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

Your host

I want to thank all of you for the nice compliments you have given me in regards to my new book. It is a joy for me to share my many years of trial and error techniques with you. I hope that you will enjoy many years of beekeeping to come. Some of you are thinking about purchasing my book for Christmas gifts here on the website and have asked me how many days does shipping take. Usually it takes between five and seven working days by media mail after ordering to recieve the book.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season from Lone Star Farms.

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 I have read numerous times in the books/magazines about how making splits when you have a high mite count is good IPM. 

Think about this. If you split a hive that has a large mite population, your splits are still in trouble because the "balance" of the bee population and mite population is the same as it was when you started, only on a smaller scale, but just as critical. You have the same ratio of bees and brood because you split them evenly. So, is splitting a good IPM? I don't think so. The hive is still in danger because each split has a high mite count compared to the amount of brood that is present for the bee population that is present. You are making two smaller hives that are in trouble instead of having one larger hive that is in trouble. 

The split that receives the new caged queen will be laying in five days after introduction. Five days without a queen laying will not reduce the mite load much if at all in the big picture. 

In my opinion; 

The hive is in danger from the amount of mites that are present compared to the amount of bees and brood that is present not because of the size of the hive. 

It would make things a lot easier on beekeepers if they would raise hygienic bees instead of bees that require chemicals to live. Not to mention how much healthier the bees would be and how much cleaner the bee products are, coming out of the hive for the consumer. 

If you would like to weigh-in on this subject, email me.    Dennis  

   Bee Talk

A lot of you out there have often wondered how the queen breeders come up with marking their queens the same color each year. There is a color code that all queen breeders are suposed to follow when marking their queens. I have posted that color code for you to see. I recommend that you make a copy of this code so you will know what year the queen was produced according to the color mark on her.

 Queen mark colors based on year-ending numbers.

0 or 5---Blue

1 or 6---White

2 or 7---Yellow

3 0r 8---Red

4 or 9---Green

 Hey Dennis,

My wife bought one of your books and was going to use it as a stocking stuffer for me this Christmas. When I found it, she was so mad at me that I have been sleeping on the couch for 3 days now. Anyway, while spending my time on the couch I have been enjoying your book. I liked the part where this beekeeper takes his honey supers off and then drives around on his lawn mower until the bees fly out. I just thought you should know that you got me in trouble.    B. J.

Hello B. J.,

I may have been the one that wrote the book, but you are the one who found the book ahead of time. Do you shake all the presents that are under the tree as well? At least you had something to do when you were in “time out”. I hope that you guys can make-up before Christmas. Maybe you should stuff her stocking this Christmas with something she would like? (Not a hive tool)   Dennis

Hi Dennis, 

I wanted to let you know that I read your book and enjoyed it very much. I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind…..Where do you recommend buying hygienic stock queens?  

Also, I wanted to let you know that your book is the only place I have ever had Africanized usurpation discussed.  Low and behold when I visited by hives this weekend, I found a small cluster of bees on the outside of my hive. I dug thru to the bottom and did find the Africanized queen and killed her. I would not have known what I was looking at if it had not been for your read.  

More interesting is that when I went into the hive the day after, I noticed I did not have a queen, nor eggs, nor larvae so it was clear I had been without a queen for quite a while. I was queen right three weeks earlier which was the last time I looked. Anyway I was wondering if an African swarm is able to determine weakness in a hive or the absence of a queen in its selection as to which hive to try to usurp since they had several other hives to choose from. 

Lastly, you said in your book you like to have at least 5 frames of bees going into the winter…..how many frames of bees do you like to see in Jan, March, May and Aug? 

Thanks for your help.   Lance    Austin, TX 

Hello Lance, 

I am glad that you enjoyed reading my new book. I recommend purchasing queens from B-Weaver in Navasota or from a Russian Queen Breeders Association member which is listed on our website on the link page. It would be best this time of year to check that hive to make sure it is healthy (free from disease). Try to figure out why the hive went queen-less. If the hive is healthy then unite that hive (Using the newspaper method I discussed in my book.) with another hive that could use the population boost for winter time. 

The queen’s pheromone is distributed throughout the hive by the worker bees. The odor can be detected at the hive entrance. The scouts of a swarm can pick up on this odor or lack of odor and know whether or not the hive has a queen. Robber bees use the same technique to judge whether a hive is queen-less. When a hive becomes queen-less, the hive is demoralized and it makes it easy for robber bees and other pests to take over. 

Here in Texas 5 frame hives (nucs) are wintered all the time. You do need to monitor the hive for food stores throughout the winter months and feed if necessary. Because the queen slows her egg laying activities down dramatically (sometimes stops for about 6 weeks or so) during the winter months and only begins to lay eggs in the month of February (average unless you start feeding earlier.) the hive population has reduced by January, February and March. (You can alter this by early feeding and stimulate the queen to start laying earlier.) It is usually only around the last week in March or 1st of April that the population begins to increase. (It takes 21 days for the worker bee to hatch.) The population should continue to increase until around July, then the queen slowly reduces her egg laying activities again. 

I hope that this information has helped.    Dennis

Days Gone By 

The following was sent to us by member “Amy Hutto”; 

In early traditions bees were believed to have     originated in paradise and were known as "little servants of Gods". It was considered bad luck to kill one. 

In Wales a bee buzzing around a sleeping child means the child will have a happy life and a virgin can always walk safely through a swarm of bees. 

The Romans believed a swarm of bees was bad luck and that they were divine creatures which originated directly from the gods. 

According to legend the first beekeeper was Bahus (god of wine), who domesticated them during his travels in Frakia. 

Jupiter was said to have been fed and protected by bees when he was hidden in a grotto by his mother Rea, on Ida Mountain. 

Bees are symbolic of sexuality, chastity,     fertility, purity and care. They are also considered to be     an image of a human soul due to their natural ability to     find their way home from great distances. 

In ancient times it was believed that bees were attracted to the sounds of clanging metal and thus bees were associated with the love of music. 

The Hindu gods Vishnu, Krishna and Indra were referred to as "nectar born ones" (Madhava) and were often represented as bees perched on a lotus flower. 

The Egyptian sun god Re was believed to have created bees and humans from his tears. Burying the nobility in honey was a common practice in Egypt as a form of embalming the dead. The Egyptians also placed bees and honey in tombs as offerings to spirits of the dead. 

Mead or honey wine is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages in the world and was drunk in countries such as Ireland, Ethiopia, India, Germany and Greece. Because mead was believed to be the drink of immortality, bees were legally protected in Ireland. 

A long believed myth about bees is that they do not sting at night, which in fact is incorrect; they will sting at any time for protection. 

Bees, supposedly being capable of "virgin births", became symbolic of the Virgin Mary. 

St Ambrose of Milan is the patron saint of beekeepers and it was said that as a child, his father found the sleeping boy covered in a swarm of bees.