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

Your Host

 Hello Everyone, 

I would like to thank all of the members who answered my desperate plea for “Prayer” for my Grandson Braxton. I would also like to thank the “Choctaw Indian Community” for their prayers inside the sweat lodges.

A week ago Braxton went back to the Houston Children’s Hospital for one final exam before starting chemo therapy. The doctors took more tests and x-rays too see how much the cancer progressed. To their total disbelief and astonishment, the affected areas were actually reducing in size. These areas were healing themselves. The doctors were baffled but delighted.

Needless to say, my entire family believes in “The Power of Prayer”. This is absolutely a true “Miracle” in every since of the word. Braxton of course is not out of the woods yet. However, he seems to be on the mend. Please continue with your prayers until Braxton is completely healthy again. What a blessing this is. Thank all of you from the bottom of my heart.    Dennis 

Special Note: The "Flair" magazine www.flairmag.net did a story on our club. This is a great  magazine, especially for women. Visit there website and turn to page 24.                                                                          

 Bee Talk


 I checked the deep chamber and there is no capped honey and not a lot of brood. However, the hive appears to be strong. Also, there are hive beetles. I fed them sugar water and it was gone in 24 hours. I am the person from the Woodlands and have been twice to your informative classes. What should I do next and thank you for your advice..  Randall and Jonathan Todd—The Woodlands, Texas

 Hello Randall, 

It sounds like your hive needs to be fed until they have a minimum of 35 lbs. stored in the comb. Right now they don't have enough to eat. Bees loose their will to take care of the hive if they are starving. The hive beetles are opportunist and will take over if the bees don't have the desire to keep them out. Just keep feeding your bees and let me know how it is going.     Dennis


Great photo of the AFB swarm on your hive body.  How long do you have to kill their queen, before they send scouts into your hive and kill the good queen?  What if you're gone for a few days and they settle on the hive while you are gone, for instance.

Thanks for all your help,     

Chuck—College Station, Texas

 Hello Chuck, 

You don't have a lot of time. They start there dirty work straight away. They send in the scouts during the day when there are fewer bees in the hive because the field bees are out foraging. Another benefit for a day time assassination is that with all the flight activity at the entrance with the returning field bees, there is less security. The bees don't have the luxury of a screening machine. They have to smell each bee as it enters the hive. The scouts can usually  make it through the defenses with just a few assassins. The fewer scouts, the less likely it will alert the entire hive.   Dennis


    Ray told me to leave the candy cap "on" for a couple of days, which I did.  I placed her in the hive on Sat., Oct. 23, and went back on Tues., Oct. 26 and pulled the candy cap off.  I came back on Thurs. and she had been released.  If the weather permits, I'm going in tomorrow to look for eggs and possibly her.

    Question: In my reading someone suggested placing the debris board back in on a screened bottom board when you are requeening in order to help her pheromones permeate the hive better and not be diluted by the open bottom.  Any truth to this?   Thanks,    Chuck


I have a concern about you waiting so long to go back into the hive unless you had already removed all of the queen cells that the bees started. If you did not remove all of the queen cells after the 4th day you disposed of the original queen, there will be a good chance that a virgin queen will hatch out and kill your new queen. The workers can't use brood that is older than 4 days to produce a queen.  

I have not heard of this technique before. Maybe we should put it to the test in this next season?     Dennis

Good morning Dennis, 

Thought you would enjoy this article.     Wayne—Houston, Texas

 Bees Solve Math Problems Faster Than Computers

by Brian Thomas, M.S.

Bees can solve complex mathematical problems that would normally keep computers busy for days, according to a new report from UK researchers.1

Through careful observation, University of London scientists have determined that bees routinely solve the "traveling salesman problem," in which a subject must determine the shortest route between multiple destinations in order to conserve energy. But the scientists don't know how the bees do it with a brain the size of a grass seed.

"Bees learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they discover the flowers in a different order," according to a Royal Holloway, University of London press release.1 Researchers watched as bees encountered "computer controlled artificial flowers" at random, then quickly calculated the shortest route before visiting them all again.

