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Buzz Words - September 2008

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Bee Forage List
4. Meetings of Interest
5. Claire's Corner
6. Summertime Tips
7. The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
8. Library
9. The Big-E Fair
10. Websites of Interest
11. Classifieds

NEXT MEETING - Will be back at the West Barnstable Community Bldg., Route 149, on Tuesday, September 9th.  The meeting will focus on how to harvest and extract your honey crop. Various members will show and tell which “tools” they prefer for the process.  And, maybe Claire will show how to prepare your product for competition.

From the President
Fall is coming.  It’s time to get the honey supers off the hives.  I hope that your harvest is good.  Mine is about average after I have lost two nucs to the hive beetle.  After all the honey is off the hives start feeding.  The more food the hives have, the better the chance that they survive the coming winter.  Remember the old beekeeper’s proverb: “The beekeepers year begins in the fall”.

And a reminder: On Sunday, October 12, 2008 from Noon to 4 PM at the CC Museum of Natural History in Brewster, the BCBA will co-sponsor with the Museum the Honey Bee Jamboree.  In addition to honey tasting and candle rolling for the kids, about 10 of our members will have the opportunity to demonstrate and sell products made with honey and/or wax (honey, wax, creams, lotions, and ointments, etc).  The prices will be set such that after a deduction of 20% you will get a fair return for your products.  This is a chance for our members to get their products known to a large number of people and to promote BCBA.
Please let me know (e-mail: or Tel: 508-362-8693) as soon as possible if you plan to participate.

Bee Forage List
Member Beth Ferranti has put a lot of effort into compiling a list of plants available to our bees on Cape Cod, and when they bloom, and whether they provide pollen or nectar for the bee’s diets.  Dina has posted it to the club website. Check it out at:

Since that time, Beth has emailed saying that she has found 3 errors to date, so check it out closely and help us to make this a top-notch list that we can add to the Bee School Text.

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Meetings of Interest
Saturday, September 27th, Barnstable County Harvest Festival on the Fairgrounds from 10 to 4.   Volunteers are needed to staff the booth and honey and other products are needed for sale.

Sunday, October 12th, from 12 to 4 p.m. is the Honey Bee Jamboree, a co-sponsored event with the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. Tables are available for members to sell their products in Brewster.

Saturday, October 25th,  Our monthly meeting is changed once again, as B.C.B.A. host the Massachusetts Beekeepers Assoc. Fall Meeting and Honey Show at the Middleboro Elks Lodge, a hop, skip, and jump off I-495; close enough for all to partake. The speakers will be breeders of quality queens from northern states. 
  You will all have had a chance to extract your honey crop by then, so you can enter the competition and see if you can knock the reigning entrants away from those blue and red ribbons. And there will be the usual Silent Auction and Raffle tables.

November, date TBA- hopefully will be in conjunction with the Plymouth County Beekeepers. The speaker is scheduled to be Ross Conrad, author of “Natural Beekeeping”.  One more chance for us to “cross over the bridge” and interact with other beekeepers.

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Claire's Corner
The last few weeks have found us on the bogs, very busy harvesting honey and requeening numerous hives. The honey harvest is always fun and rewarding; requeening is the challenge. Those gals can show up in the most peculiar places – like on the queen excluder resting outside of the hive and you have just spent an hour searching every frame FOUR TIMES!

After making six nucleus colonies and requeening 20 hives, we have experienced so much. There were varroa mites in the drone brood of course; there were a few hive beetles scurrying around; unexplained queen cells, a queenless hive just loaded with bees, and deformed wing syndrome- a varroa mite virus. That is one benefit of requeening. It forces the beekeeper to do a thorough inspection.

The results of requeening a hive, unfortunately, are not always what we want, as some new queens never make it out of the cage. At least if done early enough the hive can raise its own queen and all is not lost. A benefit of a new queen is that you have interrupted the brood cycle as a form of IPM and will lower your mite counts.

Our point with the above comments gave us an idea. That would be to add a new section to our textbook for the second year of beekeeping. What should it include for our Cape Cod beekeepers?  Requeening, How to find the queen, spring management of an over-wintered hive might be good to start. What would you like included? Send us your ideas and we will start compiling the information.

Exciting news is coming out of UMASS-Amherst as we now have a consortium established for honeybee research. Monies are available, but we might be tapped to provide samples of bees, pollen and wax. This can only have positive benefits for the state’s beekeepers. Dr. John Burand, a professor in the Dept of Entomology is the director of the new UMASS Consortium.
“What?” we said, “Are you kidding? A four-pound swarm of bees on August 11th?”  Definitely, it has been an unusual year for beekeeping. And we thought Andy was pulling our leg. It was a good size and just filled the hive body as we gave the apple tree branch a quick snap. This swarm had nested here for 3 days and was just beginning to lay comb on the tree branch. Why did they not scout for new quarters? Perhaps a heavy rain storm kept them tucked under the apple leaf canopy. The strange thing is we do not know where they came from even though 3 hives were 50 feet away. None of them had queen cells and all had fresh eggs and an indication of a queenright colony. The queen is laying, a beautiful golden girl with a nice brood pattern. They will over-winter in a single deep and a honey shallow for expansion as the season closes. Will keep you posted on its activity.

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Summertime Tips

As the nights cool down, remember that it is never too early to add those mouse guards.

Always have a source of water available as the hot weather continues.

Each time you visit the hive, heft it carefully from the back to get an idea of weight and stores.

Continue to monitor monthly for varroa because the varroa count increases as the brood increases.

