Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Harvesting Honey Is Right Around The Corner

dslog

Hello everyone! We are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms also known as www.honeybeesonline.com

WINTER-BEE-KINDS are now available online! Orders are pouring in. You In order to get ahead of the game, we have placed our Winter-Bee-Kinds online. PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out starting November 1, in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK this week, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until  . We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming.  Thank you. To order online go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/feeders/

Rain, rain, rain has been the story here in Illinois. Just when it starts to dry out and the bees start back up gathering nectar, we get more rain. However, bees are doing pretty good around the country, even here with all the rain. Honey supers are getting filled up. Clover is everywhere. There is so much clover, I just can’t bring myself to mow it!  Bees are all over it. One day my bees were enjoying a heavy nectar flow. The front of the hive was very hectic. But I just had to mow the area around the hives because it looked so unkept.  As soon as I finished mowing foraging was greatly reduced. Bees were really working the clover in my yard.

In this lesson, I want to provide some good information on harvesting honey. For some of you who are new beekeepers, you’ve never harvested honey, so we hope this information will be helpful.

Before we start the lesson, let me continue to speak about something that none of us want to talk about…WINTER. You only have less than 90 days to prepare your colonies. Bees rarely die in the spring, summer or fall. All beekeepers are happy campers watching their bees in these warm seasons. However, our disposition changes in the winter. We dread the cold weather our bees will have to endure. If you’ve kept bees for very long, you have suffered losses during the winter. Sign up for our Winter Class by clicking here or going to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/beekeeping-classes/

DANGER: If you wait until October to try to prepare your bees for winter, you’ve waited too late. Many beekeepers don’t think about whether their bees are ready for winter until after the first cold snap or hard frost. Then, they may learn the colony is queenless, or the hive has no stores of honey or pollen for winter. Worse, the beekeeper may not know that their colony is infested with varroa destructor, spreading viruses that will kill their hive in the late winter months.

winterbeekindclick If your hives are healthy but lack resources, consider overwintering your hives with our Winter-Bee-Kinds. They fit on the top of your brood nest area just under the top cover. They contain carbohydrates and protein for the bees, as well as an insulation barrier to reduce upper condensation that often develops just above the bees then drops down on them during the winter. The WBK also has an upper entrance/vent and we have found the bees often use this upper entrance to take winter cleansing flights when they would usually not go down and out the lower entrance. The come in either 8 Frame or 10 Frames sizes. Click here for more information.

Harvest Honey

1. Make sure the frames are 90%+ capped over or sealed. Anything less can result in a higher moisture content in the honey and can cause your honey to ferment and taste bad.

2. You can use several methods to clear the bees out of the frame in your supers. Fume boards, bee escapes placed in inner covers under a super, brushing bees off or blowing them can be effective.

3. Prepare your area. Have a clean extractor, knife, buckets and strainers ready.

4. Most of us use the wood on the frame as a guide for cutting the comb, allowing us not to cut too deeply into the comb as we slice open the wax cappings on the frames.

5. Spin out the honey in your extractor. If you are using all wax foundation (not plastic inserts) be careful not to spin to fast until much of the honey is out. Otherwise it will “blow out” the combs.

6. For small jobs, place a 5 gallon food grade bucket under your extractor gate (valve) and place a strainer on the inside top of your bucket. We use a 400 micron strainer.

7. Make sure your bucket also has a gate on the bottom because you want to let your honey sit a few days before bottling. Bubbles rise to the top of honey, making the lower part very clean and clear.

To assist you further, watch my video below for more detailed information and detailed visualization of the process.

Also, we have several past lessons that talk about different aspects of honey harvest. Here’s a list:

Using A Refractor To Test Moisture Content In Honey

How To Extract Honey From A Hive

How To Make Comb Honey

Thanks for joining us today!
Give us a call for all your beekeeping needs.
217-427-2678

Monday, July 6, 2015

Video Lessons: Adding Wax, Eating Royal Jelly, Finding A Bumble Bee In The Hive, And A Bee In The Mouth

dslog

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. I made another cool beekeeping video. I intended to make a video on inspecting a hive that looked like it was getting ready to swarm. But while I was making the video, I found a queen cup that was torn open and a bumble bee in lower deep that the bees were attacking. So the video turned out to have some cool findings along the way. I even do my popular bee in the mouth trick. I posted the video on our front page of our website for you to watch and enjoy. These video lessons are designed to help beekeepers learn the art of inspecting colonies, what to look for and what actions to take. They are a lot of work, but I enjoy investing the time to help others in beekeeping. Our main website is: www.honeybeesonline.com

2nd Institute We had a great time with our last Beekeeping Institute of the year. We had beekeepers from Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. We ran them through various beekeeping scenarios. They learned how to identify a failing hive and what course of action to take. They also learned all about various diseases and pests. At the Beekeeping Institute, we drill down deeper into common beekeeping facts, plus we explore and talk about more complex aspects of beekeeping that we cannot discuss in beginner classes.

2nd instituteb We did mite counts, marked bees, grafted queens, swarm prevention, and a little of everything bee related. We also trained them on how to get bees through the winter. 

We heard very positive feedback from students of both institutes and look forward to offering these again in 2016. These Institutes fill up very fast so be watching in 2016 when they become available so you can come join us.

ADAY

Two new classes we've added this year are "A Day In The Bee Yard".

