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

I just posted the March class "Raising Chemical Free Bees and Keeping Them Healthy." If you know you can make the class, please register early.

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Hello Everyone,

Have you seen this? Talk about political BS at its best. They address everything except the real reason bees are dying off. How can a person stand there and know what the real reason is for the bee deaths and try to convince everyone that you’re offering help. Do you think bees are making a comeback like Bayer does? Everything I’ve read say's bees have been declining since the introduction of the mite invasion thus chemical introduction in the hives. Bayer is the number one cause for bee decline around the world. They put this big show on how they’re spending millions of dollars doing bee health research and planting bee foliage (using GMO seeds) all the while they continue advocating using their chemicals in the hive. Although the Bayer Company is the executioner, all the so called experts (DR's, breeders and others in the bee world that beekeepers look up to.) who advocate using these products in the hive are the ones that lead their prey (the bees) to the death chamber. Are these chemical using advocates so naïve to think that you can’t raise strong healthy and prosperous bees without polluting the hive, weakening the bee’s immune system and selling polluted products to the customer? There are chemical free beekeepers all around the world that prove the experts wrong. I’ve been raising bees since 1964 with great success without chemical use. Check out the membership list on this site and you can see that we are from all parts of the world. It seems to me that the so called experts know more about chemical chemistry and much less about bees and their behavior. If you’re currently using chemicals in your hive, stop being a follower and take charge of your own hives. These so called experts are only teaching you how to become part of a huge problem. Become part of the solution. Stop killing your bees.

I apologize for ranting, but I've seen enough. If a person is in a position of teaching, I believe they should teach the best way to do something and not the harmful way. My recommendation to those of you who are in a position to teach beekeeping would be to either teach your followers how to raise their bees without killing them or to quit teaching all together. That goes for all those who contribute to books and magazines as well. If you don't know how to raise bees without polluting the hive, killing bees and contaminating bee products, than go learn how. You’re smart enough to know that these chemicals are harmful. If you're not, just read the product label. 

New Research Proposals Aim to Improve Honey Bee Health

Project Apis m. to spearhead multi-year research funded by Bayer’s Healthy Hives 2020 initiative

Bayer Crop Science News Release

 

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (Feb. 18, 2016) – Bayer and Project Apis m. today announced they are partnering to sponsor research to improve the health of honey bee colonies in the United States within the next five years.

A multi-year, $1 million research effort, Bayer’s Healthy Hives 2020initiative brought together a diverse group of bee experts to prioritize the most urgent research areas needed to improve the health of U.S. colonies by the end of 2020. Project Apis m., the leading non-profit organization dedicated to pollination research, will oversee the administration of the Bayer-funded research grants which are focused on the following major research objectives:


“While the overall number of honey bee colonies continues to increase, they are still being impacted by a wide range of health-related issues,” said Christi Heintz, executive director of Project Apis m., Peso Robles, California. “In issuing a request for proposals, our goal is to identify scientists and promising research initiatives that can help solve some of the most critical concerns facing beekeepers today.”

Proposals should address one or more of the key focus areas and include qualifications of the research team, proposed timelines, deliverables and budget. According to Heintz, the intent is to conduct multi-year investigations with annual reports on progress toward achieving project goals. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m., PST, Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

The new research effort arose out of Bayer’s Healthy Hives 2020 initiative, which launched in 2015 with a two-day workshop that brought together some of the nation’s leading bee health experts and stakeholders at the Bayer North American Bee Care Center in Research Triangle, North Carolina. The 17 summit workshop attendees identified a wide range of bee health concerns which were later reviewed by the Healthy Hives 2020 Steering Committee and prioritized into the most promising areas of research that were announced today.

“Today’s announcement represents a collaborative effort of some of the country’s leading bee health stakeholders including beekeepers, academic researchers, governmental officials and industry representatives,” said Dr. Steve Sheppard, professor of entomology and departmental chair at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, who chairs the Healthy Hives 2020 Steering Committee.

