Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Count Down To Bee Season www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS
Okay, so we get it! Everyone is suffering from ice, snow, slippery roads, and cold winds. It’s impossible to think about spring right? Actually, we are looking forward to spring more than ever this time of year. Hi, we are David and Sheri Burns from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We operate our family beekeeping supply business in central Illinois.  I taught a basic beekeeping class at Heartland Community College in Bloomington, Illinois last Saturday and when I left my house we had 5 inches of snow on the roads. It seemed odd driving on snow to teach on bees, but now is the time to plan ahead. Our next basic beekeeping class is this Saturday and the weather looks good. That class is full but Our next opened class is Saturday March 7th, 9am-3pm at our honey bee farm here in central Illinois. We have a few openings left for this class. See a list all of our classes.
We also added another Beekeeping Institute for 2015. Our first Institute filled up fast, and we already are filling up our second institute. We have 6 openings now. Click here for more information on our Beekeeping Institute June 26-28, 2015.
Hive2Here we go with our famed and legendary hive, completely painted and assembled. Comes with wooden frames and foundation. Shipping is included in this price. If you are comparing prices, please take in consideration that while you might find a similar hive for a few dollars less ask these questions: 1. Is it assembled? 2. Is it painted? 3. Does it include wooden frames and foundation? 4. How much is shipping? Our hives come completely assembled, painted with wooden frames and foundation included. Shipping is included in our price of $279. Click here to order. We have nearly 200 built and ready to fill orders. Don’t wait. Get your hive early so you can become familiar with it and place it where you will keep your bees.
L1532
Good News! Looks like we will be able to get more packages now that we are getting closer to spring. We have a large waiting list that we will attempt to work through as well. But for now, we will place another 50 packages online Sunday March the 1st 6 a.m. central time. First come, first serve basis. These will be for pickup only at our farm, estimated to be the first Sunday in May.
The information will be posted on our main page at: www.honeybeesonline.com at 6 a.m. Sunday march 1st.  for individual 3 lb packages with a mated, laying queen.

LA My brother just sent me a photo of his windshield from Ruston, Louisiana. Frozen over. My friend, Jon Zawislak called me yesterday and he’s off work in Little Rock, Arkansas again due to slippery roads and ice and snow. Bla, bla, bla, right?
Want to know what I do in the middle of winter when it’s cold, frozen and snowy outside? I take a lot of vitamin D and countdown until spring. As of today  (Feb. 24th), there are only 23 days until spring. Three weeks and two days.  Let the countdown begin.

The Beekeeper’s Countdown Until Bee Season

What does a beekeeper do in order to countdown and prepare for spring? Of course this is slightly different depending on where in the US you live. But you can make the adjustments and start counting down till spring.
1. Make sure you have the equipment and bees you need for spring. The longer you wait the less likely you will be able to get what Freedomekityou need when you need it. Every year there are beekeepers who somehow make the mistake of getting their bees before they order their equipment. Don’t let this happen to you. Get  your hives and equipment long before your bees arrive so you can become familiar with your hive and equipment. Remember, two hives are better than one. You can equalize your hives and build up a weak hive from the strong hive.
2. Use these next several weeks to read and educate yourself more on beekeeping. Take some classes. There is a misguided movement to have a hands off approach in keeping bees. This is not beekeeping, this is bee-having. There is a big different between having a hive and doing nothing and keeping a hive with best management and practices. If you do not inspect your hive regularly and combat varroa mites aggressively, your bees are likely to perish. The 21st century beekeeper must not only be well informed but well trained to keep bees alive.
3. Make a plan now how you will test for varroa mites. Will you use the powdered sugar shake or the alcohol wash to count mites. Which ever method  you choose, read up on it and become familiar now so you can start testing and dealing with mites soon after receiving your nuc or package in a few weeks.
comb

4. Formulate some plans for keeping bees this spring. For example, make a plan to go after varroa mites and keep to it. Make a plan now how you might split your strong colonies that made it through the winter. Make a plan now that you will be more proactive and inspect the condition of your queen and colony every two or three weeks.
Become familiar with spotting eggs in the bottom of cells as seen in my photo. If you see eggs, you have a queen.

BBFS 5. Have a plan to keep you colony strong and productive by feeding  your bees when needed, and promoting brood build up prior to the start of foraging season.  Each season I make an educated guess when ample nectar sources will first be available. Then, I back date 41 days. This is the magic date that I work to stimulate my colony to ramp up brood production. This is so that eggs that are laid on March 1 will be foragers on April 10th. I place a Burns Bees Feeding System on my hive, push patties through he screen and feed two different types of syrup. One jar is 1:1 sugar water, and the jar in the second hole is 1 part sugar and 2 parts water. This, along with our patties helps stimulates brood build up. We now have our sugar/pollen patties available again.
6. Finally, plan now to keep better records on your hives. We have a free inspection sheet that can help you keep good records on each hive.
So don’t be depressed over all the cold and icy weather. Plan ahead now to have an exciting spring enjoying beekeeping.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com
217-427-2678

Friday, February 13, 2015

Adventures In Beekeeping www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, also known on the Internet as www.honeybeesonline.com  We are David and Sheri Burns and we own and operate a bee business. We carry a full line of beekeeping equipment, supplies, bees and queens. You’ll see that we provide a ton of free, up-to-date and accurate beekeeping lessons. Some of you have learned everything you know about honey bees from us, and we appreciate that a lot. Keep in mind that you can return the favor by purchasing your beekeeping hives and supplies from us. We really do appreciate every order. Our livelihood comes solely from great customers like you. The best way or us to get to know you better is for you to come and take a class with us. Not only will you get to hang out with us, but you’ll walk away knowing how to keep bees. We keep our classes under 20 students so we can be personable and answer all your questions.