Current computer programs that perform these kinds of calculations operate by totaling the lengths of each possible route and then comparing them to find the shortest one.

There is no way that such tiny brains, using such little energy, could arrive at the right answer so quickly and consistently using the same approach as these computers. So, the researchers speculated that the bees must be using an unknown shortcut algorithm.

Such an algorithm could be a valuable assistance in solving traffic flow problems on roadways and in man-made data networks.

Also crowded into a bee's tiny brain are other shortcut algorithms that enable bees to completely avoid crash landings.2 Research has also discovered advanced capabilities in other insects. For example, ants possess superior traffic flow instincts compared to man-made systems.3 And even slime mold can build more efficient transportation tracks than those devised by Japanese railway engineers.4 All of these algorithms, if they could be discovered or reinvented, have the potential for use in human designs.

Since not even humans with supercomputers could develop these clever algorithms, they must have been purposefully programmed into the insects by an intelligent programmer. Nature by itself could never put together such intricate programs. Even if it could, where would it obtain the power needed to insert them into the exact animals that require them?

Bees, like ants and so many other creatures, clearly look as though they have been expertly designed. Further, it appears that their Designer is vastly more clever than humans, who have trouble understanding, much less duplicating, the abilities of these creatures.

Hello Wayne,

I mention to my students in each class I give that I don't know everything there is to know about bees even though I have been working with bees for so long. Part of the joy of beekeeping for me is that I am forever learning something new. I remember back in the early 1980's going to a couple of those _____ beekeeping association meetings to see what it was all about. Up to that point I had been keeping bees for close to 15 years. I met a bunch of good people there. They were hungry for information about beekeeping. Then there were a few who had only been in beekeeping for less than 3 years and they were walking around all puffed up acting like they knew it all. I think you were with me. Remember that guy named "Lester or Lister"? He was the president of that club at the time. He had 2 hives and kept bees for 3 years. His head was so big he couldn't wear pull over shirts.

Did you read the Lone Star Farms Club news letter for November? The pages that change each month are "Club News" and "Cletus Calendar". Hope you enjoy it each month. Thanks, Dennis

Hey Dennis, 

Yes, I remember that joker well.  His name was ……. Lister.  He thought of himself as the self-proclaimed bee expert in Houston.  The news media would always call him when there was some article on bees.  I think he suffered from short man disease.

 Well, I am decreasing my two hives down to double brood boxes this weekend.  I have left two very strong hives.  The wax moth lures is still fermenting in my garage.  I had them in the kitchen but Sue made me put them in the garage.  Ha.  Will let you know how well these work out. 

 Regards,   Wayne


I really wanted to work your hives with you on Saturday. Making management decisions as they come up in the yard coupled with watching your movements and you pointing out my bad habits really helps me. I hope you will extend me a rain check and many more opportunities in your yard. 

I'm also concern about my cluster size in some of my smaller hives. They are only about three/four pounds but the plus side is that they are Russians. 

Please let me know what Revis says about using wooden queen cages in the future for us as opposed to the plastic ones.   Fred—Houston, Texas 


Maybe the timing will work out better for you the next time.

If you have three/four pounds of Russian bees, you should be able to get through our south Texaswinter as long as they have enough stores. Russian bees are known for wintering with fewer bees/stores. Make sure to slide in the board on your screen bottom when the temperatures get down in the 30's at night consistently. The cold won't usually kill bees but the damp air which will accumulate in the hive will.

I will speak to Ray about him offering the wooden queen cages as a choice instead of the plastic cages. Dennis

Hi Dennis, 

My name is Brenda Fuller and I am a small candle maker in the DFW area.  I am looking to work with Texas Beekeepers, that have chemical free hives, and purchase beeswax from them in bulk (usually 30-100 lbs at a time).  I am looking for unfiltered, golden, chemical free beeswax - natural debris is a plus :)

 I have a customer that already purchases from me but I have already gone through the bulk of my local beekeeper source and now must look for more as he will not harvest again until June.

