Monday, May 16, 2011


Hi, David and Sheri Burns here from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois.

LESSON 103: How To Introduce A New Queen
It can be a challenge to keep a hive queen-right. Sometimes queens are rejected even after they have been accepted. Perhaps the queen stops laying well, for example. But once the queen is no longer in the hive, the colony is queenless. Several things can happen to a queenless colony:
1) They can raise their own queen from a young larva but it can take up to 30 days for the new queen to begin laying. So you can lose up to a month of brood production.
2) If the colony fails to raise a queen, several laying workers can start laying infertile eggs which will be small drones raised in worker cells. Those laying workers will mimic a queen making it almost impossible to introduce a new queen. Thelytoky can also occur, which basically means that sometimes a colony can raise a queen from an unfertile egg laid by a laying worker. If your hive goes too long without a queen and without brood pheromone, some workers will poorly take over the queen’s job and you’ll see drones everywhere. So requeen fast!
3) They are suppose to raise their own queen and usually do a good job, but sometimes it does fail.
Now, here are several pointers on installing a new queen in an existing hive where the queen cannot be found.
1) Look for eggs. Make sure you do not have a laying queen.
2) If you do not have eggs, you could have a virgin queen or a mated queen that will start laying in a couple of days. Look through your hive after 6pm to spot virgin queens. Before 6pm they might be out on a mating flight.
3) Destroy all queen cells before installing a new queen.
4) Do not remove the candy from the candy plug.
5) Only remove the cork or plastic cap that is covering the candy.
6) Hang the cage in the center of the brood nest area.
7) Do not place the open screen into the comb or the bees cannot feed the queen through the screen nor can the queen’s pheromones spread throughout the colony.
8) Some beekeepers hang the cage so that the opening faces up so that dying attendant bees do not clog the exit hole.
9) Do not remove attendants from the queen cage.
10) Wait 5 days to examine the cage to make sure she has been released. If not, open the screen and release.
Often the queen cage is held in place between frames by sliding pressure between two frames to hold the wooden or plastic cage. However, you can attach a string or thin metal such as a Christmas tree ornament hanger and attach the other end to the top of a frame to suspend the cage. Just don’t kill the queen.
If the queen cage falls to the bottom of the hive, bees will quickly cover the cage. Use your curved in of your hive tool to pick it up, shake the bees off and re-install.

Thanks for joining us for another lesson!
David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 E. Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841

Friday, May 13, 2011

LESSON 102: Adding Hive Bodies & Supers At The Right Time (217) 427-2678

DavidSheriNew1Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in Central Illinois. We are David and Sheri Burns. If this is your first time to stop by, welcome and you’ll grow to really like us.

Hi we are David and Sheri Burns at  Please visit our Main Website at:

ADVANCE BEEKEEPING COURSE JUNE 11, 2014 9am-3pm Central Illinois!!

Have you considered the importance of taking our one day Advance Beekeeping Course?  I'll be joined by my good friend and fellow certified master beekeeper Jon Zawislak. Jon and I have written a book on queen rearing and we recently authored a two part articled published in the American Bee Journal on the difference between Northern and Southern bees. Jon and I will be teaching our Advance Beekeeping course June 11, 2014 here in Fairmount, Illinois and we have around 6 seats available. You don't want to miss this opportunity to be around me and Jon and learn about bees for a whole day. Click here for more information.

Check out our entire list of beekeeping classes we offer by clicking here.

