Club Newsletter
March 2018

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".

******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 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 season is here. The bees are already out collecting pollen and the queen is getting cranked-up. If you want to stop polluting your hive with chemicals, nows the time to start. In my books, "Beekeeping; A Personal Journey" & "Beekeeping; Questions & Answers" I explain how to make that hapen. I've been raising bees for over 50 years and have never polluted my hives and have been very successful. Start eating and selling a good clean product that keeps your family and customers healthy.


For Sale

2018 queen/nuc

2018 Marked Russian Queens-$38.00 each. Five deep frame nuc with laying Russian queen-$280.00 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 a $100.00 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,

We are second year beekeepers, and after splits and swarms are finding ourselves with four hives now. The books seem to indicate a long line of hives is not good due to "drifting." What do you think of a U formation? Is it OK to have hives with entrances facing each other? Do you have any suggestions?   Karen

Hello Karen,

It is absolutely true. You will create a drifting problem if you line your hives up in a row right next to one another. I have always placed my hives in two’s. I place two hives in line next to each other (A foot or so apart.) facing the same direction. Then I will place two more in line but, five feet apart from the first set of two in the same direction. You could add another set of two in line five feet from the last set in the same direction. At this time I would change direction. You could begin to create a “U” shape if you like. You can add three sets of hives to create the right arm of the “U” and then three sets of hives to create the left arm of the “U”. All the hives can face the inside of the “U” or turn them 180 degrees. It doesn’t matter. Personally, I like my hives to face the inside of the “U” because I can observe all the entrances at the same time. The important thing to remember is that your hives on the arms will be ten to fifteen feet away from each other when you create your “U”. The base of the “U” has a clear path in front of it.

My hives are much easier to work when placed in two’s. I can work one hive from one side and the other hive from the other side. If you have more than two together, you will have to bend around and work the middle hive from the back. Your back can wear out pretty quickly like that.

Review:You can line your hives up but, keep two together and then two more at least five feet away from the first set. Entrance direction does not matter. Add a third set then start changing hive direction. (Don’t place more than three sets in a row.) If you want a “U” shape, move up in front of the last hive in the first row five feet and place three sets of two hives five feet apart for the left arm and three sets of two hives for the right arm. Now you have a perfect “U”.

With this configuration, drifting is never an issue.

Enjoy your bees!



Hi Dennis,

I have a question for you. How do you prevent “Dead-Outs” and what do you do with them? Khawar W. Rawalpindi,    Pakistan

Hello Khawar,

Great question, dead-out prevention starts in the fall. It’s shocking to me when I read that the over-all winter hive loss in our country each year is 35% and up. After all these years, it should have been realized that something needed to change, but it’s almost like it has become an acceptable percentage of annual loss. In my mind there’s no excuse for this kind of annual loss. I keep bees for both the enjoyment and the annual revenue they provide.

Now that I’ve gotten to vent a little, let’s get to the prevention. If you believe that the fall inspection is the most important inspection of the entire year, you will be more likely to be successful in your beekeeping endeavor. Let’s face the truth, if you can’t keep your bees alive through the winter month’s then spring doesn’t really matter does it?

Here’s where mistakes are made to prepare the bees for winter. The beekeeper doesn’t do a fall inspection. The bees don’t have enough food stored to make it through the winter months. The beekeeper robs too much honey and feeds sugar water instead. Honey has all the properties that bees need to stay healthy. Sugar water can only sustain the bees for a short period. They need a healthy diet throughout the year. The beekeeper offers the bees too much space for the bees to take care of. The beekeeper tends to baby their bees. During the inspection (At any time of the year.) if the queen isn’t performing like she should, she needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Do not try to baby her just because you feel bad about killing her. Think of the overall health of the hive. The bees have a low population at the start of winter. The hive doesn’t have a queen. The hive is diseased. When possible, check the hive on warmer days. Where it’s not possible, place your ear on the side of the hive to make sure you hear the hum of live bees. If you don’t here that hum, make sure you check that hive as soon as the temperature allows. You want to pick that dead hive up before the wax moths move in and destroy the comb. Check the contents of the hive and try to figure out why the hive perished before you store it with your good comb.

I saved this one for last because I usually receive a lot of grief over it. Those beekeepers that use chemicals in their hives are more likely to have a higher hive loss over the winter months. The bees’ immune system is not as healthy and their bodies can’t create as much heat because of it. I’ve been keeping bees since 1964 and have never place any kind of chemical in my hives and yet, I’ve been very successful with very low winter loss all these years.

Pick your dead-outs up as soon as possible, check them for the reason they perished and if they didn’t die from disease, store them using moth “Crystals” not moth balls. If there is still honey in any of the combs (and no disease) place those frames in the freezer for storage. Do not place honey in with your moth crystals. In my book “Beekeeping: A Personal Journey” I elaborate on each one of these issues I hope this information helps you in your beekeeping endeavor.



Hi Dennis,

When painting a bee hive, what kind of paint is best? Lewis

Hello Lewis,

You should always use a latex paint. Never use an oil-based paint because it seals the wood and won’t allow the wood to breathe. It’s important that the wood is able to breathe especially during the winter time. Otherwise, moisture is not allowed to escape the hive. It’s hardly ever the cold that kills bees. (especially down south) It’s usually the moisture build-up inside the hive. I hope this helps.



Days Gone By