If you are a member and have something to share that is "Bee" related such as a story or information, please send it to me by email.

Remember that the "Archive" page contains all of the previous months of "Club News and Cletus Calendar".

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

Your Host

Hello Everyone, 

There is some club information that I want to share with you. On Saturday February 19thfrom 9 am until 1 pm we will be having a Beginners Beekeeping Part 2 class Any class that you have already taken but want to refresh your knowledge by taking it again, the cost is half price to attend. 

At 1 pm right after the class we will be having a club meeting. It will last until my wife decides to throw us all out or at sunset which ever comes first. As club members there are a few things we will be discussing. Then we will have “Steve Kelley” one of our members from Huntsville, Texas (not the prison) giving us a demonstration on how to set up and use the “Top Bar” hive. It should be really interesting. 

On Saturday April 9thour “members” are invited on a field trip to B-Weaver apiaries in Navasota, Texas. We will be visiting the queen yard to learn how to graph larva for queen rearing and see how the new queen cells are placed into starter hives. We will be shown the whole process. Bring your bee suit/gloves/veil with you. 

The field trip will be starting at 1 pm. Some of us will be having lunch in Navasota before that time. I will work out the details when we get closer and let you know when and where. 

B-Weaver will discount there queens to any Lone Star Farms “member” for this field trip. So if you are looking to re-queen or start a new hive and need a good hygienic queen, call Laura at B-Weavers ( 1-866-547-3376 ) and let her know that you are a member and need to place your queen order for pick up on field trip day. You can take your queens home with you that day. Be sure to request that your queens be marked. The sooner you order your queens the better chance you will have to get them on field trip day. “Order now”. 

We appreciate B-Weavers for this wonderful opportunity. We will have a great Bee-Day and learn lots of new things. Since this trip is organized through our club, we need to attend this function as a club. I will need to have a head count from all of you who intend to participate. Email me if you intend to go. I intentionally worked out the 1 pm time so that all of you who live farther away will have time to drive. 

Mark your calendars and plan on spending Saturday April 9thin the bee yard. This is a great way to start a new bee season. 

Dennis

Bee Talk

Dennis: 

I wanted to share something with you and the club.  I was working with a commercial beekeeper a number of years ago as he was feeding his hives that were light on stores.  At that time, I had only used Boardman and division board feeders and had seen others using top feeders but never a feeder like the one he was using.  I was amazed at how well it worked.  It is actually a feeder designed to feed baby Quail.  I have found that there is very little drowning but yet plenty of surface area for many bees to feed at one time.  I later saw an article in the ABJ referencing this very same type of feeder many years ago.  I place the feeder inside an empty deep above the cluster.  I have not had any robbing issues or concerns.  Here is the link to the feeder.    http://www.kuhlcorp.com/cgi-bin/cp-app.cgi?usr=51J8586267&rnd=5042382&rrc=N&affl=&cip=&act=&aff=&pg=prod&ref=QB-455&cat=poultry-manualdrink&catstr=HOME:poultry:poultry-drink:poultry-manualdrink .      

Costa Kouzounis      Houston, TX  

Hello Webster, 

I have been thinking about your question of "bee space". I think maybe I did not answer your question to wear you understood. When you have 10 frames in a box the frame edges are pretty much touching each other which makes the hive hard to work. When you remove one frame the frame edges are not touching one another and the distance between the edges now become open and the bees leave this open for bee space. This makes it much easier to remove a frame. 

Are you coming to the next class? I will show you what I mean when you come. Dennis   

Hello Rory, 

It is always good to talk with a fellow beekeeper. Since I started keeping bees back in 1964 there are much fewer of us left. I am wondering if you raise your bees without using chemical treatments? I didn't notice any information on your website that indicated your operation was a chemical free operation. Here at Lone Star Farms www.lonestarfarms.net  we promote healthy bees and bee products. We do not introduce chemicals of any kind into our hives. 

