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

******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 

Your host

For those of you who live within fifty miles of Lone Star Farms, take advantage of "Lone Star Farms Apiary Inspection Service." Contact Dennis for details.

For those of you who can attend the May class, I just posted the "Extracting Process" class.

"The Extracting Process"

This class will teach you;

1. How to remove the honey crop from the hive.

2. How to remove the honey from the comb.

3. How to strain and bottle the honey.

4. How to clean the empty combs.

5. How to store the empty combs.

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Hello Everyone,

If you stay in beekeeping long enough, you will eventually run into the “Laying Worker”. There are some myths about these unwanted little creatures which makes the subject worth talking about.

Sometimes a hive will go queen-less and fail to re-queen themselves. The worker bee is a female and after the queen’s pheromone has dissipated, a few of these workers will develop their tiny ovaries and begin laying non-fertile eggs. These eggs will produce drones only. The phrase “Laying Worker and Drone Layer” mean the same thing.

There are a few signs to look for when deciding whether a hive has a laying worker. If you begin to see a spotty brood pattern and there is more than one egg in a cell and these eggs are placed on the sides of the cell instead of at the bottom, you have a laying worker. If you notice that all the capped brood on the comb has a raised cap like a drone cell would be, you have a laying worker. If you notice that there are more drones in the hive than normal and the worker population has gone down along with the rise of the drone population, you have a laying worker. If you notice that the drones in the hive a smaller than the standard size drone, you have a laying worker.

It’s just a myth that you can re-queen a laying worker hive. If you try it, you will lose your brand new queen. It’s just a myth that you can take all the frames out of the hive, shake them off away from the hive and the laying workers won’t fly back to the hive.

The best way to handle a laying worker hive is to unite the hive with another hive using the newspaper method. Make sure that the hive does not have a disease or a high mite count. You don’t want to transfer any problems to another hive. If you really wanted to keep your hive numbers up, you can split the hive in a couple of weeks and introduce a new queen at that time.

I hope this helps. Enjoy your bees.

Dennis

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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 purehoneyproducer@att.net--------Costa Kouzounis

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Bee Talk

Hi Dennis,

I have a curiosity to ask you about. Not sure if you remember me telling you about us having a queen in a queen cage and attempting to introduce her to a hive, just to find her dead in her cage 3 days later. This happened last summer.

Well Jim Sterling, he and his wife Betty have attended several of your classes, had the same thing happen to him last week. He had a new queen in a three hole cage with 5 attendants with her. I placed her in the hive as you have taught us only to find her and all 5 attendants dead in the cage 3 days later.

Dennis, what could be happening? I know you have questions regarding specifics, but I'm curious. I'm getting 5 new Russian queens next week and plan to re-queen several hives, do a couple of splits and start a nuc. I sure don't want to be finding dead queens in cages after doing all this. Any advice Dennis? I truly want to do this right.    Mark

Hello Mark,

There are only a couple of reasons that could happen. The most common is that the bees felt like they already had a queen. Anytime you want to re-queen, you should not only find the queen and kill her, you should make sure that there are no queen cells present. If you know that the existing queen is bad and needs to be replaced, the bees are probably a step ahead of you and have already started making queen cells. If they have queen cells that are close to hatching, they will typically not accept a new queen. Another reason they don't pay any attention to a queen is because her pheromones are not strong enough which means that the queen was not fully mated. I'm sure that the problem occurred from one of these issues. Most beekeepers don't think about looking for existing queen cells before introducing a new queen.

 Dennis

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Hey Dennis,

I have a question about smoking the bees.  I have used burlap bags for years.  I looked at a video some time back and he was using pine needles.  At the local hardware store, they have cypress mulch, cedar mulch and pine bark mulch.  I am wondering if I could use any of these.  Frank

Hello Frank,

Using pine needles is not a good idea because they create a lot of embers when they burn. When you squeeze the bellows the embers come out and scorch the bees’ wings.

I have been using cypress mulch with great success for years. I buy it by the bag from the nursery. Then, I cut up one inch by one inch pieces of wood from scrap lumber and add these to the mulch. These pieces make good coals which will burn longer in the smoker when mixed with the cypress mulch. It produces a lot of cool smoke. I don't recommend using any cedar for burning in the smoker. Cedar is a natural insect repellent.

Dennis

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Hi Dennis,

When I received my three pound package of bees over the weekend, I had a hard time removing the syrup can. It was very hard to pry up from the package and remove. Is there an easier way to remove this can? Sarah

Hello Sara,

I remember in my early years going through the same trouble. Finally, I discovered that all I had to do was to turn the package cage upside down and the can would slide out on its own.

Dennis

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Hey Dennis,

The main problem that I am having is with hive beetles. I lost several hives to them last year before I knew what hit me. I now understand that they generally will not decimate a strong hive, and the ones I lost last year were weakened by the drought and heat. I also use an antibiotic for foulbrood, though I haven't seen any foulbrood in at least twenty years. Here are a couple of questions: 

How do queen breeders keep the Africanized bee genetics out of their queens?  Any non-chemical methods for keeping out hive beetles? When do you like to split your hives? Peter

Hello Peter,

Hive beetles can be a real pain. Keeping strong hives is priority. Removing hiding places like frame spacers/holders. Not leaving inside feeders on for long periods.  Old equipment with cracks and holes should be repaired or replaced. I buy the Kelley bottom board that has the slide-in screen and the slide-in board. From about December to 1st of March (where I live in Bryan, Texas) I put the board in place. I take a paint brush and paint some inexpensive vegetable oil on the board and slide it into place. This does two things. First it provides better insulation from the winter and it provides a trap for the beetles. About every two or three weeks I take a four-inch putty knife and scrape the board off. I first look the board over for mite loads and any other stress signs. The bees will run the beetles through the screen and they fall onto the oil. In my part of Texas we get some warm days so I can easily pull the boards off or out some and give them some fresh air flow. You should not treat your hives for foulbrood if you don’t have it. That is like you taking antibiotics before you get a cold. Besides, if your hive has foulbrood you should burn the bees, frames and wax in a deep pit then cover the ashes. Then scorch the interior of the hive bodies, top and bottom board. You should never think that treating a hive that has  foulbrood is a good idea. The disease will remain in the wax and then be spread to other hives. Burning is the best solution.

All naturally mated queens will come into contact with bee lines that are not desirable. There is no way to avoid that with the open mating system. The queen breeder will try to flood the mating area with the drone race of their choice. Most of the queens mate with the preferred drones because the breeder has raised and saturated the mating area with good drones. Re-queen the small number of aggressive ones.

I usually decide if I want to make a split or not around the 1st of April in my area. By then I can tell if a hive is going to be strong enough later to swarm by looking at the brood pattern of the queen. If I think the hive will swarm then I will plan on splitting it soon. Sometimes if I have a lot of hives that will probably swarm, then I take brood from these hives and make up more hives that way. I prefer to have strong hives for the main honey flow. By removing brood from several hives you will limit bee numbers enough to end up with a strong hive at the right time for the flow without a swarm. Better to have fewer strong hives than a lot of weaker hives at flow time. My main split time is not long after the main flow. (July) That way I can cash in on the honey flow and give my splits enough time to build up for winter.

Dennis

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Days Gone By