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Buzz Words - September, 2006

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Claire's Corner
4. The Osterville Comment
5. Andy's Ramblings
6. The Big E
7. Fumagillin
8. Fall Harvest Festival
9. Honey Jars
10. Bees In the Mail
11. Bee and Blossum
12. Classifieds

NEXT MEETING - 7:30 P.M., Tuesday, September 12th at the West Barnstable Community Building, on Route 149. Perhaps considered the final class of our 2006 Bee School. Veterans will relate their how-to’s and not-to’s of honey extraction, useful equipment, and means of bee removal from honey shallows. If you have a favorite bee escape or extracting tool, please bring it to share with all. Please Note - 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”.


From the President
As I write this I wish you all a great harvest season, although early reports are below average returns==just like the stock market!  We will have another chance to sell our honey at the Harvest Festival, held on the Barnstable County Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 30th.
While you have the hive open, check the queens' condition, brood pattern, mites in the drone cells, and any signs of diseases and treat accordingly.  I personally will be using the confectioners sugar dusting along with the continued use of grease patties at all times.  As the weather cools, the mice will be looking for a warm home; it's time for mouse guards (reduced entrance).

Our September meeting will be a question and answer meeting.  A panel of beekeepers and myself will look forward to your questions.  We will also discuss harvesting your honey, winter preparations, and any mite treatments.  -- Marte

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Claire's Corner
A number of calls have been received questioning what queens are available at this time. It has become a difficult question to answer. We had hoped to have a few local sources (New England, New York) to pass on, but all were sold out in July. We did receive Georgia queens via UPS and paid $40 shipping! That was a real shock and more than three times the USPS Express Charges; but they arrived in 24 hours in great shape. Hardeman and Wilbanks queens are available, as are West Coast New World Carniolans.

The erratic weather found us agonizing over how to requeen 22 hives successfully. The hives are packed with workers and the queens can be quite elusive. Even 2 sets of eyes can sometimes overlook that sleek, majestic body. When all systems fail, we place queen excluders between the deeps and return 2 to 3 days later to search for eggs. This narrows the location to a single deep and finding her becomes a little simpler.  On the third strike, we build a small nuc with 2 frames bees and capped brood and a frame of honey/pollen. Best not to feed sugar syrup due to robbing. Place the nuc box on top of the hive to be requeened. After 24 hours you can add the queen.

Now you have a few more days to find the old queen and dispatch her, after your nuc has fresh eggs. Replace the frames in the nuc back into the mother hive when all conditions are met. Misting with Honey Bee Healthy helps with the acceptance by overpowering both the alarm pheromones and the new queen’s pheromones. If too much time has elapsed when making the nuc and introducing it into the deep, it is best to add the nuc over newspaper for better acceptance.

Nucleus colonies (nucs) are a wonderful beekeeping tool. Re-queening is one use, but just having one available in the event of queen failure, supercedure, or beekeeper error, can save the day.  Even more beneficial is that early nuc in mid-may to prevent swarming. Then it can be used to re-queen or sold if not needed. Anyone with 2 or more hives should try a summer nucleus colony and overwinter it to help hedge those winter losses.

In addition to the benefits of new young vigorous queens going into the winter months as a result of autumn re-queening, one will break the brood cycle and help slow down the multiplication of varroa at this time. Even caging the queen for a week will help lower the mite count and is a fairly easy IPM method to try.


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The Osterville Comment
At Armstrong-Kelley Park, we're dividing hosta, iris and peonies.  Our gigantic perennial hibiscus compete with butterfly bush, water lilies, cardinal flowers, annuals, goldenrod and others vie for the bees.  We're starting to plant daffodils and fertilize our spring bulbs with superphosphate.  The honey harvest provided seven shallows from four hives with a net of approximately 150 pounds of honey.  We have gone to all plastic, flip top bottles which are lighter, safer, and take 20% less space than glass.  Mailing cost is $4.09 a bottle using a free video box from the post office which is cheaper than UPS.  We sell only on Thursday mornings and use an "honor" system for payment.  First day sales were 112 bottles at $5.00 each (high price but, superb product and the buyer is supporting A-K Park.  Two of us handle, extract and package the honey.  We get "paid" five free bottles each.  I buy the bottles bulk from Walter Kelley.  The BCBA label exactly fits the top of the flip trop lid.  Our front label is generic with a hand stamped "produced at Armstrong-Kelley Park, Osterville MA  8 oz. " providing a hand made look.  On the rear is a return address label: " Cape Cod Horticultural Society, P. O. Box 934, Osterville, MA 02655" label.  The gold label " Barnstable County Beekeepers" encircling a Cape Cod outline is a crowning touch of our product.

So you know what a bayberry is (we have 10) or bear berry -- how about a lizzianthus? -- we have a dozen of this annual.  Some trees transplanted from our nursery this year: Japanese maple, dawn redwood, river birch, standard wisteria, paw paw (fruit tastes like a banana) and fig.  You want spectacular, our golden rain tree is nothing -- come see our Franklinia which is bursting into bloom all 25 feet of white blossoms and the "Jack-Be Little" pumpkin harvest has started.  We sell the tiny gems at Osterville's Fall Festival Day, October 14th.

Cheap date?  Get a $5.75 sandwich at Fancy's (across the street) and split it with your date.  Park in our circle, stroll to our Franklinia at the entrance to our trails, read the OVER 1000 personalized planks (Christmas present for papa, pooch or playmate?) and walk to our water garden, sit on a bench to watch the humming birds, butterflies and multitude of other birds while you relax in our quiet corner of Cape Cod called Osterville.  On behalf of CCHS and the many visitors to, as well as the four legged, feathered, fuzzy (bees), finned (200 gold fish) and rooted residents of A-K Park, thank you for caring. - Carl Mongé


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Andy's Ramblngs - Swarm Stories

August has certainly been an interesting month. It began with my traveling south to attend the 2006 Eastern Apiculture Society (EAS 2006) annual conference at Young Harris College in Georgia. My traveling companions were Claire and Paul Desilets.

