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.***********

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

I just posted the October class "FALL MANAGEMENT." If you know you can make the class, please register early.

This class will teach you;

1. How to check for winter stores.

2. How to equalize your hives.

3. How to unite a weak hive with another hive.

4. Food storage requirements for the winter.

5. Monitor the mite levels and what to do if they are too high.


Bee Talk

Hey, Dennis-

Happy Fall! Hope you're well. Just wanted to drop a quick note. A friend bought a nuc from B Weaver. Said it only had four frames, plastic foundation, and the comb looked a hundred years old. That's just sad.

In contrast, the nucs I got from Costa are the best bees I have ever seen. The bees are somewhat testy, but so what. They eat HBs for breakfast and produce, produce, produce! Have a great weekend! David Nobles Pink Acres Farm Webberville, Texas


Greetings Dennis,

I have 2 humming bird feeders on my porch and for some reason some bees have been feeding on them, started out with a couple, now a lot. Is it okay to let them feed or should I take the feeders down? My hummingbirds sugar water ratio is 2: 1, I don't use the store bought. Not sure where they are from, they use to store hives down the road but not anymore, guess they are just feral. Thanks Eric

Hello Eric,

You can find hummingbird feeders that are bee-proof. Wild Birds Unlimited has them and maybe some of the hardware stores. You don't have to mix a 2/1 with hummingbirds. You can use 1/3 sugar to 2/3 water and the birds still love it. I hope this helps.



Hi Dennis,

I have been keeping bees for three years but am still a beginner.  I am still intimidated by the whole process of keeping my bees. I am not afraid, just concerned I will do something wrong. I currently have three Top Bar hives.  This summer I opened my bees to see how things were going and didn't stop to think that it was going to be so hot and the combs would be very fragile, I made a mess and cleaned it up as best I could.  It devastated me to have killed (drowned) so many ladies.  But the honey was spectacular and I want more.  Unfortunately I haven't done much with the hives during these three years and my bees have survived in spite of me.  And I have never used chemicals in those three years, I just couldn't do that.  And now I see that there are others who think like me. Happy Days. 

After all this rambling here are my questions.  Even though it is winter and the bees have their hives all sealed up for the cold should I or can I open one or all three to check on them?  I want to see what's going on but, don't want to disrupt their winter habitat if that's not a good idea at this time.  If I shouldn't do it now, when should I?  Do you have a basic calendar (for Texas) that outlines when to do Bee Chores?  Pete

Hello Pete,

I got my first two hives back in 1964 and I am still learning as well. I hope that I never feel like I know it all. I think the reason your feeling intimidated about beekeeping is because you are not confident with what you know or think you don't know.

I would recommend that you lift the back of the hive a little to see if the hive feels like it has enough food for the bees to make it through the winter. When you open a hive during the cold months you will break the bee glue seal. With your type hive, (top bar) you may also tear more of the comb. Wax is very brittle when cold. I think at this point if the bees feel heavy enough, I would leave them alone until mid-March. Sometimes, here in Texas, we have several warm days (fifty-five degrees plus) in a row during winter. If you see that coming and you are still concerned, inspect them during that short window of time. Otherwise wait. 



Hi Dennis,

I have a question about feeding my bees honey from another hive. I was given a bag of honey from a swarm taken at the Goodyear Plant in Beaumont, Texas. The honey is very dark and I left it outside in a plastic bag. We captured a honeybee swarm last month and they have been doing fine. I hated to waste the dark honey and thought about feeding it in a zip lock bag to my bees. Do you think this would be okay? Ricky

Hello Ricky,

You should never feed unknown honey to your bees. Most bee diseases are spread by honey and by comb. You should probably bury that bag of honey so that bees will not have access to it. Feed a two part sugar to one part water mix if you need to feed your bees or feed them honey from your own hives.


Days Gone By