The first one on July 17 filled up fast. So I've added a second one on Sunday afternoon July 19th from 2-6. We only have around 4 spots left, so REGISTER TODAY.

I'll walk you through a variety of ways to work bees and manage colonies. Imagine spending 4 hours in hives with a certified master beekeeper teaching you how to split hives, prevent swarms, find queens, manipulate frames, mark queens, how to use a Cloake board, feeders, patties, mite tests, and much more.

Christians AlienWe had a very enjoyable 4th of July Holiday weekend and we hope you did too! We watched a parade and Christian had fun catching candy thrown off floats and loud fire trucks. Then Christian tried his hand at some fun activities and he was really good at shooting and won this gigantic alien for shooting down three cups in a row. And of course we ended the day watching fireworks.

Believe it or not, while we are enjoying summer, we are also using this time to prepare for fall and winter beekeeping activities. We are cleaning up shops and offices, organizing things that can’t be dealt with during the busy bee season. For us, everything gets hectic starting August 1st. Many customers are calling wanting to order our Winter-Bee-Kind candy/insulation and ventilation boards for winter. 

We will begin taking orders for our WBKs August 1st. But REMEMBER, these do not ship until November 1. We wait until November 1st for cooler shipping weather.

winterbkind PLEASE NOTE, orders will be shipped out in the order they are received. In other words, if you order your WBK on August 1st, yours will ship the first week in November. However, if you order yours on September 1st, there will be hundreds of orders ahead of yours so you may not get your order until December. We do our best to stay caught up but the popularity of our WBKs is overwhelming. We will inform our customers via our website and these newsletters when our WBKs go live online. Thank you.

ADDING BEESWAX, EATING ROYAL JELLY, A BUMBLE BEE IN THE HIVE, A BEE IN THE MOUTH TRICK

I’ve made several videos showing how beneficial it is to add extra wax to frames to help the bees draw the foundation out faster. It really does make a difference and can prove this in my videos. If you are a first year beekeeper and you do not have extra wax, you can buy wax online, even organic wax too. We sell it at our store. It really doesn’t take alot to brush on your plastic foundation. It is something I strongly suggest.

In the video I posted on our website, I ate some royal jelly. I’ve eaten it before. That’s why I look so youthful :). I should say I’ve only tasted it. It is like nothing I’ve ever tasted before. It is very unique. I have spoken at conferences on the content of royal jelly and it is amazing. It is an enzyme which 6-12 day old bees secrete from their mandibular glands. An ample amount is fed to a larva when they want to raise a queen instead of a regular worker bee. Royal jelly can only be found in queen cells. You can see my reaction in the video when I ate some.

Also in the video, while I was inspecting the hive I found a bumble bee in the bottom deep. In the video you’ll see me spot a cluster of bees and upon further investigation I found a black and yellow bumble bee being attacked and killed by the bees.

Finally in the video you’ll see me do my famous bee in the mouth trick. The trick is that it is NOT a worker bee, but a drone bee. Drones do not have stingers. So I just place the drone on my tongue and close my mouth. In a few seconds I open my mouth and he flies safely away, being thankful he was not swallowed. Me too! But before you try this yourself BE SURE you know the difference between a drone without a stinger and a worker bee with a stinger! ( I recommend you do not ever place any kind of insect in your mouth because it can cause severe injury or death).

The hive we inspected in the video was a hive that had several swarm cells that were almost sealed. At the time I noticed the cells I manipulated the frames and added a honey super on top. 10 days later is when I filmed this video. I found one supercedure cell that had been recently torn open and one emergency swarm cup on a lower frame. I did not see the original swarm cell cups I saw 10 days earlier. I also spotted the old queen with the green dot, so I knew they had not left because they always leave with the old queen.

Cedar Cedar Hives-The beauty of cedar is an eye catcher. Our cedar hives are cut from cedar boards and assembled right here at our facilities.

We keep to the traditional Langstroth measurements and we designed our own cedar peaked top with a strip of copper to dress it up. Each hive comes with 2 deeps and 2 medium supers, and a screen bottom board.

Our special peaked top is an INSULATED top. Also includes wooden frames and beeswax coated foundation for all deeps and super boxes. Shipping is included!

CLICK HERE for more information on our Cedar Hives or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/cedar-langstroth-hive-assembled-with-frames/

Super Honey Supers - We have several weeks for bees to continue foraging for that precious liquid gold--HONEY!  Do you have enough supers? It's time now to put honey supers on and let your bees fill 'em up. Click here to order your supers. We are shipping them out in 3 business days after orders are placed. Our supers are assembled and painted and come with 10 assembled wooden frames with beeswax coated foundation. Take them out of the box and place them on your hive.

Thanks for joining us again for more beekeeping tips.

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678
www.honeybeesonline.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

How To Perform A Complete Hive Inspection

DavidSheri Hello from www.honeybeesonline.com (Long Lane Honey Bee Farms). We are David and Sheri Burns and we are located in central Illinois. We’ve been a beekeeping business for a decade with online lessons, YouTube video, beekeeping blogs an podcasts. We also offer onsite beekeeping classes. All of these resources are available to beekeepers around the country and through our efforts we have introduced and trained thousands of new beginners and experienced beekeepers alike.

In addition to our online store, we have a small store at our location and this time of the year people are pouring in buying equipment like extra honey supers and hives to hive swarms.

