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 

Our club  picked up a few new members in July. We should all be thankful for that. For every member we have, the fewer beekeepers there are placing chemicals into their hives. I would like to ask everyone to spread the word about our "Chemical Free" club to those other beekeepers you know. Let's see if we can boost the membership up in August.

The Walter T. Kelley bee supply company made mention of our club in their newsletter this month. I would like to thank them for that. Go onto their website (listed on our link page) and click on their newsletter page.

We have had a little bee activity in July for our Bee Talk section. Remember, if you have bee questions, please email them to me and I will share them in our Bee Talk section. Email me with anything bee related that we can share with the other club members.

My book is currently at the printers and I am trying to make it available sometime in September. I will be changing the "Store" button to the "Book" button where you will be able to purchase my book using Pay Pal. If you would like more information about it, go to the "Archive" page of the site and look at the Club News section for July.

I have posted the classes for August and September on the class page. I hope that you will take advantage of these classes should you live close enough to do so.  Dennis

Bee Talk

Dear Mr Brown,

Good morning! I was sure glad to find your website and to know there
is someone close by! My name is Tracey LaForge and my husband and I
just bought our first two hives. I would like to register for your classes but see that a beginner course probably won't be available for awhile.

So many questions and so many answers, just trying to hear the same thing twice!

I was wondering where, if at all if there is a local place to buy supplies? I have purchased a most forgiving batch of bees and have been able to work with them barefoot and in a white t-shirt. I did a klutz the other evening and was stung in the throat-deservedly so- anyhow , the cow is out so it's probably time to close the gate! If I have to pay large shipping charges so be it but if there is a local place to buy supplies that would be even better! I was also wondering if you could recommend any books that may be helpful. The Bryan library has a few, but it would be nice to have a beekeepers "Bible" on hand for reference?

I will keep checking your charmingly humorous, website for updated class schedules so that we may attend, and, I look forward to it!

I surely thank you Mr. Brown, here's hoping you have a super day!     Tracey LaForge         

 

Hello Tracey,

Beekeeping is mostly interchangeable. Parts of what you learn in a specific class will come up and be used in other beekeeping activities. As you go through all the different classes, the information you have learned will begin to paint an overall picture and the parts will finally fall into place.

How did you find us?  If you were to take beekeeping classes in a set order, it would take you several years to become proficient at this hobby. Instead, you should take any available class that you can attend. It is not just about the specific class. It is also about mingling with the other students/teacher and exchanging experiences during those gatherings that you can learn a lot about  beekeeping. 

During these types of gatherings, you could discuss topics like, "where to buy supplies and what supplies to buy". The Co-Op offers a few supplies for sale in our area. Before purchasing anything you should learn not only where to buy the supplies but what supplies you really need to have. You certainly don't need "most" of what is out there for sale. 

You should order a book called; "The Hive and The Honey Bee" from Dadant bee supply in Paris, Texas. That is a good beekeepers bible. www.dadant.com1-877-632-3268 

I hope that I have been of help to you. Please contact me anytime and hope to see you in class. Dennis

Hey Dennis, 

I picked up three (3) new packaged bees with queens from Bee-Weaver Friday afternoon.  I installed them Saturday morning.  I noticed that Sunday, there was very little activity from one of the hives.  I opened it up and the only bees inside were the bees tending the queen around her queen cage.  My theory is that they (Bee-Weaver) put a queen in the packaged box just hours before I picked up the package.  The worker bees did not have time to get used to her smell.  Does this make any sense?  

I could shake some bees out of my existing hive but would need to take the hive a distance from our house to probably make this work.  Any thoughts? 

The other two hives are doing well.  I had drawn out frames for all three new hives so the queen should begin laying immediately after being released from the cages.  

Hope all is well on your home front.   Wayne Woodall

Hello Wayne,

It is good to hear from you. I hope that you and the family are doing well.

The problem that you are experiencing is that the queens pheromones are not strong enough to attract the bees to stay with her. This can happen for several reasons. Maybe the queen was damaged somewhere along the way. Maybe the queen is not properly mated. (Most likely). There is no way at this point to save this queen. You can add more bees but they will not stay with her. The bees know that something is not right with her that is why they left for the other hives in the first place. Even if the bees were somehow forced to live with this queen, they will supersede her soon after they can produce another queen from any available larva.

