Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lesson 50: Be A Courageous & Confident Beekeeper




Hello from David & Sheri Burns at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in East Central Illinois.

I once asked the audience at one of my presentations to give a show of hands as to how many were raising their own queens. No hands went up. I asked a second time, because I thought maybe they didn't hear me. Still no one. I was amazed at how few beekeepers raise queens. And yet the queen is the most important bee in the hive. No doubt, a lack of courage and confidence in raising queens keeps many beekeepers from attempting to raise their own queens.


Many beekeepers never really become beekeepers, but only remain bee-havers. They have bees, but they really don't work or manage their bees. There are many reasons why people remain bee-haves and never become beekeepers but I think one of the biggest reason is FEAR and a lack of courage. The second reason is similar and that is a lack of confidence. Many beekeepers just don't feel confident in knowing what they are doing. They are afraid that their lack of "knowing what they are doing" will result in doing something wrong and killing their hive.

This is why most beekeepers never raise queens. To them, the place where the queen lives is mysterious and so deep within the hive, a place where no man has gone before. Every year thousands of "beginner" beekeeping courses are given around the country. These are great to help beekeepers get started, but there is rarely a follow up mentorship or advance class.

As a result most bee-havers know enough to install a package, dump expensive and unnecessary medication on their bees, watch them die in the winter and buy packages the following year only to repeat the same techniques that may have led to their bees failing the first time. We've got to break this cycle!
With a bit more education and mentorship, a bee-haver can become a beekeeper and develop a level of skill, knowledge and confidence that can catapult their beekeeping hobby to a whole new level of success. Education is the answer. But no matter how "book-taught" a beekeeper is, the best education is through a hands on course.

Another way that you can build your confidence and courage in beekeeping is to catch swarms. Swarms rarely sting and always draw an audience. It builds your confidence to retrieve a swarm and place it into your bee yard.
Once people hear that you keep bees, they will be calling you asking you to remove a swarm. We've build a perfect swarm catch box so you can place the swarm in it and transport it back to your bee yard. Click here for more information. It comes with a screen to shut off the front entrance once the swarm is captured as well as a tie-down strap to hold it all together for transport. Every beekeeper should have one just in case your own hives swarm on you. You can catch them and keep them as a new hive.

This extra hive will build your confidence know that you have extra equipment should you want to raise an extra queen or keep a smaller hive going or to support an observation hive. Lots of uses. During the month of May, many beekeepers call us and want us to rush a hive to them because they found a swarm. But, by time the hive arrives the swarm has left. So have one on hand! It is worth the investment. It will nearly pay for itself in one swarm catch because you save the cost of a package of bees.

We are here to help you keep bees with courage and confidence!
Visit our website at www.honeybeesonline.com

And listen to our beekeeping podcast available at:
www.honeybeesonline.com/studiobeelive.html And if you have questions about beekeeping that you want us to answer on our next broadcast just email them to: david@honeybeesonline.com
Feel free to call at: 217-427-2678. Until next time, remember to bee-have yourself!

David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LESSON 49: FEEDING BEES

http://www.honeybeesonline.com/
Call us at: 217-427-2678

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, a family beekeeping operation of my wife and family, David & Sheri Burns. In today's lesson, I want to teach on feeding bees especially during late winter and early spring. Before I do, let me share a few personal thoughts with you. Our family spent last weekend in Chicago along with our oldest daughter and son-n-law and our granddaughter. My oldest son held down hive production while we were away. Our family works hard, and these occasional get-aways keep us going.

I was on TV again promoting beekeeping. You can watch the three and a half minute video by
clicking here.

My wife and I have a passion for promoting beekeeping. We love it, enjoy it, and find it the perfect match for a family business. As we spend so much time teaching beekeeping classes, posting lessons online and talking to prospective beekeepers one on one, we realize that not everyone will make their beekeeping purchase from us. Even though most people who take advantage of all our free information do purchase equipment and bees from us, we also realize that some people will learn all they can from us but purchase their equipment and bees from some place else. But let me just say that when you do purchase from us you are supporting our efforts to promote beekeeping. Your support gives us the ability to continue to offer our FREE online beekeeping lessons and conduct our endless experiments and sustain our small business in these tough economical times. We appreciate your loyal support and business!

Support from our satisfied customers is what we count on! So thank you for recommending Long Lane Honey Bee Farms to your friends and among your bee clubs.

BUY YOUR BEES FROM US NOW!! DON'T WAIT! AND BE SURE TO GET YOUR HIVE EQUIPMENT, PACKAGE BEES AND NUCS FROM US SOON TOO!! You can call us Monday - Thurs from 10am- 4pm Central Time; fri 9-12pm. If you reach our answering machine, it means we are on the other line or that we stepped out. Leave you name and phone number and we'll return your call.
 
LESSON 48: FEEDING BEES


Nov-March is the time of the year when bees start running out of stored honey. To help them not die from starvation, it's important to feed your bees. If your bees die with their heads stuck in cells, they starved.

