Thursday, October 16, 2014

Be Careful Not To Take Off Too Much Honey. Then You’ll Have To Feed Them…Maybe Feed Them Anyway! Lesson 164: Long Lane Honey Bee Farms 217-427-2678

Hello friends! I hope you have been enjoying these first few days of Fall.  I enjoyed summer and I’m sure you did too. As beekeepers we are all hoping for a few weeks of nice weather before winter is finally here.  Time to visit the pumpkin patch and enjoy fall. I’ve been using the last month to get my bees ready for the winter of 2014-15.

I had a great time in Arkansas last weekend at the Arkansas State Beekeeping meeting. I spent some time with Dr. Jeff Harris and Audrey Sheridan. They are both at Mississippi State University and if you subscribed to Bee Culture you’ll remember seeing Audrey’s column there. Jeff is a professor of Entomology. Jeff joined MSU after working 15 years as a bee breeder with the USDA, ARS Honey Bee Breeding Lab in Baton Rouge, LA.  He is best known for his involvement with other scientists in developing lines of honey bees that express high levels of Varroa Sensitive Hygienic (VSH) behavior. Of course it was great spending time with my good friend and fellow master beekeeper and Arkansas bee specialist Jon Zawislak. After the conference I spent a couple of days with Jon discussing details of a future beekeeping project that we both are excited about.

HiveTalk Speaking of Jon, today Jon and I will be live on the air with HIVE TALK!  Join us at 10 am central time TODAY!. We are in the studio now, warming up the tall red and white tower with the little flashy light on top, sipping on coffee and waiting for the producer to point his finger at us to begin.

We will be talking about a few things NO ONE ever wants to discuss about bees today: biological control of varroa mites with anthropods, predatory mites and psuedoscorpions. We promise to make this educational and fun. You can make Hive Talk more interesting by calling in and asking us a question live, or by logging in on your computer and texting us your question. Here’s how:

The number to call is:


When you call in you'll be asked to enter our SHOW ID which is: 129777 followed by the # sign. Then the automated system will ask you for your Pin number which is 1 followed by the # sign. At that point, you'll be on the show with us so you can ask your questions. So that we don’t hear you breathe or your dogs barking, you will be muted unless you press * 8 on your phone and that will allow us to unmute you so you can ask your question. Call in around 10 minutes prior to broadcast, at 9:50 a.m. central time.  If you want to just listen from your computer, go to:

Set your alarm and your smart phones, it’s coming up in an hour.

We all know last winter really gave us a run for our money with bees. We gave 4 separate classes on Getting Your Bees Through The Winter. It was very rewarding to us, to finally drive three essential points home to beekeepers on how to get bees through the winter.

One of those points is that beekeepers often take off too much honey. Have you taken off your honey yet? How much should you take off? Most of us want to take off every drop the bees make. After all, honey is selling at a higher price than it ever has. I’ve been amazed over the years, though, as to the number of beekeepers that take off every drop of honey and then wonder why their bees died in the winter. Sometimes bees store their winter honey and pollen in the upper supers. Then in the last summer or fall they carry it down into their deep hive body combs. Beekeepers usually know this, and quickly harvest the honey before the bees can carry it down. If the bees are in need of that honey super and we remove it and bottle it, then bees usually starve in March.

Bees need food in the winter. Otherwise, they will starve. I’ve been beefing up my hives with a lot of sugar water. I’ve been mixing it as 2 parts sugar and 1 part water. As expected my bees have been storing it as honey and sealing it over. Quite impressive!

Before you rob every drop of honey from the hive, keep in mind that in the Midwest, bees need between 60-80 pounds of honey in the hive. The hive without wax or bees weighs 70 pounds. 60,000 bees weigh approximately 20 pounds. Thirty pieces of comb weighs another 5 pounds maybe. That takes us up to 90 pounds without any honey.  So if you pick up the back of your hive to guess at the weight, without any honey it’s going to feel like 90 pounds. That’s heavy. Add another 60 pounds of honey to it and  now it weighs 150 pounds. That’s going to feel like dead weight if you try and lift it with one hand. If it is not extremely heavy from the back, feed, feed, feed!