Healthy Hives 2020 is one of several activities of Bayer’s North American Bee Care Program. “We have supported and promoted bee health for nearly 30 years,” said Dr. David Fischer, director of pollinator safety, Crop Science, a division of Bayer. “Because of the critical role honey bees play in crop pollination, we have long recognized that a vibrant beekeeping industry is vital to maintaining sustainable agriculture.”

Other Bayer bee health programs include:

For more information on Bayer’s bee health programs, please visit www.beehealth.bayer.us.

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For Sale

2016 queen/nuc

2016 Marked Russian Queens-$36.00, Five deep frame Nuc-$235.00 plus a $25 refundable nuc box deposit.

To receive the nuc box deposit, my original nuc box must be returned clean and within 90 days to 2438 Tangley St. Houston, TX 77005. 

There are many variables in raising bees and they are all in God's hands.  Queens and nucs will be ready when they are ready so please don't nag me on dates.  I do the best I can to provide a product I would want in my yard.  I will advise you when the bees are available.  Tentative timeline is after the Yaupon bloom and before the Tallow bloom. 

Queens can be shipped ($35.00 overnight only 1-24 units in a battery box) or picked up.  Nucs are pick up only and the pick up locations are in Waller, Houston or Galveston, Texas. Full payment required for queen bookings. Nuc bookings require an $85.00 non-refundable deposit that will be applied toward the total nuc purchase price. Make checks payable to E.C. Kouzounis 2438 Tangley St. Houston, TX 77005. If you are interested or need further information, please email me at purehoneyproducer@att.net--------Costa Kouzounis.

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Bee Talk

Beekeepers tend to get caught up in all the laborious chores involved in beekeeping. There’s so much to do and learn. If you think about it, it’s actually mind boggling. Our time seems to slip by so fast. One of my biggest joys in beekeeping is to sit quietly in my bee yard. Watching the bees come and go is relaxing. It’s almost spiritual. It gives me time to reflect on my life without worrying that someone will be bothering me. Few people are brave enough to walk near thousands of bees. Serenity at its best!   

I want to share with you a chapter out of my book: “Beekeeping A Personal Journey.” I encourage you to spend some quiet time sitting next to your bees. It will bring you amazing peace in your life.

Dennis

MY BEE YARD

As I sit nestled in my chair, I hear the hoot of an owl in the distance. The ground vibrates as a faraway train moves along the steel rails toward a distant place. Droplets of morning dew glisten on everything they touch. The dew on a spider web that stretches from one bush to another high­lights a perfect pattern and creates a beautiful but deadly picture. Through the humid air comes a deep, soft hum­ming sound.

I am in my bee yard. It is a place of great solitude. For me, no other place on earth can compare. Certainly, more beautiful places exist, but my bee yard runs much deeper than beauty for me. It is a place that soothes my soul. It is a place that makes me feel one with nature.

Very few people ever experience the order and beauty of a bee yard. But here in my little corner of the world, I am sur­rounded by order and peace. The bees are a hidden trea­sure that I have enjoyed for most of my life. Their home, my bee yard, is where I come when I need to unwind, re­lax and be undisturbed by the everyday hustle and bustle. Here, I sit and reflect on my life. I come here to plan for new experiences and concoct my next invention. I know I have been truly blessed by having this small piece of heaven in my life.

The dawn breaks, sunlight pierces through the trees. That soft humming sound gets louder. The bees know that in just moments, a new day will begin. Their day will be no different for them than it has been for millions of years. Their life is built around a strong survival instinct, and their age determines their daily tasks. Barring abnormal circum­stances, worker bees will follow this instinct throughout their short life span.

