Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Don't Get Too Excited About The Warm Weather 217-427-2678

We are David and Sheri Burns here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. You've seen us online at:

Hey, before you get too excited about the upcoming warm up outside, it may not be as good for the hives as you might think. I'll tell you why, but before I do, I have a few things to share.

Our YouTube almost daily Vlogs have been a huge hit. People from around the US and around the world are enjoying them everyday. In one of my vlogs I talked about different flavored honey and why honey is different colors and why and how it crystallizes. It is a fun video and in that video I mentioned that I am giving away a Long Lane Honey Bee T-Shirt like the one I am wearing above.

Here's how we are picking the winner. If you go to that particular video vlog and subscribe and leave a comment letting us know you want the shirt, we'll randomly select a winner in a few weeks. So watch that video and subscribe and leave us a comment that you'd like to try and enter the drawing for the shirt. Here's the video:

If the video above didn't play right, here's the link:


We still have hive kits that include a package of bees with a mated queen. But they are going very fast and we have less than 80 kits that include packages of bees available. If you are considering getting started in beekeeping and sitting on the fence, get off the fence and jump in with both feet.

Once we run out of bees with our kits, we recommend you buy our kits and find packages from other places. But they are selling out fast. I do not want you to be disappointed from procrastinating. 

Our most popular kits are:

Nearly a decade ago we started building and selling hives. Our completely assembled and painted hive is still a big seller. Comes with frames and foundations. Ready to be placed in your yard or field. Check it out today.

And if you want me to put my special touch to your hive, check out my David's Ultimate Wish List Hive. Comes with scored inside walls, extra wax added to frames, beetle traps and green drone comb traps. 

Hey women, we've got a beautiful hive tool just for you. It's pink! Ok fellows, if you want a pink one you can buy one too. A Pink Hive Tool. 

And we brought back our popular Busy Bee Special  
How much easier can it get? We know you're busy and maybe you've been confused by what you need. Our Busy Bee special takes all the stress out of getting started in beekeeping providing you with a completely assembled and painted hive, and a 3 pound package of bees with a mated queen. The hive (Woodenware) is shipped soon after you place your order, but the bees must be picked up at our farm in central Illinois in May (see below for more info). Our complete hive comes with: 1 screen bottom board, two deep hive bodies(each hive body contains 10 wooden frames with foundation, beeswax coated and one medium super containing 10 wooden frames with foundation bees wax coated, one inner cover, one telescoping top cover with metal covering and a front entrance reducer. The box corners are rabbet joint corners. Also includes one feeder (styles vary).
PACKAGE BEE INFORMATION: This kit couldn't get any easier.  You receive the hive at your house, then you come to the Training Center at LONG LANE HONEY BEE FARMS to pick up your bees.  The estimated date for pick up is May 7/8 from 9 - 3 in Fairmount, IL.  You will receive an email with detailed information, so you must register here with a valid email and check it to read all information.  While we will do our best to hit the targeted date, and keep you informed if it changes, it is your responsibility to put the date on your calendar. We suggest taking a beekeeping course so you understand how to hive, maintain, inspect, and feed your bees, as well as understanding overwintering conditions and pests and diseases. We also suggest a minimum of a hat with veil, hive tool and smoker to complete your set. Click on videos above for installation instructions. 
Our first beekeeping class of 2016 will take place this Saturday! We are working our fingers to the bone preparing for another great year of classes. I'll be doing some filming for upcoming vlogs too. We have some special hive kits available for class students. Take a class, buy our student kits and save a buck! If you are coming to our class and still need a hive and some bees, call Sheri for the special deal. 217-427-2678. Check out all of our classes.


I've seen the forecasts and it looks like a warm weekend here in Illinois and maybe where you live too. This would be great if there were nectar sources available but there is nothing out there. This would be great too, if it remained warm the rest of the year. Here in Illinois it will get very cold again. 

Bees will break cluster, eat more and feed the queen more which means there will be more larvae that will require much more food in a few weeks when it might be very cold again. I like to feed my bees liquids if they can fly. While it will be warm, it is predicted to be very windy here so I am not going to feed them liquids in fear that the winds will hold them in the hive.

For those of you who have wrapped your hives with insulation, I would recommend you remove the insulated wraps on sunny days above 40 degrees (f). Insulated wraps can block the warm sun from warming the hive. If you used roofing paper to wrap your hive, the warmth will penetrate through the paper, not need to remove it. But when temps drop below freezing, be sure to wrap them back up.

A mild winter means that bees consume more food and transfer more food to each other which  means viruses spread more when the bees feed each other. I'd rather see a cold winter where temps remain from 15-30 degrees (f) until March and then an early spring. That would be perfect.

The main thing to remember is continue to feed  your bees until you have a good source of nectar in the spring. The bees need your help over the next 8 weeks. This is the time weak hives begin to die no matter how warm it gets.

Someone said they read that it is good to keep water in the hive in the winter. WRONG! They have plenty of moisture in the hive in the winter. Do not add any. We work hard to reduce moisture in the winter time. Healthy colonies do a great job at keeping the moisture where they want it.

Be sure and spread the word and try and get your friends and relatives into beekeeping. We need more beekeepers to increase the number of hives in America for pollinating our fruits and vegetables. Thank you for sending them our way!

As always, thank you for doing business with us. We appreciate it.

David and Sheri Burns

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How Does A Warm Winter Effect Honey Bees?

