A very common and wrong approach to beekeeping goes something like this: A well intended individual looking for a new hobby decides to try beekeeping. They watch a few YouTube videos and run out to their local farm store and grab some equipment and bees, dump them into a hive hoping for everything to go well. If their bees do not die by fall, they die during the first winter. If not the first winter, the second winter due to mismanagement by the new beekeeper. The sad thing is they don't know what they did wrong which means they will repeat their same mistakes next season.
This scenario is very common but very sad because many of the colonies that perish during the winter die under the "care" of the untrained beekeeper. You're probably thinking, "How does he know who I am?" It's because for over 10 years I have watched this happen to beekeepers over and over again. There are two ways to improve your beekeeping results: 1) Take a class and 2) Do what is taught in class. I'm not just trying to get you to fill up our classes. Our classes always max out. I'm trying to motivate you to take a class so you can learn to be a successful beekeeper and enjoy a lifetime of learning. Can't take a class? Let me be your personal mentor. Click here for more mentorship information.
Getting frustrated or feeling depressed or sad is a normal and understandable response when you discover your bees are dead. I remember losing my first hive. I couldn't believe that my bees would die...Read more
The bee season has began with a phenomenal start. We sold out of individual packages again in 17 days. We still have packages available which come in kits. So if you are new to beekeeping, you can always purchase a hive kit with bees and come join us for a class.
The Greatest Chance Of Your Bees Dying Is In The Next 90 Days
Here in Illinois we've had a weird winter so far. We've had some very cold weather followed by warm weather followed by cold weather and the cycle goes on. My poor bees must be totally confused.
The ideal outside temperature for bees in the winter is around 40 degrees (f). Why? Because they are consuming very little food to produce energy to stay warm at this temperature. At colder temperatures the colony must consume more honey and pollen to operate their muscles to generate heat. On warmer days, like we had here on Saturday, bees become very active and take flight. This requires an enormous amount of food consumption for bees to break cluster and fly outside the hive. Now it is cold again. But on the warmer days the bees consumed more of their winter stores than if it had stayed cold. So now I'm having to monitor my Winter-Bee-Kinds on my hives more closely, about once a week.
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Each day we gain a small amount of daylight. This too causes the queen to slowly begin laying more brood which requires more food. We've received several inches of rain this winter, not snow. This means that on those foggy and rainy days moisture in the hive likely increased as well which is never a good thing in the winter for bees. These factors combined means that the next 90 days are very critical, and that bees must be well fed with both sugar and pollen.
I checked on the bees here at our training center and they are all doing exceptionally well. Each one has one of our Winter-Bee-Kinds, providing protein and carbohydrates as well as providing insulation/ventilation to prevent excess moisture build up in the hive.
PLEASE DO NOT open up your hives in the winter to move frames around if the temperature is below 60-65 degrees (f). It's fine to open the lid quickly and change a Winter-Bee-Kind in any temperature because it takes less than 30 seconds and you are not moving frames. But I no longer open up and move frames around until winter is over no matter how warm it is. If you have prepared your bees properly for winter they should not require any frame manipulation during the winter months. Be patient for spring.
We are offering two spring management classes and they are close to being sold out. Will you make the mistake of rotating your two deeps at the wrong time? Should you treat for mites in the spring? How soon should you try and capture the spring honey flow? Is your hive strong enough to make a split or will both the split and your hive collapse? What is the best time and way to split hives? How soon should you worry about mites?
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms