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, 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, or from Walter T. Kelley Bee Supply Company.

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

(Novel series) #2 Tom Richards-Blood Trail of a Serial Killer--You can purchase it in the classroom, or through Kindle. (Now available) (View it on

(Novel series) #3 Tom Richards-Voodoo Massacre--You can purchase it in the classroom, or through kindle. (Available in August.)

If you would like for me to teach a class for your group in your area, contact me at;  for details.  

"Please, post your Lone Star Farms Bee club on your Face Book Page, and add our club website to your favorites.

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


This is Father's Day month. Happy Father's Day to all of you father's out there. Maybe someone will give you something bee related for your Father's Day gift. You can only hope.


Bee Talk


I have a swarm that I hived right after Yaupon ended and it had the best laying queen I’ve ever seen.  She filled brood frames completely full of eggs.  I started to feed to build out the 2nd brood box and stopped after I noticed we have horse mint blooming here.  I just checked the hive and did not see the queen, nor did I see any eggs or brood, capped or otherwise.  The population is healthy and they had started drawing the 2nd box but now the frames are covered in queen cells (dozen) in the middle of the frames, one was at the bottom.  Barring some natural event that killed the queen would see have swarmed again after setting up shop so efficiently?

Another question related to this is I have a queen on order for another swarm that lost its queen and has a drone layer (nice timing on the Kelley article).  It is a much smaller hive, only 3 full frames of bees.  I was planning to re-queen it with a B.Weaver queen but now my best swarm is queenless.  Should I re-queen the stronger hive or just let the bees supersede with the queen cells?  If I re-queen the stronger hive what should I do with the weaker hive?  I thought about taking a frame of eggs from another hive so they could build queen cells but since I am in the middle of a horse mint flow I wasn’t sure if that was proper to dig into a hive with supers.  Should I take a frame with queen cells from the stronger hive? Thanks, David D.

Hello David,

If it were me and I could get my hands on a queen asap, I would go in and dispose of "ALL" the queen cells. ( Don't miss one.) Then I would re-queen that hive and after she started to lay, I would unite the laying worker hive to it.


 Hey Dennis,

I purchased your two bee books sometime back and really enjoy them. There’s so much in them that I haven’t found anywhere else and the techniques really works. I was about to give up on beekeeping after five years because I couldn’t keep my bees alive, but after reading your books and applying your management style, I’ve actually become successful in my beekeeping endeavor. Thank you so much. I really enjoy my bees. I purchased your first crime novel and enjoyed it as well. I’m going to get your second in the series this week. For $3.00 on kindle you can’t beat the price.

Thanks for all you do for us in the beekeeping world.   Frank Broussard.

Hello Frank,

Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you have enjoyed my books. I hope that you get as much joy out of your bees that I have over the past 50 years. Thanks for taking the time to make me feel good about helping you.



I enjoyed the extraction class and look forward to attending addition al classes at your beautiful home. I happened upon the below linked short video that I thought some might find interesting.

Hello Fred,

Thanks for the video. Most of our members will find it very interesting.


 Hey Dennis,

 When I did my final Fall inspection I saw that I needed to re-queen three of my hives.  Didn’t get much surplus off those three during the yaupon flow.  They filled frames in the second box before beginning to fill super.  I ordered queens, but did not receive them until this week due to the cold spring.  My strong hives did well...was so pleased to pop the lids last week to find the deeps packed full of capped honey on all nine frames.  It was beautiful!  I understand now what you were trying to teach us that it is better to combine weak hives to get numbers up before the honey flow.  Have installed the new queens and will be moving hives this weekend to take full advantage of tallow flow.  Also set up 6 more nucs.  I am hoping to end up with about 300# surplus by the end of June.  We’ll see. 

 Thanks for your help and instruction.  Without your classes I would probably be floundering around without a plan like many hobbyists I have met.  I am grateful to be enjoying a measure of success and look forward to improving my hive management in the coming months.  Am already looking forward to spring of 2015.  This is almost too much fun!        John D.

 Hello John,

 It sounds like you are much farther along than most hobbyist's at this stage of the game. Congrats. Your hard work and dedication is paying off. I'm happy that you're enjoying your bees so much. Keep up the good work.


 Hi Dennis,

Hope you're doing well.  We collected 2 Russian nucs from Costa a few days ago, and very nice they were too, so thanks for that recommendation. 

Can we ask you about an experience yesterday with a bee-keeping friend?  He has just the one hive and it's sat on two cinder blocks.  Last year he bought a 4 frame nuc so this is the second year.

A couple of weeks ago he noticed they were building comb underneath the screen bottom board, between the space of the blocks.  He scraped it off and a few days later it was built up again so asked us to go take a look.

Our observations:
In each of the two deeps the foundation was only built out about 60%, ie the 2 or 3 frames each side were still empty. 
The lower deep had the original nuc frames which had wax foundation.  All the frames he's added since are plastic foundation.
The bees seem to ignore the plastic foundation as much as possible - even next to the nuc frames they had only partly drawn out comb.
The entrance reducer was still on, with the smallest gap.
The inner cover was under the telescopic cover.

We took off the honey super and the upper deep and put both to one side. Then separated the lower deep from the screened bottom board. Must have been 2 to 3 times the number of bees under the screened board and in between the blocks than in the hive itself. We checked the bottom board for the queen, but did not see her. The wax comb they were building was pure white and had only small amounts of pollen (see pic). Rather than try to remove the bees from the bottom board and clean off the wax, we used a different bottom board. We were hoping the bees would return to the hive, but this morning they are still mostly outside, still clinging to the bottom board.

As above, 2 or 3 frames each side of each deep were not being worked at all.  We wondered if that was because of the plastic foundation, so we replaced as many as poss with wax foundation. 

Then went thru all frames and could not find any brood whatsoever, just honey (some capped, some not) and some pollen.  Did not see the queen (though didn't do a thorough check of all frames), and no queen cells.  The bees were very docile throughout, because they have no queen or brood to protect?  If a new queen is needed, would it help to put in a frame of brood from our hive to at least keep the bees around?

He put a honey medium on a few weeks ago, again with plastic foundation. It was totally empty, so we took that off until the deeps have filled up more.  We also removed the entrance reducer and the inner cover.

We're concerned about complete lack of brood, yet there are a great many active bees - albeit 2/3rd's outside the hive.  If there's no queen, would we expect to see queen cells?  Could the majority of bees be outside because the reducer was still on?  Too hot in there with the inner cover?  Are they simply not taking to the plastic foundation and building an alternate hive? 

We think he should re-queen immediately and in the meantime put a frame of our brood in there. 

Be very interested in your thoughts & advice, thanks a lot.   Kathy

Hello Kathy,

 Happy Mother's Day!

 First of all, let's talk about where I think this hive went wrong. Some people would like to argue with me, but I don't believe in using plastic foundation. The bees don't like it. Plastic foundation is just what it sounds like; Plastic. It has been dipped in real wax. If the wax coating is worn off by the bees trailing over it or by the bees gnawing the wax off, the bees will NEVER use that area. They can't repair it. Typically, the bees will ignore the plastic foundation and build their own over the top of it by raising up and over the plastic then adding wax comb parallel to the plastic. All plastic should be replaced with real wax.

 The manager of this hive added the second (and third) box on before the first box was drawn out. When the bees are working on drawing the two side frames out is when you add the next box on and not before. Bees naturally like to move up in their hive. If you add another box to early, the bees will tend to move up into that box before finishing the lower box or boxes in this case.

 You should always provide a continuous supply of sugar water (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) (unless there is a heavy honey flow going on) until the bees have completely drawn all the comb out you want them to. Sounds like the manager did not feed his bees much or at all.

 I can tell from the way you worked this hive that you remembered what I taught you in class. Good for you. It's sometimes hard to fix a hive that was not managed properly from the start, but you did do the best you could with what you had to work with.

Now, let's talk about a fix.

 The first thing I would do is, disassemble the hive completely. Place a different screen bottom on the stand. If you have a Kelley bottom board, slide in the monitoring board so the bees can't return to the bottom of the screen. Use something else in its place if you don't have one. Place a brood box on top of the bottom board containing all wax foundation. Place an empty brood box on top of the first box. Remove all the frames from the other boxes one by one and shake the bees off into the empty brood box so they fall down into the lower box. Pick up the original bottom board with all the bees on it and shake them into the empty brood box. Remove the empty brood box and place a hive top on. You should use an entrance feeder and feed them until they have drawn out all the frames you want them to draw out.

 Now you have a single box hive which is all they need because there is no brood and maybe no queen at this time. Come back in two or three days and open the hive. Look for eggs in the cells. You can also look at the entrance to see if the bees are bringing in pollen. If they are, since there is no brood at this time, there is probably a queen present that is fixing to lay.

 If in a week you don't see any eggs present, you should purchase a hygienic queen and introduce her to the hive.

 You might suggest to this beekeeper that my two books have this and many more management techniques in them. They can be purchased on our club website, Walter T. Kelley Bee Supply or from Amazon.

 I hope this helps. It's good to hear from you Kathy.


  Hi Dennis,

My bees are sucking down the feed. Should I just keep feeding them since they were packages??  Laura


 You should continue to feed them until they have completely drawn out the first box. After that, place the second brood box on and continue to feed them until they have completely drawn the second box out. The goal is to get your bees into two brood boxes before winter.         


Hey Dennis.

 I have a problem. I think my hives are too hot. The combs are melting and breaking. Especially if I try to go in and disconnect them from the walls to check them. I thought I scouted my area well but I think some of the trees died and there is too much sun. I have some shaded areas across my property but have no idea how to go about moving these top bar hives. I have bought some box ones but haven't put any bees in them yet. Any suggestions?  Laura

 Hello Laura,

 I think the easiest thing for you to do with these top bar hives is to create some man (women) made shade over the hives. Can you do that? Do you have screen bottoms?


 Hi Dennis,

 I'm the michigander/winter Texan that took some of your classes this winter. I truly enjoyed your teaching and expertise.

So, I installed my first bees today. I made a few mistakes.

Biggest one was I thought there was candy behind the cork. Didn't realize you had to put some in yourself. I stopped and drove

5 miles to the nearest store. Then continued.

First hive went ok.

2nd the queen got out as I was trying to put some candy in. But she didn't get away. She stayed in the hive.

Do you think the bees will kill her? Should I order another queen or wait and see?

How long should I wait? Thanks so much. Regards, Nancy Moran

 Hello Nancy,

 I'm glad you enjoyed the classes. Who did you order your queens from? There should have been candy already inside the queen cage. I would certainly call the breeder and explain that while you were trying to put candy inside the cage, the queen got out.

 It would have been better in that situation to have just placed the queen cage in the hive without removing any corks. After 24 hours or so the bees in the hive would have begun to feed her. The chances are good that the bees killed the queen because she was new to them. However, you may get lucky. Tomorrow if those bees are still in that hive, they may have accepted her. Chances are good though that they killed that queen and will all move into the other hive that has a queen. The bees will not stay in the hive without a queen. (Keep me posted.)



Days Gone By