Thursday, March 3, 2011
LESSON 98: BEEKEEPING IS FUN, EASY & SIMPLE
Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We’re keeping warm in central Illinois with high hopes that spring will come once again as it always does, but we are hoping it will come earlier!
We are David & Sheri Burns and it’s our pleasure to share with you about honey bees. Today, I want to share a lesson on just how fun, easy and simple keeping honey bees really is. It’s about time someone simplified the whole honey bee thing, right!
Before I get into today’s lesson, I want to share what we’ve been up to.
We are still in winter! Even after spring arrives, we will still have cool weather for some time, making it difficult to work bee as much as we’d like. I push the envelope with my nuc and queen rearing operation! I have to work bees with a coat on to get a head start. I could move my operation south, but then I would have other issues. Cold is easy to deal with. While bees are out flying in our southern states, Midwest and northern bees are still in their winter cluster, gradually coming out more and more each week. This gives us time to continue to prepare for when spring finally arrives. We are getting hundreds of frames prepared for the spring along with boxes for splits, swarms and mating nuc boxes.
This is the time of the year, when there is a h
We have a special we are offering on our single hives.
LESSON 98: Beekeeping is Fun, Easy Simple!
In all walks of life you have some people who see the glass as half full and others who see it as half empty. It’s that way with beekeeping, some will complain, pout and talk about how the “bees are all dying”. But others love keeping bees, take off honey and enjoy it. While some hives die, others flourish.
So let me tell you how good it really is. Okay, sure, bees can die because they are livestock. But, dogs die, chickens die and all livestock can die from nearly anything. Yes, bees have mites but dogs have fleas. I’m trying to be honest but also let you know that it isn’t gloom and doom as some make it out to be. It is my opinion that around 50% of bee problems are management issues. With more knowledge and skill the beekeeper could have saved the hive.
Bees certainly have more challenges now than they’ve probably ever had. But, there are so many management practices that can overcome many of these potential setbacks.
Okay, now let talk fun! When my wife first started keeping chickens she read everything she could on raising chickens. We were alittle worried that it would be hard, that our chickens would contract some respiratory disease, mites or be eaten up by predators. We’ve raised free range chickens for several years now and those things never happened---not to any large degree. Every time we lost a chicken it was because we forgot to close the fence or something else to do with our mismanagement. We were told that we had to heat our chicken coop in the winter or else the chickens would freeze. We didn’t and they were fine. That’s not to say something bad can’t happen, but after all the scare we’ve had so much fun raising chickens.
Often new beekeepers become so attached to their bees that the thought of the bees being unhealthy or dying is reason enough not to even start at all. WRONG! Think what life would be like if we took this approach toward apple trees or even a married couple not having children because something could happen to their child.
The fact that it is more challenging to keep bees now than it was 30 years ago is all the more reason we need more beekeepers. We are making significant advances in keeping healthier bees.
Come on, and jump into beekeeping with the idea of having fun. Don’t worry about what might happen and be always in a fret over every mite or problem. Relax already and have fun keeping bees. Let me give 3 tips on how to have fun with your bees:
1) Acknowledge that your hive is pollinating crops, yards, gardens and fruit trees within 3 miles of your home. Pull up a lawn chair and watch the bees fly in and out, knowing that these gals are working hard to pollinate your valuable plant life. Take comfort in the fact that you are doing your part to help save the bees.
2) Have fun learning about bees and keeping your mind sharp through reading about bees and planning your apiary. Sometimes if we have too much time to think on things, we can become depressed and sad. Having a hobby that really interests us can really improve our overall mental health.
3) Have fun running your own bee lab and beekeeping experiments. I’m serious! You might be the next Langstroth. Certainly university studies can shed more light on beekeeping success, but let’s face it, sometimes our own discoveries work inspite of what the studies show. Run your own trials and keep track of your results. Incorporate your discoveries into your approach to successful beekeeping.
HOW TO COPE WITH PROBLEMS
Don’t take everything so seriously. If your bees develop a problem, deal with it. If they die out in the winter, do not despair. Chalk it up as experience and order more bees next year and make the last hive that you lost worth something by applying what you learned from them to your next successful colony.
Now go out here and be excited about beekeeping. Bees are still thriving in our country. Beekeeping is rebounding with more and more new beekeepers.
One Last Pep Talk
Still not sure if you want to keep bees this year? Maybe you can remember helping out a family member years ago when they had bees. Perhaps it was Grandpa or an Aunt. Or maybe you’ve been reading about how we need more bees to make up for the shortage of pollination and you’ve decided to do your part, so do it!
Sheri and I receive calls all week from people who have finally decided to jump in and keep bees! Come on and do it. Stop putting it off another year. You are not getting any younger, so let this year be the year you become a beekeeper.
I know, I know, people complicate it and make it sound so complex. Baloney! It is easy. Buy a hive, shake the bees in and let them do their thing. If you don’t want to feed the bees, don’t! If you don’t want to use medication in the hive, don’t! If you don’t want to harvest the honey, leave it for the bees. If you don’t want to mow around your hive, don’t! Keep it simple.
Next Lesson: Top Bar Hives
Here’s Our Free Beekeeping Newsletter & Podcast Info:
STUDIO BEE LIVE BEEKEEPING PODCAST BEEKEEPING LESSONS FOR KINDLE ON AMAZON.COM BEE SMART NEWSLETTER
Here’s Our Contact Information Phone: 217-427-2678
Mailing Address: Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N. 1020 E. Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
See you next time!
David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
Posted by David Burns at 9:39 PM