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".

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

I just posted the November class "Spring Management" If you know you can make the class, please register early.


For Sale

2017 Marked Russian Queens-$38.00 each. Five deep frame nuc with laying 2017 Russian queen-$255.00 plus a $25 refundable nuc box deposit.

To receive the nuc box deposit, my original nuc box must be returned clean and within 90 days to 2438 Tangley St. Houston, TX 77005. 

There are many variables in raising bees and they are all in God's hands.  Queens and nucs will be ready when they are ready so please don't nag me on dates.  I do the best I can to provide a product I would want in my yard.  I will advise you when the bees are available.  Tentative timeline is after the Yaupon bloom and before the Tallow bloom. 

Queens and nucs are pick up only and the pick up locations are in Waller, Houston or Galveston, Texas. Full payment required for queen bookings. Nuc bookings require an $85.00 non-refundable deposit that will be applied toward the total nuc purchase price. Make checks payable to E.C. Kouzounis 2438 Tangley St. Houston, TX 77005. If you are interested or need further information, please email me at Kouzounis.


Bee Talk

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the help with bees invading my trash can holding my supers and frames with foundation. Putting it in the shade open and waiting until sundown worked perfectly. YEA! All are now in the house minus the trash can. Ha, Ha. I really appreciate you taking my call.   Nini


Hi Dennis,

Quick question...could wait, but weather is nice, and painting boxes, If I split a hive, should the old queen be moved to the same color boxes, or does it matter?  Confusion is what I would be trying to avoid.   Al

Hello Al,

I’m a little confused. Do you want to split a hive right now? (February 8) If that’s the case, you will need to have a mated queen. Typically, queens don’t come available until April. If you want to have the queen less part of the split to make their own queen, there are no drones available to mate with the virgin queen this time of year.

To answer the second part of your question, no it doesn’t matter if all your hives are the same color. What matters is how you set your yard up. You don’t want to set more than four hives up in a row, right next to one another and facing the same direction. If you do, over time you’ll find that the end hives will have more bees. The bees will get confused and “drift.” This happens mostly when there is a good nectar source available. The guard bees will allow bees from another hive to enter if their carrying nectar. I hope this helps.


Hello Dennis,

I had a question for you several months ago and you were very helpful.  So, I thought I would try again.

I live in Mobile Co., AL , which in very southern area of the state.  Last week I looked into my two hives to see if the queens were laying.  As with you, we have had a warm winter.  There was lots of brood already.  But, on a super I had left on one hive since last fall-- it had a frame or so of nectar that they later ate there was greenish-grey mold on top of many of the frames.  I have never seen this before!  I remover the super

Today was nice and sunny so I washed the frame tops and super sides-- inside and out-- with a bleach solution I had for sanitizing my tree limb clipper.  I left the frames in the sun out of the super so both could air out.  Naturally I removed the frames from the super before trying to wash them off.  Was this wasted effort???  I'm fearful of reusing the frames or super body.  The frames were all empty with only a few having any pulled wax-- those that had nectar then.

Any idea of how the mold would have gotten started?  The lid was tight and the bees had glued everything tight. Really bugs me!! Thanks for your assistance. John

Hello John,

It would not be unusual to find mold on a frame this time of year due to moisture build up (February) if the bees were trapped inside for some time because the temperature was too cold.

However, we have had many days this winter where the temperature has been above 60 degrees. The bees should have cleaned that mold up. I'm thinking that those bees are not as hygienic as they should be. Are you using chemicals to keep the mites under control? (I don't ever recommend using any kind of chemical in the hive.)


HI Dennis,

Thanks for your reply. The mold was on a super of a very strong hive. I presumed that it may have been introduced by the bees themselves but I had never seen it before.  I have been working with bees off-and-on several years.

No, I don't have anything for mites.  I guess I have been lazy about that.  I bought something once and did not use it.  Directions just seemed contradictory for my area.

Thanks. John

Hello John,

During the winter, the bees typically migrate to the center of the top box for their winter cluster. The outer frames don’t usually have bees on them during this time, so housekeeping gets neglected. Because bees don’t bring the mold into the hive, that part of the hive had a buildup of moisture, mold grew and the housekeepers did not work that part of the hive yet. If you were to inspect the hive, you would probably find that there a very few bees if any in that part of the hive. Population and hygienic behavior has everything to do with good housekeeping. 

If this ever happens again, let the bees clean it up. It’s hard to get the bleach smell out of wood. The smell typically repels the bees.

I hope this helps.


PS: Good for you for not using chemicals.


Hi, Dennis

Thanks for the reminder.  I look forward to the class. Last month was my first repeat/refresher course.  Loved it. It reminded me of several procedures and taught me even more new stuff. It was great having so many new people; they always have great questions that inspire me to review my own bees. It is always fun and we learn a ton! See you Saturday. Nini


Hi Dennis,

I’m going to set up my hives this weekend in preparation to receive my nucs. Initially I plan to build a stand out of 4x4 treated wood. Is there a preferred length to provide any sort of separation between two hives? I read in one book that it’s good to separate the hives in spring/summer and put them together in the winter. Also am I safe to assume that initially, I’ll have only one brood box (with six new frames to go with the four with brood from the nuc.) to house the nuc with an empty box on top to house a sugar syrup feeder? Does the feeder just sit on top of the frames? Once the feeding has stopped should I remove the upper box or wait to add new frames once the bottom frames are drawn? Daryl

Hello Daryl,

The stand dimensions that I have come up with over the years are; four feet long, eighteen inches high and sixteen inches wide. I can place two hives on each stand that are about six inches apart. (I don't move them close together in winter time. It doesn't get that cold in our part of Texas.) I can work each hive from at least one side and the height is good on my old back.

Sometimes your nuc will come with three frames and a feeder so you will need seven frames to add to the box. Yes, the feeder that I like to use does sit on top of the frames on the top box. I place an empty brood box around the feeder. (I use a one gallon quail waterier) Then, above that, I place the top back on the hive. Keep feeding until the box has all the frames drawn-out. When the bees have drawn out the first brood box and if there is no honey flow going on, remove the feeder, place the second brood box on top and replace the feeder on top of that second box so the bees can begin to draw-out the frames. (If there is a strong honey flow going on, remove the feeder and let the bees produce wax from the nectar that they are gathering.) When the second box is completely drawn-out and the bees have enough to eat, remove the feeder and spacer box. If the bees don't have enough to eat, continue feeding until they do. (Never feed bees when there is a “surplus honey super” on the hive because you don't want to contaminate the honey super with sugar water.)

Response: OK, last question. My property has several Eastern Bluebird boxes and a Purple Martin condo. Is there any problem locating the hives near these since both of these birds eat insects? To me that sounds like a silly question but I just have no idea how birds and bees interact and my most promising location has both houses nearby.


There is no problem with having bird houses near a bee yard. I have about a dozen bird houses. Some birds will pick off a few bees but, usually not enough to make a difference.


Days Gone By