Hey, I got beat at a game of checkers! Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns here to help you enjoy being a beekeeper. And if you are thinking about becoming a beekeeper you are at the perfect place. Today I will give some pointers in determining when to take the honey super off and when to leave it. But before our lesson…
Christian is our youngest. He’ll be 7 in September. I spoke at the Heartland Apicultural Society Beekeeping Conference at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale,, Illinois last week. I rode my motorcycle down on Wednesday and Christian and Sheri joined me on Thursday. We stayed at the Giant City State Park in one of their cabins. This has been a vacation spot for our family since the 80’s. Here’s a picture of Christian playing a game of checkers with me at the Giant City Lodge.
On Thursday morning I started up my Harley, loaded up my thumb drive with my workshop’s presentations and rode through the beautiful Shawnee National Forest. It was awesome. Winding roads, giant cliffs, unique specialty shops soothed my soul. Bees are equally soothing to me. Bees have always had that effect on me, depleting me of stress and helping me keep life in proper perspective.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Life if very complex, mixed with happiness (new hive is doing great) and sadness (favorite hive died). Life is mixed with pain (ouch a bee stung me) and comfort (the taste of honey on warm, buttered bread). How we view the world is made up of what we believe to be true. What we believe is our daily driving force. How we respond to events and circumstances is determined by how we view the world. Some people are negative and always feel like the victim. While others, in worse situations, are generally positive and seek to encourage others. My world view is based on my belief in Christ. I desire to fulfill the Golden Rule found in the Gospel of Matthew 7:1, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Pastor Langstroth invented the hive used in beekeeping today. He found comfort in his bees. When you read his books, you get the feel that Rev Langstroth was gifted, bringing something into beekeeping that was beyond himself…Bee Space, and a hive where frames could be taken out, inspected and placed back without damage to the comb or death to the bees. I’m a junkie of his writings.
Honey bees show up in our science, art, music, marriage (honeymoon), and even in our language. We use terms like: bee line, mind your own beeswax, she has a bee in her bonnet. Bees put the fun in biology, botany, math and more. I digress….
You get the idea, right? Sheri and I love bees and beekeeping. We are passionate about it. It’s fun, enjoyable and brings a lot of peace into our lives. We have an old swing that hangs from the oldest tree on our farm. It’s an old maple tree that we tap and enjoy making our own maple syrup. Sheri and I enjoy this dear swing almost every evening. From our swing we can see and hear some of our hives. We’ve had swarms land in this tree. I’m not sure who this strikes a chord with, but could bees be just what you need? I enjoy watching my bees work hard all day, pollinating my garden and my neighbors’ gardens and fruit trees. Here they come bringing back nectar that will become honey on my table and to our customers. We know the same joy we receive from being beekeepers can be enjoy by others. That’s why we are passionate about helping more and more people become beekeepers.
Sheri and I are living the dream in many ways. Helping new beginners enjoy beekeeping really turns our crank! Every year we reach thousands of new beginners through our podcasts, websites, beekeeping classes and our online lessons. Every order we receive gives us the freedom to continue living off of beekeeping, experimenting with keeping bees healthy and sharing what we know FREELY with others. We get excited when we receive your order. My phone sounds a special ringtone when you place an order. It’s not just about the money, but about another person who is keeping bees and needs some equipment from us. It gives me hope that one day I might meet this customer and we’ll become friends. This happened just today. A couple was driving from up Wisconsin down to Kentucky and have been following this blog for years and just wanted to stop by. Unfortunately we close at noon on Friday, but as I drove into our Long Lane, they were sitting at the end and we had a great talk. I encouraged them to stop back in on their way back up north. From our blog they knew about Seth and Christian and even knew that I once lived in Ohio.
