Current Newsletter
Archived Newsletters

Buzz Words - September 2009

Table of Contents
1. Announcements
2. From the President
3. Good Vibrations
4. Fall Harvest Fair
5. Claire's Corner
6. Glassware Saturdays
7. Did You Know
8. Classifieds

Tuesday, Sept 8th,at the West Barnstable Community Building on Route 149,  with guest speaker Susan Chien, a Biologist/beekeeper from North Scituate, Rhode Island. Her presentation is titled  “Taking the Guesswork out of Hive Management: Routime Testing for Nosema and Tracheal Mites.”Susan was a presenter at the Mass Bee Field Day in So Deerfield this past June

Don’t forget to periodically check out member Julie Lipkin’s blog, AND add your comments to let her know that your are in fact reading her efforts.

From the President
At the most recent Board of Director’s meeting at Jan Rapp’s home (thank you Jan for being a gracious host), several important issues were discussed.  They will impact the club and all its members.  Some of them will be discussed in more detail in the body of the newsletter.

After much discussion, we decided to increase the annual dues to $15.  This is the first increase since I became a member 11 years ago.  It is necessary to be able to continue what the club is offering (for example:  We still have 55 members who insist that they receive the newsletter by “snail mail”.  The current $10 dues barely cover the printing and mailing).  In addition, the fees for next year’s Beginners’ Course was increased to $50, which includes a one year membership.

Our application for “not-for-profit” status has hit some administrative snags, which are in the process of being resolved.  Thank you Paul Desilets for staying on top of it.

Our new Board member Kalliope Egloff informed about the newly organized 4H bee group.  With 17 enrolled boys and girl it has a very successful start.  It is groups like this where the next generation of beekeepers will come from.  Her effort deserves our support.  Thank you Kalliope.

We have heard from several States and clubs that they have developed Best Management Practices for Beekeeping (BMP).  With the Cape becoming more and more populated, it is important that we address the issue of being a good neighbor in addition to being a good beekeeper.  If you would like to be part of the group writing BMP please contact any Board member or me know.

After the meeting, we got the good news that the State Dept. of Agriculture has recommended the approval of our queen-rearing grant to the Fed. Dept. of Agriculture. The final approvals will become public at the end of September.  My special congratulation and thanks to Claire Desilets, who is the main mover and shaker.

I wish you all a safe Labor Day weekend and hope that you have more honey to extract than I have. 

Good Vibrations
I have never thought about a bucket list, not ready to kick the bucket, but yesterday I did something that would have definitely been on my bucket list, catching a swarm of bees!

Paul called me in the afternoon and asked if I had any extra equipment.  I did and said yes but was worried that I  probably didn't take care of my stuff as well as he did.  Then he told me there was a swarm of bees at Bank North in downtown Chatham.   Wow - are you stopping by my house on the way to pick up the swarm?  No he said, you are going to get them.  ME????

Oh the adrenaline was pumping as I drove downtown - nervous, actually terrified, but very excited.  My husband came with me - he doesn't really like to get too close to the bees but he helps with the heavy lifting and would be available in case I needed a ride to the hospital.

I parked at the bank and scanned the trees but didn't see the swarm.  Now I was so psyched to catch the swarm and was hoping they weren't already gone.  I burst through the double doors at the bank, the three tellers looked up, and anxiously I asked do you have a swarm of bees?  They did -  a beautiful swarm, a gorgeous cluster clinging to a small tree right next to the first parking spot.  I couldn't believe my eyes - there they were - just like you read about.  I couldn't wait to get close to them.  They were humming, such sweet, good vibrations - I wasn't scared at all.

They were about chest high in the tree but they were wrapped around the bark so cutting off a branch wouldn't help.  I held a board under the super, rested it against the tree, and gently brushed the bees into the box.  I had taken a couple frames out to give them some room and had a couple frames of honey mixed in there to entice them.  After a couple more sweeps I rested the box on the ground and watched the bees.  A couple were fanning from the box but bees kept flying back into the tree. 

Well the bank was a busy place on a Friday afternoon and the bees and I were making a spectacle of ourselves.  Curious folks were asking questions about the bees and the very brave came over for a close look.   It was fun talking to them about the bees and  I think some of them may even sign up for bee school this winter.

