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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

Wow! It seems like all we have been doing is talking about this horrific drought that we are in across Texas and Oklahoma. Unfortunately, we see no end in sight. Our bees have been stressed most of the year because of it. Next year is predicted to be the same. All we can do is make sure the mite count is low and that the bees have plenty to eat. We are in a maintaining mode for now. There has not been much "Bee Talk" for most of the summer. Everyone is just trying to hold on.

There was a good program about how pesticides are affecting the honeybees on TV a couple of weeks ago. Mr. Dan Rather was the host of the program. Here is a web link you can go to too see the program.  


 I have posted the next two classes on the class page. The first class is an interesting class called "Stump The Chump". There is no formal subject matter itinerary. The entire four hours will be dedicated to any and all beekeeping questions. This type of class will reach all aspects of beekeeping and will be very informative. Everyone will have a good time and learn a lot about beekeeping. So register and bring your questions. The November class is "Making Splits for Increase". This class will come in handy in early spring when you may want to increase your hive numbers.

My book is finally back from the printers and is now available on the book page of our secured website. Fortunately, it has received good reviews from several long time beekeepers including "Kim Flottum" who will be posting his review of my book next to his monthly column in the "Bee Culture" magazine in November. If you would like to purchase my book, go to the book page an place your order.

That is it for now. Happy Beekeeping.   Dennis

P.S.  I just read Randy Oliver’s article about using Mite-Away strips in the September Issue of the American Bee Journal. I am blown away how he or anyone else could possibly think by putting these chemicals into a hive is a good thing. He talks about how it kills bees, brood and sometimes even the queen. He shows a picture of how the grass in front of the hive is dying from the fumes the chemical emits. How can anyone in their right mind think that this is a good thing for the bees? I just don't get it.  If the general public knew what these beekeepers were dumping into their hives, it would make it near impossible for us to sell our honey in the open market.      Dennis

Bee Talk 

 Hello Dennis,

When I first started taking classes and saw many of the students were repeating the class. I did not understand why.  If you take notes why do it twice?  Well, I now get it.  It is as much the experience of exchanging ideas with other beekeepers as the class itself.  Saturday I learned at least 3 very specific things that will help me as a beekeeper.  I am grateful I found you and Lone Star Farms classes.  My bees are doing as well as possible considering the environment of drought and all without putting a single drop of poison in the hive.  Thanks, Brian

Hello Brian, 

It is because of the few people like you that I give up so much of my time every week. When I receive an email like yours it makes it all worth it for me. I appreciate your compliment and I am very happy that I have participated in your beekeeping success. And you are right. Even though I change the class up some each time I give it, the benefit of enjoying fellowship with your fellow beekeepers is also another part of the learning experience.      Dennis

Hi again Dennis,

We checked both of my hives today to see how they were doing on winter stores. We have been feeding them sugar water 2-1 for about 6 weeks.

Both hives are looking good. The older hive has two broods and one honey super packed. I almost harvested the honey super earlier in the year but it was only 2/3 full of honey so I left it. Because of the drought I decided to not harvest it and they have filled the remainder with sugar water.

The other hive was from a nuc I purchased this spring. It has two broods with about 5 frames in each full. It appears to be strong and doing well. I noticed bees with pollen on their legs in one of the hives.

My question is twofold. One, should we continue feeding them. Two, should we remove the full honey super and place it on the second hive so they can harvest it. If we remember correctly from our earlier class with you, we can place it on the second hive with an inner cover between it and the hive and they will harvest the honey and place it in the lower broods. Since the broods are not full would this be advisable.

Danny and Vickie Hargrove

Hello Danny and Vickie,

On the second hive you said that there are two brood boxes and 5 frames in each that are full. What do you mean by full? Are you saying that the other five frames in each box are foundation and not drawn? Are you saying that the frames are drawn but there are no bees, brood or food on each of the 5 frames?      Dennis


Sorry about the lack of clarity.  I am still learning this bee talk. They are not drawn.  5 frames in each brood are drawn and have either brood or honey.  The other frames are not drawn or they are just starting to draw them.  The bees are doing well.  Hope this helps.


That helps a lot. Let's start from the beginning as it should have begun. Whenever you start a new hive, you should start your bees off in one box. Notice I said one box. This box could be a five frame nuc box or a ten frame brood box as an example. The bees should remain in this box until the bees have drawn out (or filled) eight frames of the ten frames. Only then should another box be added for the bees to work on depending on the time of year. The bees will normally finish out the last two frames in this box before (or while) working on the top box.

When you start with more than one box at a time, the bees tend to finish out five or six frames in the middle and then move up into the next box and do the same thing. It is a natural tendency for the bees to move upward and not sideways.

With this new information at my disposal, I will suggest that you drop all the drawn-out frames from the top box into the bottom box and move all of the foundation frames from the bottom box up into the top box. (I like to run my hives with "nine"drawn-out frames instead of ten. It makes hive inspections much easier to perform.) Now what you have is the bottom box is completely drawn-out with the brood in one place. The bees will now move up into the middle of the second box and begin to draw-out the foundation.

At this point I would recommend feeding that hive a two-part sugar to one-part water solution. Continue to feed until the entire box is drawn out or they quit taking the food. If November (in Texas) rolls around and there are still frames that have not been drawn out, you should either add drawn comb to replace the foundation that is left or you should reverse the top and bottom box. During winter the bees will move up into the top box so you should make sure that all the frames are drawn out in that box for food storage. If there are still four or more frames that have not been drawn out in the other box, then you should remove that box and winter your bees in the main brood box only. If you still have an extra honey super with food you can place that on top. You will need to monitor any hive that you winter in only one brood box or less for food stores and feed them as needed.

 Remember, "Never" give your bees more room than they are capable of caring for at any time of the year for any reason.

I hope that this helps you. Keep me posted on your progress.     Thanks, Dennis

  Days Gone By