Today I want to excite you about all the possibilities and adventures beekeeping may open up for you. But before I do, let me fill you in on what we’ve been up to.

Here in central Illinois our bees were flying like crazy on Sunday. It was a good sight to see now that we are half way through winter. Compared to last year our winter has been very mild. My bees are on their second Winter-Bee-Kind and some customers have now been back for 2 refills. Do not think that just  one is going to suffice. It might, but if your bees have eaten an entire Winter-Bee-Kind, they are hungry!  If you haven’t checked, pop the lid and see how much they have eaten. Refill it or order another one because we have many weeks of winter to go. Don’t forget as winter ends and the weather warms up, we’ll want to remove our Winter-Bee-Kinds and place on our Burns Bees Feeding Systems. This delivers maximum liquid and protein for late winter and early spring feed. Especially helpful for packages or nucs.

Mudroom We’ve lived here in this old farm house over 11 years this spring. It was built in 1876, eleven years after the Civil War ended (1861-1865). The builders left their name and date on a piece of siding we removed. Cool discovery. Over the past 10 years we’ve been making improvements to our home like most folks do. At first we made essential improvements, like getting the septic system to work and the roof fixed. But lately we’ve been remodeling eye sores. So I finally remodeled our mud room. In the early days, before we had the other buildings, people had to walk into this room to access the restrooms during beekeeping classes. So finally, I did some plumbing, tiled the floor and hid some ugly pipes. Sheri stained the wainscoting. How do you pronounce wainscoting? Some people say it like wains-coating. Others say wains-scot-ing, like the name Scott. Because we stay so busy with our bee business, we are like everyone else, we can only work on the house a few hours a week.  When does it every stop? Now I’m fixing things that I fixed 11 years ago. I’m starting over!!

web Speaking of remodeling…You may have noticed we took our website through a complete remodel. Wow! I lost a lot of sleep on this huge project. Technology keeps changing and to keep up with the times, we were forced to do a total re-write. It is functioning perfectly, but I will continue now to make minor improvements like colors and overall appearance over the next few weeks. At one point there were three of us sitting at a table, each with a laptop smashing code. Stop in and take a look at: www.honeybeesonline.com and along with that you can follow us on Facebook  and Twitter. Sheri spends a lot of time keeping things going on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Another cool thing that graces our home at night is the sweet sounds of violin music in the air. Sheri is a musician. She plays the piano and flute and several years ago she thought it would be neat to play the violin. This Christmas I surprised her with a violin. She is taking lessons and is getting really good.

Our beekeeping classes have started for the year. We offer beekeeping classes all year long. Many places only offer them in the early part of the year. Last weekend was so much fun. We had several people from Iowa, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois. Every year we improve our student books and accuracy of materials. We love meeting new people. The folks were just fantastic, like visiting with family. Come on and join us for a class. It’s more than a class, it is an experience. Check out all of our upcoming classes. We are getting closer to perhaps having two Beekeeping Institutes this year as several have expressed a desire to come to a second one. We’ll keep you posted.

Sheri and I are back in the Podcast Studio, producing podcasts again. We have a new one done! You can listen to it in the next day or two at: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/beekeeping-podcast/ or on iTunes at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/studio-bee-live/id400801201?mt=2

Mystery Photo

Test your beekeeping knowledge by taking a look at the honey bee leg on our website: www.honeybeesonline.com. Tell us if it is the front leg, middle leg or back leg of a honeybee. Tell us the reason for your answer. The first person with the most complete answer will win a Burns Bees Feeding System. Leave your answer on our Facebook page

Adventures In Beekeeping

I’m an adventurous person. Maybe that’s what got me started in beekeeping. What I love about beekeeping is that it’s not only helping to save the honey bee, but it’s fun. Every time I inspect my hives it is an adventure. The dictionary defines the word adventurous as “willing to take risks or to try out new methods, ideas, or experiences”.

David Marking Queen2 Beekeeping keeps us active and thinking. It motivates me to work out in the fresh air and to get some natural vitamin D. It provokes me to think, study and tinker around with new ideas. This keeps my mind stimulated to grow, expand and learn. I’ve known people who have retired but became bored and disenchanted with life. Their spouses became concerned about them because they all but gave up on life. They lost their enthusiasm for each day. It was for this very reason that Rev. Langstroth kept bees and eventually discovered bee space, giving us the removal frame hives used to this very day.

Being adventurous means trying new ideas and some times even taking a risk. I really don’t see beekeeping as a risk or dangerous, but I suppose it is to some. Certainly your bees could die, so you could risk losing your investment. However, haven’t we all taken this same risk in other areas? We took a risk and something didn’t work out the way we thought. That’s not a reason to become a fearful recluse. Sometimes we have to take a risk to enjoy the benefits that can only be achieved by stepping out of our comfort zone.

Beekeeping has opened up the opportunity for me to meet more great people, to speak around the country, to do things with bees that I never thought I’d do. All of that is a little risky, but sometimes taking a risk energizes us.