We are trying to stay ahead on building honey supers because we know when you need them, you need them yesterday. And with the rain, most of us only have a small window of good weather to place them on our hive. If you even think your hive may need more supers, order early!

youtube1 Everywhere I go someone will tell me they have watched my videos or listened to our podcasts and they feel like I’m an old friend. Our beekeeping YouTube channel has received over 1.2 MILLION views and has attracted production companies who make reality shows, commercials and more. But I just keep making videos that can help people enjoy beekeeping. If you haven’t enjoyed our YouTube channel you can check it out at: https://www.youtube.com/longlanehoney

I’m making a new video showing beekeepers how to properly inspect a hive, find the queen and more. I’ll be posting it in a couple of days.

Of everything we do with bees, what we enjoy the most is interacting with our students who come from around the US to take our beekeeping classes. I’m getting ready for my second beekeeping institute of the year starting Friday and runs through Sunday. You have to register very early in the year to get a seat. We will be posting our 2016 dates soon. However, we just received a cancellation due to an unexpected health issue. So if you want that seat, call Sheri. It is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 3pm each day. 217-427-2678. Sheri is in the office today between 1pm-3pm central time. Many of you wanted me to offer a 3rd Institute, but I just couldn’t work it into the schedule this year. We may offer three in 2016.

COME SPEND TIME IN THE BEE YARD

 july17Two new awesome classes I’ve added are, “A Day In The Bee Yard”. I will show you, in the field, a variety of ways to work bees andJuly19  manage colonies. Imagine spending 4 hours in hives with a certified master beekeeper teaching you how to split hives, prevent swarms, find queens, manipulate frames, mark queens, how to use a cloake board, feeders, patties, mite tests, and much more.

We only have 2 spots left on Friday, July 17, 2015 9am-1pm so we’ve added another class on Sunday July 19th, 2pm-6pm. Now that you’ve been in your hive and you’ve seen things that you cannot identify or figure out, why not come and let me walk you through some answers to help you feel more confident in working your hive. We’ll have fun together. Each photo above is a link to that particular day, so click on the image for more info. If you cannot get off work on Friday, come spend Sunday afternoon and let me teach you a thing or two. Or register by going to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/beekeeping-classes/

In this lesson, I want to walk you through a proper inspection of a hive. But before I do, let me WARN you that as we enter the month of July, nectar flow will start to slow down and as we enter late summer and fall, your bees will get hungry and not have very much incoming food. Many beekeepers reported this to be the case last year and there were many hives that went into winter very low on winter stores. DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE. A colony of honey bees consumes the same amount of protein and carbohydrates as a medium size dog. So do not assume bugs don’t need food. Especially 40,000+. They do. We have two feeding system we’d like to offer that are big sellers already:

BBFS Burns Bees Feeding System – This is an awesome way to feed bees in late summer and fall. Remember, 2 parts sugar to 1 part water in the latter part of the year. We created is feeder to accommodate 2 jars of sugar water and one space for sugar or pollen patties. No more smashing bees between boxes with your patties. And what’s cool is, that when you lift up the jars, there is a protective screen to hold the bees down so you can add more pollen or sugar water and not have bees boiling out of the holes. Since the video below we have modified this system to have a smaller rectangle hole for the patties and only two holes for jars as shown in the photo. But the video demonstrates how to use them. Get these ordered so you have them before the nectar flow ends.

Ultimate Feeder The Ultimate Hive Feeder works the same way and we sell a lot of these. It fits on the frames of the upper brood box.  Place a medium super box around it and the top cover on and look how the bees feed. You may want to place this above your inner cover, then place an empty super box around it and top cover on the box. This way bees will not build wax in the open space around it. Just be sure not to block the oval shape hole on the inner cover so that the bees can gain access to it.. We are proud to carry this product, so click on the image for more info or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/ultimate-hive-feeder-by-beesmart-designs/

Here in Illinois I have had ten and a half inches of rain in the month of June. That means my bees have missed a lot of flying time to harvest nectar. This is true for a large part of the US. With more rain in the forecast, bees might get behind on winter storage so keep an eye out on feeding your bees August through November.

Now before our lesson today, let me encourage you to watch our facebook page. We usually post important information daily of practical beekeeping tips, photos, news reports and more.

How To Perform A Complete Hive Inspection

1. Inspect The Outside

Rainbowhive As you walk up to the hive, look for anything unusual such as skunk scratches on the ground in front of the hive or on the front of the hive. Look for any broken pieces on the hive that may need repaired. Make sure your stand is solid. For example, if you are using pallets, make sure they are not deteriorating. If you are using concrete blocks, make sure they are not broken and that the hive is still level and solid.

2. Smoke The Entrance And Under The Top Cover

Smoke the guard bees a few times at the entrance then smoke under the top cover2 or 3 times to help calm the bees.

3. Remove Top Cover And Smoke Under The Inner Cover

I like to set my top cover upside down so that I can place my boxes on it as I inspect. As soon as you remove the top cover be looking to smash any fast moving small hive beetles. Smash them with your hive tool.

Institute4 4. Smoke lightly over the top of frames in top box.

You really don’t need a lot of smoke, just enough to calm the bees, so usually three or four gentle puffs that floats over the top of the frames is sufficient.

5. Inspect each frame looking for the queen as you go.

Keep a record of what you see on each frame. Eggs, larvae, sealed brood, nectar, honey etc.  Make sure you keep a close eye on the queen. When I see my queen, I will remove that frame Nuc1and place it in a nuc box for safe keeping during the inspection. I place the entire frame, queen and all the bees in the nuc box and place the top cover on. Now I can inspect without worrying about killing the queen accidently. Once I’ve inspect all frames, then I place them back in the box and remove the entire box and place it on the lid.

