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

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Hello everyone. Here it is January already and if you are like me, I am driving my wife crazy by pacing back and forth talking about when the weather will break and allow me to pop the tops on my hives. I can't imagine living up North where some of you live and not be able to open my hives for so long.

Well it seems that I have gotten myself in trouble for the second time in 22 months here on the Lone Star Farms website. I had recieved what I honestly thought was a wonderful virtural Christmas card from one of our members. In fact, because I was in such a Holiday spirit at the time, I thought all of you would enjoy it as well, so I emailed it to you. It was only moments later when one of the members emailed me back and asked to be removed from the club membership. At the time, it never dawned on me that some folks would take issue with a simple Holiday greeting. I have always believed in allowing others to pass on good tidings no matter what religion or faith people were as long as it was given with good intentions.

I want to personally apoligize to any of you that I may have offended with my Holiday greeting. My intentions were good. I am posting the email sent to me so that everyone will understand what transpired and to show that my intentions were honorable. Again, I am sorry if I have offended any of you.

 Note:  The following was in reference to the Christmas card that I received from member “Mary ........” and forwarded to all of you.

 On Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 10:14 AM, Ann P wrote: 

Please remove me from your list. I misunderstood the nature of your organization.

Ann Patterson

 Hello Ann,

 I am sorry that you are offended over my wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and for pointing out the true meaning of Christmas. I understand that people may have different religious beliefs and I for one respect others and their beliefs. My intention was not to offend anyone including you. 

 Would you at least explain to me why my Christmas spirit and wishes made you decide to be removed from the membership? I would like to know so that I won't make others unhappy in the future. Thanks, Dennis

 I didn't think your Christmas greetings were particularly sincere. I don't mind a bit when someone wishes me a 'Merry Christmas' but I do not care for it when the greeting contains a political subtext of ill-will. I have seen the Christian campaign to "take back Christmas," as in, for instance, this unpleasant Christmas greeting I saw on someone's Facebook page this morning right before I received your message of similar sentiment.

I have come to recognize that when people complain about 'political correctness', it's usually because they want to say something bigoted or insensitive or crude, but they're forced by civil society to behave differently. The U.S is not, believe it or not, a Christian nation. Christmas is not an "American tradition". It's a Christian tradition.

I believe in civility, and I don't think people should go out of their way, as Mary ........ advocates, to turn holiday greetings into a pointed message of malicious intent.

I'm an organic gardener, beekeeper, and blueberry grower from Maine. What I am not is someone who is fooled by Mary ......... snide Christmas greetings, and your willingness to pass the ill-will along.

Ann Patterson


 Wow, did you ever read this Christmas message wrong. In the first place the term "Political Correctness" is a term that has been used in everything from having a general conversation with someone to performing a wedding in the traditional manner. The definition in the Webster dictionary states; "politically correct"-marked by or adhering to a typically progressive orthodoxy on issues involving esp. race, gender, sexual affinity or ecology". In today's world that definition has been expanded to encompass many other areas of our language. This Christmas message had absolutely nothing to do with politics, bigotry, crudeness or any other negative thought that your mind could come up with.

I am truly sorry that you received the Christmas message with such a bad taste in your mouth because the message was sent with good intentions. I have complied with your wish to be removed from the membership. I hope that someday you will learn to accept the good intentions that some people offer you and see it as it “Truly” was given. Dennis Brown

I'm sorry, Dennis, but I find it difficult to believe that you're that naive. I admit that I have no idea as to your intent, but I absolutely know Mary ......... intent. Her e-greeting was really this: "I don't believe in that inclusive 'Happy Holidays' bull….  and I will go out of my way this holiday season to make sure that I pointedly say 'Merry Christmas' to every person I see, regardless of whether I know that they celebrate Christmas, so they know that they're in the Christian US of A. None of that nambly pambly political correctness for me."  I've been observing this hostile Christian hair across the ass for a month now. It's all over Facebook, "Take back Christmas, none of this Happy Holidays bull. Tell everyone you meet, 'Merry Christmas!' 

I was in Home Depot last week and the woman in front of me said, "Merry Christmas" to the clerk, and then she said, "I don't believe in that "Happy Holidays bull." 

I know exactly what Mary was conveying in her message, and if you claim you don't, then I'm afraid that you're not naive, you're downright disingenuous. 

I used to be Christian, but the organization is so hate-filled, I had to get out. 

Trust me on this one---if you had any Jewish or Muslim or Agnostic members, you no longer do. I'm fairly sure that's fine with you. 

To verify my reaction, I'm going to run this by my online community. I'll keep you posted. I'm disappointed, but thank you for removing me from your list. 

Ann Patterson


Bee Talk


 I have a question.  My bee’s second box weight is over 50 pounds (one may be about 70 pounds---I can barely lift them)...should I stop feeding them and let them use what they have now?  I checked for mites in October...one box had 2 mites/24 hours and the other more than 30!!!.  I believe the one with 30 has been taken over by African, as they are MEAN!!!!!! I got stung 3 out of the 4 times when I dusted with powdered sugar (they got under my veil...and stung through my bee gloves)...they chased me so I had to leave the area on my utility vehicle---my dogs were not happy as they were stung repeatedly also.  I will check next weekend for mites again but doubt I will re treat the hive!!!!  I wish for you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!!.  Cheryl

 Hello Cheryl,

I have known you for a couple of years now and I have to say that when I read the part about you having to jump on your utility vehicle to get out of there, I busted out laughing. I read that part to Peggy and we both had a good laugh. Believe me when I tell you that this will not be the last time you ever get run out of your bee yard.

 You really do need to continue the Powdered Sugar treatments. With that many mites in the hive, the hive may not make it until spring. You need to try and keep the hive alive until you can get a new queen in the spring. Now that there is less brood because of the time of year, most of the mites are on the adult bees. The dusting will help knock the exposed mites off the adult bees where the will drop through the screen bottom and die.

 Try putting your veil on first then your bee suit. This will cover the bottom edge of the veil with the suit. Put on a pair of dish gloves first, then your bee gloves. You can do this. Your bees need you to do this or they may perish over the winter.

 If your bees have that much food stored, then you should quit feeding. They will be good until spring time. (But lift the back of the hive around the first of March to be sure.)

 Thanks for the visual picture (How fast does your utility vehicle go?) and let me know how the next treatment worked out. "Happy Holidays to you and your family". Dennis


I did treat them weekly for four weeks and next weekend I will recheck for mites. I also treated the hive with two mites found. I had to get help as I couldn't lift the boxes....and my "help" got stung also so will see what the mite situation after that two week period. What if it needs more treatment even after a second treatment? When do you draw a line and say no more? I will let you know how it goes.   Cheryl


When you get tired or decide the hive isn't worth it to you. Unfortunately, this time of year, you can't get a new queen so you need to just try and keep the hive alive until you can. It is always better to keep up with mite levels during the course of the year and if need be re-queen the hives when queens are available. That way you will have low mite levels in all your hives going into the winter months. Keep me posted.    Dennis

 Hello Jerry,

I hope the holiday season has been good to you and yours. As always, thanks for all that you do for the beekeeping world. There are a "few" beekeepers in today's world that do not intentionally introduce chemicals into their hives and have not for several years now (Including myself here at Lone Star Farms) and have had great success raising bees. For a few years now I have heard the cry; "Save The Bees" and most of what I see is beekeepers subjecting their bees to harmful pesticides and other harsh chemicals. Not to mention polluting the wax and other hive products.

My question to you is, "since all beekeepers have access to queens and bees from breeders who do not use chemicals in their hives,(none) why do the majority of beekeepers continue to buy and raise their bees in a polluted environment"?

I believe that all beekeepers who are now using chemicals in their hives should make a "New Years Resolution" to themselves. At the beginning of the new year, they will refrain from placing chemicals into their hives. By doing so they will have stronger bees and cleaner bee products. They need to re-queen their hives with a queen from a breeder who raises their bees without the use of chemicals. If anyone needs the information of what breeder is chemical free, they can contact me at dennis@lonestarfarms.netor my website www.lonestarfarms.net.

I hope that you can answer this question for me because It is beyond me why anyone would intentionally poison their bees when in today's world it is not necessary. Thanks Jerry and I hope that you have a great new year. Dennis Brown


It is all education Dennis. Plus the labeled chemicals put into colonies do not immediately kill the bees. Without some immediacy most people don’t think too deeply. Kind of like eating fast food everyday and then complaining 20 years later that it caused heart trouble. Take Care.     Jerry Hayes

Hello Jerry,

Thanks for responding. I know how busy you must be this time of year. We didn't have much control over the Boy Scouts Of America reinstating the beekeeping merit badge, (Not from a lack of effort.) but I think the bee magazines could each month promote chemical free beekeeping. They could interview beekeepers who have not been using chemicals in their hives for years and put that story in the magazines. When a new beekeeper today reads the magazines, they don't know that beekeeping can be done without the use of chemicals because it is so rare to see anything about chemical free beekeeping in the magazines. The problem continues to perpetuate itself year after year. Unfortunately, most of the mentors around also use chemicals in their hives.

 Lone Star Farms is this tiny dot in the big scheme of things and has been working hard trying to spread the "chemical free" word. It has been very slow because unlike the Bee magazines who have this huge arena to play in, we have to teach chemical free beekeeping to one beekeeper at a time. Education (Just like you mentioned.) is the key to turning our beekeeping industry around before it is too late. We need "More" (Or any) of the so called experts talking about "NOT" using chemicals instead of the experts teaching how to use chemicals.

 Someone (s) in the bee magazine world needs to say; OK, this is not working. We need to learn from the non-chemicals users out there. Their way is working. It is time to take the politics out of our dying industry before it is too late.

 Jerry, if the bee magazines don't educate the beekeeper in chemical free beekeeping, then how does a small dot like Lone Star Farms educate in a large arena so that beekeepers know they have a healthy choice?

 I always appreciate you and as you know, I am pretty passionate (47 years) about bees. I asked for your help a couple of years ago on the Boy Scout issue and I appreciated that but now I see a war that I think we have a better chance of winning. I know that I can't do it alone so I need you and your rally forum to "Save The Bees". It may seem like a daunting task but it is one that needs to be done. Is there anything you can do to help?

 Thanks again Jerry and have a wonderful "Holiday Season". Dennis Brown

Days Gone By