Route662 On the other hand, maybe you are done taking risks and you just want to keep bees to regain your sanity in the serenity of your apiary. That’s cool too. Life is challenging and sometimes very stressful and hard. Sometimes our world seems crazy and all messed up. It’s comforting, in light of the world’s problems, to light up the smoker, put on the suit, open up a hive and see thousands of individuals working in harmony with one another. Maybe beekeeping is just the adventure you’re looking for. It’s not too late to start beekeeping. Check out all of our hive kits and we have packages of bees available with our hives.

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

FREEDOM KIT
Order with or without bees
Our Most Complete Beekeeping Kit
2 Hives & Equipment Supplies

Freedom Bee Hive Kit

WITH BEES
WITHOUT BEES
Celebrate the freedom we have in America, freedom to pursue our dreams. Perhaps keeping bees is part of your dream and your pursuit of happiness. Look at the beekeeping supplies included.

 
LIBERTY KIT
Order with or without bees
See below

1 Hive, & Equipment Supplies

Liberty Hive Kit


WITH BEES
W/O BEES
Same as FREEDOM KIT but only has one hive.

 
EARLY BIRD
SPECIAL

Packages of bees sell out so fast. We have reserved bees to go along with this hive kit special. We want to help you fulfill your dream of keeping bees.

earlybird2.jpg


CLICK HERE TO ORDER
Did you wait too long last year to start beekeeping? Take advantage of our early bird special. Maybe you are brand new to beekeeping and finding it hard to get a package of bees and a hive. You've come to the right place.

   
 
INDEPENDENCE KIT
Order with or without bees. See below
1 Starter Hive, & Equipment Supplies


WITH BEES
WITHOUT BEES

Starter hive.Buy other boxes as you need them.

   
                 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Winter and Spring Feeding of Honey Bees www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS

We are David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. I want to share some great things about feeding bees now and into spring. How is the best way to transition feeding bees from winter to spring?  Before I do, let me thank you for reading our blog about honey bees and beekeeping.

Since 2006 I have been writing these lessons in beekeeping. I enjoy sharing as much information as possible. It’s hard to believe I’ve published these teachings for a little over eight years. Some of you have been reading these from the beginning and though you may live too far away to visit us, you feel like part of the family. My first lesson was entitled, “I Can’t Figure Out Why Everyone Is Not A Beekeeper”. I start off saying, “For the life of me, I can't figure out why everyone doesn't keep bees. It is a blast! I suppose bees have been falsely portrayed as "killer bees" taking over homes and whole cities. That's Hollywood, not reality. Anyone can keep bees. It's easy. As you continue keeping bees over the years, you learn more and more…”  That was 8 years ago, and I feel more passionate about beekeeping now than I did then.

Christmas 2013 I want to thank you for being a part of our family and business over the past few years and we look forward to many more years to come. We know you can buy your beekeeping equipment from other places. Some even offer free shipping. We try never to use the word “free shipping”, because  you do know that it is NOT free, don’t you? With some of our hive kits we use words like, “Shipping is included.” If it comes down to you saving a buck because of “free shipping” and going somewhere else, I hope you’ll decide to buy from us, to support our family business so we can be here long into the future offering classes and all of these online lessons that I am sure have helped so many of you. Our bread and butter comes solely from you deciding to do business with us,  hard working, small family business. Thank you in advance. We have built a lot of hives in preparation of the 2015 bee season. They are ready to ship! Check out our hives at: www.honeybeesonline.com The more you purchase from us, the more resources we have to continue our research and inventing things like our Winter-Bee-Kind and our Burns Bees Feeding System.

Someone told us that if you have an Android smart phone (not an iPhone), you can say to Google Now, “How to start beekeeping” and she will recite back info from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. I tried it and it is cool. Speaking of the Internet, here is some important information about our website this week.

NOTICE: Our website is undergoing a refurbishing toward the end of this week. We are adding many new features. There may be intermittent downtimes during this revamp so please be patient. If you go to our website, www.honeybeesonline.com, but it is down, please feel free to call us (217-427-2678) during regular hours and place your orders with us over the phone. We will do everything we can to reduce downtime, but depending on where you live, it may be down only 10 minutes or up to 48 hours.  

beeinstitute We are getting ready for our first class for the 2015 beekeeping season. We’ve taught beekeeping classes for seven years now. Each year we add more classes and update materials to stay up to date on new findings and research about beekeeping. In preparation for our 2015 classes we are preparing our educational center. Some of you have been to our new facility for classes last year, and it is very nice. But we have slowly been finishing up the kitchen area and we hope to have it completed in a few weeks in time for our Feb. 7th class.

Our first class, Feb 7th, is sold out and our second class on Feb 28th has 2 openings left. We are excited about a full roster of classes we are offering throughout the year. Our Beekeeping Institute in June is completely filled up already. We are contemplating offering a second one this year. Several people were disappointed not to have registered in time before all seats were sold. If you were not able to sign up for the beekeeping institute, but are interested in attending our Beekeeping Institute, please call us to help us make this decision. Thank you. To see our entire list of beekeeping classes including, Advance Beekeeping, Queen Rearing, How To Get Bees Through The Winter and more, go to: www.honeybeesonline.com/classes.html

Winter and spring feeding of honey bees can be tricky especially for inexperienced beekeepers. The best winter option is or bees to live off of their own honey and stores of pollen. However, if a colony does not store up enough for winter, they die because they do not have enough food to generate heat. They starve and freeze to death. Our Winter-Bee-Kinds are an idea resource to place on a hive if they are out of winter food. But how do you make the transition from winter feeding to spring feeding?

