Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Lesson 127: Beekeeping For Beginners www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

Christmas2012
Hello from Long Lane honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns. We specialize in making beekeeping for beginners as easy as possible. Today, our lesson focuses on Beginners: 4 Tips. Then, our next lesson will be, “What Did My Bees Die From?”
With a little 5 year old son, Christmas at our house is always special. We enjoyed having family and friends over, eating delicious food, a candle light service, gifts given and received and the time off to relax. We hope all went well for you this Christmas season.
Merry Christmas!
Seth Sheri and I rain up to Chicago to pick up our Marine son, Seth, who flew home for Christmas. Seth is out at Camp Pendleton, California and will graduate from the School of Infantry later next month. Seth’s Military Occupation Specialty is rifleman in the infantry.Our prayers go out to all our service men and women and their families.
Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to teaching a private bee class. I was asked by a family to teach a beginner’s course at their home to family and friends interested in beekeeping. The number is up to around 20 now! While we offer most of our classes here at our honey bee farm, we are always open to travel and offer a class in your area. Whether it is a beginners, advance or queen rearing class, give us a call and we might come to your area or local bee club.
(217) 427-2678
 Shipping Hives UPS We offer beekeeping classes, bees and equipment. We’re on the phone all day speaking with current and prospective beekeepers.  So many people call us and say, “I found your site and we’re interested in getting started in beekeeping”.  We live for calls like this.  We want to share our passion and love for bees with you. For 2013 we’ll have more experienced beekeepers available to take your calls. We’ve also increased our production of hives which should mean faster order fulfillment. We work hard to encourage more people to become new beekeepers, and we want to thank our customers who share us with others. You can also forward these lessons to others, or send them a link to our website: www.honeybeesonline.com We appreciate it so much!
facebook One of the ways we can share with you on a daily basis is through our Facebook page. Sheri and I add something new to our Facebook page daily. Sometimes we talk about our family, sometimes about bees, honey recipes and much more. And our Facebook page is a great way for us to keep in touch with our customers and friends. Click here to like us on our Facebook page today. For every 100th like, that person will receive a gift certificate.

LESSON 127: Beekeeping For Beginners

Let me be perfectly honest. I did not start keeping bees the right way. I started without taking a class or studying how to do it. I thought I could just learn as I went.  Oh I learned as I went along, but I paid the price in many ways, unnecessary stings, wastefulness in harvesting honey, lost some hives due to a lack of management knowledge etc. Almost all of my early mistakes could have been avoided had their been beekeeping classes offered back then. Now, every year Sheri and I  teach a dozen beekeeping classes. We invest so much of our time preparing the best information to provide to our beekeeping students, whether we are teaching a beginners,  advance or queen rearing course.
I remember the first time I started keeping bees. It was nearly two decades ago.  I was invited into beekeeping by a friend who kept bees. A tree with bees had fallen. We cut the tree open, transferred the bees into one of his empty hives and I became an eager but totally clueless beekeeper. Though many people start keep bees the way I started, it is not the best way. It’s difficult and sometimes painful removing a live hive from their natural nesting place, a tree. A better way is to start with new equipment and a 3 lb package of bees.
The same year I started keeping bees, I also started tagging along to bee association meetings, reading the limited books on beekeeping and learning to keep bees the hard way, trial and error. There was no YouTube or Internet back then.  Even though I made many mistakes my bees from the tree did well. I lived in central Ohio in an Amish community surrounded by large fields of clover. It was beekeeper heaven. My bees were pretty defensive. I thought all bees were that defensive. I’ve never had another hive that defensive. They always found a hole in my suit or the distance between the bottom of my suit and the top of my shoe, stitching my socks to my ankles. I got in and out as fast as I could. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing,  I had more honey than I knew what to do with. Now, we do our best to provide gentle bees. We all get a hot one now and again. After all they are bees.
Beekeeping for beginners is much easier now. There are so many local clubs and beekeeping classes to help people learn to keep bees. Today I want to put out a clarion call for new beekeepers! Those of us who are experienced beekeepers must rally the troops to see if we can help encourage more people to start keeping honey bees. Our honey bees are vitally important to our fruits and vegetables, not to mention that honey is so good for us. I can’t imagine my coffee without honey. Each week we roast our own green coffee bees, grind them and make fresh coffee every morning. For years friends told me how great honey is in coffee, but I failed to try it. Now I cannot drink coffee unless I have my own honey to add to it. When I travel I have to travel with my own honey. I believe in eating honey and cinnamon on my toast every morning. I’m not making any kind of medical claim, but my opinion is that honey has been good for me. And keeping bees has been even better for me.
I love everything about beekeeping. The smell of wax, propolis or a package of bees. Such unique and pleasant smells. The joy of seeing the hive grow. The thrill of catching a swarm and the excitement of observing more frames being drawn out into full combs is so fun!  But the greatest thing is harvesting the honey. Cutting off the cappings and spinning out the honey and pouring it into bottles seals the deal.
As a beginner beekeeper, let me give you three important tips.