Do you have a Texaslocation?   Dennis Brown 

Hi Dennis,      

Yes, Dennis all of the bees that I have are chemical free as I understand how all the factory farm systems are harming the bees and even worse mean of our fellow beekeepers are ignorantly doing things just as bad.

This year all of my personal stock is not for sale at this time.  My bees that I am selling are coming from Gardner Apiaries in Baxley, Georgia and I cannot speak for them.  Next year I will have some of my own stock for sale.  At this point I’m undecided between GA, NC or VA for those apiaries.  I will have to decide soon.  It may be a mix of GA and VA for package and nuc production.  As for packages everyone seems to have their favorite supplier and some talk bad about all the rest.  I aim to please most everyone with the 2012 season as I will start taking low to no deposit orders from the supplier of choice if there is one and I will keep good records of all feedback that I can get this year. 

      As for this year the packages are from Gardner and you won't hear anything but good about their bees coming from the horse’s mouth of course.  All others do represent their companies in the best light as well. Funny thing is none of the big bee supplier are having any of the problems with bees as the average Joe beekeeper is???  My point is if you don’t mind me over stating it is that we should give little credit to what (Mr. Big Bee Supplier has to say about their or anyone else’s bees.  More credit should be given to the word of the beekeeper that buys the packages.  However we the Average Joe Beekeeper can be bias and unreliable as well. 

      This is where I come in as the top rate middle man or as I intend to set myself up to be in providing a service that will far exceed delivering packages of bees.  I aim to pay attention to not weather the bees are just good or bad and who supplied them.  There are many factors that determines the fate of a package of bees like donor stock, weather, shipping, beekeeper and yes Mr. Big Bee Supplier.  Frankly I think the supplier is the least responsible of all for the ultimate fate of a package of bees.  Bees are now in a bit of a jam of no fault of their own.  They frankly would be better off without beekeepers commercializing they lives but because of the environment that our society has given them we the beekeepers of the world need to take every package and split that we can get our hands on and place it in as safe a environment as we are able to.  Then document performance, network with other beekeepers and help people to be more accountable. 

      I don’t have a location in Texas. I wanted to setup a apiary in Louisiana where I have 80 acres of land but I cannot per the state bee laws.  Per my conversation with the state bee inspector he related the following.  To setup a apiary where I would as part of my business be transporting bees over the state line, I would have to do the following. 

1.  Buy bees from a Louisiana beekeeper.

2.  Live in the state for three years.

3.  Sale honey only for three years.

4.  Be inspected at will. 

They inspector then offered to tell me that it was Louisiana beekeepers that has worked to get those and other laws in place. 

Best regards,         Rory Boleware 

Hi Rory, 

You stay up late as well. I don't usually check my email after midnightbecause most of the world is already in bed. 

I was a commercial beekeeper during the 1970's and through the 1980's. Since that time I only keep up to 50 hives. I just can't seem to reduce down anymore. It is still in my blood.  

In March of 2010 I decided to create my website
www.lonestarfarms.net  in order to promote chemical free beekeeping. With fewer bees and beekeepers in the world I felt the need to help change things around. I teach beekeeping classes (have for years) and steer the new beekeepers away from using chemical. It is not necessary to use them. In the end of all this CCD and other bee disease the scientist are going to discover that the heavy chemical use in the beekeeping industry has weakened our bees to the point that their immune system can't keep up.
 

There are a few commercial beekeepers in our country who really are chemical free and they have been providing clean bees and clean bee products for years. They have gone through the process of "Natural Selection" just like nature does during these times of natural die offs.  Unfortunately only about 5 % have the rest are still dumping chemical into their hive.

I am teaching my student to ask the breeders the question "do you use chemicals in your hives"? If they say they do then keep asking until you find a breeder who doesn't. If you buy bees from a breeder that uses chemical than you will have to do the same to those bees just to keep them alive. I have listed a couple of breeders on my website who don't use chemicals. The consumer is just beginning to get wise and is starting to move away from chemically polluted products. 

