Your Host----Club News----Bee Talk---Days Gone By

"Your Host"

Hello Everyone; The September issue is now posted. We have some changes going on. "Cletus Tales" is retiring. "Cletus Calendar" will be in place for October. For more details go to Cletus Calendar for this month.

If you are not in a habit of visiting the "Recipe" page, you have missed some good recipes. These past recipes are not listed in the archive section so you need to visit the recipe page each month for that honey delicious meal.

"Club News" 

Wow, it is September already. The fall flow should be cranking up in a week or two. The lack of rain may prove too be hard on the foliage. Here at Lone Star Farms, we have not had rain for 9 weeks so far. Last summer was dry as well but the golden rod produced enough nectar to winter our bees. Wait to add your supers until you see the bees bringing in nectar and then only add a box at a time. You don't want to provide too much space for the bees to have to protect. Hive beetles take over in a hurry. So provide only enough space that the bees need. Pray for some rain and a good crop for the bees to winter on.  Dennis

We had a good class on "Chemical Free Beekeeping" in August. One of our members and class students "Will Rainey" took some pictures of our visit in the Lone Star Farms bee yard during class. I posted several of those pictures below. Me, your host is shown in the blue shirt. Enjoy.

The first picture is of a mite on one of the monitoring boards. Out of 4 boards that we checked, there were from 1 mite to 4 mites. For this time of year the highest number of 4 mites is extremely exceptable. Here at Lone Star farms we don't like to have more than this number on the board at any time of the year. Absolutely no chemicals are ever used in any of our hives. If we can do it then you can do it to. It's all about education.

Hello Joey, 

How are your bees doing? Did they make you any honey this year? Dennis 

Dennis,

This is my first year with bees.  I have 2 full brood supers, and I put a honey super on about a month ago.  They are barely drawing out any wax on the honey supers. I have been feeding sugar water all along.  There are a few (100) bees in the honey super, however the bottom are FULL of bees.  Should I just be patient and realize I may not get any honey this year?Joey---Round Rock, Texas

Joey, 

It is harder the first year because you have no idea when any of the normal honey flows start or finish. I would say that at this point if there is plenty of nectar/sugar water for them too eat in the lower 2 brood boxes, stop feeding them. Then when you see any wax being drawn out you will know that there is some type of nectar source coming in. Talk to some other beekeepers in your area and find out what nectar flows you have there and when they start. If you look on the member’s page on the club website, you will find some other members in your area. Give them a call and tell them that you are a member as well. Then talk with them and get some information from them. That is what this club is about. Members helping Members. Another source of information is the classes that I teach every month. Go to the class page and keep up with the class schedule. There is at least one class every month. There is a beginner’s class on September 11th. Keep me posted.   Dennis 

 

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Dennis, 

 

1. We have wax moths in a hive, and are now left with the problem of what to do with the wormy foundation, and frames.  Should we clean it up... start with new foundation... or new frames? Any ideas?
It depends on how bad the wax is. Is it foundation or drawn comb? If the wax can be salvaged, you can put it on top of a strong hive and let them clean it up. The other option is to clean all the wax out of it and start over.

 2. What is the best way to convert from a story and a half, to two stories... and when is the best time to do it?
Do you have a brood box that is already drawn out? If so, then with this fall honey flow you can find the queen and put her in the bottom deep. Place the drawn comb brood box on top of that. Then place a queen excluder on top of the second deep box. Then the  medium on top of that. Ordinarily the queen will not lay above the second deep so a queen excluder is not necessary, but because there is probably brood in the medium it would be best to place an excluder to discourage the queen from going back into the brood nest. The medium will probably have brood in it that will be able to hatch out and be filled with nectar while the new drawn deep is being filled with nectar.After the flow is over, the second brood box should have plenty of nectar in it for the bees to winter on. The medium should not have anymore brood in it and only have nectar that you can now take off and extract. Remove the queen excluder.    If you have only foundation for the second deep, you should find the queen and place her in the bottom deep. Put a queen excluder on top of the bottom deep. Place the medium on top of the excluder and then place the second deep on top of the medium. After the flow, the medium should be free of brood and the second deep should be drawn out. Set the second deep aside. Remove the medium and if the second deep has enough honey for the bees to winter on, then you keep the medium and extract it. Then remove the queen excluder and place the second deep on top of the first deep.

And the hubby wanted to know if you do on site consulting... and what do you charge?
I do visit local apiaries at no charge. It is difficult for me to visit locations that are an hour or more away unless I am in that area already.      Dennis

Hope this finds you well... and cool.

Anne---Purdon, Tx 

Dennis, 

What a truly wonderful day. Your class was so informative and I was really happy to find there really is a way to raise bees without chemicals. I look forward to attending your next class and learn even more on how to raise bees. I came away from your class with a true sense of confidence that I really can enjoy raising bees in a good way. 

Tell your wife thanks for the cookies they were delicious. 

