Saturday, January 26, 2013

Lesson 130: How To Find Your Queen 217-427-2678

Oh that queen can be so challenging to find sometime. Today, I’m going to give you a few tips to help you find your queen. Before we get into today’s lesson let me say hello from Long Lane Honey sdairportBee Farms. It is so nice working with the finest customers. We enjoy learning about your family and why you are interested in beekeeping. We have such a great relationship with our customers. We look forward to meeting you too, if you are just now getting to know us better. We are David and Sheri Burns, and we operate Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in central Illinois. We are located about 35 miles east of Champaign, Illinois where the University of Illinois is located. We manufacture beekeeping equipment and sell all things related to beekeeping such as smokers, suits, hive tools, protective hats and veils, gloves, queen excluders, feeders, and we even sell packages of bees, nucs (a nucleus hive) and queens that we raised here on our bee farm (apiary).
Class In addition to all of this we also specialize in premier beekeeping classes. We are both passionate advocates for helping teach and guide people into the wonderful hobby of beekeeping. When you take one of our beekeeping classes, you can rest assured that you are being taught by a competent EAS certified master beekeeper, one of only 130 in the world. A master beekeeper does not just have book knowledge or has passed rigorous tests,  but must have years of experience as a serious beekeeper in some aspect of apiary management such as a very dedicated hobbyist, working as a commercial beekeeper or as an apiary inspector. A certified master beekeeper must have an equivalent of a college level course in beekeeping and be well read in apicultural literature. Come join deadbeemitemaster beekeeper David Burns for either his Beginning Classes, Advance Classes or Queen Rearing Classes. Click here to read more information on our classes.  We have three Basic classes coming up Feb 23rd, March 9th, and March 23rd, 2013.(The February 9th class is full). We have people from other states take our classes. You can fly in to Indianapolis International Airport (1 1/2 hours from us) or Chicago ( 2 1/2 hours from us). Why not come and hang out with David and Sheri for the day.
Or come spend the week learning about bees at our 5 day Beekeeping Institute, June 17-21, 2013. We’ve built a new Beekeeping Education Center. For more information on our week long Beekeeping Institute, click here


So many new beekeepers find it almost impossible to find their queen, especially if she is not marked with a color of paint. Here's some helpful pointers. Queen Retinue 1. Choose the right frame. Queens are laying machines so she will be on a comb which has open cells which she can lay in. You'll seldom find a queen on a full frame of honey or pollen and rarely on a frame of sealed brood. When you start seeing eggs in cells, your queen will be close by. 2. Watch for a circle of bees around your queen, called a retinue. These are the bees that are carrying for the queen. Sometimes you'll find the queen moving without a retinue, so you may not see this circle of bees every time. 3. Visible comb around the queen. On very crowded frames of bees, often the queen will leave a small opening behind her. In this picture, there is almost 2 cells visible behind the queen. It takes a few seconds for the bees to fill in behind her, so you might be able to see an opening on the comb and find the queen ahead of it. 4. The queen has distinct unique characteristics:Queen3 a. Longer than a worker bee. b. More slender than drones. c. Her thorax is more prominently visible than workers. (Compare in photo) d. Her wings do not extend to the end of her abdomen like that of a worker. e. Her legs will appear more "spidery" or longer as she is laying eggs.
To watch a video of us finding a queen, picking her up, marking her and placing her in a queen cage with attendants,CLICK HERE and look at the last video on the page. We work hard to encourage more people to become new beekeepers, and we want to thank our customers who share us with others. You can also forward these lessons to others, or send them a link to our website: We appreciate it so much! facebook One of the ways we can share with you on a daily basis is through our Facebook page. Last week on our Facebook page we posted a picture of a strange looking comb. Everyone took a guess and then we posted what it actually was. This is a lot of fun. Sometimes we talk about our family, sometimes about bees, honey recipes and much more. And our Facebook page is a great way for us to keep in touch with our customers and friends. Click here to like us on our Facebook page today. If you happen to be the 100th like you will receive a gift certificate. TIP OF THE DAY: Be aware that if you wrap your hive too tightly, you may actually increase excessive condensation inside the hive. This excess moisture could be very bad for your bees. An upper vent is very helpful to our colonies as it provides a way to reduce upper condensation in the hive. Our Winter-Bee-Kinds provide this upper ventilation. Winter-Bee-KindWINTER-BEE-KIND: In the event that your weak hive goes into winter, but runs out of food, we suggest you use one of our WINTER-BEE-KIND boards that feeds the bees, provides insulation of the top to reduce moisture and allows trapped moisture to escape through the top. Order our Winter-BEE-Kind board by clicking here. You can put them on quickly even during the middle of the winter. LONG LANE HONEY BEE FARMS PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT! OUR ROYAL HIVE KIT and our TRAVELER’S SPECIAL KIT! Feel free to contact us at: Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
14556 N 1020 East Road
Fairmount, IL 61841
(217) 427-2678 Thanks for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. We appreciate your business and interest in Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. Please visit our online beekeeping store and lessons at: Please let others know about these lessons and our business. We appreciate you spreading the word! TipJarYour donations help us continue our work and research on the honey bee, such as our recent development of our Winter-Bee-Kind. These lessons are free and will provide you with as much if not more information than you would find in a $30 book. So consider making a $30 donation so that we might continue these lessons, CLICK HERE TO DONATE $30 or go to: Thank you in advance. David and Sheri Burns Long Lane Honey Bee Farms 217-427-2678 Website: facebooktwitter iconYoutube