It is hard to convince people that you are chemical free once you have been selling bees that have been treated. I hope that you can get to the point of being chemical free in all of you beekeeping endeavor and have that reputation. 

I have been using B-Weaver queens and queens from the Russian Queen Breeders Association with wonderful success. I never have to treat my bees. 

If I can ever be of any help to you don't hesitate to contact me. Once your operation becomes completely chemical free let me know and I will post your site on mine and visa versa. We have 125 members so far after only 11 months as part of our chemical free club and we grow every week. 

Thanks, Dennis Brown 

Dennis, 

I attended my first of many classes with you last Saturday. Loved it! But did not want to ask too many questions and get off topic. I sort of looked in your archives for a solution, but just thought i would ask. There is a hive of bees on our place, they have been there in a pipe under a barn for years. The pipe is about 4' tall and 10" in diameter with only the top open. I was wondering if I could use those bees, or move them to a "man made hive" so they could be worked. They don’t seem to be aggressive, although I don’t know enough yet to really judge them. Let me know what you think, just starting up should I get new bees or try to get them or both??? Thanks,----Karen Partin in Kosse, Texas
(By the way its a abandoned barn with the occasional cow frolicking by.) 

Hello Karen, 

I am glad that you enjoyed the class. I think you should do both. If those pipe bees have been there for years then they are probably not diseased. I would order the number of bees you intended to and then capture the pipe bees as a bonus. Keep me posted.

 Dennis

Kate, 

I am proud to say I am a member of Lone Star Farms Bee Club. I truly support your quest to adopt non chemical beekeeping and to spread the word. As does anything that goes against someone or some company making money - no matter what the cost - you will be fighting a battle. 

I can't believe there are really people who want to knowingly poison themselves by eating honey laden with chemicals if they have a choice. Perhaps those in favor of getting rich selling chemicals/poisons to add to bee hives don't eat honey from those hives. 

I just wanted you to know I'm on your side and you couldn't ask for a more knowledgeable and kinder person than Dennis Brown to champion your cause. 

If I can be of any assistance please let me know. 

If you have a favorite recipe or two using honey and could send it to me I will put it in LSF newsletter format and put it in our newsletter. 

Good luck and please let me know how you are progressing. A great cause like ours is well worth the fight in a good way. 

Blessings and bee strong.      Teddi Irwin---Spring, Texas 

Hi Teddi,

Thank you so much for your supportive email.  Yes we (our local beekeeping

association T&TVBKA) have been fighting a battle with the British Beekeeping

Association since 2007 over their endorsement of pesticides for money which

they have been doing since 2001. (None of the members knew about it)  Durham

BKA objected in 2005 but it took a few years more for the info to trickle

though to us.  Our latest 2010 campaign seems to have been successful in

that BBKA have just announced withdrawal from all endorsements of any

pesticides. 

However, as they have said similar things before and changed their stories a

number of times - I wont believe it until it is properly confirmed. I along

with many others would like to see a whole new committee running the BBKA

(old leopards never change their spots etc!) 

I've a recipe for syllabub with honey somewhere.  I'll dig it out and send

it to you.   A happy, healthy new year to you and your bees.

Kate--England

Hello Teddi, 

If bees could live on the moon and that is where your bee yard was and you had millions of acres of good producing flowers, you would still have chemicals in your hive from the foundation you use. All foundation that you purchase has chemicals in it from other beekeepers who dump chemicals into their hive for pest control. If we can keep pushing for not using chemical treatments in hives, someday the foundation we buy will be chemical free. It may take a while but someday it will happen. 

The term "Chemical Free" as used and stated on the Lone Star Farms website refers to "Not Intentionally" putting chemicals inside the hive. 

Dennis 

Dennis, 

Thanks for educating me one more time. It gives me a lot of insight into "what I want to say" about IAGW's honey when we get into the biz. I'm like you when it comes to honor and also my integrity. I like your saying "do not intentionally add chemicals". I guess the only way to believe your bees are chemical free is to put them in the middle of at least a 6 mile radius that you know is organic and then you might not be totally sure. I think just not using the term organic and honey in the same breath is the best. Thanks again. 

Back to getting our members active which was the original thinking. Smile. It's sure not from you’re not providing us with a good schooling. We might just have to accept "do what we can and be happy that we have done our part". I know I appreciate your teaching me and this latest education will keep me from making a fool of myself with my labeling or talking about honey.   Teddi—Spring--Texas

Dennis,

    All is well.  Been busy (who isn't?! :)  Checked the bees in early Dec. and in Nov. after I re-queened with the Revis Russian.  The hive is full of bees (hive body, two med. supers - one full of honey and the other about one-third full).  There was a small area of capped brood; mostly empty cells being filled with nectar from somewhere.  The bees have been bringing in a white pollen on their baskets, but that has ceased lately.  I did a mite check in Dec. and there were 8 mites in a 24-hr period.  I'll check again this week.  That is down from 20-35 mites before I re-queened.

    I ordered equipment from Walter Kelley (bottom boards) and MannLakehad a big special on supers.  So I have a lot of hammering to do.  I've ordered one nuc from B. Weaver for late April delivery.  At $175.00 per nuc, it hits the pocket book pretty hard! :)  I'm contemplating another two or so.  I hope to have 4-6 hives this spring.

    I'll be back in your classes again and look forward to it as always.  Thanks for all you do for us.

    How's your grandson?  I hope all is well with his cancer (I believe that's what you said he had).

Chuck----College Station, Texas 

Chuck lives, 

 I thought that you moved to some unknown location. Maybe even into the protective witness program. I am glad that you are back. 

The biggest reason that your mite count dropped is because the queen has lowered egg production. Your Revis queen will really start to kick it up in March. If your hive looked good this past December, I would leave it alone until mid March. You don't want to break the bee glue seal in winter time.

My bees are still bringing white pollen in. The only white pollen I know about this time of year is Pansies. I am sure that there is something else blooming because that would be a lot of Pansies. 

Have you read the "New Letter" for January yet? I posted the 2011 class schedule on the class page already. 

I am glad that you and yours are doing well. Talk to you soon. Dennis

Hi Dennis,

I just joined and am quite excited about your club concept, No dues, no chemicals, happy members, happy bees!  Additionally in reading one of your posted Q&As you wrote there are no dumb questions only questions not asked.  I have been keeping bees for 3 years but am still a beginner.  I am still intimidated by the whole process of keeping my bees.  I am not afraid just concerned I will do something wrong. I currently have 3 Top Bar hives.  This summer I opened my bees to see how things were going and didn't stop to think that it was going to be so hot and the combs would be VERY fragile, I made a mess and cleaned it up as best I could.  It devastated me to have kiiled (drowned) so many ladies.  But the honey was spectacular and I want more.  Unfortunately I haven't done much with my hives for during these 3 years and my bees have survived in spite of me.  And I have never used chemicals in the 3 years, I just couldn't do that.  And now I see that there are others who think like me, Happy Days. 

After all this rambling here are my questions.  Even though it is winter and the bees have their hives all sealed up for the cold should I or can I open 1 or 3 to check on them?  I want to see what's going on but don't want to disrupt their winter habitat if that's not a good idea at this time.  If I shouldn't do it now when should I?  Do you have a basic calendar (for TEXAS) that outlines when to do Bee Chores?  

Thanks for your time,    Lolly,--Cameron, Texas 

Hello Lolly, 

Thanks for joining. It is always a good sign to see more chemical free beekeepers out there. You live next to another one of the members. David Blacklock who is also in Cameron. He is listed on the members page. 

Lolly I have been keeping bees since 1964 and I am still learning as well. I hope that I never feel like I know it all. I think the reason your feeling intimidated about beekeeping is because you are not confident with what you know or think you don't know. I really think it would do you a world of good to come to our beginners part 1 class this month Saturday 15th and then to next months class beginners class part 2.

I have designed  these two classes to be a good confidence builder. It is much harder to learn out of a book. You have no way to test the information until you are in the field. That's like on the job training. 

I would recommend that you lift the back of the hive a little to see if the hive feels like it has enough food for the bees to make it through the winter. When you open a hive during the cold months you will break the bee glue seal. With your type hive, you may also tear more comb. Wax is very brittle when cold. I think at this point if the bees feel heavy enough, I would leave them alone until mid March. Sometimes we have several warm days in a row during winter. If you see that coming and you are still concerned than inspect them during that short window period. Otherwise wait. 

Again, welcome aboard and hope to see you in class.    Dennis 

Dennis, 

I hate to keep taking up your time, but.....

How do I know if my bees are robbing each other and if they are how do I stop it? 

And thanks for the reminder of 2-1 sugar water measurement, 4-1 is for the hummingbirds.  Shows you how long it's been since I've fed.  I look forward to your classes.    Thanks again.  Lolly

Hello again Lolly, 

I am always glad to help. Your hives should have an entrance reducer on them already because that's what we do for winter time. If you have a screen bottom board and bees rob your hive, they tear open the honey cells and the wax bits fall to the ground (or onto the floor of a solid bottom board) making it easy too see. There will be a lot of fighting going on at the entrance as well. 

To stop robbing is "very" difficult. You should reduce the entrance just big enough for 1 bee to pass through. If that doesn't work than you should close the entrance completely at about sunset for 3 or 4 days. This allows the robbers to go back home before the door shuts. 

Sometimes none of this works and you end up loosing the hive. I hope that this helps. Dennis

Africanized Honey Bees

Unlike North America which had no honey bees until the Europeans imported them in 1691, South America had native honey bees. However, the native honey bees were not good honey producers, and the imported European bees failed to thrive in the tropics.  In 1956, tropical African queens (Apis mellifera scutellata) were introduced into Brazil to breed a better bee for the enviroment of South America.  Unfortunately the bees brought over from Africa were, largely, unselected bees, not given to hundreds of years of selective breeding that had been the case with the European bee.  In 1957, some colonies swarmed and escaped resulting in hybridization between the African breed and the European bees. The resulting bees, were referred to as Africanized bees, the name used today.   Africanized bees rapidly took over European bee colonies within three years of their initial Brazilian introduction, and are now the honey bee of choice throughout South America.

Swarms of Africanized bees establish nests in smaller enclosed or partially open cavities, whereas the European breeds use bigger enclosed cavities.  Africanized queens lay more eggs and the young mature three days faster than European bees, resulting in rapid colony growth.   Africanized bees are active year round, maintain a smaller colony, swarm sooner (5 to 7 weeks after their establishment), and swarm year round, producing ten times as many swarms as European bees.  Other than being slightly smaller in size, Africanized bees look identical to their European cousins.  The only sure way to tell them apart is through DNA testing.

In areas with both Africanized and European bees, Africanized drones will drift into European colonies, but European drones rarely will drift into Africanized colonies.   As a result, a virgin queen, be it either Africanized or European, is much more likely to mate with Africanized drones than European drones.

Some problems beekeepers have with Africanized bees are their high swarming and absconding rates, which create a reduction in hive populations and consequently of honey crops. 

Another problem is the difficulty of obtaining apiary sites, due to the bees more aggressive temperment.  While a European bee will chase an intruder up to 30 yards and then settle down, Africanized bees attack en mass and will give chase for 300 yards.  If an extremely defensive  Africanized colony is disturbed, be it by odor, movement, or vibration, 40-60% of the hive (5,000-15,000 bees) will be out in about 15 seconds.  Once disturbed, Africanized bees can remain angry for twenty-four hours, attacking people and animals up to a half a mile from the hive.

Africanized bees are on constant patrol covering about a 100 foot radius around their home.  If you enter this area, the bees will collide with you, but not sting you, as a warning to leave their territory. If you heed the warning and go back the way you came, they will not attack.

Africanized bees have more pheromone receptors than other honey bees, which may contribute to their zealousness in attacks. Their venom is no more potent than European bee venom.  It is the quantity of stings, not the quality of venom, that is the problem.  Five hundred bee stings have as much venom as a rattlesnake bite.  Eight hundred stings will kill an adult.   It takes about 10 stings per pound of body weight to cause a fatality.   Over a thousand have lost their lives due to Africanized bee attacks.  Children, the eldery, and pets are the most susceptible due to their inability to out run the bees.

Since their escape in Brazil in 1957, Africanized bees have increased their area of distribution 200 - 300 miles annually. They reached Costa Rica in 1983, Mexico in 1986, and Texas in late 1990. Since their arrival in the US, southern California, southern Nevada, all of Arizona, much of New Mexico and most of Texas have become occupied by wild populations of the Africanized bee.  Isolated swarms have been discovered in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana.  Africanized swarms were positively identified in southern Utah during the winter of 2009, including a swarm that overwintered in the rafters of a home in Cedar City.

An Africanized honey bee swarm was first confirmed in the United States at Hidalgo, Texas in 1990. The first confirmed attack in the United States occurred in 1991 at Brownsville, Texas. The first fatality attributed to Africanized honey bees in the United States occurred in 1993, also in Texas.  By mid-2004, fourteen fatalities had occurred in the U.S. due to Africanized bee stings.

Why are Africanized bees called "killer" bees? It's Hollywood sensationalism and a misnomer. To put this in perspective, there are approximately 350 deaths each year from motorists colliding with deer on the roads. There are also deaths every year from fire ants and venomous snakes.

The Africanized bee will probably colonize the US the way it has South America, with a southern zone developing where feral honey bees are almost completely Africanized and a northern zone that will continue to be populated almost completely by the European honey bee.  A transition area will probably exist between the northern and southern zones in which the two groups interbreed and their behavior stretching across the entire range of defensiveness.

Africanized bee colonies need to be identified and destroyed, not only for the protection of people and animals, but also to protect the European bee population; as every third mouthful of food we eat is dependant on bee pollination.   Africanized honey bees spend more effort on colony reproduction, while European bees spend more effort on the collection and storage of food.  Since Africanized traits tend to dominate European traits, Africanizition of European hives could have the major  negative effect of reduced pollination of fruit, vegetable, seed, and fiber crops.

What to do if attacked by Africanized bees:

Field research outside of Mexico City is working to identify and breed gentler Africanized bees. Africanized bee hives are tested for honey output.  Hives with high output are then tested for personality.  Those that get angrier quicker are destroyed, removing the most aggressive genes from the larger bee population.   A third test is then performed for flightiness.  The surviving hives have resulted in an Africanized bee that produces 20% more honey and is 50% less defensive.
 

The African Bee in Africa

With all the bad publicity the Africanized bee has had in the western hemisphere, the African honey bee is the preferred bee of African beekeepers.  In its homeland, the AHB is prized as a good honey producer thriving on erratic food supplies in a semi-desert climate with severe droughts.  African bees tend to be 10% smaller than European bees. Additionally, they are 25% lighter, reproduce earlier, and have a shorter lifespan. 

Another African bee kept by beekeepers is the Cape honey bee. The Cape bee's native territory was only on the Cape Coast on the tip of South Africa.   The bees did not interbreed until the 90s when beekeepers started moving hives between the two territories.  After moving Cape bees into AHB territory, the Cape bee started invading the hives of AHBs.  Within a year, tens of thousands of hives, equaling 50% of the managed AHB hives, had to be destroyed.

A Cape worker bee is not like other honey worker bees. She is capable of laying eggs that produce fully functional queens from unfertilized eggs (thelytoky)! (Cape workers do not exhibit this behavior in a queen right Cape colony).  Cape worker bees invade the hives of AHBs. Most are killed by the hive residents, but a few escape detection and are absorbed into the hive, setting off a chain of events that will eventually cause collapse of the hive. Cape bee laying workers emit queen-like pheromones exerting reproductive control. The Cape worker tricks the resident bees into treating her like a queen, with the African bees eventually killing their own queen.   Colonies taken over by Cape bees will no longer accept AHB queens. The eggs laid by the Cape worker develop into females who beg for food, eating more than their African bee nest mates. With less AHB foragers the food supply is soon depleted, the colony collapses, and the Cape bees leave to find another place to freeload.

Using Cape bees to eradicate the Africanized bee in America is not the solution. They would destroy the European honey bee population just as they are destroying the African honey bee population in Africa.

 The following information was posted in the January "Club News" and will be posted in each issue for a while. We need to make sure everyone has this information This is the last article in this months "Club News".

Make sure to check out "Days Gone By"  underneath the follow article.

TEXASBEEKEEPING ASSOCIATION GIVES LONE STAR FARMS BEE CLUB THE COLD SHOULDER.  

Lone Star Farms is a bee club/registry for all of those beekeepers around the world who do not intentionally introduce any chemicals/pesticides into their hives. The members of the club push for a more chemical free honey and other hive products to sell to the consumer. The club slogan is “Saving The Bees One Hive At A Time”. The club offers classes that teach beekeepers to raise their bees without dumping chemicals into their hive which makes for cleaner products and stronger bees. The club initiated the first contact with the Boy Scouts of America back in November 2009 in order to reinstate the scout merit badge. The clubs website, www.lonestarfarms.netis a place that beekeepers can go and get help when they are having problems with their hives. Lone Star Farms has members listed on their member’s page from around the world. All that our club does for the beekeeping industry is not good enough for the Texas Beekeeping Association. 

Back in March 2010 the Lone Star Farms club registered to become a member of the Texas Beekeeping Association. The dues to join as a club was accepted at that time and all seemed good. The TBA sends out a newsletter every two month’s and in that newsletter it lists all the members and clubs that belongs to their organization. Lone Star Farms was listed as a paying member but not listed in the club section. Our members thought it to be an over site on the part of the TBA. After leaving a couple of messages on the TBA treasurer’s telephone and not getting a return call, Lone Star Farms called and spoke with the vice president of the TBA. He said that he would take care of it. It never happened. The months went by without more returned calls or help from the TBA and Lone Star Farms was never listed in any of the following TBA newsletters as a TBA club member. However, our members are all sure that the dues Lone Star Farms club paid to TBA went to a worthy cause. 

Finally in November one of the TBA members (not a current officer) contacted Lone Star Farms and said that the reason TBA will not list our club as a club member is because Lone Star Farms does not charge our members any dues to belong and there are no officer positions in the club. After researching the by laws of the TBA, there is no mention of these restrictions for becoming a club member listed. (At least up to when this is being written.) 

How can Lone Star Farms club/registry be black balled in good conscience by another club when we are doing so much good for the beekeeping industry just because we don’t charge dues to our members or have officers listed in the club? It should be about the good of the beekeeping industry and what we do for the consumer that matters not the individual prejudices or political forum that some people create.  

Lone Star Farms feels that all beekeeping organizations should review there policies and change them to reflect a more open arms position for those who are trying to do so much good for our honey bees and the consumer. With fewer beekeepers each year how can we afford to shun others away? 

Dennis Brown      Lone Star Farms      www.lonestarfarms.net    

DAYS GONE BY

Mythology of bees honey

Since time began, honey and bees have been part of the great myths of humanity and have always been extraordinarily potent symbols. 

