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 "Cletus Calendar" page will tell you what you should be doing this month and the "Archive" page contains all of the previous months of the "Newsletter and Cletus Calendar".

Please preview my new book ****** "Beekeeping: A Personal Journey" ****** on the book page. You can purchase it here on this site, in the classroom, Amazon.com or from Walter T. Kelley Bee Supply Company.

"Post your Lone Star Farms Bee club on your Face-Book Page.

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

Your host

Hello everyone,

Most of the time when I give a "how to do" something on this site, it pertains to most all of you. The only difference would be in the timing of when to do it depending on where you live. For instance; when I say that this month we should concentrate on performing a good hive inspection, I mean that those of you who live where the temperatures are warm enough to open the hive should do a hive inspection. Those of you who live where the weather is still cold should take the information and use it when your area warms up. The information is good for most of you. Just perform it at a different time. 

As a club, we picked up a few more new members so far this year. It would be great if all of you would help by talking up raising bees without using chemicals in your hive to all the other beekeepers in your area. We need to get these other beekeepers away from polluting their hives and their hive products. All of you know that you can raise your bees without using chemicals so let's teach the rest of them. Have these beekeepers get away from the chemicals and "Join" our club. Saving the bees is what we as a club stand for so help by spreading the word about our club and recruit some more members.

For those of you who live in Texas, the Central Texas Beekeeping Association in Brenham, Texas is having their forth annual Beekeeping School on March 24. I will also be there as an instructor during the afternoon hours. For all of you who are interested, please contact the president Michael Kelling. michael@bigbuzztheory.com or go to the website,  centraltexasbeekeepers@gmail.com for all the details. The whole day is all about bees. Lots of fun.

Dennis

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 For sale

Nucs: I am a member of the Lone Star Farms bee club. I have never used any chemicals in my hives and I have been raising bees continuously for 35 years. I will be offering a limited number of nucs for sale beginning in April. The cost for each nuc will be $145.00 and can be picked up at Lone Star Farms in Bryan, in Houston or in Galveston. If you are interested or need further information, please call me at 281.932.4887 or email me at demosautomotive@aol.com

Costa Kouzounis

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Bee Talk

Dennis,

Webster Hart helped me today checking my bee hives. Hive #1. Queen present. Lots of brood, bees, pollen, and honey. Very heavy frames. Put a large box on top as so active. # 2 hive could not find queen. Much less brood and honey and many less bees and we found what we felt were 3 queen cells. Neither hive has a mite problem---found zero #1 and one in #2----- but two had to be treated twice for mites this winter. Much pollen coming into both hives. So I feel need to get a new queen for #2 as soon as get one. Concur?    Cheryl 

Cheryl, 

If hive #2 does not have much to eat, the queen will shut down egg laying. Try to feed sugar mix, 2 sugar to 1 water and see if that will start the queen to lay more. After the hive has enough to eat, check the brood pattern. If the queen is still failing, plan on re-queening in April. For now remove the queen cells that are present. If your queen is still good you need to keep her alive in the hive. You know that she is hygienic. If you allow a virgin queen to hatch out and open mate, you won't know if she mated with hygienic drones or not for a while.

 Dennis

 Hi Dennis, 

 How are you and the Family, fine I hope. OK, well here's something to think about I am not sure why yet but I am still working on this problem. I have been into honey bees now over a year. Last year when I split my hives I made 6 new hives, I bought 3 Carnelian Queens and let the other three hives create their own queens which are Carnelian Honey Bees. I should have had 6 new hives with my other six hives.

To my surprise I lost three hives with the store bought Queens, I checked for diseases, and the bees had plenty of food and pollen. I did notice moth eggs, but that does not kill bees. They survived three months and I watched very closely, the Queens were not laying eggs in a good pattern and the bees were confused and slowly dying off?

The three other hives are doing well, very strong already and have honey in the brood box and I am putting supers on for them to wax out.

So here is my question, the bees I bought came from California stock, and the other three were made by my own bees, could it be the climate change that might have caused the California bees to die? I will never buy another Queen because of this. It seems I have better luck raising my own. So just wondering if anyone else had a problem through the years buying Queens and the queens did not work out, because this is mind boggling to me, and I take very good care of my bees.