I like to give my overwintered colonies liquid feed as soon as the weather permits it. In late winter and early spring, colonies need pollen and 1:1 sugar water. The tricky part is deciding when to go from hard candy to liquid candy. My rule of thumb is as soon as it is warm enough for bees to fly, it’s time to go liquid. I cannot feed them liquid now because not only would it freeze or crystallize, but it is not characteristic of the winter cluster to consume liquid feed.

As soon as I see that the forecast calls for low winds and mild temps so that bees will fly, I’ll start with 1:1 sugar water and patties. Sheri makes an unbelievable sugar/pollen patty for bees. Some of you purchased those last fall and  you know how well the bees loved them. We could not keep up with the demand of orders. I am trying to talk Sheri into making these available again in the spring because this is when bees need them, spring and fall. For now we include a recipe.

Burns Feeding System Now is the time to purchase your Burns Bees Feeding System. In some parts of the southern US, temps will be warming up enough to begin using this system real soon. It allows you to feed liquid and patties to your bees without needing spacers. Special screens hold the bees down so you can change out your feeder jars without bees flying up out of the holes. We now make them out of birch and have a better automated system to cut the perfect circle holes. In the central US we can start using these in about 6-8 weeks so don’t delay. Have them on hand when the weather provides the opportunity.

Here’s a video I made about this system. Man, don’t you wish we were back to short sleeves!

Feeding bees can really make a difference in how fast they build up in the spring. Sometimes bees survive the winter, but become so weak and hungry they never build up and eventually crash in the spring or summer. It is important to provide good nutrition to bees year round if they cannot obtain it on their own.

That’s all for now. See you next time!

David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
www.honeybeesonline.com
217-427-2678
M-Thu  10am-4pm central time
Fri-       10am- Noon

Sunday, January 11, 2015

What Does Dead Bees In The Snow Mean? www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS

During the last two weeks, winter has tortured us! Unseasonably cold temperatures with strong gusty winds pushed our wind chill near - 30 (F).  Be calm as healthy colonies with plenty of food are quite capable of sailing through the winter without any problems.

Hi, we are David and Sheri Burns of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. We take our partnership with our bee students and customers very seriously. That’s why we are particular about the equipment we make and we sell only the best products. And if there isn’t one, we invent it! If you are interested in becoming a beekeeper, please check out our complete webpage on what to do next at: www.honeybeesonline.com/howtostart.html

JUST FOR YOU

We have an entire webpage dedicated to quickly answer questions beekeepers may have. www.honeybeesonline.com/honeybees.html

HEADS UP!

Freedom Sheri has informed me that we are getting low on the number of packages of bees that we can include in our Freedom Kits and Early Bird Specials. If you are wanting to start keeping bees or know someone who is thinking about it, the time is short to make plans. Act now or you will be disappointed in several weeks. See our complete line of products at www.honeybeesonline.com

In less than one month we will offer our first beginners class for 2015 bee season. We still have several seats open for Feb. 7th Beginning Beekeeping. It’s here at our honey bee farm and the nice thing about taking this early class is that you can return to any other beginner’s class during the year at no cost.  We offer this opportunity for those who need to hear it again as a refresher course. Check out all of our classes at: www.honeybeesonline.com/classes.html

temp As beekeepers we really keep an eye on the weather. A week ago I saw where the temperatures were going to drop fast and the wind was going to be brutal. Some of my hives had no wind protection, so I decided to implement several experiments. I address the pros and cons of wrapping hives in my classes on, “Getting bees Through The Winter” and wrapping can be a disadvantage if not monitored and adjusted according to the weather. But wind protection can go a long way. And, I believe it can also be an added bonus to keep the hive dry in the winter.  Of course, not doing anything sometimes works just fine too. But most beekeepers lost about 50% of their hives last winter, so I’m using this winter to observe the benefits of wind breaks. Already, I have made an interesting observation. My hives that had my experimental wind cover on them carried out house cleaning in temperatures well below freezing.

 

What I mean by house cleaning is that the colony removed dying or dead bees and dropped them away from the hive. Hives without this wind protection did not carry out house cleaning choirs. What house cleaning says to me is two things. 1) The bees are warm and healthy enough to work inside the hive. 2) If they can move around to clean up dead bees, then they can also move around and consume pollen, bee bread and honey. This week I’ll be receiving some additional monitoring equipment that will allow me to gather precise data to make better correlations.

Again this fall, we will be offering the same “Getting Your Bees Through The Winter” class on four different days. When we offer this class on September 26, this class will be removing most older bees from a colony and working to produce a colony that has minimal older bees that could potentially be carrying viruses from mites or be worn out from foraging. It will be an attempt to see how a colony overwinters with 80% new bees born in the fall into a colony with less than 3% mite infestation.