6. Inspect the next box repeating step 5.

7. Inspect next box and repeat based on how many boxes you may have.

What  you are looking for is:

1. Healthy and abundant brood

2. Evidence of a healthy queen

3. Sufficient nectar/honey and pollen

A beekeeper called me today who has two hives, one is doing great and one is low in population. I told him to inspect the hive that is low in numbers to see if there are several frames of sealed brood. If so, just be patient because these bees will emerge soon and increase population. If no sealed brood is found, then replace the queen immediately because without sealed brood, the hive will go even longer without adequate population. Now if it is full of eggs and young large everywhere, then certainly there is no need to replace a good laying queen. If that’s the case, pull a few frames of capped brood from the strong hive so this weak hive can have immediate population growth within a few days rather than waiting 24 days for the eggs to finally produce adult bees. These are the kinds of things you are evaluating as you inspect your hives.

Thanks for joining us today!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com
217-427-2678

Monday, June 15, 2015

Summer Management

DS

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms we are David and Sheri Burns. We are enjoying spring and it will finally be summer next week. Colonies are looking good and building up  nicely. Spring was wet and cooler for us than normal and bees were a little slower in getting started. It was great seeing everyone at our package bee pickup day. Since then we have been teaching beekeeping classes almost every weekend. 

Sheri and I are amazed at the phenomenal surge of interest in beekeeping this year alone. We thought previous years were really strong, but so many people are getting into beekeeping. In fact, normally we start to see things slow down by this  time of the year, but we are still busy shipping out lots of equipment. Thank you.

beeinstitute2015 Last week and last weekend we had our Beekeeping Institute. This is the third year we have offered the institute. And in two weeks we are offering another institute which has been sold out since winter.  We had a beginners class on Thursday, and the institute ran Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Jon Zawislak was great to help out again.  Jon and I are friends and have a lot of fun teaching together.  Students came from Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee. We worked between storms on several days.  One day, after class was over, a storm moved through and blew tops off of three hives. Jon and I ran out in the middle of pounding rain and wind and put the tops back on. We were soaked. Here in Illinois we have received over 7 inches of rain in a week just from popup thunderstorms. And that’s what is in the forecast for the next several days, possibly 5 more inches.

Bees cannot fly in the rain so if it rains a lot honey production (and wax build up on comb) will be slower. And when it rains, it may take a day or two for some flowers to regain their nectar. We typically say that rain washes out the  nectar. But on a positive note, all of this rain means that clover will bloom longer and stronger to help with the honey crop.

jondavid Jon and I have been friends since we became EAS certified master beekeepers about 8 years ago. We’ve spoken at conference together, written articles and wrote a book on how to raise quality queens.

Jon and I also host Hive Talk, a live beekeeping podcast. When Jon isn’t up here, he spends his time as the apiculture instructor with the Entomology Department, University of ArkansasQueen book Division of Agriculture in Little Rock, Arkansas.

A few years ago, Jon asked me to teach him everything I know about raising queens and we  both decided to capture the images and write a book on raising quality queens. We wanted to provide a FREE book for beekeepers to download and be able to use as their main resource for producing queens. We have had so many people tell us how much this book has helped them start a queen rearing business or just raise a few queens. You can click on the cover image to get your copy.

Today, I want to encourage you to think about summer management. Summer will be arriving this weekend. Those of you who follow my lessons know that I cannot stress enough the importance of monitoring and eliminating varroa mites in your hive. Ignore mites and chances are your hive will perish in the winter. But you can review my previous lessons on mite control.

Honey Super What about summer management? Here in Illinois we only have 4-6 weeks left for bees to gather nectar. It varies from year to year, but our main floral sources are over by mid to late July. Sometimes we may stretch into August. Therefore, summer management means you must place supers on your hives! If you place supers on now, the bees have a better chance at adding wax to undrawn foundation. If you wait and give your colony an undrawn super in late July here in Illinois, the bees will likely not have time to draw out the wax and gather nectar and dry it into honey. So get busy today if you want honey! He are trying to ship medium super orders out about 3 business days after we receive the order. We are limited by our supply of frames, but if you don’t have supers, get them now! Click here for more info on our medium honey supers.

I recommend that you give an extra hearty coating of beeswax to your super foundation. Melt wax down and brush it on. You will witness a remarkable difference in how fast the bees will draw out the comb, possibly giving you the edge you need to get some honey this year.

Monitor the fecundity of your queen, how well she is laying. In the month of July you should make a decision if you like your queen’s production or not. If she is not laying well or she is more than 2 years old, you should consider replacing her in July. This will give you time to make sure your hive is queenright and strong before going into winter. If you wait too long, you will have trouble finding a queen and it is a little harder to introduce her when there is not a honey flow occurring. 

As the summer gets hotter be sure to place watering stations for your bees gather water and keep your hive cool. Don’t place them too close to the hive or they may have trouble locating them. Bird baths in the shade with sticks to help the bees not drown will work well.

Colonies could still swarm, so monitor the brood boxes for swarm cells and overcrowding. It’s getting too late to split in time for winter, but you might make it work. If you can’t split your overcrowded colony, and you have a crowded hive ready to swarm, you can move frames to other hives to balance your colonies resources.

Speaking of swarms, if your colony swarms do you have a hive to place them in? What if a neighbor calls you to remove a swarm, do you have an extra hive? Be prepared to expand your operation by collecting swarms. We sell complete hives, assembled and painted. It’s better to have a hive before you catch a swarm than to catch a swarm and have to wait days for your hive to arrive. Plan ahead for the bees’ sake.

Finally, summer management should include winter preparation. I know, I know! No one wants to think or mention winter during the summer. Winter is long enough and we all just want to enjoy summer. But if you want your bees to survive winter, you need to prepare in the next few months, not wait until October.

We have classes focusing just on How To Get Your Bees Through The Winter. They are all filling up fast. Don’t wait or you may be unable to sign up. Here’s the list of classes coming up, so just click on the link.

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Aug 22, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Aug 29, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Sept 12, 2015

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter Sept 26, 2015

ADAY This year I’m offering a new class in my line up. “A Day In The Field”.  9am-1pm. Spend 4 hours with me in the bee year for hands on bees! This class will be in one month, Friday July 17th. This class is limited to 10 students. If July 17th is rainy, the rain date is July 24th. The agenda is for me to show you a variety of ways to work bees and manage colonies out in the bee yard. Bring your own snacks and water bottles to stay hydrated. You must wear protective gear even if you are superman. No one will be allowed in the yards with short pants, or without at least a hat and veil and long sleeve shirt or bee suit or jacket. No exceptions. Bring your smoker but NO HIVE TOOLS. We provide hive tools. This is a new class and if it goes well and there is a strong interest we may have more this year. Click here for more information. All students must be registered in advance.

Prior to the class, you will receive a letter via email with detailed information. Please read thoroughly to know what to bring. We will hold the class at our education center located at our office at 14556 N 1020 East Rd., Fairmount IL 61841. Please follow these directions (some GPS units do not work for our location). Off I-74, take the Oakwood Exit 206. Go south into town, to 2nd stop sign (Catlin-Homer Rd). Turn left onto Catlin-Homer Rd., going down two country roads to 1020 East. Turn left, go down another 1/4 mile until you see our signs. If you need hotel information, we suggest either the Best Western in Danville (217-431-0020) Holiday Inn at 217-442-2500 or our own Sleepy Creek Vineyard at 217-733-0330 (only about 2 miles away). Please bring protective gear but NO HIVE TOOLS. Remember we are on central time. We will not start until 9am central time no matter how early you arrive. 

Thanks for reading our blog today and remember to check us out online at www.honeybeesonline.com

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Custom Painted Hives www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are busy making sure beekeepers get off to a great start for 2015! Many beekeepers are well prepared and awaiting to pick up their packages of bees this weekend. Other beekeepers haven’t thought of everything and are desperately trying at the last minute to get everything in order.

Things are very hectic as we prepare for this weekend. However, Sheri and Karee have found some time to custom paint two hives.  We are doing a “test” to see if people are interested in hand painted hives of various colors. They will be custom painting a few hives a month to see what the interest might be.

camo Currently they have two custom hives painted. The first one Sheri painted camouflage. She spent several hours painting it and after she was done I was really amazed. Obviously she is able to only paint a few a month, so only this one is for sale.  Some people may not want to draw attention to their hives, or maybe they don’t want to break up the natural appearance of a yard or garden with a large white box. This will blend right in.  Click here now to be the one who purchases this camouflage hive.

Pink Karee custom painted second hive, a beautiful pink hive. Sometimes your yard needs a special color that “pops” making your hive soft, yet a beautiful attention getter. This hive may appeal to those who have a colorful area just waiting for bees with color. We only have this one, so be the one who purchases this pink hive. Click here now.

paintedhives Way to go Sheri and Karee! They’ve had this idea for over a year and were finally motivated to try it. Sheri and Karee are committed to paint several of these a month and more if the demand is there. Each one will not be identical and different colors and designs will be posted online as they are available.

Enjoy!

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com
217-427-2678

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do You Know What You Need To Know To Be A Good Beekeeper? www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

dslog

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms (www.honeybeesonline.com). We are David and Sheri Burns located in East Central Illinois.  Today I have several things I want to share: 1) How hard is a spring cold snap on new packages? 2) Do you know what you need to know about being a good beekeeper?  Like, what is Absconding? 3) Helpful hints about Package Bee Pickup Day. 4) Calling in for support.  I’ll answer these concerns in today’s blog. But before I do…

4198 Many of you have asked about our Marine Son, Seth. He is in the Middle East on his 2nd deployment. We hated to see him go. He’ll be back home in the fall so we are praying for a safe deployment. He’s on a rapid crisis response team so mom and dad can’t help but keep an eye on the news coming out of the Middle East.

We have less contact with him than when he was in Afghanistan. Internet connections are slow and not easily accessible. So we are having to write occasional messages and letters to stay connected. We sent a care package of goodies the other day. That’s got to be refreshing to get a box of stuff from home.  This will be his last deployment and he will have completed in 4 years in the Marines the summer of 2016.

4199 We are busy preparing for Package Bee Pickup Day and a full summer of playing with bees.  We are still on schedule for the weekend of May 2nd, for packages of bees which is only 10 days. We’ve been mowing, burning yard debris, pressure washing outside walls, filling spring potholes, filling orders and trying to build up our inventory for that busy weekend. Karee and Zach have kept really busy shipping our more hives this year than ever before. Interest in beekeeping continues to soar!

A new line of hives that we are producing have become a hit! Last summer I produced a video showing how adding extra wax to undrawn foundation can really accelerate the growth of a new hive because they can make their comb faster. So we now sell David’s Wish List Hive. It is our full sized hive, painted and assembled. The difference is that it comes with extra wax on all 30 pieces of foundation. It also comes with 4 small hive beetle traps ( 2 for each deep hive body) and 2 Green Drone Comb Varroa Mite Traps ( 1 for each deep hive body). That’s not all! Studies have shown that scoring the wall of the inside of the hive can contribute to extra propolis being added to smooth the walls which is what bees do in their natural habitat, the tree. So we ruff up the inside walls of this hive to try and cause the bees to add more propolis to the walls. In one study , this increased survival of the hive by 30%.  When you take one of our classes, we go into greater detail on using Green Drone Comb to trap varroa mites and trapping small hive beetles.

41910 Zach scores the inside of the hives using a special tool, and he brushes on extra wax. This takes a lot of time and therefore these hives cost a bit more, but a pound of wax sells for $15 now. You can do it yourself, but usually new beekeepers don’t have wax or the tool to score the inside of a hive. By the way, Zach says he loves to read the comment section when you place online orders. So say hi to Zach when you place an order in the comment section. Zach will be the first person you will probably see on package bee pickup day as he will be helping to park cars.

How Hard Is A Spring Cold Snap On New Packages?

Spring came and went! It was so nice for several weeks but now it has turned cold. My bees have not flown since Saturday. It’s either been too cold or too windy. And for the next 8 nights we will be below freezing or slightly above it, in the low 40s. This is very hard no new packages on new foundation. A package of bees does not have drawn comb to aid in keeping the hive warm. And with minimal foraging, new packages do not have the resources stored for such a cold snap. It may not kill a colony, but it will retard their growth that could make the hive weak the rest of the year. I have learned this through studies and experience and this is why we prefer not to prepare our packages until the first of May.  Please think logically with me for a moment. If you get a package the first of April, but the weather turns off cold, the bees are stuck inside your hive eating sugar water for a month. Bees need warm nights to grow.  Had these bees been left in their warmer climate on natural forage during the month of April, they would be healthier eating a natural diet, then placed here in Illinois ( or the north) when there is a natural diet to thrive on. A decade ago I bought 40 packages the last week in March. I placed them in hives but that weekend the weather turned cold and 20 hives died two days after I installed them in foundationless hives. The 20 that survived were installed on drawn comb. Since then I prefer to play it safe. We all can gamble and sometimes do fine. But cold nights are hard on new packages on undrawn comb.

BBFS If you find yourself in this predicament it helps to feed bees. We stay warmer when we eat and so do bees. Place a Burns Bees Feeding System on top with sugar patties in the patty slot. This will allow the bees to consume food to stay warm. You can also add 1:1 sugar water in the jar slots as they will eat this even when clustered. This will keep the bees from weakening during a cold spell.

We make these for both 10 frame hives and 8 frame hives. All feeding ports are screened over to hold the bees down so you can change and add feed without bees flying out.

Do You Know What You Need To Know About Being a Good Beekeeper?

Armed with a few books, hours watching YouTube videos and a face lathered with anticipation newbies set out to start beekeeping. But are they really knowledgeable?  When beekeepers tell me why their hives die, they always blame the winter. Occasionally some will take responsibility. I can ask two questions to determine if the beekeeper knew what they were doing. 1) What were your mite counts throughout the year and 2) Was the colony heavily populated going into winter.  Newbies answer by saying, “I don’t think I had any mites because I didn’t see any.” And regarding heavy populations the answer is, “They had a lot of bees.”  These answers tell me the new beekeeper did not possess the knowledge they needed going into winter.

3 Mites Let me talk about not seeing mites. Don’t confuse mites with small hive. Mites are tiny. It’s easy to see them on this white drone larva but on the back of a honey bee which is the same color, it is very hard. So here’s how to know if you have mites. Say “Yes, I have mites.” It is not a matter of IF you have mites, but how many. All hives have mites. And remember, even if you don’t see the foundress mite walking on your bees, they reproduce under the pupae which is capped over. There can be up to 4-5 mites under each sealed brood cap. Mother mites spend most of their time under the sealed cell, 12 days, versus 4-5 days walking around on bees.

Regarding population of bees, most newbies misjudge the number of bees because they may fail to evaluate the brood and only visualize adult bees. Even then, can anyone really tell the difference between 20,000 bees and 40,000 bees scattered over 30 frames? Probably not. But 20,000 bees will not survive a northern winter.

It is very important for all beekeepers to take a thorough beekeeping class, one that spends time addressing varroa mites control, small hive beetle control and how to regularly inspect a hive and what to look for in addition to the other basic instructions. What you do over the next few months will determine if your bees will survive the winter. Keep your mite levels below 3% out of 100 bees and monitor your queen’s ability to build up the hive throughout the year in preparation for winter.

All of our classes sell out fast, but we still have openings in our June 11th Basic Beekeeping Class. Even if have already started this year, take this class! Also, we are offering our popular “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter” class in August and September.

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter: August 22nd

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter: August 29th

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter: September 12th

Getting Your Bees Through The Winter: September 26th

Both of our Bee Institutes are filled up for this year. We have a growing waiting list should we decide to offer a 3rd one this year, but I’m still considering this possibility. The Bee Institute provides ample opportunity for field work as well as classroom lectures.