Welcome to Long Lane Honey Bee Farms Online Lessons! Visit our MAIN WEBSITE AT: We have a complete line of hives that we build right here in Illinois. We offer classes, sell queens and much more. Give us a call at: 217-427-2678. Our hours are: M-Th 10am-4pm, Fri 10-Noon Central Time.
We are an everyday, hard working family desiring to make a living from our bees. We are fun natured and likeable. So get to know us more and you’ll be glad you did.
We have such great customers who continue to express their gratefulness for all that we do. Here’s some recent feedback from our customers:
Dear David -
My husband and I would like to thank you for the delivery of the Italian queen for his hive. She arrived today, and she is in the hive. We will be sure to tell our beekeeping friends the great service we received from your company.
Thank you, Pam
Thanks for putting me on the late list and telephoning me personally when you had extra bees.  You are the greatest! Just the few tips you gave me will make all the difference in the world with this new batch. 
Thanks so much for your superior customer service,

Thank you. Please take this opportunity to support our FREE online beekeeping lessons by placing an order with us. We sell all beekeeping equipment and our big sellers this month are: fully assembled and painted hives, queens, slatted racks, green drone comb (varroa traps) and fully assembled supers. A few years ago we were some of the first to sell fully assembled and painted equipment. Now almost all other companies are doing the same but at a much higher cost; we make ours much more affordable.

Lesson101eThis week was really a special week for us, especially Sheri and Karee. Ann Kaiser, Contributing Editor at Country Woman Magazine spent Monday and Tuesday at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms to do an article on our queen bee operation. Ann writes an article for each edition called Editor in the Country, focusing upon unique agricultural niches.
Lesson101dIt was so fun having Ann here for two days. Sheri has read Country Woman  for a couple of decades so Sheri was so thrilled to have Ann here! Ann even marked someone’s queen that we shipped out. The article will appear in Country Woman in the Aug/Sept issue of Country Woman. It was a fun two days! To read more about those two days, visit Sheri’s Sweet Life blog.
Lesson101cQueen requests are off the charts. We are shipping out queens like I’ve never seen before. Some new customers have identified that there seems to be a shortage of queens and that some companies are sold out. Not us, we are fully stocked, grafting is going well and we are in full swing. The weather has finally improved and finally the bees are working hard to make up for lost time.
Lesson101bWe hope to double our queen production this year and even Sheri is out there helping us graft and taking care of the mating nucs.
Raising queens is so much fun and we’re glad to see the queen rearing season finally here.

Lesson101aIt was a very rough spring for beekeepers here in the Midwest and north. Cold weather lingered on with lots of cold nights and rainy days. Because we are also nuc producers we were forced to work our new nucs in the rain, trying to get food to them during those times when the rain trapped them in the hive for days. Small splits will die if they become too cold. Food in the hive helps them generate heat so we prepared bags of sugar water and placed them in the hive under an umbrella, using a super as a spacer to surround the bag of sugar water.

LESSON 102:Adding Hive Bodies & Supers At The Right Time
Just when is the right time to add the next hive body or super? This is very important in order to control swarming and to hold down the spread of pests. New beekeepers as well as experienced beekeepers can make big mistakes when it comes time to add another box. So let me walk you through some sensible advice.
Lesson1fBees love to be crowded, but not congested. Heavily populated colonies are always healthier colonies. Honey bees function more efficiently when the colony is well populated. Small colonies have an increased likelihood of struggling with pests and diseases.
For example, if you have a typical hive that consist of two deep hive bodies and a medium super, and you shook your package into those three boxes with 10 frames each, the bees would have too large of an area to protect. Wax moth and small hive beetle could gain access to the hive and lay eggs in unprotected corners.
I have found that it works best for me to make my splits in small 3 frame nuc boxes, and then when those frames are full, move them to a 5 frame nuc, then finally to a 10 frame nuc. But I do not add my 2nd deep box on until at least all 10 frames have some wax being drawn out. This allows the bees to work in a heavily populated environment but still have plenty of open cells in frames so as not to become congested and swarm.
FullhiveIn this picture, a second hive body could have been added weeks earlier. Although I will push my bees harder and wait till all 10 frames are started, I tell new beekeepers to add their second hive body on when 6-7 frames in the first deep are drawn out and full of bees. By “drawn out” I mean the bees have added their comb to the foundation and have extended out their comb on both sides of the frames.
Let’s talk about adding the third box, the honey super. Lots of mistakes are made here. First, add your super when 6 or 7 frames have been drawn out in the 2nd deep box. DO NOT use a queen excluder just yet. Place your super on, but without the excluder. This allows ease of access for bees to find and move up into the super to begin drawing out the comb. Once you see a minimum of 2 frames that are being worked by the bees add your queen excluder, but do so carefully.
ExcluderWhen adding the queen excluder below a super after the bees have started drawing out the comb, make sure to inspect each frame of the super to ensure the queen is not in that super. This is very important or else you will trap your queen in your honey super and you will have  a super of brood not honey. If you find that she is in your super, simply pick her up by her wings or thorax and place her in one of the deep hive bodies below.
Now place your queen excluder below your honey super (usually the third box from the bottom). When placing on your queen excluder, be sure to place the excluder with the cross wires facing down. Otherwise, queens might try to slide along the metal and slip in. Plastic excluders do not have this problem and can be place on either way.
Lesson101gOne final tip: When placing on your second deep hive body, remove one frame from the bottom deep, preferably a frame of nectar with bees on it and place it in the new deep hive box on the top and place the undrawn frame from the top into the box below where you removed the frame of nectar. With this frame of bees and nectar now above the lower deep, the bees will more quickly get the idea to move up.
There you go, now you know when and how to add your other boxes to your hive.