First, chill out!

Don’t take everything so seriously. Relax and appreciate what you are doing. It’s fun watching your bees fly in and out of the hive, working to carry in all that nectar and turn it into honey. There are some beekeepers who are very negative and they’ll almost scare you out of keeping bees, always talking about how bad everything is. Don’t pay them any attention. Sure it can be challenging but even the challenges make it more fun. So  make a commitment that you will enjoy your new hobby.

Secondly, learn as much as you can.

The 2013 new bee season is only 16 weeks away. There is much to do between now and then. The first thing you should do is start learning. Read all of these lessons starting with Lesson One. You’ll especially want to read Lesson Seven, as it tells you step by step how to install your package of bees. Take one of our classes. For a complete listing, click here or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/classes.html
Our next beginners class is February 9, 2013 in our new educational center. Click here for more information or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com/servlet/Detail?no=151

Thirdly, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL SPRING!

So many people decide to start keeping bees in the spring and by then, almost all bees have been sold out. Make sure you purchase your equipment and bees in the winter. Currently we are selling three different kits, which are fully assembled and painted. CLICK HERE or go to: http://www.honeybeesonline.com for our complete easy to following listing of hives, bees and other beekeeping supplies. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL SPRING. It will most likely be too late.

Fourthly, continue learning.

There is so much to learn about the honey bee. The longer you keep bees, the more you’ll learn and the better beekeeper you’ll become.  It is an amazing creature. They fly out two or three miles to gather nectar and yet fly right back to their hive, even when there are many other hives near their own. The queen lays over 1,000 eggs a day. Drones, the male honey bee, does not have a stinger. Bees make their own wax from wax glands. They never go to the bathroom in the hive. Everything is always clean and tidy. So much more to learn about the honey bee. You’ll find it very enjoyable to attend conferences such as the Eastern Apicultural Society Conference. Read beekeeping articles in Mother Earth News and Country Woman Magazine or see what the national news is saying about honey bees. Read about bees in the big apple. There are so many ways to continue learning more about honey bees.
TIP OF THE DAY: Do not leave a queen excluder in an overwintering hive. The colony may move above the queen excluder and strand the queen to freeze to death below. And, never leave a partially filled medium super on an overwintering hive. Only leave the super on top if it has a minimum of 7 frames of sealed honey, otherwise the colony may move up but quickly run out of food.
Winter-Bee-KindEMERGENCY FEEDING: In the event that your weak hive goes into winter, but runs out of food, we suggest you use one of our WINTER-BEE-KIND boards that feeds the bees, provides insulation of the top to reduce moisture and allows trapped moisture to escape through the top. Order our Winter-BEE-Kind board by clicking here. You can put them on quickly even during the middle of the winter.
LONG LANE HONEY BEE FARMS PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT! OUR ROYAL HIVE KIT and our TRAVELER’S SPECIAL KIT!
Thanks for joining us today and please pass this on to others who are interested in starting beekeeping.
Feel free to contact us at:
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 East Road
Fairmount, IL 61841
(217) 427-2678
Thanks for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. We appreciate your business and interest in Long Lane Honey Bee Farms.
Please visit our online beekeeping store and lessons at: www.honeybeesonline.com
That’s all for now and thank you for joining us for another beekeeping lesson! Please let others know about these lessons and our business. We appreciate you spreading the word! TipJarYour donations help us continue our work and research on the honey bee, such as our recent development of our Winter-Bee-Kind. These lessons are free and will provide you with as much if not more information than you would find in a $30 book. So consider making a $30 donation so that we might continue these lessons, CLICK HERE TO DONATE $30 or go to:
http://www.honeybeesonline.com/servlet/Detail?no=144

