will be a list of equipment available for your perusal at the next meeting from a beekeeper in Norfolk County. He read of folks looking for extractors and has that, plus other equipment for sale.

Plus, we listed earlier in the season that an extractor was available from a Toni Gelotte of East Sandwich. Details available at 508-888-3486.

Classified Ads
Ed Osmun has the following items for sale. You can catch him at the meeting or call him @ 508-833-9696.

  • 12 oz Flat Panel Bears- $12. per 24.
  • Type S Pollen Traps- Built by Amish craftsmen $59. Gather some of that goldenrod pollen to feed to your bees in the spring.

back to top Last updated 10/10/04