Thanks for joining us again today for another great lesson in beekeeping!
David and Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N. 1020 E. Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
(217) 427-2678

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

LESSON 101: The Inside Scoop On Feeding Bees ( 217-427-2678)

Hey there beekeepers and beekeeper wanna-bes. We’re David and Sheri Burns of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms with another lesson, and what a great lesson. Finally, answers to frequently asked question about feeding bees.
I have lots of information to share with you on feeding bees, but before we do, let me tell you of some upcoming events.

Packages Karee And SethWe working our way through sending out our packages. This has consumed so much of our time. We work very hard to ensure all packages are strong, healthy and fresh before we send them out. We also have a few valuable techniques that we use to ensure our packages do well in shipment. Three of our children are out package team, our oldest son David (25), middle son Seth(17) and our youngest daughter Karee (20). They do a great job.
annNext week Sheri and Karee will be hosting Ann Kaiser, editor of Country Woman Magazine. She’ll be featuring out queen rearing operation and even trying her hand at raising some of our outstanding queens. We’ll keep you posted on when the article if finally posted.
We have lots to do to spruce up the place for some great photos, and if it EVER warms up, we’ll get to work!

LESSON 101: The Inside Scoop On Feeding Bees
I’ve written lessons on feeding bees but for some reason I’ve received enough email to know that some people do not understand how to feed bees. So, let me break it down to where it is easy to understand.
First, there are several ways to feed bees such as: entrance feeders, top feeders, division feeders(frame feeders), pail feeders and several others probably.
EntrancefeederWhich feeder to use depends on what you want to accomplish and what time of the year it is. For example, entrance feeders are great for spring and early summer but cannot be used in the fall or they will excite robbing. And, entrance feeders will freeze in the winter and when the bees cluster at temperatures below 50, the bees cannot go down to the entrance feeder.
Lesson80cTop feeders work well during the spring and summer and early fall, but are not to be used in cold weather as the syrup will freeze or crystalize and the bees can freeze while eating and fail to re-cluster if the temperature drops fast.
frame feederDivision or Frame feeders are simply a reservoir that takes the place of a frame. They work well year round because the syrup can remain warm in the nest area. However, it requires opening the hive and exposing the bees in order to refill.
Top FeederA pail feeder is a pail, it can be a purchased pre-drilled pail or you can make your own, such as the same jar and lid that is used for an entrance feeder can become a pail feeder. Here’s how it works. Simply place the pail feeder above the cluster. It can either sit on the top of frames or it can be placed above the hole on the inner cover, that oval shaped hole. Pail feeders can be used year round, but in the winter it is best to use an inner cover to hold the heat in the cluster and place the pail above the hole on the inner cover. We sell a premium inner cover that has the small mouth hole pre-cut into the inner cover to feed during the winter. Since the jar is above the cluster it usually does not freeze, but it can if really cold or the cluster is really small.
pail feederNext, a common question is how long to feed bees after installing a package. Some say that as long as bees are pulling out wax on new foundation, it is good to feed them. There is wisdom in this approach as bees do need sugar to produce wax. 6-8 pounds of honey are needed for the bees to produce a pound of wax. And it takes 500000 flakes of wax to make one pound. As the young bees consume sugar/nectar/honey, they produce wax in their wax glands under their abdomen. However, sugar is expensive and most sugar is GMO beet sugar and so we prefer to only feed new packages about two weeks. Once dandelions are in full bloom we slow down or entirely stop feeding our bees. It seems to us, that if bees are fed too long in the spring and summer they do not forage as much.
pack6When a new package is first installed, there can still be cold spells in the north which can kill packages on undrawn comb. Drawn comb seems to provide a better way for the new colony to stay warm on a cold night. Bees produce heat by eating syrup or sugar. This year, on our small divides which we did in mid April, we made up a sugar patty and placed it on the top frames of our splits. This is made with powdered sugar mixed with just a little water to bring it to a dough consistency. These sugar patties saved the small splits.
How to mix the sugar syrup. Syrup should be mixed 1:1 in the spring and 2:1 in the fall. So in the spring, use one part water and one part sugar. No need to boil, just mix well with warm or hot water. 2:1 is 2 parts sugar and 1 part water. This is good to feed weak hives in the fall because they can store the 2:1 mixture sooner before the weather turns cold.

For winter feeding, we recommend our Winter-Bee-Kinds.
Winter-Bee-Kind For Winter Feed For Bees
In The summer of 2011 we introduced our Winter-Bee-Kind after several years of studying overwintering hives. We could barely keep up with production they were in such demand. We still make them right here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms but we've expanded our production methods to keep up with demand. So many beekeepers told us that these were the only thing that got their hives through the winter. This year, it's time for the 2014 production year. We even mix the sugar and pollen and right here and pour the candy into the Winter-Bee-Kinds. WHAT IS A WINTER-BEE-KIND? It is a one piece candy board that provides food, ventilation, upper insulation and an upper exit/entrance to help bees remain healthier during the winter. Someone said it insulates, ventilates and feed-i-lates. With the built in upper vent, you don't have to worry about snow covering up your hive's lower entrance. The bees can still go in and out through the top vent spacing. We avoid shipping Winter-Bee-Kinds in hot weather and start shipping each September-March. You can place our Winter-Bee-Kinds on your hive anytime, even in the winter. Because it goes on top of the hive in place of the inner cover, and you are NOT removing any frames, it can be placed on the hive in cold weather. Just do it fast. Open the top, remove the inner cover and place the candy side down and the vent slot toward the front of the hive and you're done. Click here to order your Winter-Bee-Kinds Some form of a candy board has been around for a long time. Beekeepers of long ago placed candy in their hives to provide enough food for their bees to survive the long months of winter. There are various mixtures and receipts for candy boards. Some are made with soft candy and some with hard candy. The end result is still the same. The bees will consume the sugar as they need it. We've always been concerned about the amount of condensation that can develop in the hive during the winter. The bees produce heat within their hive and as the temperature is very cold outside the hive, condensation will develop on the warm side, just above the bees on the inner cover or top cover. This condensation can accumulate and drop down onto the winter cluster of bees below. Bees can stay warm in the winter but they must remain dry. If this cold water drips down onto the bees, it can reduce their ability to keep their cluster warm. The insulation on our Winter-Bee-Kind helps reduce the excessive moisture and even puts some of that moisture to work, as it accumulates on the candy and makes it easy for the bees to consume the sugar. Thus, a Winter-Bee-Kind can help lessen two winter stresses, the lack of food and excessive moisture. We make our Winter-Bee-Kinds with sugar and a healthy amount of pollen powder. Many beekeepers make the mistake of only feeding their bees sugar in the winter, but the bees also need protein which they obtain from pollen. Our Winter-Bee-Kinds come with pollen mixed in with the sugar.. Click here to order your Winter-Bee-Kind today. We recommend that you place candy boards on your hive any time between Oct-March.