If you cannot take a class with us, try to find a beekeeping class near you. Become as knowledgeable as you can as a beekeeper. Don’t lose your bees due to newbie mistakes.

Absconding can be an issue with some packages. This is when all the bees leave the hive. Swarming is when a mature colony reproduces and half of the bees leave with the old queen. But Absconding is when the entire colony abandons the hive. The percentage is very low, but it does happen. And when it happens to you, you are no longer a beekeeper. The bees are gone, no one has any more packages to sell you because it is too late in the year. Several things you should know about absconding: There is no refund because we provided you with bees and a queen and it is beyond anyone’s control. If you call us, there is nothing we can do to help you find more bees. There is really no explanation as to why this happens. I have seen it happen more often when colonies are lined up very close together and packages are installed in all hives at the same time. It might (maybe) help if you put some distance between new installs. Maybe at least 20-40 feet. Place some sort of drawing on multiple hives, like a triangle drawing on one by their entrance, on the front, a large black circle on another one. These symbols are easier for bees to identify than colors. If you have some brood you can take from another hive, this can help cut down on absconding. Just be aware it happens occasionally. It is not because you did something wrong or because the location or equipment was wrong. Bees are livestock and sometimes they’ll run off. Once they are established after two weeks, all is good.

Helpful Hints About Package Bee Pickup Day T-Minus 10 Days

We are on schedule for the weekend of May 2nd. We will start the Saturday at 8:30 am central time. We can use a few experienced beekeepers to help us on this weekend, so give us a call if you are free. If this is your first time to pick up your bees from us, it will be quite an experience. Many people find the event to be “surreal.” There are beekeepers everywhere, loading up cars and trucks. Make this an enjoyable event. We are hoping for great weather. Here’s a handful of helpful tips:

1) Be patient. Sometimes checkout lines can be long. While we have several people running several lines, be patient.

2) Parking. In dry conditions there is plenty of parking. In wet conditions everything changes. Please follow the instructions of our parking attendants. They will help you find a spot.

3) We have loaded up our inventory, but obviously we cannot stock every single beekeeping item. But feel free to look around. If you know what you need, it is best to call in and pay for it in advance so you can dodge the lines.

4) Meeting David and Sheri. Some of you are driving a long way to get here and it will be your first time here. You may be looking forward to meeting us, and we want to meet you. But be aware that it is an extremely busy day. If you cannot find us or we seemed rushed please do not be offended. We are just trying to keep everything flowing smoothly and it takes alot.

5) Carry your bees home carefully. Keep them in cool shade, never in the sun. If you are traveling for several hours, spray sugar water on the outside of the cage every 4 hours to help feed and cool the bees. If you have to hold your bees in their cage for a few days, try to keep them in a dark, cool room. They will stay much quieter. If you let them get hot in a bright room they will become very active. Try to keep them so they stay clustered.

6) If you need help installing your bees please refer to these lessons and videos:

Our Video page shows how to install a package.

Our Lesson On Installing A Package

How To Install A Package In Bad Weather

Calling Us For Support

If you are one of our customers we will go out of our way to answer your questions. Please call us (no emails please) during our business hours and we will be happy to help our customers. If you are not a customer, and have bought your bees or equipment from other suppliers we kindly ask that you call them so they can more accurately address your issues. Thank you.

See you next time!
David and Sheri Burns

Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com
217-427-2678
M-Thur 10am – 4pm Central Time
Fri 10am- Noon
Closed Sat & Sun

Monday, March 30, 2015

Best Practices For Over Wintered Colonies www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

dslog

Spring has sprung, and though winter keeps trying to hang on, spring keeps gaining ground. Hello everyone, and welcome to another beekeeping lesson from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms located in central Illinois. We are David and Sheri Burns and thanks for joining us.

We’ve reached the beekeeping season where “all hands on deck” is a requirement. As a small family business, we are working hard to fill orders, build, paint, feed bees and meet the demands of another exciting beekeeping year.

We’d like to say hello to hundreds of new beekeepers who will be keeping bees for the very first time. I know you are both excited and concerned. Stay calm, watch our videos and enjoy! Remember, we have a ton of beekeeping information available on every subject of beekeeping available. I have turned down book offers so as to make this information easily available to you so please take advantage of this FREE beekeeping content, from videos to detailed how to lessons on our website: www.honeybeesonline.com

For those of you wondering what to do next with your hives that survived the winter, I want to share some best practices so you can help these colonies get a fast head start into spring. Before we begin, let me bring you up-to-date on what’s going on around the honey bee farm.

NYPhoto1 Our son, Seth, and his wife came home for his pre-deployment leave. It was great having them home for a few weeks. He’s on his way to the Middle East now for 7 months. We pray for all our men and women serving our country that they will come back safe.  Sheri and I have now taught lots of basic beekeeping classes and we have 20 more classes to teach throughout the year on queen rearing, getting your bees through the winter, advance beekeeping and our two Beekeeping Institutes. Check out all our classes at: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/bee-classes/  We still have a few spots in our second Beekeeping Institute on June 26-28. We’ve had people from all over the US attend our Institute, so consider joining us and learning everything you can about honeybees in 3 intensive days.