We are shipping out our Winter-Bee-Kinds as fast as we can. If you placed an order rest assured you will receive it in time to help your bees have food above the winter cluster. Do not become impatient and want to place our WBKs on until the bees cluster. If day time temps are above 50 (f) and bees can fly, feed them 2 parts sugar and 1 part water but not in the entrance. Use an internal feed system.

That’s all for now, I’ve got to prepare for our broadcast in a little bit. See you then hopefully!

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Varroa Mites: Lesson 163 217-427-2678

DSWe all know that if you don’t see any mites, then you don’t have any right? WRONG! If you don’t see any varroa mites, it either means you need to visit your eye doctor or you do not know how to really find them.

Hello, and welcome to another beekeeping lesson from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns and we are here to help beekeepers become more successful. And we are also passionate about helping more people become new beekeepers. We need our honey bees to pollinate our fruits and vegetables and we need skilled and educated beekeepers to help make that happen. So thanks for joining us.

Winter Class Our weekend was extremely busy and great. Saturday we taught on “Getting Bees Through The Winter” and then we had the same class with different students on Sunday. We had students from Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and Ohio. This class will be held again on Oct. 5th, but it has filled up too, so now we are opening up another class on Monday Oct. 6th from 9am-3pm. For those of you who work weekends, now you can join us for a class on Monday. Or just take the day off from work and come learn some awesome ideas about getting bees through the winter. Click here for more information on the Oct. 6th class or go to:

One of the featured field events of our weekend beekeeping classes was to sample hives for varroa mites. It is paramount that all beekeepers take mite samples now while there is still time to do something. Most beekeepers have heard about sticky boards, and checking how many mites are on drone pupae. I’d like to share a simple way to assess your mite load. As I demonstrated to the class in the bee yard, I was pleasantly surprised how many of them commented on how easy it was and how they were looking forward to going home and testing their hives. I do realize that reading the description here is not as good as watching it demonstrated in class, but I’ll describe it in detail so you can start looking and evaluating your mite loads.


Why bother counting your mite load?  If you have a lots of mites it is unlikely that your hive will NOT survive the winter of 2014-2015. Mites parasitize bees and spread viruses which can cut the individual bee’s life in half. So, a bee born in October can make it through the winter into March if it is healthy. But, if it has been bitten by mites and contracted a virus, it may only live into January. 

Varroa Mite You might think that since you cannot see mites on your bees you do not have mites. I have people tell me they’ve never seen their queen either. If you can’t find your queen, you will not find mites either, but they are there! Mites are small but you can see them if you know where to look. They hide on the backs of bees in the first abdominal segment of the honey bee. It can be hard to see what is hiding. DO NOT ASSUME YOU DO NOT HAVE MITES SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ANY.

If you have a hive, you have varroa mites! I strongly believe it is the viruses which are weakening the colony’s health and causing overwintering deaths. The only way to limit viruses is to kill mites that are vectoring these viruses.  It is unfair for any beekeeper to blame chemicals and chemical companies without first monitoring their mite loads.

3 Mites Now that we are at the end of summer and entering fall mites are rapidly increasing. To survive a long cold winter beekeepers need lots and lots of brood now. But if this brood is parasitized by mites, the bees will not make it to spring. Do not trust a visual inspection of bees on comb to assess your mite loads. Here’s what I recommend to determine the percentage of mites in a hive. My personal level is not to exceed 3%, or 3 mites per 100 bees tested. 

Materials Needed

1.  A quart jar for canning, with the ring and separate lid which the ring holds securely. Disregard the lid but keep the ring. Now in place of the ring you’ll need to cut a piece of 1/8” hardware screen. It is small enough to keep bees in, but large enough to let mites pass through.

2.  Two tablespoons of powdered sugar

3.  A piece of cardboard or metal shaped like an L

4.  A measuring cup

5.  A plain white paper plate

Steps To Test For Mites

1.  Place two tablespoons of powdered sugar into your canning jar and keep the lid off.

2.  Open your hive and pull out a frame of bees.

3.  Shake the bees on your cardboard or bent metal so the bees land in the inside of the L shape piece. This will help them slide into your measuring cup.

