Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Hard Work Of Being A Beekeeper

I want to take a break today from our beekeeping lessons and share some thought with you today.

Ask any beekeeper and he or she will quickly tell you that  beekeeping is a wonderful hobby, but it can be hard work. A hive or two in the backyard is certainly different that having several hundred hives. I currently operate around 40 hives and I do consider it hard work, but not the kind of hard work that is unenjoyable.

Bees are our business. On our way to buy groceries, we talk about bees. At supper, we often talk about beekeeping techniques, or the health of our hives or the orders that we need to get out. We do this not because we are overwhelmed, but because we love beekeeping that much! 

Long Lane Honey Bee Farms has four legs to our family operated business: Hive Woodenware Production 2) Honey Production 3) Package Bee & Queen Production and 4) Beekeeping Education. All of these together indeed make for hard but very enjoyable and rewarding work. I enjoy hard work.

Solomon in all his wisdom wrote, "Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God" (Ecclesiastes 5:19).

hardwork We can work hard and be happy in our hard work as long as we are enjoying it. I've had many jobs! I walked crops as a teenager, worked in a factory, worked hard to obtain my college degree, worked as a salesman and worked for a radio station. Some of those jobs I liked others I didn't enjoy much. But working the bee business is a blast. It has become a passion, a wonderful blessing to my family and me.

Hey, let me be up front. Plenty of large companies sell hives. They have beautiful catalogs, a bank of 800 number sales people ready to take your calls and certainly they can meet your beekeeping needs. If that's what you are looking for, then you should probably deal with the big boys. I would never run them down to promote ourselves. That's not good business.

We are building our business on the idea and belief that there are still some folks who appreciate the small family operated business, where loyalties are established and respected. Jay's Lucky Food I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee back in the 60s, and down the street from me was a family owned grocery store called "Jay's Lucky Foods". That's where I traded in my empty coke bottles for candy money and rotted my teeth out on bubble gum and a ten cent coke.  My parents were loyal to Jay and his store, always buying everything from his store. They didn't have to, but something about loyalty and trust...

We appreciate our loyal customers and friends of our business. The communities that we live near have been so generous and kind toward our business. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging. bee farm signFor example, in the picture to the left, you can see our first sign. It was handed painted and made by my wife's parents and friends from their church. They did that just for us! Sheri's mom, Virginia Henness, is at the far left standing next to me.  I believe most people see our hard work and tremendous effort we place in our honey, our hives and our woodenware products we make and want to support our efforts. We appreciate it so much.

But we are much more than just a business trying to make a buck. Don't get me wrong...we have to make a profit. But it's not only about the bottom line with us. To us, it's about seeing people grasp our love and appreciation for one of God's creation, the honey bee. It's about us doing what we can to help people catch our vision and passion of enjoying keeping bees. It's about bridging the gap between a wonderful hobby and the skeptical beginner. It's about meeting wonderful people who need to ask some questions about bees.

Last year, we spent hundreds of hours on the phone answering questions, giving advice and encouragement to new beekeepers. One man needed a bee-vac but couldn't pay for it all at once. I sent it to him and just asked him to pay me as he could. We're just kinda that way, I guess.

We believe that if we work hard and share our trials and successes with you, that you'll understand that we are everyday folks you can feel comfortable dealing with. We're kind of like your corner grocery market. Huge mega stores have gobbled up mom and pop operations. To me, that is sad. I had an offer to buy wood for our hives $200 cheaper than my local lumber yard. I turned down the offer because my lumber yard is a family owned business that treats us like gold. Sure, $200 bucks a month is a huge savings, but loyalty and trust is priceless.

Call me weird, but I still believe in America, and people pursing their dreams.  That's what you have helped my family do. I was raised by hard working parents who trusted in Jesus and survived the great depression and World War II. My dad taught me how to treat people right, how to be honest and to work hard. I'm not perfect, but I am doing my best to make our bee business something we can do to feed our family and a place where you can rely on for all your beekeeping needs.  I just want to say that I appreciate your business and interest in our beekeeping hobby gone wild! We'll keep working hard to earn and keep your business. So, when you call us, either my wife or I will take your call. When you place your order with us, you are helping us accomplish our dreams!

We are able to meet all of your product needs, including package bees, queens, hives, nucs, honey, wax, beekeeping tools, frames, foundation, protective clothing, extractors, bee medicines, and everything else!

Feel free to give us a call Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5pm at 217-427-2678 or email us at:

When you visit our website you may not see what you need listed on our site. We are slow in getting all products listed. So just call us up and tell us what you'll need. We can take a credit card order over the phone and ship out your order.

See you next time, and remember...BEE-Have Yourself!
David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms  Davidsheriborder