Your best option would be to forgo this queen. Contact the queen breeder and either get credit or another queen if you still want that increase.

Remember that these new bees are susceptible to being robbed out by the established hive. Make sure that you keep the entrances reduced down for  a while. Keep me posted on your progress. Dennis

 Dennis, 

Lantz keeps talking about doing a split. I told him we aren't going to do that without talking to you about it. There was not a "splits" class in July so we are in the dark about doing it. We don't want the bees to swarm, but aren't sure if we should do a split. The hive we are thinking about is the one that was the Nuc. It has 3 deeps on it and one super now. This was the one that we felt was an emergency to add a super, but I didn't have one ready, so we added another deep.  We added a super to that before we left on vacation. I checked it the other day and the super doesn't have anything going on in it. This is what I'm afraid of, that we remove the super and extract the honey from the 3rd deep. That leaves 2 deeps. Should we extract from the 2nd deep? Would we replace that deep with another one with fresh foundation? There are so many bees now, I am afraid that there would be overcrowding with 2 deeps only. How do you know when it's time for splits? And is a split 1/2 and 1/2? Lantz thinks it should be split into 3 new hives.  Thoughts?    Thanks,  Carol

Carol,

It is rare for a queen to swarm in her first year. I would remove the honey super now. This drought will probably stop any more heavy honey flows for the year. If you leave a super with foundation on and there is no flow, the bees tend to strip the wax off the foundation and use the wax in other places. This causes damage to the foundation.

If you have fed sugar water when the third deep was on, you are probably going to have sugar water mixed in with any honey that the bees stored in that deep. If you haven't fed sugar water when that deep was on, you can safely remove that deep and extract the honey.

Your bees should be fine in the lower 2 deeps. The queen has already slowed her egg laying down for the year. If in August you see that the bees are bringing in a fall crop, you can add the extracted deep back on or add the honey super with foundation on and see if they will draw the foundation out and fill the super with honey.

Now is not the time to start dividing hives. This drought is causing most beekeepers in Texasto feed there bees. You don't want your bees to go into winter with just sugar water for feed if you can help it. Honey is always better for your bees than just sugar water. I hope this helps you.      Dennis

Dennis, 

First of all, thanks for the class you gave Saturday.  Vickie and I really enjoyed it and came away with a wealth of information.  We didn’t realize how many things we were doing wrong. I checked the hive we were having problems with and there were no bees left.  I was able to take the hive apart and inspect it closely.  Thinking back, I think the problem was lack of food and then an invasion of wax moth larvae.  When I noticed I was having a problem their number had already decreased and I think they were just too weakened to recover.  That was in combination with the moth invasion. Originally I had solid bottom boards on my hives and had later put screened bottoms on.  Out of ignorance, I had set the screened bottoms on the solid bottom boards which were catching all droppings coming through the screen.  I removed them today from the two hives that had them.  One was the distressed hive and the bottom board was heavily infested with larvae.  The other had one larvae on the bottom board but after inspection none were in the brood boxes.  The hive appears to be very healthy and were apparently keeping them out.  That hive started as a nuc this year and they have almost filled two brood boxes. My third hive is the one I got last year and is doing great.  It has two brood boxes and one super full.  I have quit feeding it for the time being.

You saved my butt.  We were headed on a collision course with a catastrophe.  Thanks again for the service you provide and hopefully we will see you again soon.   Danny and Vickie HargroveHawley, Tx

Hello Danny, 

I am pleased that you and Vickie enjoyed the class. Thanks for telling me that. I am here for you guys if you need my help. Thanks, Dennis

Hello Surendra,

How did you find us from India?

Wax moths are an opportunist insect. They will take advantage of a hive only if it is weak. Keeping a strong hive will prevent the wax moths from causing any problems in the hive. The word "weak" being used here is to describe the amount of space given for the amount of bees present. For an example; if you have 3 pounds of bees in a standard 10 frame brood box you will have enough bees to protect the hive space that they live in. However, if you place the same amount of bees in a space that is doubled that, you have provided more space for the amount of bees that you have. 