Thank you for your time Dennis.     Ralph D Gruner

 Hello Ralph,

It is hard to say what went wrong without all the details. It sounds more like how the splits were made up than anything else at this point. In my new book, "Beekeeping; A Personal Journey" I give a detailed system on how to make a split up. For many years I have raised my own queens but in the last 15 years I have purchased queens from good breeders with equal success.

Without watching how the splits were made, there is no way for me to know exactly what went wrong. There are a lot of details to follow in order to come out with a solid prosperous division in the end. Don't give up on the good queen breeders because of one bad experience. In beekeeping you will never have things go right for you 100% of the time.    

Dennis

Dennis,

 Today George came by and picked up your book. When I spoke to George tonight, at 930pm, he raved about your book and wanted to know if you started on your second book yet for a follow up of the first book? Anyway we were not able to make this meeting on Saturday but we are talking about the month of March if you are having a meeting. So if you do we will most likely be there!

Thank you Dennis for a great book we will be spreading the word of your book. Have a great evening.

Ralph D Gruner

Hello Ralph,

Thanks for the compliment about my new book. I am glad that you and your friend enjoyed it. My book was a long time coming, (48 years) but I enjoyed writing it. I will let you know when the next meeting comes up. Thanks again.

 Dennis

 Hi Dennis, 

 Sorry about that question, basically what I was trying to ask is when you have a super on top of your brood box, and once the bees have it filled do you put the next super under the let’s say almost full super or on top of that almost full super?   Thank You Dennis    Ralph,

 Ralph,

 Do you have 2 brood boxes under that honey super or one brood box?  Dennis

 Hi Dennis, just one brood box!  Ralph

 Ralph,

There are several reasons to run with two brood boxes instead of one brood box and a honey super. The queen rarely lays above the second brood box thus eliminating the need for using a queen excluder. Right now you will have to use a queen excluder to keep the queen from lying in the next box you add. Queen excluders slow the bees down from working in the boxes above it. They don't like having to go through them. Two brood boxes offer the queen enough room to lay in which will help reduce swarming. Two brood boxes have fewer frames to contend with when performing an inspection than one brood box and two honey supers. (Finding the queen is much easier because there are fewer frames to inspect and fewer boxes to move around.) Most beekeepers that run their hives in one brood box and a super will need to feed their hives during summer time. There is not enough space for the bees to store honey in to last them.

 Be careful and make sure that all the sugar water is out of the honey super before you pull it for extracting. I always recommend using brood boxes for brood and honey supers for honey. You would not have to worry about contaminated honey surplus if done that way.

 I hope that this has helped you. Dennis

 Hi Dennis,

 Thank you for the Brood Box info, now each Brood Box has another Brood box on, now for the supers, the reason why I use 5 frames with foundation and 5 frames without is a lot of my customers are Asian and they wish to have pure chemical free Honey Cone, and what they pay for that, you can’t beat it. The old way was put one super that is not waxed out on the Brood Box first and then when 8 frames are waxed out you add another super, not on top but under so the bees can wax that super so on and son, I just need to know does it really matter whether you put a none waxed out super on the or does it need to still go under the super that is waxed?

Thank you for all of your help.   Ralph

 Ralph,

 I don't have any experience in producing comb honey using that method. Many years ago when I produced comb honey I always used the comb honey sections found in the bee catalogs. I know that bees like to move up and not down when storing surplus honey. I tried many years ago placing a new box of foundation under the box the bees were working and didn't have good luck with that method. The bees don't like to cross foundation to reach a working box. They quit working the existing box and started working the new box. They seemed to be disoriented and lost a few days of working trying to regroup. You don't realize that lost time if you don't go back into the hive for a week or so. I always recommend placing new boxes on top of the existing box like I mention in my book. You should never add a new box of foundation until there is a honey flow going on or you are feeding them heavy because they will "mine" the wax off the foundation and use it somewhere else in the hive.