Dead Bees In The Snow

beepoop3The interesting thing about dead bees in the snow is that they always seem to be slightly down in the snow as if they were warm enough to melt a little bit of the snow when they were first dropped. This just means that no matter when these bees died (usually of natural causes) they were above freezing in the hive. What I am also observing is the amount of dead bees that are dropped. This is interesting to me because I worked hard all fall to reduce mites and specifically raise brood that was not parasitized by mites and did not forage at all. These bees were raised in three specific time periods by caging my queen, giving me the brood exactly when I wanted it. It worked flawlessly. The dead bees I’m seeing now I hope are the older bees that were alive prior to the fall bees that I raised.  This week, temperatures will be in the mid 30s (f). I plan to go out to change my Winter-Bee-Kinds candy boards.

winterbkind Just a reminder, do not remove frames from your hives in the winter. You can replace Winter-Bee-Kinds, and take a quick look down into the hive, but you cannot remove frames for inspection until the outside temperature reaches at least 60 degrees (f). Also, wear protective clothing when opening a hive in the winter. They are quite capable of  flying out and defending the colony.

Worry or Not Worry?

Should you be concerned about dead bees showing up in the snow around your hive? It is very benign during the winter. It can be a good sign as I noted above. However, excessive dead bees may indicate the hive is getting smaller in number and may be losing their ability to heat the colony’s cluster in extremely cold temperatures. In my drops last week, I counted 17 in the snow in front of one hive and 25 near another hive. That is benign. However if you count 200 or more, that may not be a problem if this was their first chance to clean house after a long winter. But if they are constantly dragging out hundreds a week, it could indicate the colony has a microsporidian or virus. If this is the case it is best not to worry, because there is nothing you can do in the winter anyway. However, if hundreds are dying a week from starvation, you can and MUST do something. Feed them with a Winter-Bee-Kind immediately to stop the starvation.

In the north, we experience a high number of bees dying in the winter, mainly because our winters are so long and so cold. It is not unusual for colonies to be reduced down to 20,000 or less in the spring as it starts to warm up. This is not always the case, but winters are hard.

Also, without snow on the ground, you might not ever notice or see dead bees because they blend in to the dirt or grass. A snowfall is when we notice them. However, they are being drop every day it is warm enough. You can build a board and place it in front of your hive. I’ve made them from OSB with 2x4 edges on the top edges to keep the bees from blowing off. Place it next to the hive about 4-5 feet out. You can count your bees daily and see if there is a correlation between cold snaps and number of dead bees.

If you have any questions this week or need to order hives or kits, please give us a call this week.  217-427-2678

Thanks!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678

Monday, January 5, 2015

Beekeepers’ Resolutions For 2015 www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

Happy New Years from all of us at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. It is 2015 and in just 3-4 months the bee season will be in full swing.  The Bible says, “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.” (Leviticus 26:10)  I hope this is true for you and we hope that all of our bees will still be alive in the spring and we’ll have to make room for more hives!

We had so much fun being with family and eating everyone’s best food and desserts. Some of you have followed this blog/lesson for several years before you finally dove into beekeeping. Some of you enjoy following this blog because over the years you have gotten to know us through this blog and you enjoy hearing how we are doing. Others read the blog only for vital beekeeping information only.  Whatever the reason, thanks or joining us today.

This is the time of year that we “re-tool” everything for the upcoming year. The weather is cold, snowy and we don’t like to work outside unless we have to. Those of you who live in the north know what cabin fever is all about. Once the holidays are over it’s a long haul until spring. We work hard all winter to be ready for spring.  In the winter our land is either frozen or muddy and messy. Since we are in the country, we have to sweep the snow off our satellite receivers to keep our internet working.

Route663 We spend a lot of time on the phone working with new beekeepers placing orders and helping them figure out what they need. My wife, Sheri, is so good on the phone.  She is personable, extremely knowledgeable about beekeeping, and is so good about keeping track of orders and the special needs of our customers. She’s manning the phones today until 4:00 p.m. central time if you need something.

Sometimes when all lines are busy I answer the phones to help out, but Sheri is your girl to talk to. If you cannot get through, just know that we are answer all lines and cannot get to your call. Just call back if you can’t get through. We want to talk with you. 217-427-2678

 

IMG_1161 When we are not working, we fall back and enjoy our hobbies. Sheri has taken up playing the violin so maybe I can talk her into playing something at the next beekeeping class.  I seem to have only summer hobbies, like riding my Harley. In the winter, I usually stay busy fixing up our 1876 farm house. There’s always another window to replace, or something that needs fixed or repaired. I have three drywall spots to keep mudding and sanding from some changes we made. I usually do all the work myself unless I get too busy.

The Bible says, “You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new.” (Leviticus 26:10)  I hope this is true for you and we hope that all of our bees will still be alive in the spring and we’ll have to make room for more hives!

71013 From iPhone 065Over the last month, there has been a surge in beekeeping interest. We’ve sold an unbelievable amount of  FREEDOM KITS (2 Hives) for this time of the year, to NEW BEEKEEPERS!! This excites us to see more and more people jumping into beekeeping.  And our beekeeping classes are filling up so fast too. Our Beekeeping Institute is over half full 5 months out. Speaking of selling out, we have sold out of packages of bees. However, we have reserved packages of bees to be sold with our hive kits and for students who take our beekeeping classes.

Over the last few years I’ve learned so much more about honey bees and beekeeping. That’s the neat thing about being a beekeeper, you just keep on learning year to year. My interaction with customers has truly taught me a lot too. Every time I talk with a customer, I hear what they have been trying and how well it has been working. Beekeeping is about educational growth.

class3 A common phone call is someone who has kept bees a few years but continues not to be successful. They call to sign up for a class because they know they need to be a better beekeeper. There are many challenges today facing honey bees and continued education gives us an edge to face these challenges more successfully. This might mean that  you need to now take what you’ve learned and make some resolutions for 2015 to be a better beekeeper.