 Please let me know if you or any of your club members may be able to provide some for purchase.   Thank you,    Brenda Fuller   469-554-5714

 Hello Brenda,

As you are finding out, 95% of the beekeepers use chemicals in their hives. Most of the 5% left are hobbyist and don't have much wax to offer for sale. The couple of Chemical Free commercial beekeepers are reprocessing their own wax into foundation for themselves.

One of the reasons that I started my website was to decrease the chemical users and increase the chemical free beekeepers. It is not necessary to put chemicals in the hive if you learn how to raise bees without them. Someday in the next 10-15 years, you will be able to purchase the clean chemical free product that you are looking for much easier.

I will pass your information around. Good luck in your search. Dennis


We enjoyed the class on Saturday.  I have ordered the screened bottom boards and hope to put those on soon.  We are going to try to remove the metal spacers then as well.  Is there an optimum time to do that?  Or is the sooner the better?  Also, will you be having a meeting in December?  I plan on signing up for the January class when it becomes available.  Thanks again.  Donna Marucci  Bryan, Texas

 Hello Donna, 

I am glad that you enjoyed the class. I would wait until spring to remove the metal spacers. You have to be careful how long you leave your hive open this time of year. There is very little for the bees to forage for and they would like to rob from other hives. Robbing is hard to stop once it gets started.

I just posted most of the classes for next year. Look through them and mark your calendar. Email me if you need to.  Dennis


Good morning Dennis, 

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving.  I have a quick question for you, if you had to speculate, what would the main nectar source be for honey produced this fall.  I live about 15 miles from you.  I attended one of your classes a while back and the vegetation at your house was very similar to the vegetation at my house.   Thanks,     

Jerry Deal---Franklin, Texas

 Hello Jerry, 

Here in the Bryan, Franklin and Hearne area for Fall nectar we have the golden rod and aster. The past few years because of this ever present drought that we seem to be in the plants have not produced much nectar. Our main flow is with the yaupon starting in the first part of April. 

I hope that you and your family had a good Thanksgiving and will have a wonderful Christmas season. Dennis

Hello everyone, 

I am posting a message from “Bee Weaver”. There has been some confusion about the different “Weaver” companies. Of the two Weaver companies, “Bee Weaver” does  not raise bees with chemicals. Below is there message.  Dennis

Get back to the basics.... enjoy being a beekeeper, not an exterminator. Choose bees that don't need chemicals to   survive.                                                              

The message is simple. Our dream of selecting and propagating bees with genetic tolerance or resistance to honey bee pathogens is a reality. Our queens will buy you peace of mind and enable chemical free or "organic" beekeeping. You will not need to constantly monitor mite levels, and repeatedly dispense expensive and/or dangerous chemical treatments to keep your hives alive. Colonies headed by Bee Weaver queens will thrive despite Varroa mites and viruses, while hives with queens from other sources will usually die without continuous and aggressive chemical treatment. 

Bee Weaver queens will allow you to relax and enjoy the benefits of organic beekeeping today. Kick the habit of constantly worrying about mite levels, and applying various chemicals to combat mites. Harvest organically produced honey and produce wax free of harmful chemical residues by using bees that beat mites naturally. You will be glad you did. 

The Chemical Free Bee Dream... Came True:

 1995 Weaver Apiaries divided into 2 companies, BeeWeaver and The R Weaver.  During BeeWeaver's first season Danny started leaving yards of bees untreated for varroa mites. 

1995-2000  BeeWeaver bred from surviving colonies (literally a handful in each yard the first several years) and continued to leave more yards untreated.  In the process we lost 1000s of colonies, but we noted remarkable improvement in survival rates each season.

2001  BeeWeaver stopped treating hives for varroa mites completely.  By 2001 nearly all BeeWeaver colonies had been chemical free for more then a year, but 2001 marked the year no acaricide was used in any colony. 

2009-present  BeeWeaver Bees are tested at Penn State and found to be resistant to diseases carried by varroa mites.  Bringing our understanding of what BeeWeaver bees had become to a new level.  BeeWeaver stock had become naturally hardy and less likely to succumb to bee diseases and infections.  Simply by letting natural selection drive our bee breeding program BeeWeaver stock became the best all around bee. 

Laura Weaver,      www.beeweaver.com   Austin & Navasota, TX 

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