IMG_3039 Sheri and I cannot remember ever seeing this kind of interest in beekeeping. We are swamped with new beekeepers and all of our classes have bee sold out to capacity.  Every year beekeeping gains momentum. These are very exciting times to be a beekeeper. If you are still considering it, there is still time. Although we are sold out of bees, you can still purchase your hive and equipment from us and purchase your bees locally near you.

Things are looking good for package bee pick up weekend, May 2-3. Everyone who ordered packages of bees from us should have received a letter from us or will shortly with all the details. If not, please give us a call. If it is your first time to pick up bees from our farm, please be advised that there are a lot of people in one place at one time.

L1532 We have many people helping that day, from parking lot attendants to package bee handlers to check out people. But please bring your patience. We do our best to eliminate long lines but remember while you are just one person, there is a lot of logistics to work out to make it all happen so your patience is appreciated.

Now that it is spring and depending on where you live and how warm it is, it’s time to take a look at what to do next to get your bees as strong and as healthy as possible for spring and summer.

 

First, Feed, And Feed

And keep on feeding! Most people agree that bees should be eating 1:1 sugar water and pollen patties in the spring. All of us are attempting to “spark” our colonies to be ready for the first opportunity to harvest pollen and nectar, which is going on for our southern beekeepers, just about to start this week for our central US beekeepers and is a week or two away for our northern beekeepers. 

Some people become confused on how to feed bees in the spring. There are many different types of feeders and approaches to feeding spring colonies. There are top feeders, entrance (Boardman) feeders, frame feeders, and our new Burns Bees Feeding System. All work fine. Some have slight advantages over the others, but some have disadvantages too. It’s all about personal preference. An entrance feeders works fine. A disadvantage is that you have to reach to the front of the hive to change it and bees will be all over the top of the jar when you change it. Normally this is no big deal, but it can be intimidating to a new beginner. Top feeders occasionally malfunction and bees can drown in the reservoirs of sugar water. Frame feeders are labor intense because you have to open the hive up and fill the feeder while it is in the hive and bees can drown in the reservoir.

BBFS Our Feeding System has screen where the jars sit as well as well the patties are given to the hive so that no bees exit while adding patties or changing jars. The disadvantage is that you will need a spare deep box to put above the feeder giving you room to encase your jar and feeders below your top cover. I designed our feeder specifically to be used on new spring colonies because no matter how cold it may get on a spring night, the food is above the bees, not below them or outside of the hive. Our system provides an easy way to feed pollen patties rather than just smashing them between the boxes and frames. I just made a new video showing how to remove our Winter-Bee-Kinds and place our Burns Bees Feeding Systems on for spring. Watch my video below:

 

Aggressively Kill Mites

Even though it is spring and your bees made it through the winter, you must start immediately start your mite control program. I recommend all new packages are placed in hives with one Green Drone Comb in each deep hive body for mite trapping. We include instructions and timing on using your Green Drone Comb traps for mites. Our hives come with screen bottom boards and we have them separately if you want to replace your solid bottom board. Screen bottom boards help mites fall out of the hive. Powdered Sugar treatments can help dislodge mites from bees and later in the year we encourage beekeepers to break the queen’s brood cycle. These techniques are all taught extensively at our classes. If you choose to ignore mites in your hives, your colonies will most likely die a very premature death. There are “soft” chemicals such as organic acids. These include formic acid and oxalic acid. Oxalic was just recently approved in the US a few weeks ago for beekeepers to use in their hives. In our classes we teach how to do accurate mite counts. I recommend you do a mite count every 2-4 weeks to help you better decide on your level of treatment. It is a waste of time to evaluate why your bees died if you have not been tracking and treating for varroa mites.

You cannot pull out a frame of brood unless the temperature is warm outside, 60 degrees (f) or above. So you may not be able to begin your mite evaluations and treatments for several more weeks, but be prepared in advance.

Make Room For Rapid Growth. Have A Spare Hive For Swarms and Swarm Control

Busybee No one wants to see their hive swarm. If your hive does really well coming out of winter they will soon be congested and may reproduce into another hive through swarming. Over half of your colony will leave with your old queen to start a new colony. Your colony will stay behind and try to raise a new queen. For central Illinois this takes place in late April through May. It’s next to impossible to prevent swarming. However, I do my best to avoid it by creating the artificial swarm by splitting my congested colonies into additional hives. This, of course, means you need to have another hive to put your splits into, so think ahead and have a spare hive ready. What I find most effective is to pull out 4 or 5 frames from a strong colony in May and place them in a new hive. Since bees are ramped up in May to raise queens, I simply make sure both the old hive and new hive are given frames of eggs. That way I don’t even care which hive has the queen because the one who doesn’t will raise a queen from their fertilized eggs in the brood comb. I then give the congested colony 4 empty drawn comb to replace the 4 full frames I removed. This can help prevent a congested hive from swarming. If you were to carry the queen over with the new 4 frame hive, the old colony might be less apt to swarm due to the energy required to raise a new queen.

Reversing Hive Bodies

If the bees are all in the upper deep brood box and no brood is found in the lower deep brood box, it can help to swap the two boxes. But if brood is scattered through both boxes it is not a good idea to dislodge the configuration of the brood nest. And I only do this in Illinois after May 1 to avoid chilling the brood if the weather turns cold.

Well there you go. I’ve provided some good tools and techniques to help your over wintered colonies grow in the spring. Thank you for allowing Long Lane Honey Bee Farms to meet all your beekeeping needs. Give us a call today: 217-427-2678.

David and Sheri Burns
www.honeybeesonline.com