I guess what I’m saying is we ARE NOT a big beekeeping company. If we were beer we’d be a micro brewery. Years ago we made a decision not to become another huge beekeeping company, but to be a place where people can come, talk, touch and feel. A place where you can show up and sit in our swing, pet our dogs, watch Christian play and maybe look in a hive with me. We are more like the place that blows our own glassware or spins our own pottery. Many of you tell us that you chose to buy from us because you prefer to buy from a small family business. Thank you, it means a lot to us. Visit Our Store Online. I look forward to you making my phone go off with your order ;)
Speaking of placing an order and before our lesson today I have an important announcement about 2015 package bees which are available now. Last year, so many new beginners missed out on the short window of opportunity to buy packages. This year, we are offering a special for those of you wishing to secure your packages now. We are offering a hive with bees. This means you can now order your hive and bees and have your hive and bees secure before the 2015 rush begins. Single packages without hives, mainly for existing beekeepers, will go on sale in Nov. or Dec. We are offering two options online now:
Last year many new beekeepers didn't get to start because everyone sold out of bees in the winter. We sold out in about 30 days. This year we are making a special EARLY BIRD OFFER, so that new beginners can secure a hive and a 3lb package of bees with a mated queen. This kit contains a starter hive which includes a screen bottom board, one deep hive body with 10 wooden frame and foundation, an inner cover and a top cover. This starter hive allows you to add additional boxes to your hive only as needed. This kit also includes a 3 lb package of bees with a mated queen. Bees must be picked up only here at our farm. FREE SHIPPING OF WOODENARE HIVE WITHIN US, except Hawaii and Alaska. Bees can be picked up at our specified date in the spring, date to be determined, but probably late April or early May. The hive (woodenware without bees) will ship within 2 weeks of purchase. This is your way of making sure you are ready in the spring before all the bees are gone. Click here for more information.
This is the same as above only it includes the following equipment: Frame Puller, Frame Hanger, Bee Brush, Smoker, Smoker fuel, Hive Tool and Bee Brush. We do NOT include protective gear in this kit because some prefer suits while others would rather have a hat and veil. So protective gear is sold separately. Bees are not shipped but picked up only. FREE SHIPPING OF WOODENARE HIVE WITHIN US, except Hawaii and Alaska. Bees can be picked up at our location at our specified date in the spring, date to be determined, but probably late April or early May. The hive (woodenware without bees) will ship within 2 weeks of purchase. This is your way of making sure you are ready in the spring before all the bees are gone. Click here for more information.
We’ve added so much material to our main website: www.honeybeesonline.com
Please visit our site and scroll down on the front page through all the useful beekeeping information. It will help us if you can place a link to our sight from your site or your club’s website. Also sign up for our constant contact newsletter. Thousands receive our newsletter to learn more about bees.
Finally, why not come and see us at our next class, “Getting My Hives Through The Winter” on Saturday September 6, 9am-3pm here at our honey bee farm. Learn about fall preparation, mouse protection, mite reduction, wind blocks, wrapping hives, heating lights, winter feeding, insulation, moving hives into buildings or shelters, the biology of fat bodies, the timing of a new fall queen, pros and cons of double walled hives, dynamics of both Langstroth and top bar hives in the winter, the winter cluster and more. Click here for more information.
LESSON 158: When Can You Take A Honey Super Off Or When Should You Leave It For The Bees?
Beekeepers throughout the country are flipping a coin trying to decide whether to remove the honey super on their hive or leave it on for winter. It is a tough call. So often I am asked that question. Often people feel pressured because they are afraid if they leave the full honey super on much longer, the bees will go up and transfer the honey down into the brood area. Think about what I just said. Isn’t that shocking. Steal their honey before they store it for winter??
When deciding to remove a honey super full of honey or to leave it consider these points:
1) Do they have plenty of honey for winter? In Illinois a hive needs 60-80 lbs of honey to make it through the winter. They often do have that much in their two deep hive bodies. When they do, take off the excess. You don’t have to. You can leave the honey super on all winter. But be sure to remove the queen excluder if you have it under your honey super.
2) Will they be able to gather up enough additional nectar to reach 60-80 lbs of honey before the first frost if you take it all?
3) Can you wait and harvest it in the spring? I’ve harvested honey coming out of winter because the bees didn’t need a super they over wintered with. So I removed it. Sometimes I’ve harvested honey out of the deep hive bodies in early spring to give room for brood.
Do not steal their honey unless you can verify that there is enough honey stored in the nest area, the two deep hive bodies. Err on the side of being generous to your bees. They need pollen too. Check out our Burns Bees Feeding System for summer and fall.
That’s all for now. Sheri is out in California again. This time she drove Seth’s car out for him. Seth and Leah will be getting married in less than one month. Sheri has really enjoyed the road trip along Historic Route 66 again. We did that back in March when Seth returned from his deployment in Afghanistan. With their approaching wedding and move out to Twenty-nine Palms, Ca, Seth is capitalizing on his mom’s visit to ready up their house. They found a nice place off base to live. Seth has two more years in the marines and one more deployment…of all places…the Middle East. Sheri will be flying back home on Sunday.
Be safe and live the dream!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms