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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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 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


Bee Talk

Hi Dennis,

If you had to speculate, what would the main nectar source be for honey produced this fall. I live about fifteen miles from Bryan, Texas.  Ricky

Hello Ricky,

Here in the Bryan, Franklin and Hearne, Texas area for fall nectar,we have the golden rod and aster plants. The past few years because of this ever present drought that we are in, the plants have not produced much nectar. Our main flow is with the yaupon starting in the first part of April.



Hi Dennis,

There is a lot of material out there that states, “If you have a near hive crashing situation from mite load in your hive, you can split the hive into two parts thus reducing the mite load in each hive”. Is this a true statement? Paula

Hello Paula,

The statement seems on the surface to offer a solution to the problem of a high mite level without having to use chemicals in the hive. If a hive has a near hive crashing mite load, does that mean it has more mites in it for the size of the hive (Bees and brood not physical space) they live in? If you agree with that statement, then by making an even split out of that hive, the mite level now will still be too high for the size of each split. (Bees and brood not physical space) It seems to me that you now have two splits with a near hive crashing mite load. Even if you re-queen both parts with a hygienic queen and allow each split to have a quick brood break by the re-queening process, the mite level is still too high in each split for the new queen to make a come-back. Medicating the hive is not an option for beekeepers like us who are chemical free.

Here is how I would handle this problem.

When you give the hive a brood break by re-queening, you are not reducing the immediate mite load in the hive. If the mite load in the hive was too high before you offer a brood break, the mite level will still be too high after a brood break. Adult mites will live for three or four months. They will be waiting around outside the cell (on the adult bees) until more brood appears. You are only reducing the amount of brood that is available to the mite for further reproduction when you give a short brood break. It only helps the mite level from increasing even further than it already is. It will not reduce the current levels in the hive. You need to do more in order to save the hive.

Giving a brood break is only effective if there is some other measure being used in conjunction with it. For the chemical free beekeepers like ourselves, powdered sugar treatments should be used along with that brood break. Since the brood level has been reduced, most of the mites are forced to be on the outside of the cells. Now is the perfect time to perform a powdered sugar treatment to dislodge the mites from there host, the adult bee. You should re-queen the hive with a more hygienic queen during this period. Whether you split the hive into two parts or leave the hive as one, the fact is that the mite level is too high. The procedure for resolving the issue will be the same.

In my book, “Beekeeping: A Personal Journey”, I describe the proper way to perform a powdered sugar treatment. A quick review: One cup of powdered sugar per box. (Separate boxes for treatment.) Treat once a week for “Four” weeks. (Not three weeks like most books and experts tell you to do.) You need to cover the Drone brood (Which is where 80% of the mite infestation is found.) that hatches out in twenty-four days unlike worker brood that hatches out in twenty-one days or three weeks. Perform the full treatment again after the first full treatment if the mite level remains too high. By doing this, you are reducing the current level of “exposed” mite load and giving the new hygienic queen brood an opportunity to hatch out and take care of the mites by themselves.

Summary: In my opinion, by creating a split from a hive that has a high mite count you end up with two splits that have a high mite count. (For the amount of bees and brood not physical space)The act of splitting does not in itself lower the overall current mite level per hive. You need to take further steps in conjunction with it for the hive to overcome high mite counts. If the splits are left on their own without extra intervention, they will in all likely hood crash from high mite levels. I hope this helps.



Hey Dennis,

Should I use the sticky board under the bees when I do the powdered sugar treatment or just let the mites fall onto the ground under the screened bottom board? Danny

Hello Danny,

No, you should not have the board in place during a powdered sugar treatment.Let the mites fall to the ground and die. After you get the new queen in, continue your treatment at least one more time. You need to have the new hygienic brood hatch. The treatment after introducing the new queen will help that happen. Also, try to remember to throw some water under the hive to dissolve the powdered sugar. You don't want the bees walking around in the powdered sugar because the mites will reattach themselves to the bees and ride home with them. Good luck.



Days Gone By