4.  Pour bees into the measuring cup up to 1/2 cup which is approximately 400 bees. You may have to pour a little above the 1/2 cup mark as some may fly out while pouring them into the canning jar with the screen lid.

5.  Pour bees from the measuring cup into the canning jar and place the screen lid on securely.

6.  Dump excess bees from your L shape board back into the hive.You have to keep mite levels down. I hope you will embrace a 3-5% maximum tolerance for mites.

For the rest of the 14 steps to test for mites, visit my website: and go down to #24 on the front main home page.

Join me Monday Oct. 6th “Getting Bees Through The Winter” class and we’ll demonstrate mite counts and much, much more. Click now to register.

a1545 TIP OF THE MONTH:  The next few weeks are the most critical time to increase food stores for the bees to make it through the winter. I am finding wonderful success in our new Burns Bees Feeding System. It allows the beekeeper to feed syrup from the top of the hive, preventing robbing and allowing the bees to still eat during cold fall nights. Plus it provides special screened areas to feed our pollen/sugar patties without smashing bees between deep bodies. Watch our new video on this feeding system.

See you next time!

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

M-Thu  10am – 4pm central time
Fri  10am – Noon

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Honey Bees Deserve Knowledgeable Beekeepers 217-427-2678

beeflyingHoney bees need our help. One way we as beekeepers can help is to know as much as we can about managing honey bees. Hi, we are David and Sheri Burns from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. Beekeeping is awesome! It’s just a hoot. Not only are honey bees essential for the pollination of our fruits and vegetables, but the agricultural benefit of honey bees tops 9 billion a year. In other words, it would cost the United States 9 billion a year to do the work bees do to help us produce food.

While it is true that honey bees have more challenges today, it is not a time to abandon beekeeping. In fact, just the opposite. We need more and more people to start keeping honey bees so that we can restore the population of honey bees needed to support our food supply.

Honey bees deserve knowledgeable beekeepers. Some people don’t keep bees, they just have bees. They are called bee-havers, not beekeepers.  Keeping bees today is rewarding, enjoyable and beneficial. But it does require more knowledge and management skills than it did 30 years ago. That’s why we offer our Basic Beekeeping classes to all new beekeepers. We still have several openings for our October 25th Basic Beekeeping course.

How much do you know about honey bees? The more you know, the better you can care for your bees. I decided it would be fun, educational and revealing to offer a test on honey bees and beekeeping. Take the test and see how much you know. The answers to the questions are located on our website at: on the front page under number 21.  Looking at the answers will help you know more about the honey bee and beekeeping. Ready? Here’s 20 questions and good luck.

1. Over time, with continuous use, the diameter of brood cells become larger in size.   a.   True     b.  False

2. Canola honey crystallizes soon after being extracted.     a.  True   b.  False

3. Oxalic acid, used as a mite treatment, is legal in the United States.  a.  True    b.  False

4.  Mature small hive beetles, when fed well, are able to live:   a.  1 month   b.  3 months  c.  6 months   d.  9 months

5.  Beeswax melts at:   a. 120 (f)   b.  132 (f)   c. 145 (f)  d. 170 (f)

6.  The waggle dance in a colony is used to direct other bees to resources that are located in distances greater than _____ meters from the hive.   a.  25   b.  50.   c.  100   d.  200

7.  Honey is 1 to 1.5 times sweeter than sugar?   a.   True   b.  False

8.  A colony preparing to swarm will reduce foraging _____ weeks prior to swarming.  a.  1 week   b.  2 weeks   c.  3 weeks

9.  Dark colored honey is generally higher in antioxidants and minerals than light colored honey.  a.  True   b.  False

10. In a healthy hive the following ration exists:  1 egg to 3 larvae to 6 worker pupae   a.   True     b.   False

11. When entering your honey in a honey show at what moisture level will it be disqualified?  a. 18.5    b.   18.6    c. 19    d.  19.6