The trip to the conference was relatively uneventful. We got to stretch our legs a considerable amount after we arrived in Atlanta, mainly because our arrival gate was what seemed to be a mile from where our luggage emerged. Paul and Claire need to get tags for their luggage.

I’m used to traveling in New England. Things here are within reasonable distances of one another. On the map, Hiawassee is just a couple of inches from Atlanta. Georgia certainly is a big state.

We got to the conference Tuesday evening, after the registration office officially closed (as well as the dining hall), but the young lady in charge of rooms and linens (I forget her name) was still there and was more than patient with us.

When I went to college, I either rented a room in a boarding house or commuted to campus. I was in no way familiar with dorm life. Some of the rooms in the dorm were empty. Adults occupied the rest of the rooms. It amazes me that any studying, let alone sleeping, happens in that environment. Maybe that’s why there are libraries at colleges, to study and sleep.

The presentations and lectures were of top quality. The workshops were overflowing with information. I even learned an immeasurable amount from the vendors, who were patient and gracious to a fault. By the end of each day my head was so full I had to empty it with a couple measures of Moon Shine (the real stuff), just to make room for the next day’s load.

New England was well represented at the conference. There were beekeepers from Connecticut and New Hampshire, as well as from Massachusetts. Beekeepers from Worcester and northeastern Mass. were there, as well as Jim Gross, from that separate entity, Nantucket. Congratulations go out to Jim because he was awarded a Blue Ribbon in the International Category for his honey.

I’ll let Claire relay the technical information. Her memory is better than mine, so it won’t be as confused or confusing if she tells it. Just don’t trust her with anything delicate made of glass.

We got back Sunday night with no problems. As I was driving us home, I said to my travel companions, “If we are still friends after all we have been through this week, there must be something wrong with you two. I’m not sure I want to be friends with such strange people!”  

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The Big E

The Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Sept. 15th  to Oct. 1st

  I have given a lecture for the past 2 years and I am looking for someone to share this fun time or pass on to others.  It's usually 3 days, 2 lectures per day of 3/4 hour in length.  We can talk anything about bees/wasps to educate the general public.  There are usually questions interjected during the talk which can help to keep the talk moving in the direction of interest. 

  For this we are provided an air conditioned trailer with 2 bedrooms (double bed and 2 bunks, in the pass), free parking and admittance.  During the "off" time we can see the whole fair, shows or whatever.  We just provide our own meals. I usually work my way through the state specials and there is a very nice restaurant also.   I can try to get the date that is the Massachusetts day which has all MA events, bands or any other state of interest to you.

  Please contact me by as soon as possible if you are interested. I can give you more info when you phone me 508-539-1774 or email: --  Marte Ayers

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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

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Fall Harvest Festival
Saturday, September 30th will find the Bee Building again open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Set up will take place the day before. We will again need honey from all areas of the Cape. Beeswax, candles, lotions and potions are also welcome. It is another chance for you to talk bees with the public and sell your honey.

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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

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Bees In the Mail
The following letter was sent to Senators Kennedy and Kerry in an effort to have wording in the contract negotiations between the U. S. Postal Service and its contract carriers rewritten to include bees.

As it now stands, FedEx refuses to carry live animals, and UPS will carry them if and when they feel like it. Facilities that accept live shipments seem to change daily creating much consternation for queen honeybee producers.  We were told of the problem while at E.A.S. earlier this month, but the problem hit home 2 weeks later when we received a shipment of 8 queens from GA via UPS Next Day Air at a cost of $40.29.  One or two queens shipped from the south will cost an average of $25.

Dear Senator:

I write this letter as the representative of the commercial, sideline, and hobby beekeepers who, together, pollinate the blueberries, cranberries, orchards, truck farms, market gardens and blooming backyards of our fine state.

While attending the Eastern Apicultural Society’s annual conference in Young Harris, Georgia recently, we were told of a problem facing the industry in regards to the shipment of package bees and replacement honeybee queens.

We urge you to support Senate Bill 2395, introduced by Senator Charles Grassley, a bill to amend Title 39 of the United States Code that requires air carriers accept as mail shipments of certain live animals (originally introduced for the poultry industry). It is our hope that this bill will include language insuring the timely and efficient delivery of all live animals, be they bees, chicks, crickets, mice, etc. since the ability to ship live bees is being threatened by recent changes in U. S. Postal Service policies.

  As it now stands, United Parcel Service does accept shipments of live queens; however, the cost of shipping a couple of queens several states away is prohibitive to hobbyist beekeepers as the cost is at least $25.00 by UPS Next Day Air.

What will happen to our honeybees and to agriculture in America if we can no longer get quick and economical shipment of replacement honeybees?

Thank you for your support in this matter.
Paul Desilets, President, Massachusetts Beekeepers’ Association

Your support in this matter is requested.  Senator Kennedy may be contacted by phone at 877-472-9014, by fax at 617-565-3183, via email at
Senator Kerry may be reached via email at or 617-565-8519.

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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.

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Ed Osmun still has 12 oz. Bears for sale. He is charging $12 for 24.  Call 508-833-9696
Claire has Honey Bee Healthy for sale. $20 for club members. Call 508-888-2304
Paul has clean 5-gallon food-grade plastic pails, for honey storage, with lids. $3. each  508-888-2304

back to top Last updated 010/1/06