Do NOT remove your honey until ready to extract. Stored honey is hygroscopic and can easily pick up moisture while in your garage or basement. It is also very alluring to small hive beetle.

Replace those grease patties when consumed to keep the tracheal mite count low.

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The Continuing Beekeeping Adventures of Paul ’n Patty
by Andy Morris

“Do you have a permit? Don’t you need a permit? I mean, like, these things sting. People are allergic to them and die. What if they are Killer Bees?” queried Sarah. “I mean how do you know? Ya know what I mean? Like, they could attack someone and, like, kill them.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry. The bees we are getting aren’t “killer bees”. As a matter of fact, “killer bees” are really called Africanized Honey Bees, and they are originally from South America,” informed Patty. “The honey bees we are getting are Italian honey bees, and they are coming from Georgia.”

Sarah tilted her head and squinted one eye. “African bees are from South America? Italian bees are coming from Georgia? Well, I better not get stung, that’s all I have to say!”

She turned on her heel and strode out of the garage, without her sugar.
Patty fell back against the workbench, and leaned unconcernedly against the fresh paint she had just put on one of the honey supers. “&*#$,” She blurted. “I can’t believe some people! They can be just so ignorant!”

Paul cautiously slid next to her and, putting a comforting arm around her shoulders and pulling her to his side, said, “If you remember, just a few short weeks ago I wasn’t too warm on the idea of keeping bees. I’m still a little nervous. People are different and take time to adjust to new things, especially stinging things.”

When he pulled away, he noticed that the inside of the arm of his shirt was covered with wet paint. He took Patty by the shoulders and planted a dramatic kiss on her lips, spun her around and whispered into her ear, “I think we should quit for the time being. We need to do some cleaning up.”

The final lecture was on the subject of Honeybee Diseases and Pests. The lecturers looked quite nervous, and the reason, they explained, as they began, was because of the topic. They mentioned that some of the “guests” in the hive did not pose problems some fifteen years ago.

“Good evening,” said a slender, once blond lady. “We are tonight’s speakers. My name is Marion and this gentleman is Heywood.”

Paul nudged Patty’s side and whispered, “Did you get a look at their name tags? Her last name is Kind. And would you believe his last name is Jabuzov?” He just got a pointed glare suggesting, ‘Could you please be serious and focus on the subject?’ Paul decided then and there he just had to learn how to squeeze an entire sentence into a stare.

Mites were discussed first. Marion showed slides of tracheal mites, first, explaining causes, detriments to the bees and the hive, and treatments, both old and more recent. She then covered the more recent and devastating topic of the Varroa mite. Even though the students in the class had heard of this pest, the facts that were presented that evening sponsored exchanged looks of disbelief.

Marion covered some of the more esoteric but less destructive diseases, like Chalk Brood and Chill Brood, and then she handed the presentation over to Heywood. He was a rather formidable looking man, with a great gut, a grizzled, gray beard, rather tangled hair that was several months overdue for a trim, and sharp, ice blue eyes.
“The next topic is less than pleasant,” declared a soft, almost sad, voice. “American Foulbrood stinks, and that’s that.” He went on to explain all about the disease and, with more slides showed what to look for if it infects the hive. The worst part of what he said was the only effective remedy, the destruction of the hive, including the bees. A pin could have been heard in that lecture hall, but no one could move for the shock.

After foul brood, wax moth was the topic. A frame with white pill-shaped cocoons and destroyed comb was produced. The life cycle of the moth and some preventative rituals were presented for discussion. Several of the more senior, more experienced club members offered their solutions to this pest, spurring on a lengthy discussion.

The final pest mentioned was the mouse. It turns out that that cute little animal, the cause of so many shrieks and jumps onto chairs, can be quite devastating when it gets into a hive. Not only is it responsible for the ruining of several frames in the hive where it makes its home, it is the cause of a reeking smell that can really clean the stuffiest of noses. Several mouse guards were pointed out in the catalogs, but Marion and Heywood both agreed that something called ‘half-inch hardware cloth’ is cheaper and just as effective.

To be continued . . .

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Sorry to keep harping on this subject, but there are still many books and videos among the missing. If all not returned soon, the entire membership will lose the library.

Please return all books and videos to the next meeting. If you cannot make the meeting, you can mail the items to BCBA, P O Box 808, E Sandwich, 02537, or drop them off at 186 Old County Rd, East Sandwich. Just leave them on our breakfast table.

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= Sept 12-28
I have received an invitation to give lectures at the Big-E in Springfield sometime between Sept 12-28th.  For those who are not familiar with the fair poke around the web site.  You need more than one day to see it all.

I have usually stayed overnight for 2 nights in their supplied RVs and given 2 or 3 lectures each day for 2 days.  They provide the admission and overnight accommodations.  I've enjoyed seeing the entire fair in between the lectures plus the evening entertainment shows, all at no cost.   I am interested in sharing this event with another beekeeper.  If anyone is interested, please contact me the sooner the better as we then have our choice of which days to volunteer before the "show" days are filled. or phone 508-539-1774

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Websites of Interest
Members researching solutions for problems in their hives sent the following sites to us:
And, don't forget to periodically check out Julie Lipkin's blog at:

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Claire has 6 ounce flat-belly bears for sale with hi-flo caps for 50 cents each.

There is still an extractor available. Contact Claire or Paul for this item. As the restaurants say: “Pris fixe.” The extractor, used 4 times, is a motorized Maxant Model 3100, which will extract 6 shallow frames at a time, lists for $799.00. We will accept $650.00.

back to top Last updated 08/12/08