12.  To determine whether to fertilize an egg or not, a  queen measures the size of a cell (drone or worker) with her:   a.  Antennae   b.  compound eyes   c.  Front legs

13.  As a virgin queen ages in the hive, the workers become increasingly more aggressive towards her.  a.  True   b.  False

14.  In the winter, a colony begins brood production before there is anything to go out and forage for.  a.  True   b.   False

15.  Varroa mites prefer to reproduce in old brood comb rather than new brood comb.  a.  True   b.   False

16.  How many subspecies of Apis mellifera ( European Honey Bees) are there in the world?  a.  16   b.  23   c.  26.   42

17.  It is easier to introduce a new queen during a nectar dearth than during a heavy nectar flow.  a.   True   b.   False

18.  European foulbrood spores remain viable in brood combs for many years.   a.  True   b.   False

19.  In a healthy colony about _____ of the total comb is drone comb.  a.  10%   b.  3-7%   c.  13-17%  d.  21%

20.  A worker honey bee has  ______ ovarioles in the ovaries.   a.  none    b.  2-12   c.  28-50   d.  100-115

The answers to the above questions are located on our website at: on the front page number 21.  Looking at the answers will help you know more about the honey bee and beekeeping.

burnsfeed Before I go, let me issue a warning that now is a VERY CRITICAL time to prepare your bees for winter. There is still time to deal with mites. There is still time to feed your bees.  If you are planning on doing nothing there is a good chance your bees will not survive winter. Our Burns Bees Feeding System is a great way to build up your colony for winter. My daughters, Karee and Jennifer make the protein/sugar patties and the bees absolutely love these!  You can purchase extra patties, because if your bees are like mine right now, they are very much in need of food. Our Burns Bees Feeding System allows you to feed your bees both patties and 2:1 sugar water. The lid is provided with the holes already punched. I’ve noticed it in some of my hives and other beekeepers are reporting that now bees are rapidly consuming their stored resources. Feed Your Bees!!

WBK2014 Look at this Winter-Bee-Kind test we ran last week to test our mixture. Wow!  Bees are loving it. We continue to receive calls daily from new customers and beekeepers re-ordering more of our Winter-Bee-Kind candy boards. These provide upper insulation, ventilation and the important upper exit and entrance.  For several years we have sold these and the impact these have on helping bees not starve in the winter is awesome. Click here to watch our video on how they work.

We look forward to hearing from you. Give us a call with all your beekeeping needs. Monday – Thursday 10am-4pm and on Friday 10am – Noon. 217-427-2678.

See you next time,

David & Sheri Burns

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Honey Bees Are Telling Us Now What They Need To Survive The Winter 217-427-2678


I know ragweed has a bad reputation, but I like it. Or should I say my bees like it. Every morning they head out and pack in the pollen. The dust (pollen) from ragweed just falls from the flowers as the bees fly about it.

Hi, we are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, and we want to thank you for joining us for another beekeeping lesson/article/blog, whatever you want to call it.

Popup thunderstorms have been the name of the game for the last two weeks. Hot and humid weather has put an end to our bees foraging for nectar. Now, they have only be gathering water to keep the hive cool. They deposit the droplets of water on the shallow parts of the brood comb and then fan it. This is called evaporative cooling. Around noon today it was so hot! I observed one hive in direct sunlight and the bees were pulling air through it as fast as they could. There was no wind and the sun was beating down on the hive; plus it was humid.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been pouring over studies, research, and scientific articles putting he final touches on our new class, “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter.”  I am PUMPED about teaching this class. Man, I cannot wait!  I’m two weeks full of awesome findings and now I can’t wait for winter to try and weaken my hives. Bring it on winter. We still have 8 seats left in our Oct. 5th class. Click here for more information. And we’ve been putting together more and more YouTube Beekeeping videos that we should be posting before long.

We still have a few spots left in our Basic Beekeeping Class on Oct. 25th. Click here for more info.

