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Buzz Words - September, 2005

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. President's Message
3. Video Library
4. Feeders
5. Barnstable County Fair
6. Glassware Pickup Day
7. Claire's Corner
8. Bee Links
9. Mass Beekeepers Association
10. What would you do
11. Armstrong-Kelley Park
12. Classifieds

Next Meeting: Tuesday, September 13th, 7:30 P.M. at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149. This month’s program will feature honey extraction, processing and preparation for market. Various types of harvesting methods will be demonstrated, and their pro’s and con’s will be discussed.

President's Message
Well my daughter has been home for a week and decided it was time to process the accumulated cappings from years past. For days the kitchen has been strewn with pans, newspapers, empty cardboard juice and milk containers, strainers, bottles, jugs and other ephemera one might require for such an undertaking. The house has indeed smelled very good with the aroma of beeswax and honey constantly pervading the hot, humid air these past days. The end product of all this toil and trouble has been some beautiful chunks of pale yellow beeswax – better than the stuff you can buy.
I’m sure that lots of you have been through this labor of love, and for the rest of you, this is something you have to look forward to. My wife is certainly looking forward to getting her kitchen back. Thank you Kirsten!

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Video Library
There are 44 videos out at this time. Please return them to the July meeting. If you cannot make the meeting, drop them off at 186 Old County Rd, E Sandwich, or mail them to:

BCBA c/o Desilets, P O Box 808, E Sandwich, 02537

We have a list of titles we would like to purchase, but will not do so if the library continues to be abused. Please think of your fellow beekeepers.

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Did you increase the number of hives and forget to buy feeders? Do you not want to use bucket feeders? Have you heard of using plastic storage bags for feeders? Really simple, just fill a gallon-sized bag no more than 2/3 full of sugar syrup (or water) and place over the inner cover. You may want to place a stick or two under the bag to allow the bees to come up through the center hole and access the syrup. Just one slice along the length of the bag with a utility knife and the bees will be there lapping things up. Some folks place a piece of gutter guard or a stick to keep the bag from collapsing and trapping the bees that are trying to get the last drops. Just cover this with an empty shallow.

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Barnstable County Fair
The results are in. Even though the crowds were not great, nor were the honey crops, we ended up with total sales of $3633.50. After issuing checks to those members who sold honey, wax, candles, lip balms, etc, which totaled $1731.20; and paying other expenses, we cleared $1489.50 on sales of honey stix, honey candy, and cookbooks. Thanks to all who brought product to sell, and to all who made this another successful season.
Another positive result is the addition of 22 names of potential beekeepers to our mailing list from now til it is time for beeschool registration.

We do not yet have a total of all sales, but the checks for member sales will be issued soon.


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Glassware Pickup Day
Has been changed to Sunday, September 24th at Ed Osmun’s 508-833-9696

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Claire's Corner
Again, it has been encouraging to hear that our “newbees” are harvesting their first honey. Interestingly, we hear that different areas of the Cape have had varying success, as the weather has been anything but accommodating. The goldenrod is available in some areas and more varieties will certainly follow. That special odor has already been noted. Let us hope the hives will gain weight by the end of the coming month.

We have seen evidence of the varroa virus in the form of the deformed wing syndrome. This spells trouble, even with a low varroa count. What to do? Requeen and treat. Treat with what?, you say. You may use Apistan, Formic Acid Pads, Sucrocide, or just let them fend for themselves. The bottom line is how you feel towards the use of medications/pesticides and what was used in the past. An alternative product is suggested if you decide to treat.

Summer nucs have been started with interesting results. A real challenge has occurred due to robbing while we still experience a dearth. Opening size has been insignificant as one hive with a nickel-sized opening was totally decimated by sister hives. One really needs to be creative. At one point, we had to resort to using cone-board cones to restrict passage to “out-only” to reduce numbers that had invaded one hive. It did quiet the activity and salvaged the nucs. We are now slowly adding small amounts of sugar syrup to hive top feeders and calm prevails. Ideally, the weather changed to rain which also helped the project.

