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

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Bee Talk

Hi Dennis,

I have a hive that's stacked with 3 supers...I know you suggest to keep it to two supers. Is too late in the season to disturb the hive and take one of the supers off? Thanks! Ben Wilson

Hello Ben, when you say "supers" do you mean brood boxes or honey supers?

Dennis

Hey Dennis, I have Brood boxes.

Ben,typically by the end of November the bottom box will be empty because bees move up to the top box as the colder nights arrive. So, you should be able to pull the bottom box after that when the temperatures reach above 60 degrees and the day is sunny.

Dennis

Hi Dennis,

 I forgot to ask...I also have not had a chance to mite check. Is it too late? I guess I’m wondering if it's too late to open up and work the hive at all this late in the fall...if temperatures are too low. Ben

Ben, we are still having 80's during the day. You can work the hive above 60.

Dennis

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Hi Dennis,

I checked both of my hives today to see how they were doing on winter stores. We have been feeding them sugar water using two parts sugar to one part water for about six weeks.

Both hives are looking good. The older hive has two brood boxes and one honey super packed with food. I almost harvested the honey super earlier in the year but it was only 2/3 full of honey so I left it. Because of the drought I decided not to harvest it and they have filled the remainder with sugar water.

The other hive was from a nuc I purchased this spring. It has two brood boxes with about five frames in each full. It appears to be strong and doing well. I noticed bees with pollen on their legs in one of the hives.

My question is two-fold. First, should we continue feeding them? Secondly, should we remove the full honey super and place it on the second hive so they can harvest it. If we remember correctly from our earlier class with you, we can place it on the second hive with an inner cover between it and the hive and they will harvest the honey and place it in the lower broods. Since the broods are not full would this be advisable? Thanks, Henry.

Hello Henry,

On the second hive you said that there are two brood boxes and five frames in each that are full. What do you mean by full? Are you saying that the other five frames in each box are just foundation? (Not drawn) Are you saying that the frames are drawn but, there are no bees, brood or food on each of the five frames?

Response: Sorry about the lack of clarity. I am still learning this bee talk. They are not drawn. Five frames in each brood are drawn and have either brood or honey. The other frames are not drawn or they are just starting to draw them out.

Henry, that helps a lot. Let's start from the beginning. Whenever you start a new hive, you should start your bees off in “one”box. Notice; I said one box. This box could be a five frame nuc box or a ten frame brood box or one medium super as an example. (I would always recommend using a brood box.) The bees should remain in this box until the bees have drawn out (or filled) eight frames of the ten frames if they are in a standard ten frame box. Only then should another box be added for the bees to work with depending on the time of year. The bees will normally finish out the last two frames in this box before (or while) working on the top box if there is a nectar source coming in or if you feed them sugar water.

When you start with more than one box at a time, the bees tend to finish out five or six frames in the middle of the first box and then move up into the second box before finishing the rest of the frames in the first box. It is a natural tendency for the bees to move upward and not sideways.

With this new information at my disposal, I will suggest that you drop all the drawn-out frames from the top box into the bottom box and move all of the foundation frames from the bottom box up into the top box. (I like to run my hives with "nine "drawn-out”frames instead of ten. After all ten frames have been drawn-out first, I will remove one and then space the nine frames out appropriately. It makes hive inspections much easier to perform.) Now what you have is the bottom box is completely drawn-out with the brood in one place. The bees will now move up into the middle of the second box and begin to draw-out the foundation.

At this point I would recommend feeding the hive a two-part sugar to one-part water solution. Continue to feed until the entire second box is drawn out or they quit taking the food. If November (in Texas) rolls around and there are still frames that have not been drawn out, you should either add drawn comb to replace the foundation that is left or you should reverse the top and bottom box. During winter the bees will move up into the top box so you should make sure that all the frames are drawn out in that upper box for food storage. If there are still four or more frames that have not been drawn out in the other box, then you should remove that box and winter your bees in the one fully drawn-out brood box only. If you have an extra honey super with food in it, you can place that on the bottom. The bees will move that honey from the bottom box to the top box where they will have their winter cluster. The bottom box (Honey super) will be emptied and can be removed at the first hive inspection in the spring. That way you can avoid having brood reared in your honey super. If you place it on the top, the bees will have their winter cluster in the top box (Honey super) and the queen will begin to lay eggs in that box. You will need to monitor any hive that you winter in only one brood box or nuc box for food stores and feed them as needed.

Remember, "Never" give your bees more room than they are capable of caring for at any time of the year for any reason. I hope this helps.

Dennis

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Days Gone By