HiveTalk Our next Hive Talk will be August 28 (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. central time. We’ll be talking about honey. Join us and ask questions live on air or just listen in. The number to call is:


When you call in you'll be asked to enter our SHOW ID which is: 129777 followed by the # sign. Then the automated system will ask you for your Pin number which is 1 followed by the # sign. At that point, you'll be on the show with us so you can ask your questions. You will be muted unless you press * 8 on your phone and that will allow us to unmute you so you can ask your question. Call in around 10 minutes prior to broadcast, at 9:50 a.m. central time.  If you want to just listen from your computer, go to:

LESSON: 163 Honey Bees Are Telling Us Now What They Need To Survive The Winter

Today, I want to warn you that your bees are telling you NOW if they will survive the winter. All signs are visible. All surveys and polls are in. You can find out this week how well your bees will do this winter, and prognosticators are calling for another cold and long winter (Farmer’s Almanac). 

Here in Illinois we hit our summer dearth a week or so ago. There is now minimal foraging compared to a month ago. The honey flow is over. In fact, the bees are acting very hungry. The golden rod is starting to bloom, but I have not seen any bees on my .5 acre plot of golden rod. Maybe they have a bigger and better patch they are going to.

I will go over this more in our upcoming “Get Your Bees Through The Winter” class, but right now the colony must raise a lot of brood between now and December. The eggs being laid over the next few weeks will be the bees that will overwinter the colony. BUT, for there to be good brood production now, the hive must have a surplus of nectar and pollen coming in the front door. I’m not going to wait and gamble on a golden rod and aster flow. I am going to stimulate brood rearing starting tomorrow by feeding my bees 2:1 sugar water and my own sugar/pollen patties. Do not use the entrance feeder now or in the fall. That’s only for spring. If you use it now you will likely cause your hive to be robbed by another hive.  It’s time to break out the big guns and bulk up the colonies for winter. 

You may not think so, and you may prefer to wait to see how things go, but here in Illinois our first frost usually hits the end of September or the first of October. That means the bees only have 4 weeks tops to do much. I’ve gambled before on fall nectar flows and lost.

I’m bringing out the big guns and I want to share with you three things my bees are telling me now about winter. It’s all located on my website, and you’ll find it as #12 in my list of important beekeeping information on my main page. It’s your choice. You can ignore these early warning signs, but if you do, it will be a miracle if your bees survive the winter.

See you next time!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Mon-Thur  10am-4pm central time
Fri- 10-Noon

Call us today: 217-427-2678

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

LESSON 162: Coating The Inside Of Hives With Propolis 217-427-2678


Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, we are David and Sheri Burns. We are located in east central Illinois. With a passion for beekeeping, we’ve dedicated a big part of our lives to promote beekeeping.

In December 2011 I wrote a lesson/article on propolis and in that lesson I said, “Many people are now recommending that we score or scratch the smooth surfaces of the insides of our hives, forcing the bees to add propolis as they would in a natural hive in a tree.” Since that time I have been evaluating more and more studies and the results are very promising. So today I want to share why coating the inside of a hive with propolis can make a difference and I’ll show you how to do it. Before I get into today’s lesson, here’s a few pre-lesson comments.

In 2010 I became a certified master beekeeper to insure our classes are accurate, informative and thorough. One such class is a new class we are offering this year, “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter.”  Our first class, coming up on Sept 6th,  quickly filled up. Then we offered the same class for Sept. 7th and that class quickly filled up. So now we are offering yet a third date for this upcoming class, “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter” on Sunday Oct. 5th from Noon-6pm. Click here to sign up now. It is a good feeling to come out of winter with strong colonies. Beekeepers are making many mistakes that can lead to colonies dying in the winter. In this one day class we’ll discuss the major causes for winter die-outs and what steps beekeepers can take to give their colonies a better chance to survive winter. Don’t wait until the first frost to get your hive ready for winter. Start now because the first day of winter is only 122 days away. Make an investment to be a better beekeeper.