I’ve thought of a few resolutions that would benefit most beekeepers.

1. Resolve To Plan Ahead. During the fall and winter, beekeepers ask me if it is too late to do anything about varroa mites. Sadly, I have to inform them it is too late. Once the temperature is below 60 degrees (f), we can no longer lift frames out of a hive in fear it will kill brood (developing pupae). This year, decide how you will aggressively keep your mites levels low. In our classes we give you a four part non-chemical approach. The longer you wait to purchase your bees, take a class or buy hives you risk having to wait or totally missing the boat.

BBFS1 Plan ahead in using the Burns Bees Feeding System. We sold a lot of these in the fall, but they cannot be used in the winter. So plan now to purchase these because you’ll want to start using them in Feb (for southern states) and March or April in the north. You can purchase them now and avoid back logged orders in the spring. We now make these from a higher quality wood which we are also using for our inner covers too. Click here to order now in planning ahead for spring feeding. Give your bees a boost in the spring. Works great on new packages, overwintered colonies or nucs.

2.  Resolve To Know As Much As You Can. Take all the classes you can. Attend seminars and conferences. Read books and magazines. For example, many of you watched my video on how to add additional wax to foundation to speed up the bees drawing out new foundation. This is something you can implement with your new hives this spring. Had you not read my lesson or watched my video you would not know to do this. So resolve to know as much as you can.

beepoop 3.  Monitor Your Hives Throughout The Winter. Keep Winter-Bee-Kind candy boards on your hives. Last year some beekeepers failed to replace empty WBKs on the hive and the bees starved out. So many hives were low on food going into winter. Resolve to monitor their winter stores of food. Keep mice out. Make sure your entrances are not allowing mice to enter. Mice can destroy your hives.  Provide a wind break. Keep something heavy on the top so winter winds do not blow the top off.

4. Resolve To Inspect Your Bees More Often In The Spring And Summer.  We recommend inspecting your hive briefly every two weeks in the spring and summer. This inspection is to take a quick look to be sure your queen is laying good. You do not have to find the queen, but just make sure you have plenty of brood of all stages, eggs, larvae and pupae. You can do a more thorough inspection every 6 weeks for pests and diseases.

L1538 5. Resolve To Deal With Issues. If  your queen is slacking off, replace her quickly. Prevent swarming. Trap small hive beetles. Keep your bees in their hives during pesticide applications nearby.

6. Resolve To Support Other Beekeepers. Often beekeepers can become territorial and threatened by other beekeepers. Resolve to encourage and support other beekeepers. Speak positively about associations, clubs and what other beekeepers are doing. Offer to help a struggling beekeeper. If a beekeeper suffers a loss, offer to take over a nuc to help them back into the game. We need to work together.

Class33 7. Resolve To Introduce More People Into Beekeeping. Are you coming to one of our beginner classes? If so, why not think of a friend nearby that you can inspire to become a beekeeper and join you for class too. It’s always fun tackling a new hobby with a buddy or a girlfriend. The more people start beekeeper, the closer we are to restoring the population of our much needed pollinator, the honey bee. Have them visit a special page we have just for beginners: www.honeybeesonline.com/howtostart.html

Thanks for joining us today. Check out some cool trivia we have on our main page at: www.honeybeesonline.com

 

See you next time,
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678
www.honeybeesonline.com

Monday, December 22, 2014

Test Your Knowledge Of Honey Bees www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DS

It’s Christmas week! Happy Holidays from David and Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.

Children and grandchildren will fill our house on Christmas Eve and we'll enjoy talking around the fireplace, eating wonderful food and opening a few gifts. All of our six children will be able to be here except our middle son who is in the Marines. Seth is preparing to leave on his second deployment in March, so we will miss seeing him this Christmas.

We will be closed Dec. 22-26. While phone support will not be available, you can continue to shop and order online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

We still have packages available for students who take our classes and for those purchasing our hives and hive kits. However, we are sold out of individual packages by themselves. We are working at selling nucs this year, but details will not be finalized until after the first of the year.

 

TEST YOUR BEEKEEPING KNOWLEDGE

1. How many miles do honey bees fly to bring us 1 pound of honey?

2. During a honey bee's life (about 40 days) how much honey will she gather?

3. Bees must fly to  _??_ million flowers to gather 1 pound of honey.

4. How many bees are in a 3 lb package of bees?

Answers are at: www.honeybeesonline.com
Just below "How To Start Beekeeping."

CHECK YOUR WINTER-BEE-KINDS!

winterbkind Some of our customer's bees have eaten all the food in the Winter-Bee-Kinds. They are bringing them back to be refilled. Keep an eye on your Winter-Bee-Kinds and make sure they are not empty. Many colonies were low on food going into winter and are eating up the food fast, even though winter has just arrived today. Some of my hives will consume three or four WBKs during the winter. Tomorrow, I place to go out, and replace some of mine. I’ll video the process and post it on YouTube this week. We refill them for $7. If you just need to buy an additional one you can click here

JOIN US FOR OUR BEEKEEPING CLASSES

For many years Sheri and I have held beekeeping classes at our honey bee farm. We love the opportunity to introduce new people into beekeeping or to help experienced beekeepers gain more knowledge to enjoy beekeeping more.

