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Hello Everyone,

Here in the South, we are definitely in the middle of "Bee" season. This year we have had the right amount of rain at the right time. From January threw April, we had more rain then we had all of last year. Starting in May, we have fallen back into a drought situation in the Bryan, Texas area. Hopefully, it will not be as bad as it was last year.

We did manage to have enough rain at the right time to provide us with a honey surplus this season. That is a blessing. Our  yaupon flow was moderate in April (lots of plants -40%-had died from the drought last year.) and the tallow flow is just now winding down but looks extremely promising.

A new pest (new to me) arrived on the scene in the Bryan, Texas area (and a radius of probably 40 miles.) this year. The "Tachinid Fly" (white face) showed up by the thousands and took over all of the tallow trees and sweet clover. Fortunately, I had moved all my bees down South to catch a much larger tallow flow. These flies were not seen past a 40 mile radius of Bryan and the bees were able to work the trees down South. 

If these flies are to become an annual event and spread across the land, then beekeeping will face another major pest and hardship. The sight reminded me of a locust invasion because there were thousands of them on the plants and trees. It was very disheartening to see. There wasn't one drop of nectar gathered by bees. In fact, there wasn't even enough room for a honeybee to land on the plant.

If anyone has any information on this Fly other than what is on the Web, please let me know.   

Dennis

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 Bee Talk

 Dennis,

Thanks again for answering all my questions. I feel like I may be bugging you with all the beginner stuff so let me know if I cross that line. I did just sign up for the May class but I’d rather be discussing new hives than extracting honey I haven’t even thought of making yet. Like you said, though, I’ll need it all at some point so I’m just happy for the education.

I started this website two years ago specifically to help beekeepers of all levels in their beekeeping endeavor. There is so much bad information out there about beekeeping and how to manage the bees (another reason I wrote my book.) that I wanted to make a positive difference so that the beekeeper would have a chance to become successful and perhaps enjoy their success long enough to remain in the hobby.

 I’m going to set up my hives this weekend in preparation to receive my nucs next weekend. Initially I plan to build a stand out of 4x4 treated wood. Is there a preferred length to provide any sort of separation between two hives? I read in one book that it’s good to separate the hives in spring/summer and put them together in the winter. Also am I safe to assume that initially I’ll have only one brood box (with 6 new frames to go with the four with brood) to house the nuc, with an empty box on top to house a sugar syrup feeder? Does the feeder just sit on top of the frames? Once the feeding has stopped should I remove the upper box or wait to add new frames once the bottom frames are drawn?

 The stand dimensions that I have come up with over the years are; 4 feet long-18 inches high and 16 inches wide. I can place two hives on each stand that are about 6 inches apart. (I don't move them together in winter time. It doesn't get that cold in our part of the country.) I can work each hive from at least one side and the height is good on my old back.

Your nuc will usually come with three frames and a feeder so you will need seven frames to add to the box. Yes, the feeder does sit on top of the frames. Keep feeding until the box has all the frames drawn-out. If there is no honey flow going on, remove the feeder, place the second brood box on top and replace the feeder so the bees can begin to draw-out the second box. When the second box is completely drawn-out and the bees have enough to eat, remove the feeder and spacer box. If the bees don't have enough to eat, continue feeding until they do. Never feed bees when there is a honey super on because you don't want to contaminate the honey super.

 OK, last question. My property has several Eastern Bluebird boxes and a Purple Martin condo. Is there any problem locating the hives near these since both of these birds eat insects? To me that sounds like a silly question but I just have no idea how birds and bees interact and my most promising location has both houses nearby.

 There is no problem with having bird houses near a bee yard. I have about a dozen bird houses.

I hope this has helped you. I am always available to help you. That is what Lone Star Farms website is all about. (I send out invoices every 30 days. Just kidding.)    Dennis

 Looking forward to your reply,

David

 Dennis, 

I have all my boxes assembled and I’m now putting together frames.  I know you recommend wiring the honey super frames but what about the brood box frames?  I would assume you don’t need to wire these since you won’t normally extract from these but wasn’t sure if it was good practice to give them extra support.  If you do wire these how many wires do you use?  Also, when you place the foundation in the frame do you recommend embedding the wire or just alternating the foundation through the wires?

 Thanks,    David

 Hello David,

 You should always wire every frame. This gives good support whether it is a brood frame or a honey frame. There are four holes pre-drilled on the side of each frame. You should wire the two middle holes of each frame. This will provide enough support.

I prefer to embed my wires with an electric embedder. However, you can use a "Spur" to push the wires into the wax. You should place the wires on the same side of the foundation. Not "flip-flopped". 

Dennis

 Hey Dennis,

 Have you ever heard of a bee fly?  It looks like a cross between a large house fly and a bee.  It seems this year they are everywhere.  I read on one website one of their food sources is bees.  Do you know anything about these things?  It seems that plants that normally attract bees also attract them and the bees tend to stay away.  They don't sting, but can bite I have read.    Jeff

 Hello Jeff,

I am "just" familiar with them. This year is the first time that I have seen them in such numbers. The technical name for them is, "Tachinid Fly". This year they ruined the first 2 weeks of the tallow flow. They were on the tallow tassels in such numbers that the bees had no chance to collect any nectar. If this becomes a normal occurrence, beekeeping will yet again be changed forever.

 Dennis

 Dennis,

 I want to commend you on a very informative and interesting class. You were concise and patient with my questions. I am a ways away from being ready to install bees at my place. I am in the process of converting lawn into gardens with the hope of growing enough produce to share. I have been reading your book. I like what I have read.

Thanks for the work you do.        Mary J McDaniel

Hello Mary,

 Thank you for your compliments. I hope that through my teachings in the classroom and my book that I will make your beekeeping experience a pleasurable one and long lasting.

 Dennis

Days Gone By