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. We are David and Sheri Burns and we operate

I've been sending this blog out for nearly 10 years. It's been my humble effort to help beekeepers keep bees better. People from around the world have told us how much this blog has helped them so I feel like it is doing some good!

The weather has been very nice for winter. Here in Illinois it has been very warm and I have not ran my snow plow once. It's hard to believe because now we are in to February and I haven't had to turn on my big house furnace.  Wow!

So how does a warm winter effect honey bees? It's not good. But before I explain this in more detail, let me share some other cool stuff.

Are you losing your colonies every winter to mites? Varroa destructor is the leading cause of why bees die in the winter. They carry various viruses that can spread quickly through a hive during winter months. Watch my recent video on how you can use Green Drone Comb to help control mites. We teach this in greater detail in our beginner classes.
Over the years we have worked hard to educate and encourage more and more people to become beekeepers. I spend a great deal of time speaking at various groups like 4-H, FFA, home schools groups, Lions and Rotary clubs, Park Districts, bee clubs and school groups. Any opportunity I get to encourage the younger generations to keep bees is exciting to me. Anyway, as a result I see more and more people becoming interested in beekeeping.

Now, almost anywhere you go you see something about beekeeping. It wasn't always that way. In fact, in the early 90s I'd say beekeeping was practically on its way out.  But now, it is "cool" to keep bees.

For those of you who are currently keeping bees you too play a huge role in helping others get into beekeeping.  You can introduce a neighbor or a friend into beekeeping. Maybe you can encourage a grandchild or relative to start keeping bees. It's only February so there is plenty of time to help more and more people jump in and enjoy keeping bees. We have a website dedicated to "How To Start Beekeeping."

Those square, white boxes gracing the countryside is a beautiful sight and has been featured in many picturesque photos and paintings. It's a peaceful scene depicting the balance of nature. Bees are pollinating flowers and plants ensuring that we will have our next meal.

Those white bee hives were once much more common than they are now, although they are making a come back. Years ago I remember seeing those white bee hives and wondering how in the world I could ever keep bees. Maybe you've wondered that too.

Now it is practically a prestigious thing to own hives. A common mistake many beekeepers make is that they never have enough empty hives to catch their own swarms or the swarm calls that will come their way in just a couple of months. All beekeepers need to have a few empty hives on hand to help rescue swarms. The faster we can rescue swarms the better image honey bees and beekeepers have among the non-beekeepers of our communities.

One of our most popular kits is our Freedom Kit. Starting with 2 hives is always better than starting with one. There is an old saying, " One is none and two is one." It means that if you have one and lose it, you have none. But if you have two and lose one, you still have one.

I have an entire article answering the question of how many hives to start with.

Our Freedom Kit is fully assembled with frames and foundation, and it comes with 2 hives and 2 packages of bees. This kit also comes with a hat and veil, hive tool, book, queen excluders, a smoker and smoker fuel. Click here to view our Freedom Kit

I believe this has become a very popular kit because it removes much of the guess work out of beekeeping. What do I buy? How many? If I buy my hives at XYZ place, then where do I find bees to go in to my new hives? The Freedom Kit solves these problems.

Classes are very popular today. Not just beekeeping classes, but classes on just about any subject. My wife recently flew out to San Francisco to take a class on becoming a Chocolatier. Taking classes is enjoyable because as we get older we realize we need to keep expanding our horizons. We need to keep our minds sharp and it's enjoyable learning something new.

I cannot imagine starting beekeeping without taking a class. Be sure and visit for our class schedule. We put so much effort into our classes and we'd love to meet you. Our classes are filling up so fast this year. Every spring people are disappointed that all classes are full. So sign up and take a class before the spring rush.  Review all of our upcoming classes.

Our next Basic Beekeeping Class still has a couple of spots available. It's on a Friday from 8am - 1pm. Take off work on Friday and come join us! Click here for more details. 

We have 3 spots available in our spill over, new class on how to manage your hive in the springs. People are always wondering about making splits and how to prevent swarms. This class is on March 26th (Saturday) 9am-1pm. Click here for more details.

Now, is this warm weather good or bad for honey bees? Normally we would think it would be good for bees because they are flying. There are some good benefits to a few warm days each month in the winter. Bees are able to break cluster, move closer to stored food in their hive and take a potty break. However, a prolonged warm spell means that bees are moving around much more, laying more eggs, raising more brood and consuming food at a faster rate. A prolonged warm spell could cause the bees to starve because even though it is warmer and they are flying, there is nothing to go and gather. The more they fly and move around the greater the food requirement is. Most of us would love to see the temperature stay in the 30s all winter. This is the optimal temperature for bees to coast through winter.

One way to calm your concerns during these unusual warm spells is to make sure your bees have plenty of food for the next two months. Most colonies starve in February and March.  Keep a fresh Winter-Bee-Kind on top of your clustered colony all winter long to ensure they have the protein and carbohydrates they need. Colonies are consuming an unusual amount of food this winter because our customers are ordering more Winter-Bee-Kinds and bringing an unusual amount back to be refilled. Stay alert and meet the nutritional needs of your hives.

Finally, we provide many entertaining ways for you to stay current on beekeeping trends.

Like our Facebook page.
Watch our Videos.
Read our Beekeeping Lessons.
Listen to our Beekeeping Podcasts.

Stop in and see us soon.
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms

Monday 9am- 6pm
Tues - Thur 9am-4pm