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".

Books that I have written:

"Beekeeping: A Personal Journey"--You can purchase it here on this site (Book page), in the classroom, Amazon.com or from Walter T. Kelley Bee Supply Company.

"Beekeeping: Questions and Answers"--You can purchase it here on this site (Book page), in the classroom, Amazon.com or from Walter T. Kelley Bee Supply Company.

(Novel) #1 Tom Richards-Justice Served--You can purchase it in the classroom, Amazon.com or through Kindle. (Now available) (View it on Amazon.com)

(Novel) #2 Tom Richards-Blood Trail of a Serial Killer--You can purchase it in the classroom, Amazon.com or through Kindle. (Coming in February)

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

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


At this time of year (December) here at Lone Star Farms in Bryan, Texas, we are concerned about the mite count, the hive population and the food stores for the bees to winter on. As most of you know by now, we never place any kind of chemical in our hives. By using hygienic queens along with good management techniques, there is never a need to use chemicals.

It is important for everyone to understand that this time of year (In the South) it is not unusual for the hives mite count to appear higher than normal. The breeding mites have no place to retreat to because there are fewer brood cells available to them. That means that the mites are out in the open where the bees are able to pick them off more easily. (Assuming that you have hygienic bees) If you have screen bottom boards, (The ones from Kelley are the best. Cat. #57) you will find a higher mite count at this time because of their exposure to the bees. This would also be a great time to perform a powdered sugar treatment because of the mite’s exposer.

 We take the time to equalize our hives and to unite hives that have smaller hive populations. By doing so, our winter lose is less than 1% and our hives are strong in early spring for the honey flow. Our bees will go through the winter with a minimum of thirty-five to forty pounds of food stores.

There are two types of beekeepers out there. There is the psychic beekeeper that never has to open the hive in order to know what is going on and then there is the beekeeper who actually works their hive. If you want to be successful in beekeeping, be the beekeeper who works their hive. Enjoy your bees.


Dennis Brown


Bee Talk

Hey Dennis,

Great class yesterday.
I need your blessings on what I am planning. After class yesterday I came home and worked two of my hives. On each hive I have a deep brood box and 2 supers. In the brood box I had 4 frames with spotted capped brood and larva. I did not see any eggs. In one of the supers I have honey around some uncapped brood, larva and eggs on 4 frames and some honey on the remaining frames. There seemed to be enough bees to take care of everything. The third super is full of capped honey. My thoughts as per our class yesterday is to put the deep brood box on top, put the super with honey, capped brood, and larva below the deep brood box and put the super full of honey on the bottom. Ultimately in a perfect world I would like the bees to clean out the super with honey by moving it to the top brood box, clean out the super with honey and brood and move all the honey to the deep brood box and start laying in the deep box this winter so I can get rid of the supers and next spring add another deep brood box. I know there are a lot of what ifs but do you feel like this way would get me close to that goal? Let me know your thoughts.    Thanks, Ron

Hello Ron,

It is always good to know that some of the class is actually listening and taking notes. I think you just made a good plan. Keep me posted.


Hi Dennis,

 I have a ? for you! I got some bees from a friend in brenham in September.they invaded his feedroom and made a hive inside feedsacks.I putthe bee filled sacks in my Bee Bag and transported back to my Bee Yards. I put the bee coms inside the bottom hive box with four used comb and a drawn out comb from another hive.I put hive box away from bee yards,checking hive weekly.I last opened box and bee made a dark grey cacoon nest inside,not useing the frames???Inot sure why,unless time wise to late in year to draw out ,rebuild a new hive.always alot of bee activity,but those bees are very aggressive,protective of new home.??? they look like other bees ,what do AAfrician Bees look like??   Brian M

Hello Brian,

What do you mean a Cocoon nest? Is it made of wax? The only way to tell for sure if a bee is African is to send it to a lab.


 Hi Dennis,

It turned out to be a paper hornets’ nest.   Brian M


I have an inquiry, and it is one that you may not have come across before.
My question/idea is as follows.

If I had a glass terrarium or habitat custom built into the house I'll be building, would it be possible to create an artificial environment that would copy a bee's natural one? Using lights, flowers, grass, an artificial breeze, and any other things the bees would need, of course.

I'm talking about a complete environment made specifically for bees. If I ordered a queen, could a colony be born and sustained? Or perhaps ordering a queen as well as workers?
Would they build a hive in the habitat?

This is an idea, but something I would love to see happen. Bees are beautiful, and such a unique display would be very fitting.

Your time and thoughts are greatly appreciated.  Jeremy Chandler

Hello Jeremy,

Honeybees require access to the outside in order to survive. Honeybees need certain proteins and minerals to stay health. Artificial foods will not sustain bees for an extended period of time. The bees need to be able to fly and collect many different types of pollen to feed their young. Pollen substitutes do not offer the bees a full range of what they need to stay healthy. In the outdoors, the bees need to be able to collect pollen from many different species of plants in order to obtain all of their requirements. There is not just one plant that produces a "silver bullet" pollen that will meet their every need. 

 It is best to raise bees in standard equipment designed specifically for honeybees. Bees need to be managed. You need to inspect your hive for diseases and you can't do that if you do not have removable frames. It is not lawful in most states to raise bees without removable frames.

I would suggest that you purchase or build an observation hive that consists of frames. These frames can be removed for inspection, and you need to provide the bees with an entrance to the outside.

 I hope this helps you. Email again if you have any other questions.


Hi Dennis,

I appreciate all of your information so much! Very insightful and informative.

I found a picture that is similar to the setup I had in mind, and I'll be attaching it to this email.

In the image, the observation hive has access to the outside. If I were to have something like this, with a large selection of flowers inside as well (for winter), do you think that would work?




I understand that this set-up looks really impressive, but if I were a beekeeper who lived within two miles of this hive, I would be angry that there was a hive owned by someone who had no intention of working their bees. If that hive ever contracted a disease, the owner could not correct the problem, and would be spreading the disease to the other bees in the area.

 It takes many acres of the right kind of different flowers to maintain a healthy hive. Not all flowers produce nectar or honey. Again, in most states, it is not lawful to raise bees that cannot be managed.


Hi Dennis,

If in the spring time if I caught a swarm or did a split and put the bees in a brood box of drawn out comb with 9 frames, could I then place the second brood box on with 10 frames of foundation for the bees to draw out?  Do both hive bodies have to have the same number of frames?  Ryan

Hello Ryan,

Having drawn comb is priceless. You can use it anytime. To use foundation, you need to put it on during a honey flow or you will need to feed heavily. It would be best to use the drawn comb first for brood and then when the bees pack that box out, you would place the next box on top.

Never give your bees more room than they could take care of. The goal is to run each box with nine frames of drawn comb. Treat each box individually. It doesn't matter if one box has nine and another one has ten.

Always start foundation with ten frames and then remove one when all ten frames are drawn.


Hi Dennis,

I want to share this awesome page that my high school volunteer, Taylor, found:
Free Resource Guide to Beekeeping!


Emma Garrison

Thank you, Taylor for sending this great website to the Lone Star Farms bee club.



Days Gone By