I studied hard to earn my EAS certification as  master beekeeper in order to present  thorough and complete information in our classes. 

Most of our classes are held on Saturday and start at 9 a.m. People arrive from surrounding states and here in Illinois. Sheri and I work hard to prepare for each class. All week we are preparing the educational facilities, having the student books printed and refreshments in place.

Many students are also picking up orders and so we make sure during the week that all orders are prepared for pickup.

When we wake up on Saturday morning, we are excited for another opportunity to meet folks from all around who are interested in beekeeping. We've made so many wonderful friends through our classes. We keep our classes small, between 15-20, so we can be as personable as we can.

We hope you can join us for one of our Beginners classes, Advance beekeeping class, Queen Rearing or Getting Your Bees Through the Winter class.

If you are driving far or flying in, Danville, Illinois has major hotels such as Holiday Inn Express, Best Western etc.

For a complete list of our beekeeping classes, click here, or go to: www.honeybeesonline.com/classes.html

We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to our place.

Join Us At Our 3rd Beekeeping Institute June 12-14, 2015

Imagine spending 3 days with certified master beekeeper David Burns, and other bee experts. Long Lane Honey Bee Farms Beekeeping Institute will be Friday-Sunday, June 12-14, 2015. This is our second year to offer our Beekeeping Institute and every year it gets better.

The Beekeeping Institute is a series of classes over the course of several days to make you a well rounded and knowledgeable beekeeper. The institute is held at our honey bee farm in our new classroom building. 

A Basic Beekeeping class is a prerequisite to this 3 day Beekeeping Institute. (We offer a Basic Beekeeping class the day before this institute on June 11th). During this three day beekeeping institute we will cover in depth teachings on pests and diseases, best seasonal management practices, queen rearing, swarm prevention, making splits, field work such as nosema field test, mite tests and more. You'll learn how to find your queen, how to mark her, and how to perform a thorough hive inspection and much, much more. David will have several bee experts assisting him during this institute.

"I love the institute week. I enjoy the interaction between students. We all become good friends and enjoy learning about bees together. You have me at your disposal for 3 days to pick my brain. Come join me"—David Burns

Come join us and we'll take you through three days of training that will help you leave as an expert.
Lunch is included as well as workbooks. Click here for more information. If you have any questions, please call us at: 217-427-2678.

Busy Bee Special

We have worked with new beekeepers for nearly a decade. We know you are busy, and sometimes too busy to think of everything to do to get started in beekeeping. That's why, several years ago we created the Busy Bee Special.  And we still have packages of bees available with our Busy Bee Special, which is one hive and one package. The hives are shipped to you now, but the bees are picked up here in May.

 

CHECK OUT OUR QUICK BEEKEEPING LINKS

Honey Bees

Beekeeping Trivia

How To Keep Bees

Beekeeping Store

Beekeeping Classes

2015 Beekeeping Institute

Beekeeping Videos

Thanks again for joining us, and have a wonderful and Happy Holiday Season!

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

Monday, December 8, 2014

Beekeeping: Winter Wind Break 217-427-2678 www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DavidSherifirearm

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. How are your bees holding out so far this fall?  Winter doesn’t even start for another two weeks. Fortunately, the forecast in central Illinois for next week is perfect for bees. Highs around 40 degrees (f) and lows in the lower 30s (f). Because it is warm enough during the day, the bees are able to enlarge the cluster and move around a little and maybe gather resources a frame or two over.

Have you gone out and put your ear up against the hive yet? Doesn’t it bring a real sense of satisfaction when you knock on the side of a hive during winter and you can hear buzzing inside?  Yeah, they are alive! In this lesson, I want to talk about the importance of wind breaks and give a few suggestions about making a wind break or possibly moving the hive out of the wind.

winterbkind Before we begin, let me share that our Winter-Bee-Kinds are only $29 when you pick them up at our store this week only. It takes a lot of work to prepare the WBKs for shipping. So we’ll pass on the savings to you if you pick them up. We usually have a surplus available on hand but you might want to call if you are driving a long distance, to be sure we have them available. 217-427-2678. We are open Mon. – Thur. 10 a.m. –4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. until noon. If you live too far away click here to order your Winter-Bee-Kind today. It is more than a candy board as it also contains insulation to reduce condensation in the top of the hive, and an upper vent so that bees can more easily take that needed cleansing flight on warmer winter days and to reduce upper condensation from building up.

In this picture, we are testing our Winter-Bee-Kind mixture with one of our Special Taste Inspectors. windbreak2 We’ve spent years getting our mixture the way the bees want it. It’s challenging, because in order to make it for bees, we cannot make them too hard. If we cooked the mixture to 300 degrees (f) they would ship much easier as they would not be moist. However, it would be more difficult for the bees to eat candy that hard. So we have experimented and have landed on what the bees like and will consume every drop but can still be shipped. Don’t be concerned when it arrives moist or even wet. The bees will consume the moist or liquid parts.

winter444 Even though we add protein to these, it is not enough to stimulate brood rearing. When bees are going through winter, they are governed by other factors when it comes to raising brood, such as photoperiod. Before I started making the winter-bee-kind I overwintered colonies here in the north with the aid of pollen patties. Even though bees would consume the pollen patties, I saw no visible increase in brood production until the length of days (photoperiod) increased in the spring. For bees to ramp up brood production, there are several essential factors necessary such as successful foraging providing incoming nectar and pollen, warmer nights and room to grow. An over wintered cluster does not have the room to rapidly expand their brood area within the cluster. That is why most colonies only have a small amount of brood during cold months. Colonies usually have a good amount of pollen in the hive anyway, and yet they do not over-brood. However, the extra protein we add to the sugar is simply to keep the bees alive until spring if they are running low.

