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".

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

******Check out the revised book link above.******

Book proceeds go to help our club website stay running. Thanks for your purchase.

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

Your Host

Hello Everyone,

Another year has passed by. I hope that you have had a successful one. Thanks to all of you who have sent in articles for me to post in our newsletter. And thanks to all of you who have had an opportunity to attend classes here at Lone Star Farms. There’s still a little time left for those of you who would like to purchase my two beekeeping books through Amazon. They make great stocking stuffers/gifts for your beekeeping friends. Go to the book page and under each book, there is a link. Click on the link for the book (S) you are interested in and it will take you straight to the Amazon link. Don’t forget to check out the recipe page. There are some great holiday recipes.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you!

Dennis

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For Sale

For sale:

I’m a member of the Lone Star Farms Bee club and have raised all of my bees chemically free for 38 continuous years. I have bulk tallow honey in 60 pound pails for only $240.00. 

I also have brand new painted and assembled medium supers with frames and beeswax foundation for only $35.00 each. 

All products can be picked up in Houston, Texas. For inquiries, please contact Costa Kouzounis at purehoneyproducer@att.net. Thank you.

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Bee Talk

Good afternoon Dennis, 

It was a pleasure meeting you and the others at the class last Saturday.  I very much enjoyed the class and as I had hoped, came out much wiser than I went in… so thank you for that! Also, please tell your lovely wife thanks for all the hospitality!!   Bob Iverson

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Hi Dennis,


Thanks again for the class yesterday. I learned lots as usual. 

We did the first of the 4 powdered sugar treatments today and noticed that for 3 of the hives, the bottom body is very sparse of bees while the top ones are full.  I read your blog about this on the Kelley Bees site and wonder if we can/should do your recommendation of moving frames (not reversing the hive bodies) now, rather than wait until Spring?

Your thoughts? Kathy

Hello Kathy,

Remember, this time of year the bees begin their migration upwards. They move everything to the top box for the winter. That's where they will form their winter cluster. They move the stores from the bottom box to the top so that their food supply will be closer to the winter cluster. It sounds like the bees are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

The technique you are describing is only preformed in the spring. You never want to divide the brood nest/bees during the fall or winter. You want to have all the brood and bees together, so they will be able to stay warmer.

I hope this helps.

Dennis

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Hi Dennis, 

We just got back in from performing a full inspection on both our hives. 

One hive is very healthy, all frames in the top super are full of honey and we saw not one hive beetle. We did do the first of 4 weekly powdered sugar treatments. 

On the second hive most of the frames in the top super are full of honey (only the outside frames are not full on both sides, but the foundation is drawn out and they’re working on filling them). What we did notice on the bottom super was quite a few drone cells of the frames in lower super. We spotted the queen and everything looks fine. Is the presence of drone cells this time of year any cause for concern? Mark A.

Hello Mark,

It is a little unusual to see drone brood this time of year, (Mid November) But not unheard of. Did you notice the queen’s brood pattern? Did you see any eggs and were they in the middle of the cell? Was the queen in the top box? Was the queen the marked queen you introduced originally?

Dennis

Response: Yes, she is the marked original Queen and she was in the top box. We did not see any eggs and the brood pattern seemed to be a normal pattern. These drone cells seemed to be quite erratic and not in any particular pattern. Mark,

You need to go back in and take a picture of those spotty drone cells for me. We need to make sure you don’t have a drone layer in the bottom box. It would be highly unusual to find a drone layer in a queen-right hive, but let’s make sure. While you’re in there, check to make sure you have open brood and eggs that have been laid in the center of the cell. Then check the drone brood frames and see if you have eggs that have been laid on the walls of the cell. There would be more than one egg in a cell. The pattern would be erratic.

Dennis

Response:  Well, we were able to get back into that hive I told you about and it seems that the number of raised drone cells we saw previously has decreased. The picture included here you can see a couple of raised cells at the top of the frame, there was maybe one more on that side and two on another frame and that was all. Also the queen had moved back down to the bottom deep. We saw larva in a few cells but no eggs. Quite honestly the bees did not seem happy that we were bothering them so we didn't linger.
We did do the second powdered sugar treatment to both hives. Is it ok to continue the powdered sugar treatment at this time with the weather as it is and the bottom board slid in place?  Mark

Hello Mark,

What I see in the picture is a good brood pattern laid by the queen. I don't think you should be concerned with one or two drone cells. And yes, you should continue your powdered sugar treatments to the end. Then, perform another mite check to see what the count is. If high, start another treatment. (Weather permitting.)You should not have the board in for a couple of days when you first add the powdered sugar. You want the mites to fall to the ground and die. You also want to toss water underneath the hive to dissipate the powdered sugar or you'll have bees from other hives collecting the sugar. And the mites will climb back on the bees and go back home with them. Remember, when you use the board, never slid it in all the way. You always want to leave a two inch opening at the bottom for ventilation. (Minimum)

Dennis

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Dennis,

Quick question: Is it too late to re-queen a hive at this time in November? Tom

Tom,

Yes it is. Why do you need to re-queen?

Response: Hive looked lethargic and not much brood in the top deep.  I have two deeps for them as you taught me. Checked them two weeks ago before rains and thought about re-queening late to give a head start for the spring.

Tom,

The first thing you should do is to find out why the hive is weak. It could be because the queen is bad, there is no queen, there is a drone layer present, there’s a disease or because the mite count is too high. Depending on the cause, the fix could be different. In my book: “Beekeeping A Personal Journey,” I cover all these different things. One thing is for sure, you don’t want to re-queen this time of year. (November) Anyone selling queens this time of year has probably stored them for a long period of time. Storing queens for a long time typically ruins them. The bees will supersede these queens and most all queens who have been mated this time of year, because the drone pool is dramatically reduced.

Try to figure out the cause. Remember, if there aren’t enough bees in the hive to protect two brood boxes, reduce the bees, brood and food into one box for the winter. Just make sure they have enough food stored to last them.

If you figure out the cause, let me know and we will explore this situation further. Then we can come up with a possible solution.

Dennis

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Days Gone By