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


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Don't forget to check out the "Cletus Calendar" page and the "Archive" page. The Archive page contains all of the previous months of the "Newsletter and Cletus Calendar".

Hello Everyone,

It is time for us to put 2012 behind us and look forward to 2013. This is a new year and a new season. Just because our bees and our management skills proved to be successful in 2012, (if they did) doesn’t mean that we can coast in 2013. Every year is and will be different. We need to stay on top of everything each year. The temperature and moisture amounts can change everything from year to year. A good bloom last year doesn’t mean a good bloom this year. Just because you added a honey super on your hive say April first last year, that doesn’t mean that on April first this year you will add another super. Just because one hive did well this year, doesn’t mean it will do the same this year.

The best advice is to perform good hive inspections frequently (every two to three weeks) and stay on top of both hive conditions and weather conditions. You could do everything right as a manager of your bees and still have a poor year if “Mother Nature” decides not to cooperate.

For all of you hobbyist out there, remember, the important thing is for you to enjoy your bees.



For Sale

 FOR SALE:Russian Queens, Nucs and/or Hives: 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 36 years. I will be offering a limited number of Russian queens, nucs and/or established hives for sale. Queens-$25.00, Nucs-$145.00& Hives (Double brood boxes)-$375.00. If you are interested or need further information, please email me at purehoneyproducer@att.netor you may call me at 281.932.4887.

Costa Kouzounis


Bee Talk

 Hey Dennis,

 How do you judge if a hive is "weak" and needs to be combined with another mediocre hive to have a good strong one? Some of my hives are loaded with bees on all ten frames of both big boxes. Others are on just five frames and bees covering one super of honey on top. Just wondering how you go about deciding to let a hive make its own way or need to combine it with another one.  Thanks,   Chuck

 Hello Chuck,

 If you have a hive that has enough bees to cover six frames in a brood box, you will have enough bees to go through the Texas winter. A lot of us will even winter a nuc hive and the bees do fine here in Texas as long as the bees have enough food stored. In a nuc, we will usually have to feed when the temperature is 50 or above. The key is having enough food.


 Hey Dennis,

Thanks for taking the time to guide a newbie!! Hope you and your family have a good holiday season. I had 5 out of 7 hives that I was able to take honey off this year. It total 220 lbs. - so an avg. of 45 lbs. per hive. I ain't getting the big head, cause I know it can be better w/ your instruction.

 Really enjoy your book and I read and re-read it. So, your teaching me even if I haven't been able to come to a class in a while.

 Appreciate you and your work for all of us.   Chuck

Hello Chuck,

You are welcome. You have done well for your first year in beekeeping. I hope that you and your family have a wonderful holiday season.


 Hi Dennis,

We are second year beekeepers, and after splits and swarms are finding ourselves with four hives now. The books seem to indicate a long line of hives is not good due to "drifting." What do you think of a U formation? Is it OK to have hives with entrances facing each other? Any suggestions?   Karen

Hello Karen,

It is absolutely true. You will create a drifting problem if you line your hives up in a row right next to one another. I have always placed my hives in two’s. I place two hives in line next to each other (A foot or so apart.) facing the same direction. Then I will place two more in line but, five feet apart from the first set of two in the same direction. You could add another set of two in line five feet from the last set in the same direction. At this time I would change direction. You could begin to create a “U” shape if you like. You can add three sets of hives to create the right arm of the “U” and then three sets of hives to create the left arm of the “U”. All the hives can face the inside of the “U” or turn them 180 degrees. It doesn’t matter. Personally, I like my hives to face the inside of the “U” because I can observe all the entrances at the same time. The important thing to remember is that your hives on the arms will be ten to fifteen feet away from each other when you create your “U”. The base of the “U” has a clear path in front of it.

My hives are much easier to work when placed in two’s. I can work one hive from one side and the other hive from the other side. If you have more than two together, you will have to bend around and work the middle hive from the back. Your back can wear out pretty quickly like that.

Review:You can line your hives up but, keep two together and then two more at least five feet away from the first set. Entrance direction does not matter. Add a third set then start changing hive direction. (Don’t place more than three sets in a row.) If you want a “U” shape, move up in front of the last hive in the first row five feet and place three sets of two hives five feet apart for the left arm and three sets of two hives for the right arm. Now you have a perfect “U”.

With this configuration, drifting is never an issue.


 Hello Jerry,

It has been a few months since we last emailed one another. I hope that you and yours have had a wonderful holiday season.

In the January-ABJ- 2013 ‘Classroom” you answered a reader named “Spirit” who was curious about worker bees being sisters V/S half-sisters. Your answer puzzled me.

A virgin queen will mate with ten to twenty (maybe more) drones while on her mating “flights”. Each drones sperm that she mates with will be stored inside the queen in layers. The sperm layers will remain separate from one another. The sperm is not all mixed-up together. The queen will use up one sperm layer at a time. When one layer is used up, the queen will work on the next layer. That is why you can have a real gentle hive for a long time and then the hive turns more aggressive even though you have the same queen in the hive. That aggressive behavior is from a more aggressive drones gene pool.

With this information in mind, we can assume that all the workers that are from the same layer will be sisters. They will each have the same mother and father. When that layer is used-up and the next sperm layer begins, the queen will be laying half-sisters to the first sperm layer and to the following sperm layers because they will have the same mother but a different father. So, each layer will be sisters to that specific sperm layer and half-sisters to any other sperm layer.

With that in mind, all the queen cells you see in a hive will be sisters unless the layer ran out and another layer started during the queen cell production.

What are your thoughts on this?

Dennis Brown Lone Star Farms www.lonestarfarms.net

Happy New Year Dennis,

I am answering your question from work this morning that you sent on Monday about my answer about honey bees being sisters and half sisters.

I read your comments and you are exactly right. The sperm is stored in layers, actually kind of convoluted layers, and the sperm as used is from generally one drone sequence at a time. That is why you may have noticed in your colonies a group of approximately same aged bees of one color and others of a like but different color as the queen can lay 2000 eggs a day in the height of the season. And potentially the same thing can happen with larva selected to be raised as queens. An egg is an egg for 3 days so the queen could have laid 6000 eggs since then. In that time the queen may have cycled through one or more drone sperm and since the nurse bees select the larva to feed for raising to be queens are not all of the “prime” or perfect age you can have competing genetics due to different aged larvae because of different drone fathers.

Have a Great 2013 Dennis. Take Care. Jerry

 Hi Dennis,


Hello Teresa,

 I would place a queen excluder between the old boxes and the newer box that you have on top. Do this in the Spring and make sure that the queen is in the newer box. After all the brood has hatched out in the older boxes, you can remove them.



Days Gone By