The birth of bees:

According to the ancient Greeks, all of Nature's phenomena had divine origins. Bees were a source of great fascination, and their mysterious origins inspired the legend of Aristæus: Aristæus, the son of the god Apollo, had a beehive. But he wanted to seduce Eurydice, Orpheus' wife, who died from a snake bite because she had refused Aristæus' advances. In revenge, Orpheus destroyed Aristæus' hive. To appease the wrath of the gods, Aristæus sacrified four bulls and four heifers. From their entrails, new swarms suddenly appeared, so Aristæus was able to rebuild his hive and teach beekeeping to men. . This legend is told by Virgil, the great Latin poet, in his famous ''Georgics''. Like the ancient Greeks, he believed that bees were born spontaneously from animal corpses. 

In the texts of ancient Egypt, bees were born from the tears of Râ, the Sun God. When the tears fell onto the soil, they were transformed into bees that built honeycombs and produced honey.

Bee symbolism:

As the workers of the hive, bees are symbol of an industrious and prosperous community governed by the queen bee. They have therefore symbolized all that is royal and imperial , in France and in ancient Egypt (associated with Râ, the Sun God).Three hundred gold bees were discovered in the tomb of Childeric I (on the year 481), which showed that the hive was the model of an absolute menarchy. Napoleon I used bees as a motif on all his carpets, as well as on his coronation robes. 

As organizers of the universe between earth and sky, bees symbolize all vital principles,and embody the soul . In the Greek religion, the bee was sometimes identified with Demeter, the goddess of the earth and crops, who represented the soul sent to hell. The bee also symbolizes the soul that flies away from the body in the Siberian, Central Asian, and South American Indian traditions. 

Bees also symbolizeeloquence , speech, and intelligence . In Hebrew, the word for bee, Dbure, has its origins in the word Dbr, speech. They settled on the mouth of the child, Plato, "announcing the sweetness of his enchanting soul " (Pliny) and also settled also on the lips of Saint Ambrose, the patron-saint of beekeepers. According to Virgil, they have a grain of divine intelligence and the famous Pythia, the priestess of Apollo, was called "the bee of Delphi". In some texts from India, the bee represents the spirit becoming intoxicated with the pollen of knowledge.  Because of its honey and its sting, the bee is considered to be an emblem of Christ : it represents his mildness and mercy on one side and his justice on the other.

Honey 

A basic foodstuff, but which can also be a drink - like milk with which it is often associated -, honey is a symbol of richness and sweetness in all traditions. In the sacred texts of East and West, milk and honey flow like a stream through the promised land. The Celtic traditions celebrate mead as an immortal beverage. In Greek mythology, in which honey is the drink of the gods of Olympus, it is the symbol of knowledge, learning and wisdom , it is a food reserved for the elect, the iniated, and to exceptional people in this world and the next. Greek tradition claims that Pythagoras ate nothing but honey throughout his entire life.

All the great prophets refer to honey in the Scriptures. Speech is honey, it represents softness, justice, virtue and divine goodness. The Koran uses holy terms to talk of bees and honey :"Honey is the first blessing that God gave the earth". Virgil calls honey the celestial gift of the dew, dew itself being a symbol of initiation. Honey even designates supreme bliss and the state of Nirvana. Symbol of all sweetness, the honey of knowledge creates the happiness of mankind.

The perfection of honey makes it a major element in many religions rituals. For the Egyptians, honey was the tears of the god Râ and was a part of all the religious offerings in pharaonic Egypt. In Islam, according to the Prophet, it restores sight, preserves health and resuscitates the dead. For the American Indians, it plays a great part in ceremonies and the rites of initiation and purification. A source of inspiration, honey gave Pindar the gift of poetry and Pythagoras the gift of science. 

In modern psychoanalytical thinking, honey symbolizes the "higher self" , the ultimate consequence of work on one's inner self. As the result of the transmutation of ephemeral pollen into a delicious food of immortality, honey symbolizes the transformation by initiation, the conversion of the soul, and the complete integration of the person.