Thank you in advance.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678 Website: www.honeybeesonline.com

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

LESSON 126: Frequently Asked Beekeeping Questions www.honeybeesonline.com 217-427-2678

DavidSheri
Hello From Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, we are David and Sheri Burns. We’re glad to be with you for another beekeeping lesson.Today, we’ll have fun answering some commonly asked questions that we’ve collected over the last beekeeping year.
 Here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, we have spent the last few months making hives and an unbelievable amount of Winter-Bee-Kind candy boards. Please consider using our Winter-Bee-Kind on your hives this winter. No order of Winter-Bee-Kind is too large as we have expanded our production of these candy boards. Customers have found the importance of this product that we invented that can insulate, ventilate and provide food for the hive during the winter. I’ve also observed that my hives will use the upper vent in the winter to take cleansing flights while hives with lower entrances will not. It is because as the cluster moves up into the hive, they cannot break cluster enough on cold days to go down, but can easily go up.
And, if you visit us over the next month, please be patient with our construction dust. We are undergoing a major overall of our buildings and the addition of a new beekeeping education center for our classes. We are re-working our phone system as well, so be patient with us for a few more weeks. You know how it goes, you always think the construction will be done sooner than possible, but we are making progress.
photo We’ve listened to our customers and so many of you have enjoyed our classes at the Farm Bureau building, but there’s something special about being at the honey bee farm. We have a full list of beekeeping classes scheduled for 2013 and look forward to having them in our education center here at our bee farm. We are always looking for volunteers that may want to come out to help work on our building. So give us a call if you can volunteer putting on the finishing touches, dry walling or some plumbing.  Click here to see our full list of 2013 classes or go to: www.honeybeesonline.com/classes.html
The 2013 beekeeping season has officially started. Orders for hives and bees is on the increase. We’ve never seen it this busy in December before. Do not be caught having waited too long to get started in beekeeping. Some people get inspired to keep bees in the spring. But by then, everyone has sold out of bees and equipment orders can be back logged. Please read our article on how to get started in beekeeping.
We have some great hive kit specials for the 2013 season: Check them out at: www.honeybeesonline.com

We are really excited about our Royal Hive Kit Special.  (These prices are for 2013 only)