The key is to only provide the bees with the amount of space that they can protect. Another condition that will cause an invasion from the wax moth is having a failing queen or no queen at all. Make sure that the bees have a good queen and enough to eat.     Dennis

Hey Dennis, 

I went on the field trip & picked up 3 packages that day.  I live in New Braunfels, & it's been incredibly dry out here--nothing to forage on.  Of the 3 packages, one is doing reasonably well, one is doing OK & one doesn't seem to be doing well at all.  None of the hives have drawn out all the frames even in the lower brood box.  I'm just trying to keep them alive by feeding 1:1 sugar water.  The weak hive's numbers are very low & the queen doesn't seem to be laying a good pattern.  I've actually taken a frame of brood from each of 2 other strong hives just to supplement numbers.  Figure I probably should re-queen in the fall, but maybe I should do it now.  Any suggestions/comments you may have would be welcomed.       Rick Rhodes

Hello Rick,

I don't know of any beekeeper in Texasthat isn't feeding their bees. There has been no honey surplus from anyone that I know of.

I would suggest that when you feed your bees you should always use a 2 parts sugar and 1 part water ratio. You should continue feeding until they won't take anymore.

If this ratio of feed is given for 1 month, check the queens brood pattern. If it hasn't improved, you should probably re-queen or unite the hive. Keep me posted.    Dennis

Dennis, 

Thanks a bunch for the insight.  I was feeding 1:1, but only to my 3 new packages to try to stimulate their wax glands.  My original 2 hives (I have a total of 5), I have not been feeding.  It seems that they are going thru any honey they put in the 1 super on the hive as soon as they cap it.  Do you think I should feed these 2 hives as well as the new ones, & should I feed them all the 2:1 sugar syrup?  Thanks for your help & suggestions.  Rick

Rick,

I would suggest that you check all of your hives for food stores. In Texas, we are so dry that the plants are not coming up much less blooming with nectar.

Anytime you feed your bees, you should use that 2 to 1 ratio. At this point, it would be hard to feed a hive too much. The bees will eventually draw out that foundation if you keep feeding them. The queen will lay according to the amount of food stores coming into the hive.      Dennis

Hi Dennis,

 We really enjoyed the class and club meeting on Saturday. We really got a lot out of it.  Thanks for all you do!!

We are getting an order ready for some more hive bodies, frames, bottoms to set out some swarm boxes. We were wondering if we should get some swarm lure. Does that work? If you like it, what do you recommend?      Thanks again!    Carol

Hello Carol,

I am glad that you enjoyed the class and you are welcome.

You have plenty of time before you need to put out any swarm boxes. Because of the drought here in Texasand the time of year it is now, (August) it would be best to wait until around the first of April before putting out a swarm box.

In my experience, the lure if leftin the swarm box is to strong. I always use a "solid" bottom on my swarm boxes and then convert to a screen bottom when a swarm has taken up housekeeping.

The best swarm box would be one that has had bees in it already. If you only have a new box, place the lure inside it a month ahead of time. (March, here in Texas.) Make sure the box is completely sealed up. The lure will permeate the inside of the box. Remove the lure when you are ready to place the swarm box outside.    Dennis

Dennis, 

Just a short email to let you know I had another bee war yesterday.  I did not see it happen but the results are the same.  A pile of dead bees--probably 3 lbs. worth.  What is weird about this is that they picked my strongest hive.  This hive had already filled a honey super and are working on the 2nd.  The other two hives I have a not as strong but seemed to be untouched.  I think there is probably an Africanized bee hive or hives in the neighborhood and they attempted to take over my hive.  I am going to go though the hive in about 2 days or so to see if my marked queen is still there.    If not, they have taken over.  I briefly opened the hive up and there are still lots of bees inside.  There is ample brood and eggs. Just wanted your opinion if that is about what you conclude from this. Wayne

Hello Wayne,

I have read recently that some of our European bees are taking over hives just like the African bees do. You will find out which race of bees took over when you go into the hive. I would suggest suiting up before you open the hive just in case.   Let me know what you find.   Dennis

 

Days Gone By