PACKAGE BEES will be sold out soon.  We are holding back a certain number of packages for students who take our winter and spring classes, and packages for those buying kits with bees. So our individual packages are nearly sold out. I strongly urge you to purchase your individual packages from us this week.

SPECIAL KITS: Check out our hive kits. You can select if you need your kits with  or without bees:

FREEDOM KIT WITH BEES (2 Hives + 2 Packages + Equipment) or
FREEDOM KIT WITHOUT BEES

INDEPENDENCE KIT WITH BEES ( 1 Hive + 1 Package of bees + Equipment)   or
INDEPENDENCE WITHOUT BEES

LIBERTY KIT WITH BEES ( Starter Hive With Bees)   or
LIBERTY KIT WITHOUT BEES

EARLY BIRD SPECIAL WITH EQUIPMENT AND BEES
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL WITH BEES BUT WITHOUT EQUIPMENT

WINTER WIND BREAKS

For those of us in the north, we know all about wind chill factor. The wind chill is basically how cold winter air feels blowing against our skin. If it is 10 degrees (f) outside but the wind is blowing 22 miles an hour, the wind chill is a negative 9.66. The NOAA calculation table for wind chill changed in 2001. Prior to 2001, the wind chill above would have been –26.39 (f). Now it is –9.66 (f).

Of course we all agree that wind makes a cold day feel much colder. Wind also can blow (or pull) away warmer air. Within a colony, the winter cluster is producing heat within the cluster itself to keep all the bees warm. Bees do not heat the inside of their hive like we do our homes. Instead bees only keep each other warm. Bees have to consume food to stay warm, just like us. That’s why bees need 60+ pounds of honey to survive a northern winter. Wind can pull heat away from the hive. A strong, healthy colony can compensate for this, but it does require more effort.

Winter Cluster In Tree Honey bees in their natural habitat, the tree, have 3”-6” of wood to shield the winter cluster from the cold, windy air outside. And where is this tree found? Among other trees which provide an additional wind break. But to put bees in a managed hive box usually made of 3/4” wood, out in the open wind, makes it more challenging for the colonies that are low in resources or small in numbers. Therefore, a wind block is a big help.

Now, what can a wind block be made of? It could be a doubled wall hive. These were experimented with back in Langstroth’s day (1800s) but they were too costly and heavy. Today, very few hobbyist would pay twice as much for a hive. Instead of $249, a doubled wall hive would cost $498. Other parts would not fit well either.

What about using buildings as wind blocks? Perfect. In fact, after a few weeks of bees being in their winter cluster, you can move your hive to a more sheltered location. Do not take the hive apart to move it. Keep it together and be gentle so as not to dislodge and break up the cluster.  We place a large bar on the top cover then use a large tie down strap that wraps all the way around the hive and bar. One person on each side of the bar can easily relocate the hive.

If you don’t want to move your hive, build a wind break. Remember, if you need a wind break it means it must really be windy where you live so you’ll need to build something that can withstand strong winds. I love wind breaks. It really can make a huge difference, in my opinion, on how well a hive overwinters.

A wind break can be as easy as a few bales of hay. Stack them up around a hive, but not too close or they will retain moisture and keep the hive too moist during the winter. This is an inexpensive way to go especially if you have a barn full of hay bales.

windbreak I like to make my own wind breaks. I take a few wooden sticks or small posts and beat them into the ground, then wrap visqueen (plastic sheeting) around the posts. I leave the front side open for the bees to fly in and out. On a warm summer day, when the wind isn’t blowing, the sun shining through the visqueen has a warming effect on the hive sort of like a green house effect.  I usually use 4 or 6 mil clear visqueen. Usually a roll of 4 mil, 10 x 100 feet is what I use, but I double it up for extra strength. This hive is facing east and we seldom get winter winds from the east.

But you can make it out of any materials, wood or metal, that would block the wind. Call Julie before you pound stakes in the ground. I am uncomfortable making 4 walls and completely surrounding a hive in fear that the bees may not find their entrance easily. I would hope they would, but I don’t want to take that risk.

I have built 4 walled wind blocks before as shown in the picture below, and I cut holes at the bottom so bees could go in and out but I noticed bees were confused and some clung to my black paper on warm winter days. But bees survived well in these boxed wind breaks. I just slide them down over the hive and the aren’t tight against the hive which allows moisture to evaporate away.

wrap33 You can still build a wind block around your hives no matter how cold it is. So take some of my ideas and run with them and see what you can come up with.

Before I finish, let me tell you how excited I am about our upcoming 2015 bee classes. These might make a great Christmas gift for that special someone in  your life. You can stay in a hotel, go out to eat and then take our Saturday class or our Bee Institute. Check out all our classes at: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/classes.html

Visit our online store at: www.honeybeesonline.com for all your beekeeping needs.

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