The Royal Hive Kit WITH BEES!! FREE SHIPPING
photo
(Bees not available to be shipped to CA, WA, AZ, UT, NV, ID, MT)
3 lb package with marked Italian queen. Plus a standard complete hive which includes 2 deeps, 1 honey super, screen bottom board, telescoping top cover, entrance cleat, 30 frames and and foundation, FULLY ASSEMBLED and PAINTED, FREE feeder included, FREE queen excluder included. Bees ship UPS OVERNIGHT May 1 or 2, 2013. FREE SHIPPING!
Wooden hives ships 7-14 days after order is placed. Bees ship first week in May. CLICK HERE to see more about our Royal Hive Kit Special With Bees.  Check out all our 2013 hive kit specials at: www.honeybeesonline.com 
Nuc We are now taking orders for 4 frame nucs, bees and frames from our hives with our Illinois Pioneer Queens. We only have a limited number of nucs. All nucs are for PICKUP ONLY. All nucs are inspected by the state inspector and health certificates and moving permits accompany each nuc. Click here to pre-purchase your nuc now. Each nuc contains frames of honey, pollen, brood and a queen that is mated and laying in the nuc. Nucs are only available to be picked up in June. Please DO NOT order a NUC unless you can wait and pickup one in JUNE.
photo Finally we are selling our honey now online. This was a good year for honey production. If you’d like to buy a 1 lb jar of our honey in a beautiful and famous Muth jar, click here. These jars are sealed with a cork and a safety seal wrap. The jar has a raised impression in the glass of a honey bee hive.
LESSON 126: Frequently Asked Beekeeping Questions Answered
1. How Many Hives Should I Start With?
Multiple Hives The number of hives to start with is entirely up to the individual. We recommend at least two hives because with two hives you can share resources between hives. If one hive becomes queenless and fails to replace their queen, a frame of eggs can be carried over from the other hive. If one hives becomes low in numbers, frames of brood from the strong colony can be moved over to strengthened the weak hive. Certainly starting with one hive is acceptable, but there is a an advantage to starting with more than one.
2. How Far Apart Should The Hives Bees From Each Other?
In commercial operations, four hives are placed on a single pallet. For the hobbyist, the distance between hives is usually determined based on the comfort of the beekeeper. The beekeeper may want to work all the hives without walking a considerable distance between each hive. I usually recommend at least two feet between hives.
3. Which Direction Should My Hives Face?
Traditionally, we recommend the opening of the hive should face south or southeast. However, it really doesn’t seem to matter.
4. How Close To The House Can I Put My Hives?
Use good judgment. Bees will fly miles away from their hive to find nectar. If a hive is near your house, the bees will still fly up and away. However, it may take six feet from the hive for bees to gain six feet in altitude. Keep this in mind so that hives are not placed near sidewalks, decks and clothes lines. Place them so that when the bees leave the hive, they will not be immediately near people or pets.
IMG_1163 5. What Should I Plant To Help My Bees?
Bees will pollinate plants around your house, but not in huge numbers. In other words,  if you have 10 tomato plants you will not see thousands of bees in your tomato garden. Certainly many bees will help pollinate your flowers and garden. However, most of your bees will fly out to an area of abundant nectar such as an apple orchard, acres of clover or a large grove of basswood or black locust trees. If you have a half acre or more, planting buckwheat, clover and other flowering plants will certainly help your bees, but it is not necessary. Bees are quite capable of flying two to three miles to gather nectar.
6. Should I Buy Medication For My Bees?
When various pests and diseases were identified among bees, many chemicals became available. However, some of these chemicals proved to be harmful to bees over time. Certainly some medications do fight certain pests and diseases. However, we prefer not to use chemicals or medication in our hives. This is a personal choice.
Hot Knife On Comb 7. How Much Honey Will I Get My First Year?
First year beekeepers should not expect  much honey from a new hive. It takes eight pounds of nectar for the bees to produce one pound of wax. The first year the colony is producing a lot of wax to build up their comb. Certainly some first year hives can produce a full crop of honey, maybe 70-200 pounds of honey. But this would be in a perfect situation, or from a second year hive. So it is better to have no honey expectations the first year, but if your bees do produce extra honey for you, it is an unexpected surprise. Year two is when you can expect much more.
8. How Much Honey Can One Hive Make Each Year?