Our Winter-Bee-Kind orders are pouring in! If you have not placed your order yet, please do so soon. We sell both 10 frame and 8 frame WBK, so be sure to order the correct size.  Click here for more information. Our video demonstrating our Winter-Bee-Kind has had nearly 9,000 views! Check it out below. If you cannot view it below go to:

We started harvesting honey from our hives this week and it was a great honey year. It’s always so rewarding to watch the honey pour out of the extractor. We have the footage, and will soon put together a video on how to extract honey. We’re also making a video for a step by step guide on how to break the queen’s brood cycle in order to help control varroa mites. We just completed footage and that video will be forthcoming soon.

Our recent video and experiment on adding additional wax to plastic foundation generated nearly 1,000 views in a week. I received a lot of emails asking for specifics, so I made another video on specifically how I add wax to frames. You can view it now by clicking here or go to:

LESSON 162: Coating The Inside Of Hives With Propolis

Propolis is more than just sticky stuff on frames. Actually more and more studies are showing that colonies with ample amounts of propolis do better by benefiting the bees immune defensive (Simone-Finstrom, et al, 2009). So the idea is to add something to the walls of the hive in order for the bees to coat them with propolis, like they do in a tree in nature. There are several ways to accomplish this:

1) Cut to size a plastic proplis trap screen and staple it onto the inside walls of your hives.

propolis162 2) Gather and save propolis and dilute it in alcohol then brush it on the inside walls of your hives. Ok! I’ll make a video of this too :) Meanwhile, I have posted a complete description on my website on how to do this, step by step. Visit for complete details. It is located as item number 39 on our main front page if you scroll down. This method has proven to be more controllable for me. It really isn’t hard to do. The first method may take more time for the bees to actually add propolis to the traps. This second method works great. I’m so impressed. Check out my website for the complete method.



Prop2 3)  Score or scratch the inside walls of your hive bodies causing the bees to add propolis to smooth it out. Notice what the bees have done to this rough area near a knot on the inside of the hive. The scoring does not have to be very excessive as shown in this photo.

It seems that bees will more readily forage for propolis during a dearth or a slow nectar flow period. So now would be the time to use a trap to gather propolis or staple traps or scratch the inside walls of your hive.

It is important to view propolis as part of the colony’s immune system. Last year Renata Borba , Entomology, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN, spoke at the Entomological Society of America (November 2013) about this very subject. She’s been doing a lot of work on this very subject. She basically discovered that bees in hives with propolis treatments did not have to use their immune systems as much. Also her study found that colonies with more propolis had significantly more brood.

Marla Spivak, PhD, wrote an article on the value of adding propolis to hives and refers to the work of one of her previous graduate students, Mike Simone-Finstrom, “He found that bees exposed to a propolis envelope for just seven days had lower bacterial
loads in and on their bodies, and had ‘quieter’ immune systems compared with bees in a colony with no propolis envelope. In other words, the propolis in the colony was killing off microbes in the nest, so that the bees’ immune systems did not have to gear up and make peptides and cellular responses that fight off infection.”

In a day when everything seems to be working against the bees, why not throw one more thing in their favor.

Here’s my first lesson on propolis:  Or go to: 

Thanks for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. Tell your friends about us. See you next time.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678  M-Thu 10am-4pm CDT, Fri  10am-Noon

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

LESSON 161: Part 2 Adding Wax To Frames To Speed Up Drawing Out Plastic Foundation


Welcome from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms and

We just celebrated another wedding as our middle son, Seth married Leah on Saturday. I drove up to O’Hare in Chicago Saturday and picked up Seth at 6 a.m. It was a great wedding and now Leah and Seth are at Twenty-nine Palms, Ca. living in their home off base. Congratulations!


Beginners Class Saturday Oct 4 9am-3pm

Beginners Class Oct 25 Saturday 9am-3pm

Sept 7 “Getting Bees Through The Winter” Sunday Noon-6pm

June 12-14 “Annual Beekeeping Institute”

Taking a class is paramount in being successful at keeping bees. Come and enjoy a day with us. We always enjoy meeting beekeepers from around the US who take our classes. Winter is fast approaching so start thinking now about preparing for winter.

