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---For Sale--Bee Talk---Days Gone By

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Hello Everyone,

The months are flying by. Most of us in the warmer regions are in full swing with our bees. Here in Bryan, Texas we had a good yaupon flow this year because of the normal rain fall earlier in the year. Now we are hoping to have a good tallow flow. These are the months out of the year that most of us live for with our bees. The honey making season. With any luck, we can recoup our investment during this time by making a honey surplus.

I am looking for some of our Northern members (And those in other countries.) who would be interested in contributing to our monthly newsletter each month on beekeeping in your area. The Northern climate gets a much later start with the bees than here in the Soutern states. If you are interested in contributing a monthly report on beekeeping in your area, please contact me for the specifics. It would help make our newsletter more interesting.

For those of you who have not already purchased my new book, (shame on you.) I have added some new preview pages to view on the Book page. For those of you who live in Texas and belong to another bee club remember that I am available to teach classes at your club location upon request. Contact me for information.

Dennis

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A review on my book from Kim Flottum a monthly contributor to The Bee Culture Magazine.

 Beekeeping. A Personal Journey. By Dennis Brown. 5.5” x 8.5”, 180 pages. Black and white drawings. Soft cover. ISBN 9781461055518. Self published. $20.00 available at www.lonestarfarms.net

 Elsewhere in the section this month we mentioned that a good beekeeping book was mostly how the author did things, not how thing should be done. The former tends to be more personal, and productive. This book is how the author does things in his beekeeping operation in Texas. He writes in an informal, friendly manner, and has lots of good advice. He advocates using no chemicals for Varroa control, and doesn’t have to deal with harsh winters, so keep that in mind. There is a long Q & A section, a trivia section and a good glossary. This is an easy read…easily in an evening…and you’ll find some nuggets in there not found anywhere else. And visit his web page and if a mind, join his No Chemical Club at www.lonestarfarms.net.

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Bee Talk

  Dennis,

I have officially been a beekeeper for one week now. I installed two B Weaver NUCS on April 6 at our family farm in Colorado County. I followed your recommendation of using the Quail water jugs for syrup feeders in an empty deep. Since the location is a little over an hour from my home in Cypress I can make it down there about once a week. This is probably a blessing for the bees; it keeps me out of the hive more than necessary.
However, one hive is very active and went thru the gallon of syrup in less than a week. The other, less active, had about a half inch left.


There were several observations that totally amazed me. Let me know if they are normal.


1. The empty feeder was found to have comb forming (see picture).

2. The active hive preferred to pass pollen thru the screened bottom instead of the main entrance.

3. Just before I opened one deep to check the syrup, a moth that was outside the deep flew into the hive. Within a minute, a ball of bees fell out of the hive. This ball was covering the unwanted visitor. They dismantled his wings, picked him up and carried the moth about 20 feet out of the garden fence. Very impressive!

Am I correct by continuing syrup feeding as long as they are drawing comb on new foundation?
I noticed you are offering classes away from you home. Are you planning any in the Waller/Harris county area? I need to make up the last two classes.

Marcus Labay
Cypress, Texas
281 435 0027

 Hello Marcus,

It is normal to find burr comb in areas that are not "bee space" correct. I have never witnessed the workers passing pollen up through the bottom screen to their hive mates. I do find lots of pollen that has fallen through the screen bottom on the ground. The workers sometimes loose their load as they attempt to off-load inside the hive. Yes, you should continue to feed until the foundation has been drawn out. This helps the hive expand much faster.

Dennis

Hey Dennis, 

     I have a scenario. I have been reading your warnings the last few weeks to watch for swarming signs. I have been going into the hives once a week looking for queen cells. I have not been finding any. I have also been adding more room to my hives to try to discourage any swarming. I told them don't swarm, but I forgot to put up my sign "NO SWARMING ALLOWED". Sunday I came home from church and found my best hive swarming. It appeared that they were just finishing. It looked like they may have been congregating high up in a tree just above about 30'.

 So there was no way for me to get to them. Any way I went ahead and checked my hives. My swarm hive has two full medium supers and the top one is capped. There was one sealed Queen cell on the bottom of the capped super frame and two more queen cells further down on the bottom of the brood frames.

  Now to get to your opinion. I am planning on taking my capped supper to a garden show that our club has been invited to and maybe show a demonstration on extracting the honey. This will be on the 14th, so I don't believe that the queen cells will be hatched open by then. Do you think I can very carefully with a razor blade scrape the cell off the frame and carefully set it between two frames in the lower brood chamber? Or should I just leave that frame in the hive and only take the other eight frames?

 Whach Ya Think,    Mark

 Hello Mark,

 Tell me the hive configuration. What size boxes are you using starting with the bottom box moving up? Dennis

 Dennis,

 2 medium boxes with 10 frames for the initial brood boxes. I added one more medium for brood area then two 9 frame mediums at the top full of honey. When I check it this week end and I find the two top boxes are almost totally full of honey, then I will add another 9 frame super somewhere. Should it be on top or under the existing honey supers?      Mark

 Hello mark,

Are these the boxes the bees came out of the winter in? Dennis

Dennis,

 Not all of them. They went thru winter with the 2 bottom Brood boxes and 1 full 9 frame box full of honey. They really didn't use much of the honey at all. This is the box that I want to extract from on the 14th which is the one that has the queen cell attached to the bottom and is currently the top box...Mark

 Mark,

 Now that I have most of the facts, I can make sense of it all. It is extremely rare for a queen to move up above the second brood box to lay eggs. That is why I asked you those questions. The problem you are experiencing started back in the fall when you placed that honey super on top of the two brood boxes. As winter sets in the bees tend to move upwards and take their food stores with them. Eventually, all the food and bees will be in the top box in January/February (Texas). The queen will begin to lay a few eggs in January and slowly increase egg laying as time moves forward. Remember, the bees are in the top box when this happens. You had a honey super on top and that is why there is brood located there.

 If you want to feed you bees in the fall by leaving a honey super on the hive, (honey is much better for the bees to winter on than sugar water) you should add that honey super on the bottom not the top. As winter gets closer, the bees will move all that honey with them into the upper boxes so they can form their winter cluster. In January or February you can pull that honey super out (without disturbing the bees) because it will be empty and you can use it for the early yaupon flow. (Texas). You should always add empty boxes (drawn-foundation) to the top.

  I would find out why the bees are making queen cells. If there are queen cells in the other boxes, then I would assume that they are preparing to swarm. You can either cut that queen cell out of the frame and use it or get rid of it.

 I hope that I have answered your questions.

 Dennis

Days Gone By