I kept alternating sweeping the bees in the box, watching their reaction, and looking for the Queen but the bees were piled high and I couldn't find her.   I was getting worried that I didn't really know what I was doing and I didn't want to cause any harm to the swarm and then I saw her.  I couldn't believe it - she was all by herself just walking across the trunk of the tree with no attendants, no fanfare, but there was no mistaking her. She was the largest most beautiful Queen I had ever seen.   I held my breath and gently laid my hand across the tree.  She walked right on to my finger and I slowly lowered her to the box. When I reached the top of the box she hopped off my hand and went down into the hive.  Phew - it was going to be alright.  The bees started lining up on the end of the box and fanning like crazy.  They were 4 to 6 rows of bees piled on the edge of the hive all fanning.   The tree was emptying out and in no time at all there were just a couple dozen bees left in the tree.  We were at the bank for a couple hours catching the swarm and chatting with people.  My patient husband was tired and hungry and I was excited to get my bees home and set up their hive.  I tried to catch the remaining bees one by one and after I loaded the hive into the car I told the stragglers last chance girls but I knew I would be back the next day to see if anyone needed a ride.

I still can't believe I actually caught a swarm of bees.  You read about it and imagine what it must be like and think could they really be that gentle.  They were.   It was such a thrilling, marvelous experience to feel so connected to the bees.   I woke up the next morning still on Cloud 9.  Catching a swarm of bees: check.     Mary O’

back to top

Fall Harverst Fair
Will be held at the Barnstable Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  In the past we have covered the Saturday.  If there are enough folks interested in doing Sunday, we can do both days.   

We have another box of Honey Candy, and lots of honeystix.  If any folks have honey and wax products enough to sell, bring them on. Shift hours can be split day or full.

At a recent board of directors meeting, it was voted to reserve 10% of all member sales to support the new 4H Bee Club (now at 17 youngsters) and to assist in the queen rearing program.

back to top

Claire's Corner
Attached is the 2009 Queen Survey that we would like returned as soon as possible. The tally of information will help the board plan next year’s package program and possible queen banking efforts. Just remember that if you don’t complete the survey, you may not be able to purchase bees through the club next year.

LAST CHANCE-Attached is the 2009 Queen Survey that we would like returned as soon as possible. The tally of information will help the board plan next year’s package program and possible queen banking efforts. Just remember that if you don’t complete the survey, you may not be able to purchase bees through the club next year.
» 2009 Package Bee Queen Survey (doc)

Ellicottville, N.Y. (The Aspen of The East) was the scene of EAS 2009. Four B.C.B.A. members ventured west and hobnobbed with 440 other beekeepers, researchers and educators. “Toward Non-chemical Beekeeping” was the focus of the week of workshops and speakers. Reduction or elimination of chemicals in our hives will need to be coupled/married to breeding resistant bees and IPM measures. It would seem to be an easily attainable goal; but, as varroa counts increase and small hive beetle creeps in, what can be done?

There are no new magic bullets  Monitor with sticky boards, or sugar shakes, use drone removal, keep screened bottom boards and dust with powdered sugar. If the varroa counts increase, the beekeeper can use soft, natural products containing thymol or formic acid, or do nothing and let the hive run its course.

One attainable direction is to breed and raise our own mite-resistant, winter-hardy, disease-resistant queens. This is our club’s goal in the next few years. We are over the first hurdle thanks to the Mass Dept of Agricultural Resources accepting our 26 month, $12,607 proposal. As of this week it has been handed to the USDA for final approval and funding expected by October 1st, 2009.

What will your role be in this project? We will need volunteers, members with surviving queens, lots of drones from winter hardy hives and members willing to give these new queens a home and keeping an evaluation sheet. When our project falls into place, our first queens will be available by late June, 2010, continuing into August. In the spring of 2011, we will add another breeder queen to increase our genetic diversity and to prevent inbreeding.

Southern packages will still need to come over the bridge for our new beekeepers and to replace our winter losses. It is anticiapated these queens will continue to  improve, increase our gene pool and build resistance to the various pests. Requeening these packages with our cape queens will keep our project on track.

back to top

Glassware Saturdays
George will once again man the Glassware Store on the first and third Saturday mornings of the month.

Call or email George with your needs in order for him to have enough on hand.

back to top

Did You Know

  • The kudzu vine can grow up to a foot per day.
  • Bamboo is capable of growing up to 4 feet in just 24 hours.
  • One ladybug can eat 40 aphids in just one hour.
  • Of all the prescription medicines produced in the U.S., 25% of them are derived from plants.

back to top

We recently received a call from a former member who has a stainless steel hand-crank 3-deep frame, or 6 shallow frame extractor for sale. It has had very little use, and has legs. A similar model at Betterbee costs $550 plus shipping. You can pick this one up for $350. Contact Bob Wright if interested 508-237-7297 or email at Gentleman says he also has supers in good condition.

back to top Last updated 08/230/09