An average hive in Illinois produces around 70 pounds per year. This can change to more or less depending on the weather and the health of the bees and the skill of the beekeeper. The most I’ve produced from one hive in one season is 210 pounds. We sell our honey for $6 per pound.  If a hive produces 70 pounds and you sell it for $6 per pound you make $420. My record hive earned  me $1,260 in honey sales.
Hives In Water 9. Can I Save Money By Using Old Equipment?
There are several diseases that can linger in old equipment. American foul brood is one of the more deadly diseases and AFB spores can live 50-80 years in old comb. It isn’t worth taking a chance unless you are absolutely sure the old equipment was not exposed to diseases. There is really no way to test old equipment.
Hives In Winter 10. Should I Leave My Screen Bottom Board Open In The Winter?
This is a personal preference. However, we prefer to have plenty of ventilation in the hive even during the winter. We leave our screen bottom boards open. If you prefer to close the screen bottom board, simply slide in a thin piece of metal or plastic.
Mite On Drone 11. What Do You Recommend To Combat Varroa Mites?
Varroa destructor will be found in all bee hives. We recommend these natural methods:
a. Screen bottom boards, so that mites fall out of the hive.
b. Green Drone Comb Trapping.
c. Powdered Sugar. See our article by clicking here.
d. Removing the queen to break the mites’ brood cycle. For more information, click here.
SHB 12. How Do I Treat Small Hive Beetle?
Since we prefer not to use harsh insecticides in the hive, the best method is to smash and trap. We have extensive teachings (CLICK HERE FOR OUR LESSON ON SHB) and videos on trapping small hive beetles.
13. What Do I Do If I Want Northern Bees But Can Only Find Southern Packages?
All package bees come from the sunshine states, southern states and California. There is absolutely NO WAY anyone in the north can provide packages prior to May, and probably not then. Many northern beekeepers like the idea of a nuc, which is four or five frames from a strong hive, and a queen. But nuc producers can never produce the volume of bees to ever replace the number of packages sent to new beekeepers. Therefore, many northern beekeepers purchase southern packages, and if the queen fails, they replace her with a northern produced queen.
TBH 14. Should I Start With A Top Bar Hive Or Langstroth Hive?
We believe new beekeepers should start with a traditional hive and only try a top bar hive after they have become more familiar with beekeeping.
15. Which Feeder Is Best?
There are many types of hive feeders all serve a different purpose.
a. An entrance feeder is placed in the entranced of a hive in the spring. 1:1 Sugar/Water is used. This feeder does not need to be used in the summer and certainly not in the fall or it may cause other hives to rob and kill a hive. But this is the preferred feeder in the spring.
b. A top feeder is a large feeder placed on top of the hive and sugar water is held in a large reservoir. This works well, but sometimes stray bees can get under the top cover and drown in the reservoir.
c. Frame Feeders are used inside the hive in place of a frame. It’s a frame sized plastic reservoir and requires opening up the hive to refill. It cannot be used in the winter because you cannot open the hive to refill it if the temperature is below 60 (F).
Check out our recent article on Feeding Bees. Click Here.
16. How Important Is It That I Take A Beekeeping Class?
Class Taking a class is not required or essential, but the more you know the better beekeeper you’ll be. We have a host of classes coming up in just a few months. Click here to visit our 2013 class list in our new educational center.
17. Should I Register My Hive?
Check your local state requirement. Most states require hives to be registered and we recommend beekeepers register their hives with their state’s department of Ag or Department of Natural Resources.  Registration affords you the opportunity to receive helpful, free advice from state bee inspectors. This is always a good thing!
Thanks for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. We appreciate your business and interest in Long Lane Honey Bee Farms.
Please visit our online beekeeping store and lessons at: www.honeybeesonline.com
That’s all for now and thank you for joining us for another beekeeping lesson! Please let others know about these lessons and our business. We appreciate you spreading the word! TipJarYour donations help us continue our work and research on the honey bee, such as our recent development of our Winter-Bee-Kind. These lessons are free and will provide you with as much if not more information than you would find in a $30 book. So consider making a $30 donation so that we might continue these lessons, CLICK HERE TO DONATE $30 or go to:
http://www.honeybeesonline.com/servlet/Detail?no=144

Thank you in advance.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
217-427-2678 Website: www.honeybeesonline.com facebooktwitter iconYoutube