Commonly Asked Questions
Q: Which way does the candy face in the hive?
A: The candy faces down just above the winter cluster. Normally, this means that the Winter-Bee-Kind would be placed on the brood box that contains the cluster. For example, if you overwinter your bees in a single deep hive body, the Winter-Bee-Kind would be placed on this deep hive body with the candy facing down toward the cluster. If you are using two deep hive bodies to overwinter, then the Winter-Bee-Kind would be placed on the top deep hive body. It is best to disregard the use of an inner cover, and simply place your top cover over the Winter-Bee-Kind.

Q: What about winter moisture?
A: Moisture can develop in the winter from condensation, a contrast of the heat the bees produce in the hive and the extreme cold temperature outside the hive. Condensation accumulates on the warm side, which means moistures collects on the inner cover or top cover above the hive. This can drip down on the bees and chill them during the winter. A Winter-Bee-Kind takes the place of an inner cover and any moisture that develops from condensation aids the bees in consuming the candy.

Q: How long will a Winter-Bee-Kind last on a hive?
A: On average about 3 weeks. However, a colony that has ample stored honey may not consume the candy board as fast or not at all until they need it. A colony close to starvation may consume a Winter-Bee-Kind within a week or two.

Q: Since Winter-Bee-Kinds are placed or replaced on the hive in the winter, can I open the hive up on a cold day?
A: It is best to place the candy boards on a hive when the temperature is above freezing and try to place the candy board on and have the hive sealed back up within 1-2 minutes. It should not take over 1 minute. Do not remove any frames in cold temperatures, only place your Winter-Bee-Kind on and off quickly. If you can choose the warmest day during the winter, that would be best. Try to avoid very cold, windy or rainy days.

Q: How do I refill a candy board?
A: It is best to send back your candy board and we will refill it for $7 plus shipping. If you are a good candy maker, you can do it yourself.

Q: How do I get one with a pollen?
A: Our Winter-Bee-Kinds contain pollen as well.

Q: Can I make my own?
A: You can, but you must experiment, because you do not want the candy to be too hard or too runny. The exact mix depends on your altitude, heat source and other conditions so it will be different from one location to another.

Q: Why was some liquid sugar dripping out of my Winter-Bee-Kind when I received it?
A: It is the nature of candy boards to be a bit on the dripping side even though the top may be hard. Do not be concerned if you see liquid sugar dripping out of your boards when you receive it. It usually means it was left on end during shipment for a prolong period of time. The bees will clean everything up and enjoy this soft liquid.

Q: How much sugar is in one Winter-Bee-Kind?
A: Approximately 5 pounds

Q: When do I put a Winter-Bee-Kind on my hive?
A: Any time! Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb are good months to place on the boards.

Q How often should I check my Winter-Bee-Kind?
A: Every three weeks, take a peek.

Q: Do you make Winter-Bee-Kind for 5 frame nucs or 8 frame hives?
A: Yes, check out our website to order, but carefully read the description to make sure you are ordering the correct size and type.

Q: Can the candy break loose from the board on the hive?
A: It rarely happens, but during extreme winter weather, the candy and separate from the board while on the hive. This is not a problem. The bees will continue to consume the sugar.

Q: When I place it on the hive, do I use my inner cover. Just how does it go on?
A: Winter-Bee-Kind takes the place of your inner cover. Simply place the Winter-Bee-Kind on the top of your upper hive body or super with the candy facing down, then place your top cover on top of the Winter-Bee-Kind. Be sure to use a rock or brick to make sure the wind does not blow your top cover off. There is overwhelming enthusiasm about our Winter-Bee-Kinds. Click here to order now.

Thanks for joining us today. Call us today to order all your beekeeping equipment, hives, suits, woodenware, queens and more!
217-427-2678. Or visit us online at:
Please be patient when calling as this is a busy time of the year for beekeeping questions and orders.

David & Sheri Burns
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms