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.

If you belong to a beekeeping club and would like me to come teach one of the class topics that are listed on the www.lonestarfarms.net class page, please have your president contact me. The four hour class would have to be held on a Saturday and there is a fifteen person minimum. Education is key to successful beekeeping management. Thanks

For those of you who can attend the July class, I just posted the "Raising Chemical Free Bees and Keeping Them Healthy" class.

 

"Raising Chemical Free Bees and Keeping Them Healthy"

This class will teach you; 

1. How hives contract bee diseases.

2. Varroa Mite.

3. Hive Beetles.

4. Colony Collapse Disorder.

5. Bee selection.

6. Powdered sugar dusting.

7. Monitoring the hive.

"HAPPY 4TH OF JULY TO ALL"

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*******Does anyone have any empty cattle vitimin/meneral tubs they would like to get rid of? Please contact me if you do. Thanks,*******

Dennis

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Bee Talk

Good Afternoon Dennis,

I have recently returned to beekeeping after a twenty five year absence and have been exploring the local beekeeping community to establish contacts and resources. I located your website today and was impressed with the information available. Therefore I decided to join the club with the same intention of the past - no chemical beekeeping.

I have several issues and questions that I need addressed before I make an irreversible error or compound what I perceive as problematic. I purchased my bee equipment from Kelley’s and bought three nucs from Bee-Weaver in early May. I used both companies during my first beekeeping adventure and trust both parties. 

So, everything seemed to be progressing quite well until this last week. I have been feeding the bees with a Boardman feeder since their inception and have monitored their progress accordingly. All three colonies have drawn comb in 70-80% of the deep frames with a mixture of brood, pollen, and honey stores. The hives appeared strong with bees occupying all frames, walls, and inner cover. Subsequently, I added another deep super to build brood and strengthen the colonies with an increase in population. I removed the feeders since I anticipated adding the additional deep brood super. When I entered the hives I noticed two small hive beetles in one hive and one in each of the two others. I killed all four. I am using Beetle Be Gone sheets to combat the limited infestation that I noticed. However, after adding the second box and moving only one frame with a combination of brood, pollen, and honey into the middle of the second deep super, I decided to view the removable debris board before I left the bee yard. Upon inspection I noticed anywhere from a dozen to two dozen larvae. These appeared to be those of the wax moth. I didn’t notice anything unusual except for the SHB during the inspection and addition of the second hive body. There was no discernible presence of wax moths infestation noted on any of the frames I examined. Subsequently, I added a thin layer of vegetable oil to the removable debris board and reinstalled.

Below are my questions and/or concerns:

Thanks for your assistance.  Brian Hemphill

Hello Brian,

There are so many things in your email; I had to take notes to make sure I answered everything. There are things in the content of the email and not just in your questions that I want to address. I can tell you are still thinking like it was twenty-five years ago instead of the way things are today in beekeeping. I'm sure you have the basic knowledge, but today with all the pests we have, it's not quite the same as it was. First I want to ask a few questions.

What feed ratio are you using? You should be using a 2 part sugar to a 1 part water ratio. Most books you read will tell you the opposite.

Remember, it's not the water that helps stimulate the bees wax glad or helps them with food, it’s the sugar content.

Why did you remove the feeders when you added the second brood box? The bees will need the feed in order to draw out the foundation.

Were the beetles on the inner-cover? We don't use inner-covers because they are a Club-Med for them. They can congregate there and the bees won't bother them. Then the beetles can dive down, get something to eat, lay a few eggs and return to the inner-cover.

Why do you leave the monitoring board on the hive? You should only install it when you are ready to check the mite load. When you leave it on all the time, you are cutting off the hive ventilation. Especially in Texas, the hive needs all the ventilation it can get. Plus the wax moths and hive beetles like to lay their eggs in all the hive debris that has collected on the board and the bees can't reach it to clean them out. Thus, you have created a perfect storm. The newly hatched moths and beetles merely have to climb through the screen bottom and go to work. That's why for now you see them on the board and not inside the hive.

You shouldn't move a frame of drawn comb up into frames of foundation. It is better to have all ten frames be foundation. That way the bees will draw the perfect ten frames out. If the drawn frame is not perfect and you move it up and it has any kind of defect like a bow, damage or bridge comb, the bees will create a mirror image on the new foundation. Let the bees move-up on their own.

Never add or place a box of foundation on the bottom of the hive. Bees like to move up not down to work new foundation.

Was the queen cells you found actually queen cells with larva or were they queen cups? Most hives will have what we call queen cups available all the time for emergency use. If there is no larva present, you should leave them alone.

My books will explain most of these things in greater detail. Welcome back to the beekeeping world. We need more beekeepers around and thanks for joining our chemical free bee club. Since you live so close, you should take notice of the class page on the website. Even if you weren't a member, you could attend classes. Email me any time if you need help with bee related subject. Thanks

Response from Brian:

Hey Dennis,

Thank you for your quick response. I apologize for the barrage of questions, but I was quite concerned that I might have made some mistakes beyond remedy.

I will answer your questions below:

I will make adjustments based on your questions. My prior beekeeping journey has influenced my new beekeeping adventure, but I am reading and learning as much as possible regarding current practice, pests, and disease. The pest problem appears more prevalent today. I am amazed that the bees I purchased from BeeWeavers are so gentle compared to my hives in the past - a pleasant discovery. I appreciate your assistance and look forward to adding your bee book to my expanding library. Hopefully, the resiliency of the bees will remedy my missteps. I will certainly review the class schedule, since I live in nearby College Station, work in Robertson County, and my beehives are located in Washington County.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond! Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

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Hi Dennis,

Do you have any thoughts about collecting uncapped honey? Fred

Hello Fred,

It is normal for beekeepers to think that they should not extract uncapped honey because that is what you read in most books. However, if you sit down and really think about how the bees handle nectar that is coming into the hive, the answer will become clear.

Let’s think past the general answer you read in the books and do what the bees do. When the field bee gathers the nectar from the flower, she stores it inside her honey pouch. While the nectar is there, enzymes from the bee will mix with the nectar.  When the field bee gets home, she will pass this nectar off to a house bee. The house bee takes the nectar into her honey pouch and enzymes from her will mix with the nectar. These enzymes along with moisture evaporation are what change the nectar into honey.

The house bee stores the nectar in a cell. The nectar will stay in the cell until the moisture content evaporates down to about 18%. When the moisture level reaches this magic number, the bees will seal the cell. This seal will help prevent any further moisture outside the cell from reaching the honey.

So, now we can answer the question. If the honey super has been on the hive at least three or four weeks and the bees still haven’t capped the cells over, it is probably OK to go ahead and take it for extraction. By that time the excess moisture has evaporated. Sometimes the bees don’t seal the cells because the honey flow has ended and the house bees have quit producing fresh wax. Most wax production takes place when there is a large amount of nectar coming into the hive. That stimulates the house bees wax glands. Just to be safe, you should purchase a refract meter and check the moisture content of the extracted honey. If the moisture is too high, place the open buckets in a room and raise the room temperature up to about 90 degrees for a couple of days. Then check it again.

You can leave the honey supers on the hive through the winter but, remember, bees move up during the winter. The bees will move into the honey super and in January or February the queen will start laying eggs in that honey super. You will not be able to use that super for the spring flow because it will still have brood in it. You can’t use a queen excluder under the super because it will restrict the queen from joining the winter cluster in the upper box.

It would be best to go ahead and extract the honey and store the supers unless your bees are light in stores, then you can leave it on.

I hope that this has helped you. Good luck.

Dennis

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Days Gone By