LESSON 161: Part 2 Adding Wax To Frames To Speed Up Drawing Out Plastic Foundation

wax test In my last lesson I demonstrated how to add extra wax to beeswax coated plastic foundation. I showed a picture of the shallow super I used for my experiment. After 7 days, it is now time for the results.

The results were amazingly impressive! The frames with extra wax were pulled out completely and filled with nectar and some were starting to be capped over in just 7 days!

I discovered that it did not help to over do it with excessive wax. The frames with excessive amounts of wax added were no different than ones with a small amount added. Both were pulled out the same.

The challenge is that most new beekeepers do not have extra wax. There is no need to worry. The wax that comes already on the frames is more than enough to get things started, especially in the brood nest area. However, if you are wanting honey in a hurry, it does pay to add a thin layer of wax to the honey super foundation.

I had one frame that I experimented with where I stapled in a 1” strip of worker plastic foundation. The bees added drone size comb below it and filled it with nectar since my bees are no longer raising drones this late in the year.To see the results of my experiment, watch the video below or go to: 


propolis162 The experiment I’m conducting now is to measure the health of a hive by coating the inside walls of the brood nest area with a thin coating of prepared propolis. I’m preparing my propolis now by making up my solution over the next two weeks. I’m making a propolis tincture by letting it “dissolve” in 190 Proof Grain Alcohol. 

Thanks for joining us again! Please visit our website at: as we have lots of supplies and we make our own beekeeping woodenware just for you!

And our Winter-Bee-Kinds orders have been phenomenal. Order now as orders will be shipped in the order in which they are received starting in Oct. Also, we appreciate word of mouth promotion of our Winter-Bee-Kinds as well.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Hours Mon- Thu  10am-4pm
Fri 10am-Noon
Sat by appointment

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

LESSON 160: Adding Wax To Frames To Speed Up Drawn Comb

(This entry is time sensitive, meaning  prices and items are subject to change. Visit our website for current items and prices:

MB Pin I want to share today about adding wax to foundation to help the bees draw the comb out faster. But before I do, let me tell you about the great time I had at the Eastern Apicultural Society in Richmond, Kentucky. The pin pictured here is what is awarded to those who pass the four tests to become a master beekeeper. The master beekeeper certification runs parallel with the EAS conference. 

Dr. Dewey Caron serves as the advisor to the MB program. Dr. Caron is the author of, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping. 7 more master beekeepers were certified and earned their MB pins. New bee research findings were revealed and the workshops were great. The best part for me is hanging out with people in the halls or at supper and talking bees.


Here I am (yellow shirt) field testing master beekeeper applicant Andrew Joseph, Iowa state bee inspector at the Eastern Apicultural Society conference. Andrew is now a newly certified EAS Master Beekeeper, along with 6 others tested this year. Congratulations to all! To find out more about becoming a master beekeeper go to:

Andrew was the first person I’ve ever tested who scored a 100 on the field test. It was a pleasure watching Andrew demonstrate a hive inspection. The master beekeeper certification consists of 4 areas of testing: Field, Lab, Written and Orals. This year the oral panel that I served on tested Louie from France. I was really impressed with his mastery of the English language in his short time in the US.

All the applicants were enjoyable to meet and talk with. It is encouraging to see so many people wanting to know as much as possible about keeping bees.


winterbeekindclick Our Winter-Bee-Kind winter feeding system is on sale now. Orders will start shipping in Oct once the weather becomes cooler. Orders will be shipped in the order they were received. We usually have several hundred orders placed prior to our shipping date, so order soon! We have a video online that you can view prior to purchase. Just click here. We sell both 10 frame and 8 frame Winter-Bee-Kinds, so BE SURE you are clicking on the correct size when you order. If you’ve never heard about this item it is a candy board with sugar and pollen substitute. It also has a 1” insulation for the top of your hive as well as an entrance/exit to help with winter condensation.


We almost post something daily on our Facebook page. Go to: and Like Us while you are there please and thank you.