Ultimately, feeding all the hives in a yard, once the honey shallows are off, will also help. What was supposed to be 4-frame nucs going into winter have now blossomed into 8-frame deeps. One just never knows. We will keep you abreast of the “survivability” our NY-bred Russians, and our CT “mutts”.

Requeening is the current program here. Those queens that over-wintered or never built up well will soon be history (fertilizer?). Two approaches will be made. One will be to just kill the old queen, mist with Honey Bee Healthy in 1:1 sugar syrup and add the new queen over the frames using a shim. Weather permitting, the second approach will be to remove 2 frames of capped brood and bees, add a frame of honey and place in a nuc box atop the hive to be requeened. Add the new queen as above and let her settle in. This approach gives you time to find and kill the old queen, after the new queen has been accepted. If the new queen is not accepted, all is not lost, as the frames can go right back into the hive, making a renewed effort in the spring. If all goes according to the plan, the new queen and brood can be replaced below once she is laying.

Of late, a number of interesting comments have been relayed on he internet regarding hives with 2 and 3 queens coexisting. Mother and daughter queens apparently can share a hive. One gentleman noted that he requeened an Italian hive with a Carniolan and later found both an Italian and a Carniolan queen laying side by side.

Michael Palmer of Vermont (October speaker at Mass Bee) commercial beekeeper and queen breeder experienced nearly a 30% multiple queen rate last year after requeening 50 hives. Daughters and old mom were seen laying on adjacent comb. One must wonder if that is why attempts at requeening do fail as the hive has no need for the new queen even after one kills a/the old queen.

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Bee Links
I just have one link for you this month, but if you are looking for info on Top Bar Hives, or how to administer (not recommended by USDA) Oxalic Acid to combat Varroa in your hives, or even how to make a Varroa Blaster to spray powdered sugar (no unsafe chemicals there) onto your bees; this is the place to look. Check out Just found a second site with still more info on using powdered sugar --

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Mass Beekeeper Association
The Mass Beekeepers’ Assn invites you all to our Fall Meeting and Honey Show, to be held October 14th and 15th at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Fitchburg. The Friday evening program will be a presentation on the increase in the bear population in Massachusetts by James Cardoza, a Wildlife Biologist with the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. Saturday will feature David Tarpy, the Apiary Extension person at North Carolina State University, and Commercial Beekeeper Michael Palmer of St. Albans, VT. They will be presenting the basics of queen biology and management, and queen production. For further information, see Paul or go to our website at

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What would you do
An overwintered hive with a 2004 swarm queen has a shallow of honey, but the Deformed Wing Virus has established itself with 4 to 5 bees evident on each frame. The queen has a great brood pattern, good stores, and currently a good population. A varroa count with a sticky board is underway. This is a great teaching tool in a location for a hive opening. Keep an eye on your email as we will try to schedule a hive opening on an upcoming weekend.

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Armstrong-Kelley Park
A reminder that Armstrong-Kelley Park is always open and illuminated on both board walks. Come, visit our gardens which include wetland, water, shade and flower gardens. We are just restaining the 1200 personalized planks. There is always time to Get A'Board, Post A Poem or just relax in our wonderland in the woods. In the quiet corner of Cape Cod called Osterville, turn left in the center heading toward Centerville and a 1/4 mile on the left you'll find 8.5 acres of peace.
Thank you for caring, Carl Mongé

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For Sale – B.C.B.A. has Fumagillin-B available in single dose containers, just $1 per dose. No need to buy those large jars that will go out of date before you can use it all. See us at the September and October meetings.

For Sale - Mac Welch of 35 Acre Hill Rd, Barnstable, has a Deluxe 3-frame hand-crank extractor, used one time only, as listed in the Mann Lake catalog (HH-190) for $299.95, plus freight, that he is willing to part with for $200.00. 508-362-9622.

Wanted - Do you have any of those cold, all steel queen excluders lying around unused? If so, call Paul Desilets at 508-888-2304.

back to top Last updated 10/5/05