If you are a member and have anything that you feel is important to chemical free beekeeping, please email it to me. I will post it in this section in a future issue.

Where ever you live in the world you should apply the information on working your bees that is given below when the weather conditions in your area are right. So take notes and be ready.

*****Check out the new book link above*****

Cletus Notes 

Hello Everyone,

Here we are in January once again. I remember in my younger years thinking that by 2015 I would be an old fossil. Hell, I guess I was right.

Here at Lone Star Farms in Bryan, Texas, January is the month I repair broken hive parts that I have set aside during the past year. I clean up any hive parts from dead-outs, and I spread a good coat of paint on those exterior hive parts to get them ready for the up-coming season.

January is also the month that I take inventory of all my hives, extra hive parts, and make a plan for what I want to accomplish with my bees during the coming season. Then, I am able to look at what I have on hand, and decide if I need to order anything before the season begins. If I do need something, I usually place that order in January.  It is never good when you get into the busy season, and discover that you don’t have what you need. Planning ahead is key to being successful in beekeeping. If you don’t make a plan, you will always be one step behind.

Enjoy your bees.

Dennis    

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    "A Little Dab Will Do Ya" -

Propolis Promotes Hair Growth in Mice

Hair loss can be devastating for the millions of men and women who experience it. Now scientists are reporting that propolis might contain clues for developing a potential new therapy. They found that propolis encouraged hair growth in mice. The study appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Ken Kobayashi and colleagues note that propolis is a resin-like material that honeybees use to seal small gaps in their hives. Not only does it work as a physical barrier, but it also contains active compounds that fight fungal and bacterial invasions. People from ancient times had noticed propolis' special properties and used it to treat tumors, inflammation and wounds. More recently, research has shown that the substance promotes the growth of certain cells involved in hair growth though no one had yet tested whether that in turn would result in new locks. Kobayashi's team wanted to find out.

When the researchers tested propolis on mice that had been shaved or waxed, the mice that received the treatment regrew their fur faster than those that didn't. The scientists also noticed that after the topical application, the number of special cells involved in the process of growing hair increased. Although they tried the material on mice that could grow fur rather than balding mice, the researchers note that hair loss conditions often result from abnormal inflammation. Propolis contains anti-inflammatory compounds, so they expect it could help treat balding conditions.

They add that further testing is needed to see if the beehive material affects human hair follicles.

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  Texas Beekeepers Association (“TBA”) Legislative Committee Report

The TBA Legislative Committee has been working over the past several months on several

matters related to legislation that affects beekeepers in Texas. The Committee was established to

be representative of all beekeepers and is comprised of two hobby beekeepers, a sideliner, and

two commercial beekeepers. Considerable time has been invested by the Committee to research

current laws, to obtain advice from related regulatory agencies, and to seek out state legislators

who would be interested in working with TBA to address changes we believe are beneficial for

Texas beekeepers. We will be working with Legislative Council in Austin to get formal drafts of

proposed legislation. When formal drafts are completed, TBA will send them by email to all

TBA members for review and comment prior to introducing any proposed legislative changes.

We know there is considerable interest in these matters. Therefore we would like to provide the

following update regarding the work of the Committee.

Texas Agriculture Code Chapter 131 - Bees and Honey

Chapter 131 has not been updated since 1986. TBA has known for quite some time that these

regulations needed to be updated. We invited the Texas Apiary Inspection Service (TAIS) -

Mark Dykes, Bill Baxter, and Mary Reed to the table to help us in an advisory capacity to

address changes to Chapter 131 that better reflect the current needs of Texas beekeepers. Areas

for suggested changes include the following:

$ Streamlining the interstate permit application process so that multiple permits are

not required in a twelve month period and doing away with the requirement of

intrastate permits.

$ Providing for an annual beekeeper registration for a minimal fee. Registration

would be mandatory only for beekeepers maintaining over 25 hives, but would be

beneficial for all beekeepers. Registration would meet the requirements for compliance

with the Texas Occupations Code for beekeepers involved in bee removals, as well as

provide a registered brand for equipment identification.

$ Providing for additional means of identifying apiaries to those required under

current law, while allowing an exemption from identification for apiaries located at a

beekeeper’s residence.

$ Broadening defined diseases to include pests and unwanted Apis species to better

deal with current and future issues related to the health of bees.

$ Providing for the Chief Apiary Inspector’s role to include not only publishing

current information on disease identification and treatment, but also presenting

educational programs related to these areas.

Proposed Texas Honey Sales Act

Under current Texas Law a beekeeper is a "Food Manufacturer" as soon as they put honey in a

container, label it and offer it for sale. Therefore, every beekeeper who bottles and sells even

one bottle of their own honey must obtain a Texas Food Manufacturers License issued by the

Texas Department of State Human Services (DSHS) and meet certain facilities requirements.

These requirements include among other things, commercial kitchen features and facilities that

are completely separate from a residence.

TBA and its affiliated local associations are committed to promoting beekeeping in Texas. We

are concerned that the present regulatory requirements are detrimental to the to small scale

beekeepers who, under current law, are not reasonably allowed to sell their own honey in local

markets. Furthermore, we are concerned that this may create an impediment to the overall

growth of hobby beekeepers in Texas.

Therefore, TBA is proposing an exemption by legislation from the Texas Food Manufacturers

License for small scale beekeepers who produce a limited amount of honey. This will allow

them to sell honey produced by their own hives in certain venues, direct to customers, without

being in violation of the law. TBA representatives met with DSHS regulatory officials who

expressed support for this type of exemption.

Several have asked “Why not add honey to the list of Cottage Foods under Cottage Food Laws?”

Under Chapter 131 of the Texas Agricultural Code dealing with Bees and Honey, it is unlawful

for a person to sell a product identified as “honey” unless it is “pure honey” as defined under this

Chapter. The DSHS has the authority to enforce provisions of Chapter 131 with respect to

adulteration of honey, which TBA believes is important to protecting the identity of honey in

Texas. These provisions also serve to protect consumers. If honey is made a cottage food,

DSHS loses this enforcement power. TBA believes it is important to all honey producers, large

or small, for DSHS to maintain this enforcement authority.

Open Space Land Appraisal (Property Tax Exemption) for Beekeepers

Texas passed legislation which became effective in 2011 to allow beekeeping as an agricultural

use enterprise in open-space land appraisal, thereby allowing beekeepers to qualify for special

property tax valuation on land used for keeping bees. The implementation of this law got off to a

slow start in some counties and there is still a lot of misinformation with respect to the

requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the special valuation. TBA is exploring

possible options to make the qualification process more uniform throughout the state and to help

beekeepers better understand the law so that they are equipped to deal with the application

process in their county.