Dennis

 Hi Dennis,

I've got a bit of a mystery.  Last week on a warm sunny day, I was out at the bee yard.  My strongest hive had tons of bees all over the entrance.  A large amount of them had pollen in their sacks.  As I got closer to the hive I could smell a faint sweet fruity smell.  It wasn't a honey smell, but more like an over ripe apple or pear smell.  I had recently inspected that hive.  Everything checked ok.  Plenty of honey, lots of bees and pollen,  and some brood.  I checked the hive again today and the odor was there again.  Still lots of bees coming and going bringing in pollen.  Could this smell be nectar?  Are we having an early honey flow?  Or does this sound like something more serious like a disease?

Thanks,    Jeff

Hello Jeff,

Since you were in that hive recently, I would say that your bees are picking up a nectar source from something. Take a mirror and hold it up under your screen bottom and see if there are any dead bees laying on the screen and if everything looks normal. Diseases usually create a foul odor. If it has been more than 2 weeks since you worked that hive, I suggest that you go through it the next opportunity you get. Did you notice any beetles in that hive?

Dennis

 Hi Dennis, 

I have a question about hive relocation. We are moving house. Our new home is less than three miles from our old one. Therefore, we have to move our hive to another location for a little while before we move it to our new home. Last weekend, we moved the hive about 14 miles away, so that should be a safe distance.  

My question is this: how long should we keep them at the temporary location before it will be safe to bring them to our new house? We are hoping to do an extraction during this Spring's honey flow, so I am hoping we can retrieve them less than two months from now. 

Any insight you might have would be greatly appreciated.  Jennifer Richardson

 Hello Jennifer, 

You should be able to move your bees to their new home after only a couple of weeks.

Dennis

 Days Gone By

 The following was sent in by member Teddi Irwin.

A Cherokee Legend;

Back in ancient times when the people were more pure and could converse with the animals and the Creator would visit with them, the people asked the Creator for something that was 'sweet' to the taste. So the Creator sent the Bee, but the Bee had no stinger. Down came the Bee and it found a suitable tree in which they could build their hive, live in, produce honey, multiply and feed its young. Soon the people came to the Bee and asked for some of the sweet syrup and the Bee gave each person a container full. The people loved the syrup and greedily ate it, then went back to the Bee for more.

But the Bee replied, 'I have no more to give you for a while. You will have to wait.' The people were not happy, as they craved the sweet syrup. So they called upon the Creator, saying, 'the Bee does not give us enough of the golden syrup. We want more!!!' The Creator listened and sent down the Flower People. The Flower People began to spread all types of flowers across the land giving the Bees greater access and variety of flowers to pollinate and make more honey. The Flower People spread all kinds of beautiful wild flowers around to attract the Bees; bright blue, red, orange, purple and yellow. More Bees were created to help pollinate the flowers. The hive grew to be very large. The people seeing how big the hive was went to get more of the sweet syrup. So the Bees gave all the syrup to the people but left enough to feed their young. The people devoured the syrup and wanted more. The Bee responded, 'We don't have anymore, you will have to wait.'

The people were angry and asked the Flower People to make more flowers so they could have more of the golden syrup to eat. The Flower People responded, 'We made all the flowers we could and they are all pollinated. You will have to wait until Spring.' 'No, said the people, 'We want more now!!' So they went back to the bee's hive and tore it apart killing almost all of the Bees and taking the syrup. The remaining Bees were angry. They asked the Creator what to do. The Creator was also annoyed at the behavior of the people, so he told the Flower People to create some 'briar bushes' and for the Bees to eat the briars.

The Bees did as the Creator said, they ate the briars and these were transformed into stingers. The Flower People created an entire briar patch around the Bee's tree. The next day, the people came back and started toward the Bee's hive for more syrup; but the briars around the tree scratched and tore at their bodies. Some of the people made it through the briars to the hive. Covered in welts, they yelled at the Bees, 'Give us some more syrup now, or we will do the same as we did yesterday, kill your young and destroy your home!' The Bees became angry and a loud hum came from the hive in the tree, and out they swarmed. The Bees stung the people all over until they were covered in welts and sent them running.

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After that day, the people treated the Bees, flowers, and plants with great respect and always promised to replace whatever they asked for and never be greedy or take more than they needed.