Sheri and I would like to extend a warm greeting to you and your family! And a very Happy Thanksgiving weekend! We hope you enjoyed family, friends, some good food, and some restful days from work.
I know our family enjoyed being together and sharing some great food and wonderful fellowship together.
Speaking of getting together, we still have some openings for those who are interested in attending our first 2-hour beekeeping short course. Register ASAP by clicking here. This course is December 3rd, this coming Friday night at our honey bee farm. Angela Faulkner will be presenting candle making and my wife Sheri will be demonstrating how to cook with honey. We’ll also have many different types of honey to taste sample. Join us for an enjoyable evening, this Friday night!
Today’s lesson may not seem like a lesson, but actually I believe it is a powerful life lesson indeed. I want to speak about the importance beekeeping can have in helping to make our lives complete. Then I want to speak about the importance of beekeepers working together in unity and kindness to help support the beekeeping community.
Bees greatly enrich our lives. As a pastor, most of my life has been spent helping people through many challenges in life. People who have struggled with life’s most challenging blows, poor health, family issues, unemployment, marital issues, and the list goes on.
When life throws us a curve, we may fall into despair and hopelessness. Life is good, but life can be hard at times, sometimes more than we can bear. During these times of struggle we can become overly engrossed in our woes. During these moments of heartache and depression, beekeeping can be very therapeutic.
The current hive that is standard throughout the beekeeping community was designed by Rev. Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth (1810-1895). His books and writings appear as if written by the lead entomologist of our day. Without the modern day University labs, Langstroth made life-changing discoveries about the bee and the construction of our current bee hive. Yet, Langstroth had bouts with depression, and when life drove him into some deep moments of despair and hopelessness, he poured himself into his bees. The entrances to his hives were the doorways into comfort and peace.
I’ve traveled to Israel 5 different times and remember listening on the news to Israel’s former Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, giving a speech to the UN General Assembly in September, 2005. Part of his speech really left an impression on me. “I was born in the Land of Israel, the son of pioneers - people who tilled the land and sought no fights - who did not come to Israel to dispossess its residents. If the circumstances had not demanded it, I would not have become a soldier, but rather a farmer and agriculturist. My first love was, and remains, manual labor; sowing and harvesting, the pastures, the flock and the cattle.”
For most of us, there is a desire to return to the land, to enjoy fresh air, feel the fertile soil between our fingers, to sow and harvest…manual labor. But life’s circumstances have demanded we do other things.
Still, there is something in us that is restored and healed by the wind blowing through our hair, the sun in our face and the pleasant sounds of nature. Our soul is replenished by the smell of fresh flowers, freshly cut grass or newly plowed soil. Beekeeping is an outlet. An escape from our demands, problems and troubles and a return to that which can truly enrich our lives, nature at its best.
I cannot imagine my life without my bees. Some people watch TV and some attend sporting events for entertainment. But for me, nothing is as entertaining as watching my bees navigate the skies with their payloads hour after hour. Nothing keeps my mind sharp and expanding like learning about the honey bee.
Whether you ever make a profit from your bees or not, beekeeping brings about a completeness; a satisfaction that few things can offer.
BEEKEEPERS WORKING TOGETHER
Ask ten beekeepers the same question and you’ll get eleven different answers. There has always been a distinct individuality about beekeepers. Perhaps it’s the long hours we spend in solitude working our bees. Maybe it’s because the general public can’t understand why anyone would mess with stinging insects. For whatever reason, we are unlike the social insects we keep.
It’s time we take a hint from the bees and learn to work together as a beekeeping community. We need each other. The old saying, “divide and conquer” is certainly true. But a united community of beekeepers is a powerful force.
Like all groups of people, there can be competition, a drive to be better or smarter, and personality clashes can divide. However, as beekeepers we must remember what is at stake…the honey bees. Could our bees be showing us that we must work together?
I want to give 5 important tips to help us work together as a beekeeping community.
1. Avoid being the “know-it-all” that has to show off in front of new beekeepers or less experienced beekeepers. There is a temptation once a beekeepers learns about bees, to show off, to try to appear like the big kid on the block. Instead, just be glad that you are learning and remember that you still have much more to learn. Be humble, not prideful.
2. Respect the recent, reliable studies. Pass up the opportunity to discredit proven scientific studies. I regularly find beekeepers who have nothing good to say about University Entomologists and their findings. They accuse these bee specialists of being unable to relate to the real experiences of beekeepers; people who sit in ivory towers and never experience beekeeping like the rest of us. That’s not always true. And as a result of this poor view, some beekeepers will reject all studies and miss out on new discoveries. Be open minded and appreciate what our entomologists are doing.
3. Speak positively and have a positive outlook when speaking to the public or with beginner beekeepers. Those interested in beekeeping often will seek out an experienced beekeeper and ask many questions. Sometimes the experienced beekeeper will discourage the newbie and tell them it isn’t worth it. Instead, be positive and encouraging. Offer to help mentor and spur them on.
4. Be kind and gentle when other beekeepers do things differently than you. When someone is doing different things, don’t automatically assume their ways and techniques are dumb. Respect their exploration and new trials. Who knows, maybe something will be discovered serendipitously!
5. Become involved in local and state meetings. Fight the urge to be a lone beekeeper! Branch out and mill around with other beekeepers. You still have much to learn! So take opportunities to hear new ideas and opinions from others who love bees just as much as you.
After our last in depth lesson on Varroa mites, I hope you’ve enjoyed this lesson…some food for thought.
Do not forget to put candy boards on your hives around December 22. Less than a month to go. If you need to order your candy boards, click here.
We also are offering a winter wrap kit that is essentially an upper vent/spacer, and a sheet of felt paper to wrap around your hive. Your candy board can be placed on top of the winter vent spacer which allows moisture to still be reduced while the candy board is on. Click here for more info on this winter wrap kit.
Thanks for joining us today and I hope to see some of you this Friday!
Meanwhile Bee-Have Yourself!
David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 E Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
ONLINE STORE: www.honeybeesonline.com