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 November class "How to become successful in beekeeping." If you know you can make the class, please register early.

This class will teach you;

  1. Start in the fall/winter.
  2. Have a hygienic queen.
  3. Construct a good plan.
  4. Moving your bees.


Your host

****Surprise your friends with one of my beekeeping books. "Beekeeping: A Personal Journey or Beekeeping: Questions and Answers" They make fabulous stocking stuffers. It's easy. Just click the book link above, scroll down and click on the Amazon link below each of the five books available. It takes you straight to Amazon. Place your order.****

Hello Everyone,

For all you Veterans out there, thank you for your service.  I know it wasn’t easy being away from home and your loved ones. I appreciate your sacrifice.

Our club only picked up about twenty new members this year. I was hoping that we could have convinced more beekeepers to become chemical free. It is always an uphill struggle to assure beekeepers that they don’t need to put chemicals in their hives.

If you enjoy being recognized as a chemical free beekeeper, please help us build our membership up this coming year. The more members we have, the more hives out there will be healthier and produce chemical free produces. Saving hives is what our club is all about. Talk to all of your beekeeping friends and acquaintances. Have them join us. It’s free.

The other thing I would like to see this coming year would be to have you send in beekeeping articles for our club newsletter. Every time we have another article that I can post, more beekeepers are able to learn about bees. So far, I have somehow managed to post 98% of the articles on my own for all these years. I’m sort of running out of material to post. I know that all of you have enjoyed reading the newsletter since the beginning. Maybe, you could each send me at least one article during the coming year. One article or story shouldn’t be too much to ask for. I would really appreciate it, and I know that everyone would enjoy reading it.

I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving and to ask you to take the time to thank at least one veteran for their service. They have earned that much from each of us.



Bee Talk

Hello Dennis,

I read your articles at the Kelley Beekeeping newsletter and enjoy them !

I live in northern Mobile County, Alabama.  I have two hives and need to feed one this winter.  In past times when I have fed hives I have used the old standby of table sugar and water.  Recently a friend told me that he has access to corn syrup and would be willing to supply me some if desired.  I am presuming that this material is one-and -the-same as "high fructose" corn syrup.  Fructose is the same sugar as "fruit sugar". Not the same as table sugar.  So, would it be better to use the corn syrup or the old stand-by? I would appreciate your comments. Thanks,    John Hendrix  

Hello John,

So, you’re the one that reads my articles. I often wondered who you were. Thanks. In most books you read (except for mine) and most beekeepers you talk with will typically recommend a one part sugar to one part water mix. I’m a common sense kind of guy. It’s not the water content that offers the bees any nutritional value. Yes the bees need water to survive just like all living things, but water alone doesn’t provide them with any nutriments that will produce energy. If you ever have to feed your bees whether for boosting up their food supply or for having the bees draw out foundation, you should always feed a two part sugar to one part water mix. This will provide them with an adequate food source for getting through the winter. Of course, it’s always better if the bees to go through winter with their natural food source which is honey. I rarely ever have to feed my bees because of the management style I’ve developed over the years which I describe in my book “Beekeeping: A Personal Journey.”

Next spring try a little experiment.  Feed a two to one mix the next time you want your bees to draw-out foundation. You will be amazed how much faster the bees will draw out the foundation using that mixture. But, it makes sense. It’s not the water that stimulates the bees wax glands, it’s the sugar content.  I don’t recommend using corn syrup for bee food.

I hope this helps you and thanks for letting me know that you enjoy reading my articles.



Hi, Dennis,

I hope your knee surgery is healing ok. I did want to tell you, that I harvested about 8 quarts of my honey. Yipppeee! So, one hive is ready at 2 deep and I will get the other one next week.
Then I should be set for the coming winter months. The bees have been much calmer since I have used your approach. All is happy! Hope to stay in touch. Thanks, Nini


Hi Dennis,

There is a lot of material out there that states, “If you have a near hive crashing situation from mite load in your hive, you can split the hive into two parts thus reducing the mite load in each hive”. Is this a true statement? Thanks, Tonya.

Hello Tonya,

The statement seems on the surface to offer a solution to the problem of a high mite level without having to use chemicals in the hive. If a hive has a near hive crashing mite load, does that mean it has more mites in it for the size of the hive (Bees and brood not physical space) they live in? If you agree with that statement, then by making an even split out of that hive, the mite level now will still be too high for the size of each split. (Bees and brood not physical space) It seems to me that you now have two splits with a near hive crashing mite load. Even if you re-queen both parts with a hygienic queen and allow each split to have a quick brood break by the re-queening process, the mite level is still too high in each split for the new queen to make a come-back. Medicating the hive is not an option for beekeepers like us who are chemical free.

Here’s how I would handle this problem.

When you give the hive a brood break by re-queening, you are not reducing the immediate mite load in the hive. If the mite load in the hive was too high before you offer a brood break, the mite level will still be too high after a brood break. Adult mites will live for three or four months. They will be waiting around outside the cell (on the adult bees) until more brood appears. You are only reducing the amount of brood that is available to the mite for further reproduction when you give a short brood break. It only helps the mite level from increasing even further than it already is. It will not reduce the current levels in the hive. You need to do more in order to save the hive.

Giving a brood break is only effective if there is some other measure being used in conjunction with it. For the chemical free beekeepers like ourselves, powdered sugar treatments should be used along with that brood break. Since the brood level has been reduced, most of the mites are forced to be on the outside of the cells. Now is the perfect time to perform a powdered sugar treatment to dislodge the mites from there host, the adult bee. You should re-queen the hive with a more hygienic queen during this period. Whether you split the hive into two parts or leave the hive as one, the fact is that the mite level is too high. The procedure for resolving the issue will be the same.

In my book, “Beekeeping: A Personal Journey”, I describe the proper way to perform a powdered sugar treatment. A quick review: One cup of powdered sugar per box. (Separate boxes for treatment.) Treat once a week for “Four” weeks. (Not three weeks like most books and experts tell you to do.) You need to cover the Drone brood (Which is where 80% of the mite infestation is found.) that hatches out in twenty-four days unlike worker brood that hatches out in twenty-one days or three weeks. Perform the full treatment again after the first full treatment if the mite level remains too high. By doing this, you are reducing the current level of “exposed” mite load and giving the new hygienic queen brood an opportunity to hatch out and take care of the mites by themselves.

Summary: In my opinion, by creating a split from a hive that has a high mite count you end up with two splits that have a high mite count. (For the amount of bees and brood not physical space)The act of splitting does not in itself lower the overall current mite level per hive. You need to take further steps in conjunction with it for the hive to overcome high mite counts. If the splits are left on their own without extra intervention, they will in all likely hood crash from high mite levels.

Enjoy your bees!



Days Gone By