See you next class.     Teddi-----Spring, TX 

Hello Teddi,

I am glad that you enjoyed the class. These classes are like pieces of a puzzle. After each one you can add another piece until it creates a picture. Then you look at it and say, “Oh yeh! Now that makes since. You email me if you have any questions. Dennis 

Dennis: 

Thank you very much for devoting your day to my bee yard and working all of my hives with me. I value and respect your opinions and judgment. I really am trying to absorb it all. With your continued guidance, I know I will become a better beekeeper. Because of your instruction, I feel I have made a fathom leap in just 3 months and am looking forward to learning even more as time progresses. Working with you has made beekeeping enjoyable again. You're right........it is a passion. Thank you again Dennis. 

Costa Kouzounis     Houston, TX   77005 

Costa, 

You are very welcome. I have seen and I have met many beekeepers along the way. Most beekeepers fall into one of 3 categories. 

1. The itch. The one’s with the “Bee Itch”. They throw a little bit of time towards that itch just too keep it scratched. Then it fades away. 

2. The fever. The ones with the fever really enjoy the bees. They devote lots of time towards building up hive numbers and going to bee meetings and discussing beekeeping with everyone. Then they pass that needy stage of talking about bees 24-7 and don't find it important to run for different beekeeping offices anymore and standing out in the public eye all the time. Then over time that once fever has turned into an itch and then disappears completely. 

3. The passion. Those beekeepers who have been born with a "Passion" for beekeeping. Born to love, enjoy and protect the bees. This passion is from within and is a part of the person and will last for a lifetime. They are devoted to finding better ways for the bees to live a longer and better life. They have a true since of love for the bees themselves. Not a "What's in it for me" attitude but always putting the bees needs first. The beekeepers out there who hold a passion for the bees are usually quiet, reclusive and work with the bees to give them a more normal existence. To them beekeeping is not just a passing chapter in their life that will someday end. It is a part of who they are and who they will always be.   

All 3 categories are what makes beekeeping work. If one of these categories did not exist, beekeeping could not work. The first 2 categories hold the most beekeepers and therefore provide the largest chunk of dollars in the beekeeping world. The 3rd category provides the smoldering coals that are ever present and keeps the industry moving along. 

My wife over all the years has always believed that all my passion has been for the bees. I have never been able to convince her that I share my passion between her and my bees 50-50. Well, I am going to shut it down for now. I need to go put a bottle of wine in the frig so it can be chilling while I sit in the bee yard for a while. You see? 50-50.  Dennis  

Imidacloprid: Long-term
Risks Undervalued
Best-selling pesticide worldwide / New study published in Toxicology / Substance linked with bee deaths in various countries / Ban demanded

Courtesy of Coalition against Bayer Dangers (Germany)


For many years environmental groups and beekeepers´ organizations have been pushing for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides which are linked to bee decline across the world. In a recent study, the toxicity of neonicotinoid insecticides to arthropods is reinforced by exposure time. The Dutch toxicologist Henk Tennekes demonstrates that the long-term risks associated with the insecticides imidacloprid and thiacloprid are far greater than hitherto thought. This could actually explain worldwide bee decline. The study was published on the 23rd of July in the journal Toxicology (online).

Dr. Henk Tennekes on his results: “The risks of the neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid and thiacloprid to arthropods in water and soil may be seriously underestimated. The acceptable limits are based mainly on short-term tests. If long-term studies were to be carried out, far lower concentrations may turn out to be hazardous. This explains why minute quantities of imidacloprid may induce bee decline in the long run.” Because of their high persistence significant quantities of neonicotinoids may remain in the soil for several years. Consequently, untreated plants growing on soil previously exposed to imidacloprid may take up the substance via their roots and become hazardous for bees.
 
Henk Tennekes is also concerned about the high level of surface water contamination with relatively stable agrochemicals. The Dutch water boards have detected imidacloprid levels of up to 320 microgram per liter (µg/l). The European Plant Protection Products Directive (91/414/EEC) requires that there is not an unacceptable impact on non-target organisms in the aquatic and terrestrial environment and that the annual average concentration of an active substance or relevant metabolite does not exceed 0.1 microgram per liter in any ground water.
 
Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world and Bayer´s best-selling pesticide (2009 sales: €606 million). The substance is often used as seed-dressing, especially for corn, sunflower and rapeseed. The beginning of the marketing of imidacloprid coincided with the occurrence of large bee deaths, first in France, later on also in many other European countries, Canada, the USand Brazil.
 
After huge bee mortality in Germanyin 2008 which was shown to be caused by neonicotinoid pesticides the Coalition against Bayer Dangers accused the Bayer management of downplaying the risks of imidacloprid, submitting deficient studies to authorities and thereby accepting huge losses of honey bees in many parts of the world. At the same time, German authorities imposed a ban on the use of imidacloprid and its successor product, clothianidin, on corn. Italyand Sloveniaimposed a similar ban.
 
In Franceimidacloprid has been banned as a seed dressing for sunflowers (since 1999) and corn (since 2004). In 2003 the Comité Scientifique et Technique, convened by the French government, declared that the treatment of seeds with imidacloprid leads to “significant risks for bees”. The consumption of contaminated pollen can cause an increased mortality of care-taking-bees. When individual bees were exposed to sublethal doses, their foraging activity decreased and they became disorientated, which researchers concluded “can in the course of time damage the entire colony”. Clothianidin was never approved in France.

"Days Gone By"