As the soft light of dawn reaches the hive entrance, a few bees perch on the landing board, anticipating this mo­ment. At first, only a couple bees take off for their day of working in the fields, and then more follow. Soon the whole sky above the bee yard seems to move like ripples skimming across a lake surface on a windy day. The hum­ming sound fills the air with a loud, pleasant roar. The sound of two chicken hawks flying overhead startles me. Like the bees, the birds appear to be excited about what this beautiful morning has to offer. The night sounds are all behind us now and the daylight has taken over.

It is not long before the bees return with their pollen bas­kets full. Each color of pollen represents a different flow­er and is different in its nutritional value. The bees cannot receive all of their nutritional needs from just one source of pollen, just as we cannot receive all of our needs from one source of food. Field bees collect the pollen from the flowers and deliver it to the hive. There, the nurse bees di­gest the pollen and mix it with enzymes from their mouth parts. The mixture, which is called “worker jelly,” is then fed to the bee larvae. The adult bees live on the nectar they collect.

Busy & Beautiful

The entire bee yard is lit up now by the sun’s rays. The bees come and go like planes at a busy airport. Some of the bees are leaving home for the last time. They will die somewhere out in the fields. Their short existence is spent perform­ing chores that keep the colony prosperous and ensure its survival for future generations. The worker bee will literally work herself to death. In times of a good nectar flow, she will only live to the old age of six weeks. In contrast, the queen mother, who lays between 1,500 and 2,500 eggs every day, depending on the time of year, lives an average of two years.

My bee yard is surrounded by nature. The trees and bushes provide shelter for my hives and a sanctuary for all sorts of wildlife. A family of bunnies live on the north end of the yard. Sometimes when I am working in my yard the bun­nies come out and play chase. They do not feel threatened by me, so they carry on, acting as if I am invisible. Hum­mingbirds fly overhead on their way to the feeder near my house. Red birds gather up in the trees, each one perform­ing a short song and then waiting for a sign of approval from the others. A skunk passes through the yard from time to time, but because my hives are up off the ground and out of his reach, it’s only from the odor he leaves behind that I know of his nocturnal visit. He poses no threat to the hives. Deer come to the bee yard daily and feast on the lush grasses that blanket the ground. Every year a doe brings her new fawn to visit. In some years past, she has brought brand new twins with her. My bee yard is not only a quiet refuge for me to enjoy, but also for all of God’s creatures who call these woods home.

Creating a Place of Order & Peace

I take pride in doing my part to make the bee yard as or­derly outside the hive as the bees make it inside. It is very important to me to keep the bee yard uniform and clean. In my opinion, a bee yard should not stand out against nature’s beauty but rather blend in unnoticed. I have vis­ited many bee yards over the years and seen some littered with trash and debris. I have seen the bees living in old broken-down equipment. I have seen hives that were kept directly on the ground with ant piles nesting inside the bottom box, and the hive leaning to the point of falling over. There is no excuse for a beekeeper to keep his yard in this kind of disrepair and clutter. A beekeeper should take pride in his vocation and maintain his hives and bee yard in an orderly manner, even if he chooses not to live that way himself.

Enjoy your bees!

Dennis Brown  

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Hi Dennis,

I have latex paint to paint my hives but I noticed in Costa's ad that he uses a primer and paint.  Do I also need to prime before I paint?  Thanks, Gena'

Hello Gena’,

Yes, you should prime with a latex primer first. This will help your paint to stick better and last longer.

Dennis

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Hello Dennis Brown,

My name is Jerry Carter.  I came across an article you wrote for the Kelley Bee Company’s newsletter.  It was in the April, 2013 issue.  You wrote that instead of just swapping the hive bodies, you should swap frames so the bees are in both the top and bottom hive bodies.  I am in Alabama (near Birmingham) and here most beekeepers winter the hives with a deep and a medium super on top.  Would your method work with that set-up or would the bees create too much burr comb in the bottom (deep) with medium frames from the top (medium super)?

