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;  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

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


For those of you who live within fifty miles of Lone Star Farms, take advantage of "Lone Star Farms Apiary Inspection Service." Contact Dennis for details.


Your Host

Hello Everyone,

Have a very "Happy 4th of July" from Lone Star Farms.


Bee Talk

Hi Dennis,

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your class on splitting hives this weekend.
It was extremely informative. It alerted me, to know that my hives were not ready to make a split and that I wasn't prepared to do it at this time. whew...! Missed that disaster.
Your classes teach how to use time management, be productive, and not have the expense of a lot of different size hives, everything can be interchangeable. Wish I had known about your classes prior to my investment. I would definitely recommend your classes first, to anyone wanting to start beekeeping. It saves time and money. And is a lot of common sense. Thanks for being available and helping us beekeepers as a fun venture. I look forward to the class. Nini Hodges


Hi Dennis,

How do you judge if a hive is "weak" and needs to be united with another hive that could use a population boost? Some of my hives are loaded with bees on all ten frames of both brood 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 combine it with another one. Kara J.

Hello Kara,

That’s a great question. The answer depends on the time of the year. If you had five frames of bees in the early spring months, then the hive is probably in good shape. If you only had five frames of bees going into the fall months, then you should figure out why the hive population is so low. If the reason was because the queen was not good, rather than trying to re-queen the hive, (Because the drone count at that time of year is low.) it would be better to unite the hive with another hive that could use the population for the winter months.

The hive configuration that you just described is not good at any time of the year with having only five frames of bees. The bees have too much space to care for with so few bees. If a hive in spring has five frames of bees, they could protect a two brood box configuration if both brood boxes were drawn-out and the queen was a good layer with lots of sealed brood. However, I would not have a honey super on top of that.

If a hive in the summer had the same configuration with only five frames of bees, I would probably re-queen that hive because the current queen is obviously not laying enough to build the hive population up.  At the beginning of the fall if I had a hive that only had five frames of bees, I would look at the queens laying pattern and decide if the problem was the queen. If so, I would kill that queen and unite the hive with another hive. If the queen was good, I would break the hive down to a single brood box and feed the bees until they had thirty to forty pounds of food to go through the winter months. (In Texas. Provide more food in the colder regions. )

“You should never give the bees more space than they can take care of”. I hope this helps. Enjoy your bees!



Hi Dennis,

I checked on my hives today. One hive was building queen cells and filling them with royal jelly. So, I went through frame by frame and found the queen dead on a frame. She hadn't fallen off yet or been hauled out. She was just curled up dead and still looked fresh in color, etc.! Workers were gently nudging her (or whatever they do) but not "balling" her like they had killed her.

Anyway, should I let them go on and raise a queen, or should I order a new queen and destroy all the queen cells? The hive is healthy and looks good, plenty of stores, two deeps all drawn out. Thanks, Sue R.

Hello Sue,

I would order another hygienic queen right away. If you wait for the bees to make one, you will lose a good month of activity. This time of year (July) it is important for the bees to prepare for the winter months. You must make sure that all the queen cells are destroyed before you try to introduce a new queen. Otherwise, the bees will kill the new queen.



Hey Dennis,

I checked my weak hive Sunday and I don’t know what’s going on. It appears they are not drawing out new combs on the foundation. All the sugar syrup is going into any available cell in the brood nest in a random pattern, not just in the honey arch. There is plenty of capped brood and I see some grubs too. I found the queen on a honey frame just walking around aimlessly. I know she’s laying but I wonder if she’s run out of brood cells. Does it make sense to put a fully drawn frame from my big hive into the middle of the brood nest to give her some more space? Why wouldn’t they draw out new frames? There is plenty of pollen coming in and I’m still feeding this hive. Everything else looks normal.

I’m definitely thinking of splitting my big hive. I re-read your chapter on splits and I think I’d like to have at least one more hive before spring. While I’m pulling out frames for the splits, should I use any of them to help the weak hive? I remember you said something about rotating them out. Chuck

Hello Chuck,

Are there any cells filled with sugar water between the brood cells? How many frames of bees are there in the hive? Do you see any eggs in any of the cells? How many boxes does the hive consist of?

Response: It's a standard ten frame brood box with four nuc frames. At least two new frames were drawn out but that's where they stopped. Two more might have the tops drawn out but only on one side. So there are six frames of bees and some leftovers. Sugar water is in every available free cell, including in the brood cells. I can't see eggs but plenty of grubs and lots of capped brood.

Chuck, it appears that your original nuc came with a bad queen. If it were me, I would order one queen, split the strong hive and get rid of the weak hives queen. Then, I would combine the weak hive with the two splits. This is assuming that there are no diseases in any of the hives. You will still have only two hives but, they should be able to get strong before winter gets here. (July) You will have two hives going into the spring. Make splits again next year to increase hive numbers.



Days Gone By