Okay, so we get it! Everyone is suffering from ice, snow, slippery roads, and cold winds. It’s impossible to think about spring right? Actually, we are looking forward to spring more than ever this time of year. Hi, we are David and Sheri Burns from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We operate our family beekeeping supply business in central Illinois. I taught a basic beekeeping class at Heartland Community College in Bloomington, Illinois last Saturday and when I left my house we had 5 inches of snow on the roads. It seemed odd driving on snow to teach on bees, but now is the time to plan ahead. Our next basic beekeeping class is this Saturday and the weather looks good. That class is full but Our next opened class is Saturday March 7th, 9am-3pm at our honey bee farm here in central Illinois. We have a few openings left for this class. See a list all of our classes.
We also added another Beekeeping Institute for 2015. Our first Institute filled up fast, and we already are filling up our second institute. We have 6 openings now. Click here for more information on our Beekeeping Institute June 26-28, 2015.
Here we go with our famed and legendary hive, completely painted and assembled. Comes with wooden frames and foundation. Shipping is included in this price. If you are comparing prices, please take in consideration that while you might find a similar hive for a few dollars less ask these questions: 1. Is it assembled? 2. Is it painted? 3. Does it include wooden frames and foundation? 4. How much is shipping? Our hives come completely assembled, painted with wooden frames and foundation included. Shipping is included in our price of $279. Click here to order. We have nearly 200 built and ready to fill orders. Don’t wait. Get your hive early so you can become familiar with it and place it where you will keep your bees.
Good News! Looks like we will be able to get more packages now that we are getting closer to spring. We have a large waiting list that we will attempt to work through as well. But for now, we will place another 50 packages online Sunday March the 1st 6 a.m. central time. First come, first serve basis. These will be for pickup only at our farm, estimated to be the first Sunday in May.
The information will be posted on our main page at: www.honeybeesonline.com at 6 a.m. Sunday march 1st. for individual 3 lb packages with a mated, laying queen.
My brother just sent me a photo of his windshield from Ruston, Louisiana. Frozen over. My friend, Jon Zawislak called me yesterday and he’s off work in Little Rock, Arkansas again due to slippery roads and ice and snow. Bla, bla, bla, right?
Want to know what I do in the middle of winter when it’s cold, frozen and snowy outside? I take a lot of vitamin D and countdown until spring. As of today (Feb. 24th), there are only 23 days until spring. Three weeks and two days. Let the countdown begin.
The Beekeeper’s Countdown Until Bee SeasonWhat does a beekeeper do in order to countdown and prepare for spring? Of course this is slightly different depending on where in the US you live. But you can make the adjustments and start counting down till spring.
1. Make sure you have the equipment and bees you need for spring. The longer you wait the less likely you will be able to get what you need when you need it. Every year there are beekeepers who somehow make the mistake of getting their bees before they order their equipment. Don’t let this happen to you. Get your hives and equipment long before your bees arrive so you can become familiar with your hive and equipment. Remember, two hives are better than one. You can equalize your hives and build up a weak hive from the strong hive.
2. Use these next several weeks to read and educate yourself more on beekeeping. Take some classes. There is a misguided movement to have a hands off approach in keeping bees. This is not beekeeping, this is bee-having. There is a big different between having a hive and doing nothing and keeping a hive with best management and practices. If you do not inspect your hive regularly and combat varroa mites aggressively, your bees are likely to perish. The 21st century beekeeper must not only be well informed but well trained to keep bees alive.
3. Make a plan now how you will test for varroa mites. Will you use the powdered sugar shake or the alcohol wash to count mites. Which ever method you choose, read up on it and become familiar now so you can start testing and dealing with mites soon after receiving your nuc or package in a few weeks.
4. Formulate some plans for keeping bees this spring. For example, make a plan to go after varroa mites and keep to it. Make a plan now how you might split your strong colonies that made it through the winter. Make a plan now that you will be more proactive and inspect the condition of your queen and colony every two or three weeks.
Become familiar with spotting eggs in the bottom of cells as seen in my photo. If you see eggs, you have a queen.
5. Have a plan to keep you colony strong and productive by feeding your bees when needed, and promoting brood build up prior to the start of foraging season. Each season I make an educated guess when ample nectar sources will first be available. Then, I back date 41 days. This is the magic date that I work to stimulate my colony to ramp up brood production. This is so that eggs that are laid on March 1 will be foragers on April 10th. I place a Burns Bees Feeding System on my hive, push patties through he screen and feed two different types of syrup. One jar is 1:1 sugar water, and the jar in the second hole is 1 part sugar and 2 parts water. This, along with our patties helps stimulates brood build up. We now have our sugar/pollen patties available again.
6. Finally, plan now to keep better records on your hives. We have a free inspection sheet that can help you keep good records on each hive.
So don’t be depressed over all the cold and icy weather. Plan ahead now to have an exciting spring enjoying beekeeping.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms