Remember that the "Cletus Calendar" page will tell you what you should be doing this month, and the "Archive" page contains all of the previous months of the "Newsletter and Cletus Calendar".

******Check out the revised book link above.******

Book proceeds go to help our club website stay running. Thanks for your purchase.

Your host---For Sale--Bee Talk---Days Gone By 

Your host

For those of you who live within fifty miles of Lone Star Farms, take advantage of "Lone Star Farms Apiary Inspection Service." Contact Dennis for details.

If you belong to a beekeeping club and would like me to come teach one of the class topics that are listed on the www.lonestarfarms.net class page, please have your president contact me. The four hour class would have to be held on a Saturday and there is a fifteen person minimum. Education is key to successful beekeeping management. Thanks

Hello Everyone, The yaupon flow has started in our area. Pay close attention to when you should place your first honey supper on. Good Luck!

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For Sale

2018 queen/nuc

2018 Marked Russian Queens-$38.00 each. Five deep frame nuc with laying Russian queen-$280.00 plus a $25 refundable nuc box deposit.

To receive the nuc box deposit, my original nuc box must be returned clean and within 90 days to 2438 Tangley St. Houston, TX 77005. 

There are many variables in raising bees and they are all in God's hands.  Queens and nucs will be ready when they are ready so please don't nag me on dates.  I do the best I can to provide a product I would want in my yard.  I will advise you when the bees are available.  Tentative timeline is after the Yaupon bloom and before the Tallow bloom. 

Queens and nucs are pick up only and the pick-up locations are in Waller, Houston or Galveston, Texas. Full payment required for queen bookings. Nuc bookings require a $100.00 non-refundable deposit that will be applied toward the total nuc purchase price. Make checks payable to E.C. Kouzounis 2438 Tangley St. Houston, TX 77005. If you are interested or need further information, please email me at purehoneyproducer@att.net--------Costa Kouzounis.

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Bee Talk

Hi Dennis,

Maybe you can help me with something. I’ve tried putting out a swarm box for the past two years without any luck. I currently have four hives and I know that at least two of them have swarmed in the past two years, but they don’t go inside the swarm box that I have provided. What am I doing wrong? Thanks in advance. Sherri

Hello Sherri,

What are you using for a swarm box?

Hey Dennis, I’m using a nuc box that I received when I ordered my bees from the breeder.

Sherri, you should be using a brood box with a solid bottom board. The brood box should be a used one so that the odor from the previous bees has permeated the box. If you don’t have a used box, then order swarm lure spray from Kelley supply order # 8912. Do not spray more than twice on the inside of the top cover. Any more and it will actually act as a repellent and you will miss another swarm season. I recommend using one plastic foundation inside the swarm box set in the middle. The swarm will start working this frame first instead of making their own comb and attaching it to the sides of the box. You need to “check your swarm box daily “otherwise the bees will start attaching their comb to the box. Once you capture a swarm, you should immediately move the box to a permeant location, remove the solid bottom and replace it with a screen bottom from Kelley Item # 57A. Then add nine more frames. I prefer to use pure bees wax instead of the plastic. I use the one plastic frame in a swarm box because it allows the bees something to start on and I never have any trouble with mice chewing like they would on a wax foundation. You should use an entrance reducer from Kelley Item # 55-NA.

A swarm will send out scouts to locate a new home. The scouts are looking for a home that will accommodate the colony for future use. A nuc box doesn’t fill that requirement. Typically, the scouts will move-on to a larger space. (Like a brood box.) Sometimes you may capture a swarm in a nuc box, but it will be a smaller swarm that may occupy it. You should place your swarm box between six and ten feet off the ground. Place it in a shady spot that will make it easy for you to relocate it. I hope this helps you.

Enjoy your bees!

Dennis

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Hi Dennis

We purchase products/packages from Kelley. We read your newsletter column every month. Please, I need help. I know beekeeping is your business.

 So, please “turn on your meter” and charge me for your answer. I state this because I need a plan, not to be insulting.

I never charge for helping beekeepers.  

Here’s the thing: years ago, my wife and I successfully kept six hives for years. Typically we would harvest 150 pounds of honey from them. We treated our bees like family; meaning nothing harsh, gently brushed them, captured swarms, and used almost no chemicals. Kept the hives in shade, but close to direct sunlight. We lived on 2 ½ acre with woods, and farm land all around. We planted bee friendly flowers.

What do you mean, “almost no chemicals?” Chemicals are never needed in your hives. You should keep your hives in the sun until mid-afternoon then they should be shaded be a tree/building etc.

About four years ago, we found ourselves with three hives. We purchased two nucs, but the next year found ourselves with one hive. Next year, two packages, two dead. One year, I swear, I went out to check on them the day after I installed them and found one had absconded -- $130 gone overnight.

Anytime you start a hive using a package, you should place a frame of open brood in the hive. ( if available) Bees will rarely abscond when there is brood present. Same when capturing a swarm. You should be purchasing bees from a hygienic breeder. Maybe the breeder you’re using places chemicals in their hive which weakens the bee’s immune system, and then if you don’t use chemicals as well, the bees are usually taken down by mites/viruses. You should perform a mite check every month during the warmer months. I’ve explained the best way to perform a mite check in my books. Find a chemical free breeder.

Last year, we moved a mile down the road on six acres. The surrounding environment is the same.

There’s usually not much food available for the bees to forage on in a wooded area. Learn to identify food sources for you bees.

2017-2018 was no different, both new packages were dead – photos attached. We again have one hive, which we moved from our old property.

From the pictures it looks like the queen was at fault. Her brood pattern was bad. Maybe she was not fully mated. Judging by the amount of hive debris on the bottom board, it looks like the hive was weak and got robbed out.

As usual each package is put in a single deep. A few days later the “cage” is removed and frames put in its place.

 In my opinion, there’s a better way to introduce a new queen. I get a 98% acceptance rate using my method.

After a couple of months another deep is added. All frames are new without comb. I cannot explain why/how the new comb (in the photos) became dark; almost as burr comb.

 What do you mean “without comb?”

Upon examination last week, each hive had of couple of frames full of capped honey in the top deep. Other frames had areas of both capped and uncapped honey.

Were the bottom frames full of honey? You may have introduced a new box too early. Bees like to move up leaving the outside frames empty in the bottom box. 

From the time we install the packages (May) until the water freezes (Nov.) we give them sugar water. I wrap the hives, but don’t feed in the winter.

You should not have to feed your bees that long unless they are in a limited food source area. Most books and information will tell you to mix a 1 to 1 sugar water mix. This is miss information. You should always use a 2 sugar to 1 water mix. It’s not the water that helps the bees, it’s the sugar content.

I’m thinking I need to start giving them Bee pro Patties, Pro-sweet liquid feed, using frame-type in-hive feeder…

You should not have to ever feed those sorts of things to your bees unless there is a management/environmental issue. Find out what’s really going on inside the hive through inspection.

We always burn the old frames.

Unless there is a disease problem, you should always re-use your frames.

Note: I see that you are using plastic foundation. Bees prefer their natural wax foundation. In the pictures you sent, you can see how the bees have tried to avoid the plastic foundation by starting their wax foundation above the plastic and in some cases they avoided it all together. One pic shows how the cells are all twisted and spaced differently. They do not like plastic. Change to wax foundation.

In my books “Beekeeping: A Personal Journey” and “Beekeeping: Questions and Answers” I cover all your questions in detail. I suggest you purchase these books and get started keeping bees with a renewed enjoyment.

I hope this helps.

Dennis

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Days Gone By