Thanks for any information you could give. Jerry

Hello Jerry,

You should always interchange the same size frames. Besides, the brood frames would not fit inside a medium super. I'm just curious; why do most of you use one brood box and one medium box to winter the bees in instead of two brood boxes?

Dennis

Hey Dennis,

I thought so about the frame sizes...I guess most of us winter our bees that way because that is enough food stores to get them through the winter.  I know some beekeepers that only use one deep to winter, but they usually have to feed them before spring.  I would rather they have enough of their own stores for winter.  I have only been keeping bees for two years now, but your idea made sense to me.  I am thinking of going to two deeps so I can use that idea.  I have some deep (drawn out) frames I might try a variation on your idea this spring and switch to two deeps. Jerry

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Hey Dennis,

We are reading a lot of post talking about feeding your bee's and what sugar to water ratio to feed and for what purposes. We're reading that 1 to 1 ratio is best for stimulating a queen to lay and preparing them for a flow and 2 to 1 is for preparing the bee's and stores for winter. What is your feeling on these discussions, I know you have always said 2 to 1 which is what we do. Mark

Hello Mark,

I suppose that feeding 1 to 1 would be OK if you’re just trying to stimulate the queen to lay. Typically, this process is only performed towards or at the end of winter. My thought has always been that the bees would actually benefit from a 2 to 1 mix along with the stimulation of egg laying. Remember, it’s not the water that stimulates egg laying or nourishes the bees, it’s the sugar content. I have always gotten better results from a 2 to 1 mix when stimulating the queen and or feeding the bees.  

Dennis

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Hey Dennis,

We sure enjoyed the class on Saturday and are looking forward to the next one in March.
I have a question for you that I wanted to ask Saturday, but you had enough questions asked already. Do you recall us talking to you before about our 2 hives, that both of them are in 2 medium super boxes. We had won a hive through the Brazos Valley Beekeeper club and were given 2 mediums, the second one I assisted in an extraction and didn't know any different at the time so I repeated the 2 medium setup. We had asked you previously how we could work both these hives into deep brood boxes and you had said we could, but that it was a long process. Could you explain to me what that process is and how we should begin to work our way into deep boxes on both hives?  Thanks,   Mark

Hello Mark,

We had a rowdy bunch in class, but everyone learned and had a good time. Do you have any drawn brood frames?

Dennis

Hi Dennis,

No, we will be starting out with new foundation. Mark

Hello Mark,

Since you don't have any drawn brood comb, the fix is time consuming and lengthy. You will need to place a brood box on top of the two mediums at the first of the month. (March) Then you will need to feed heavy until they have completely drawn the brood box out. When that happens, locate the queen, (she should be in the brood box) take the brood box and place it on the bottom. Take a second brood box with foundation and place it on top of the first brood box. Take a queen excluder and place it on top of the top brood box. Take the two mediums and place them on top of the queen excluder. Place an entrance feeder (more than one is OK) on and reduce the entrance. Keep the entrance feeder (s) filled until the bees have completely drawn out the top brood box. Check the two mediums and if they are empty, remove them at this time. If not, place them back on top and keep checking them. If they are, remove them and the queen excluder.

This is just a fix to your current situation. You know that we don't like to give the bees more room than they can protect. (That's why you need to reduce the entrance to two inches.) The bees don't like to cross wax foundation to get to some drawn comb, (the two mediums.) but if you feed heavily, they will draw that second box of foundation out faster. Keep checking the two mediums and remove them as soon as possible. Contact me if you need to.

Dennis

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Hi Dennis,

We have been buying Lone Star Honey for several years at HEB, San Antonio, TX. We recently moved to North Carolina and can’t find your honey in the grocery stores here. Is there any way we can buy from you directly. Please advise. Thank you, Bob Morris

Hello Morris,

The Lone Star honey you see in retail stores is not our honey. I have no idea where that honey comes from. It’s easy to get misguided because the names are so close. We are Lone Star Farms. They are just Lone Star.

Dennis

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Days Gone By