My good friend Jon Zawislak and I produced another HiveTalk episode when we were at EAS. Take a listen as our guests were: Dr. Jeff Harris, Dr. Dianna Sammataro, Kent Williams, Steve Repasky, Erin MacGegor-Forbes, and Karessa Torgerson. Go to:

HiveTalk Our next Hive Talk will be August 28 at 10 a.m. central time. Join us and ask questions live on air or just listen in. The number to call is: 1-724-444-7444. When you call in you'll be asked to enter our SHOW ID which is: 129777 followed by the # sign. Then the automated system will ask you for your Pin number which is 1 followed by the # sign. At that point, you'll be on the show with us so you can ask your questions. You will be muted unless you press * 8 on your phone and that will allow us to unmute you so you can ask your question. Call in around 10 minutes prior to broadcast, at 9:50 a.m. central time.  If you want to just listen from your computer, go to:

NEW CLASS:  A Better Way To Get Your Bees Through The Winter

And while we are talking about winter survival of bees, why not take our over wintering class. Sunday Sept. 7th Noon-6pm. Get Your Bees Through The Winter Class.  The winter of 2013-2014 was very hard on colony survival and it was hard on beekeepers. Maybe you lost your hive last winter. It can be confusing trying to figure out why your bees died. They may have had plenty of stored honey and still died. Maybe they had a great queen and were very populated but still died. Join certified master beekeeper, David Burns, for an extensive 6 hour course on common reasons why bees die in the winter and what you can do to improve your bee's chances of survival. This class will cover topics such as: fall preparation, mouse protection, mite reduction, wind blocks, wrapping hives, heating lights, winter feeding, insulation, moving hives into buildings or shelters, the biology of fat bodies, the timing of a new fall queen, pros and cons of double walled hives, dynamics of both Langstroth and top bar hives in the winter, the winter cluster and more. Sunday Sept. 7th  2014  Noon-6pm. An email will be sent to all registered students with hotel information, directions and other important information. Click here for additional information. Our Sat. class filled up and we are offering this Sunday class, but only a few seats are still available.

LESSON 160: Adding Wax To Frames To Speed Up Drawing Out Comb

We are in that time of year when we want every last drop of nectar bees can carry in. But, this means we need supers on the hive with drawn comb. Beekeepers around the country are buying up supers like a gold rush in order to capture the honey stores for this summer.

Waxtest If the colony does not have drawn comb nectar gathering can be lost, and no honey harvested. Here’s what I do to help speed up my bees to draw out the comb. I clean my wax cappings gathered from when I harvested my honey supers. I melt it in a skillet, then I brush the wax on to my plastic foundation. It comes with wax, and usually that is fine. But to give my bees an extra edge it doesn’t hurt to add some wax if you have it.

When you add additional wax to plastic foundation it can greatly increase the chances that the bees will draw out the comb faster. They will use the extra wax you’ve given them along with making more of their own and drawing out the combs for faster use.

By using your own wax, you know the quality of your wax. Be careful not to brush on the wax if it is very hot or it will warp the plastic. Let the wax cool enough to where it is thicker and cooler.

If you do not want to heat your extra wax cappings you can ball it up and then rub it into the plastic foundation. As you rub the wax into the foundation small amounts will catch and adhere to the cells.

wax test There are several ways to place wax on plastic foundation and you can even add extra wax to wax foundation too. I’ve tried sponge brushes, paint brushes and they all work fine. I started using a drywall sander because it is spongy and it was all I could find one day. Currently I’m running an experiment to see how much faster it is to add additional amounts of wax to foundation. In my case, I took 7 frames and configured them with various degrees of wax and foundation and some with no wax. I started this experiment on our anniversary, Aug. 3rd. It might be too late in the season, but I’ll see how the bees will do. What I mean by too late is that it is more challenging to get drawn comb later in the summer. However, as long as there is a nectar flow, it works. The heavier the nectar flow the better.

Soon, summer nectar flows will stop until fall nectar flow starts. A good rule of thumb is try and get all the wax in your supers pulled out before fall. I have had some wax building in the fall, but bank on spring and summer.

Thanks for joining us again!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

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