Welcome to the first edition of the "Cletus Calendar". This page will be dedicated to things related to chemical free beekeeping and bee management. This section will be placed under the "Archive" section after each month has ended. I hope that you enjoy the "Cletus Calendar".

If you have anything that you feel is important to chemical free beekeeping, please email me with your story or information and I will post it in this section in a future issue. Thank you. Dennis    

Raising chemical free bees at “Lone Star Farms”.

Raising bees without using chemicals in today’s world would seem like raising fish without water to those who do use chemicals. It is hard for some people to make a change. They feel the risk would be greater then the reward. Back some 30 something years ago I worked for a commercial beekeeper who every time I would ask, “Can we change this or that and do it this way because it would be easier or faster or better” etc., I would have to listen to, “My family and I have been keeping bees for___ years and we have always done things this way and they have been working……”. Well, after 2 years of that I moved on. Our relationship was like mixing oil and water. I have always been pretty much opened minded on new things and willing too try things that had merit and could possibly improve something. I feel that had that beekeeper been willing to change with the times, he would still be in the beekeeping business today. 

My prediction for beekeepers in the near future ( 10-15 years ) is this; If you are a queen breeder and continue to raise your bees with chemicals you will either learn how to be chemical free (and we hope that you do) or you will need to find another line of work. I know it sounds shocking but mark my words. The new beekeepers of today do not want to place chemicals into their hives because it contaminates their bees and bee products. They don’t want to feed these products to their family that have had chemicals “intentionally” introduced into them. Especially when there are queen breeders out there that never put chemicals into their hives that they can purchase queens from. 

For the beekeeper who wants to be chemical free and have healthier bees and cleaner bee products, you should “Always” select a queen breeder who does not intentionally place chemicals into their hives. You can’t buy bees from someone who uses chemicals and expect that you don’t have to keep using chemicals to keep the bees alive. Those bees are weak and unhealthy and “need” the chemicals to stay alive even though their life span has been greatly reduced. 

Here at “Lone Star Farms” we are always experimenting with the different breeds of bees to find bees that can live and prosper without using any chemicals. There are lots and lots of bees to choose from out there. However, there are only a few that we have found to be truly hygienic enough to prosper without the use of any chemicals. There are queen breeders out there that say that their bees are hygienic but still use chemicals in their hives. You should always ask the breeder if they place any kind of chemical into the hive. If they do, then you need to find one that doesn’t because they are out there and they deserve the sale because they are the pioneers of chemical free beekeeping and have paid the price over the years in losses from not using chemicals to develop their bees of today. 

The first thing that a beekeeper needs to do is purchase a queen from a chemical free breeder. (Some listed on the link page) Since they do not use chemicals then you won’t either. This is priority #1 for success. Then here at Lone Star Farms we use the Kelley screen bottom board cat “# 57 A” on all of our hives. This bottom board has a screen that slides in not fixed. Easy to keep clean. You slide it out, clean it then slide it back in. No need to lift the hive off and replace the bottom board. It also has a slide in monitoring board. You spread vegetable oil on the board using a paint brush then slide the board in. Then later slide the board out and check for the number of mites on the board. Then scrape the board off using a 4 inch putty knife. The screen bottom provides excellent ventilation throughout the hive. In the winter we slide the monitoring board in (Dry) to reduce cold drafts. On nice winter days we just slide the board out. The bottom board is key to our monitoring the hives. It is quick and easy which is important to us with our limited time.  

These are the 2 key principles by which we run our chemical free system. The other things that we do will be discussed throughout the year on these pages and offered in our classes listed on the class page. We can help you accomplish being chemical free but it is “you” that will make the final decision for your bees. 

Dennis Brown 

                            “Saving The Bees One Hive At A Time”

Here's what we need, Another state saying that chemicals are ok to use in the hive. Some day when the politicians can't find the foods that they like in the store, maybe they will wake up. They are asking for your "Favorable " comments. In other words if you don't agree with putting chemicals in your hive, don't contact them.



 September 17, 2010
Dear Fellow Beekeeper ,


  EPA Seeks Public Comment on Emergency

Exemption For Amitraz Varroa Strip

Use in
South Dakota

Readers are uged to send their favorable comments on this
Emergency Exemption to the EPA.
See instructions below.


From Federal Register/Vol. 75, No. 178/Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Amitraz; Receipt of Application for Emergency Exemption, Solicitation of Public Comment

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: EPA has received a specific exemption request from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture to use the pesticide amitraz (CAS No. 330089– 61–1) to treat up to 250,000 colonies of beehives to control varroa mites. The applicant proposes a use of a pesticide which was voluntarily canceled under section 6(f) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and which poses a risk similar to the risk which was voluntarily canceled under section 6(f) of FIFRA. EPA is soliciting public comment before making the decision whether or not to grant the exemption.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before September 30, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by docket identification (ID) number EPA–HQ–OPP–2010–0533, by one of the following methods:

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.

• Mail: Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) Regulatory Public Docket (7502P), Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC20460–0001.

• Delivery: OPP Regulatory Public Docket (7502P), Environmental Protection Agency, Rm. S–4400, One PotomacYard(South Bldg.), 2777 S. Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA.Deliveries are only accepted during the Docket Facility’s normal hours of operation (8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays). Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The Docket Facility telephone number is (703) 305–5805.

Instructions: Direct your comments to docket ID number EPA–HQ–OPP–2010– 0533. EPA’s policy is that all comments received will be included in the docket without change and may be made available on-line at http:// www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided, unless the comment includes information claimed to be Confidential Business Information (CBI) or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Do not submit information that you consider to be CBI or otherwise protected through regulations.gov or e- mail. The regulations.gov website is an ‘‘anonymous access’’ system, which means EPA will not know your identity or contact information unless you provide it in the body of your comment. If you send an e-mail comment directly to EPA without going through regulations.gov, your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the docket and made available on the Internet. If you submit an electronic comment, EPA recommends that you include your name and other contact information in the body of your comment and with any disk or CD-ROM you submit. If EPA cannot read your comment due to technical difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, EPA may not be able to consider your comment. Electronic files should avoid the use of special characters, any form of encryption, and be free of any defects or viruses.

Docket: All documents in the docket are listed in the docket index available at http://www.regulations.gov. Although listed in the index, some information is not publicly available, e.g., CBI or other information whose disclosure is restricted by statute. Certain other material, such as copyrighted material, is not placed on the Internet and will be publicly available only in hard copy form. Publicly available docket materials are available either in the electronic docket at http:// www.regulations.gov, or, if only available in hard copy, at the OPP Regulatory Public Docket in Rm. S– 4400, One Potomac Yard (South Bldg.), 2777 S. Crystal Dr., Arlington, VA.The hours of operation of this Docket Facility are from 8:30 a.m.to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. The Docket Facility telephone number is (703) 305–5805.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stacey Groce, Registration Division (7505P), Office of Pesticide Programs, Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460–0001; telephone number: (703) 305–2505; fax number: (703) 605– 0781; e-mail address: groce.stacey@epa.gov.