Winter-Bee-Kind For Winter Feed For Bees
In The summer of 2011 we introduced our Winter-Bee-Kind after several years of studying overwintering hives. We could barely keep up with production they were in such demand. We still make them right here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms but we've expanded our production methods to keep up with demand. So many beekeepers told us that these were the only thing that got their hives through the winter. This year, it's time for the 2014 production year. We even mix the sugar and pollen and right here and pour the candy into the Winter-Bee-Kinds. WHAT IS A WINTER-BEE-KIND? It is a one piece candy board that provides food, ventilation, upper insulation and an upper exit/entrance to help bees remain healthier during the winter. Someone said it insulates, ventilates and feed-i-lates. With the built in upper vent, you don't have to worry about snow covering up your hive's lower entrance. The bees can still go in and out through the top vent spacing. We avoid shipping Winter-Bee-Kinds in hot weather and start shipping each September-March. You can place our Winter-Bee-Kinds on your hive anytime, even in the winter. Because it goes on top of the hive in place of the inner cover, and you are NOT removing any frames, it can be placed on the hive in cold weather. Just do it fast. Open the top, remove the inner cover and place the candy side down and the vent slot toward the front of the hive and you're done. Click here to order your Winter-Bee-Kinds Some form of a candy board has been around for a long time. Beekeepers of long ago placed candy in their hives to provide enough food for their bees to survive the long months of winter. There are various mixtures and receipts for candy boards. Some are made with soft candy and some with hard candy. The end result is still the same. The bees will consume the sugar as they need it. We've always been concerned about the amount of condensation that can develop in the hive during the winter. The bees produce heat within their hive and as the temperature is very cold outside the hive, condensation will develop on the warm side, just above the bees on the inner cover or top cover. This condensation can accumulate and drop down onto the winter cluster of bees below. Bees can stay warm in the winter but they must remain dry. If this cold water drips down onto the bees, it can reduce their ability to keep their cluster warm. The insulation on our Winter-Bee-Kind helps reduce the excessive moisture and even puts some of that moisture to work, as it accumulates on the candy and makes it easy for the bees to consume the sugar. Thus, a Winter-Bee-Kind can help lessen two winter stresses, the lack of food and excessive moisture. We make our Winter-Bee-Kinds with sugar and a healthy amount of pollen powder. Many beekeepers make the mistake of only feeding their bees sugar in the winter, but the bees also need protein which they obtain from pollen. Our Winter-Bee-Kinds come with pollen mixed in with the sugar.. Click here to order your Winter-Bee-Kind today. We recommend that you place candy boards on your hive any time between Oct-March.


Commonly Asked Questions
Q: Which way does the candy face in the hive?
A: The candy faces down just above the winter cluster. Normally, this means that the Winter-Bee-Kind would be placed on the brood box that contains the cluster. For example, if you overwinter your bees in a single deep hive body, the Winter-Bee-Kind would be placed on this deep hive body with the candy facing down toward the cluster. If you are using two deep hive bodies to overwinter, then the Winter-Bee-Kind would be placed on the top deep hive body. It is best to disregard the use of an inner cover, and simply place your top cover over the Winter-Bee-Kind.

Q: What about winter moisture?
A: Moisture can develop in the winter from condensation, a contrast of the heat the bees produce in the hive and the extreme cold temperature outside the hive. Condensation accumulates on the warm side, which means moistures collects on the inner cover or top cover above the hive. This can drip down on the bees and chill them during the winter. A Winter-Bee-Kind takes the place of an inner cover and any moisture that develops from condensation aids the bees in consuming the candy.

Q: How long will a Winter-Bee-Kind last on a hive?
A: On average about 3 weeks. However, a colony that has ample stored honey may not consume the candy board as fast or not at all until they need it. A colony close to starvation may consume a Winter-Bee-Kind within a week or two.

Q: Since Winter-Bee-Kinds are placed or replaced on the hive in the winter, can I open the hive up on a cold day?
A: It is best to place the candy boards on a hive when the temperature is above freezing and try to place the candy board on and have the hive sealed back up within 1-2 minutes. It should not take over 1 minute. Do not remove any frames in cold temperatures, only place your Winter-Bee-Kind on and off quickly. If you can choose the warmest day during the winter, that would be best. Try to avoid very cold, windy or rainy days.

Q: How do I refill a candy board?
A: It is best to send back your candy board and we will refill it for $7 plus shipping. If you are a good candy maker, you can do it yourself.

Q: How do I get one with a pollen?
A: Our Winter-Bee-Kinds contain pollen as well.

Q: Can I make my own?
A: You can, but you must experiment, because you do not want the candy to be too hard or too runny. The exact mix depends on your altitude, heat source and other conditions so it will be different from one location to another.

Q: Why was some liquid sugar dripping out of my Winter-Bee-Kind when I received it?
A: It is the nature of candy boards to be a bit on the dripping side even though the top may be hard. Do not be concerned if you see liquid sugar dripping out of your boards when you receive it. It usually means it was left on end during shipment for a prolong period of time. The bees will clean everything up and enjoy this soft liquid.

Q: How much sugar is in one Winter-Bee-Kind?
A: Approximately 5 pounds

Q: When do I put a Winter-Bee-Kind on my hive?
A: Any time! Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb are good months to place on the boards.

Q How often should I check my Winter-Bee-Kind?
A: Every three weeks, take a peek.

Q: Do you make Winter-Bee-Kind for 5 frame nucs or 8 frame hives?
A: Yes, check out our website to order, but carefully read the description to make sure you are ordering the correct size and type.

Q: Can the candy break loose from the board on the hive?
A: It rarely happens, but during extreme winter weather, the candy and separate from the board while on the hive. This is not a problem. The bees will continue to consume the sugar.

Q: When I place it on the hive, do I use my inner cover. Just how does it go on?
A: Winter-Bee-Kind takes the place of your inner cover. Simply place the Winter-Bee-Kind on the top of your upper hive body or super with the candy facing down, then place your top cover on top of the Winter-Bee-Kind. Be sure to use a rock or brick to make sure the wind does not blow your top cover off. There is overwhelming enthusiasm about our Winter-Bee-Kinds. Click here to order now.
 
That's all for now! Until next time remember to Bee-Have yourselves!

David & Sheri Burns