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

LESSON 129: Beekeeping Supplies 217-427-2678

Welcome to Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, also known on the Internet as We are David and Sheri Burns and we know honey bees. We are here to help you get started in beekeeping and to enjoy the experience. We hope to earn your trust and business so we can be your one stop shop for all your beekeeping needs, including hives, bees, queens, beekeeping classes and more.
We were amazed how quickly our Feb. 9th Basic Beekeeping Class filled up. We have registrations still available in our Feb. 23rd Basic Beekeeping Class as well as in our March classes too. But do not wait too long or you will be disappointed. Also plan to pick up your honey bees supplies at the class. What you save in shipping pays for the class.
Education Building While we have taught beekeeping classes for year, we are so excited to have expanded into our new beekeeping education center. Workers are busy every day working hard to have the building finished for our new season. All of our students this year will enjoy the smell of fresh paint. This will add so much to the learning experience.
winterbkind It’s winter time and the bees are facing very cold nights. If your bees are healthy and well fed, they should do well. However, if their numbers or resources are low, they will not be able to eat enough honey and pollen or produce enough heat to stay warm. Please consider using one of our Winter-Bee-Kind candy boards with insulation and ventilation to help them through these cold months of winter. Click here for more information on our Winter-Bee-Kind or to order.
In today’s lesson I want to talk about beekeeping supplies. Which supplies are needed and which ones are not? Is it better to use new equipment or used beekeeping supplies? What exactly is needed to keep bees? What is the beekeeping equipment terminology. Beekeeping for beginners can be confusing, what all the pieces to a hive are called. What are the essential beginning beekeeping supplies?
First and foremost, before you purchase your beekeeping supplies, be sure you have ordered your package of bees. Bees sell out fast, usually in the winter months. But, do not make the mistake of buying your bees but forgetting to order your hive in time. If that happens, you’ll have bees but no place to put them and they will perish before you may be able to have a hive shipped to you.
Read our lesson on installing bees, or watch our video.
Here’s a quick glossary of the essential beekeeping supplies needed:
  • Hive Stand
A hive stand is often unnecessary. Some feel the ramp helps the bees make it into the hive, but in nature bees do not have a ramp.
  • Bottom Board Entrance Large
          This is the lowest item on the hive, the bottom board where the hive parts all rest. It can be screened or solid, but screened is best, allowing more ventilation and helps reduce varroa mites.  Can be closed or left open in the winter.
  • Deep Hive Body (Also called a hive body, a deep, a large honey super) Deep Hive Body1
Most colonies require two deep hive bodies, containing 10 frames each. This is where the bees will live, raise their young and store pollen and honey for their own use. You should not remove honey from these two deep hive bodies.
  • Medium Super (Also called an Illinois super, a honey super or a super)
The honey super sits on top of the two deeps. This is where excess honey can be store which you can remove.innercover
  • Inner Cover
The inner cover fits between the super and the top cover. It usually has an oval shaped hole to accept a bee escape which can help in removing your bees out of the honey super when you are ready to harvest the honey. The inner cover allows an air buffer zone just above the hive.
  • Telescoping Top Cover
This is the final, outside top to the hive. It is covered with metal and keeps water off the top of the hive.  Since it hangs over the edge of the top deep hive body, we refer to this as telescoping or hanging over the hive slightly.
  • Entrance Feeder
The entrance feeder slips into the front opening of the hive and can only be used in the spring or early super. If used later, it can invite other hives to rob your hive. Usually it holds 1:1 sugar water (one part water and one part sugar) and any small mouth jar fits well.
  • Entrance Cleat
And entrance cleat is sometimes called an entrance reducer. It reduces the size of opening in the front of the hive to keep mice and cold weather out during the winter.
  • Frames
A wooden (sometimes plastic) frame that holds the comb.Frame
  • Foundation
Foundation usually refers to the material, wax or plastic that is fixed inside the frame. When we refer to foundation we usually mean that no comb has been built yet.  When the foundation is made into comb, we call this drawn foundation.
  • Suit
A suit is a one piece pant, jacket and hood. Most are not sting proof, but sting resistance.
  • Jacket with Hat
This is much like a suit only without the pants.
  • Hat and Veil
Most beekeepers find this to be the workhorse of protective clothing. It covers your heat and neck.
  • Gloves
Most gloves are sting resistant, but some can be sting proof. I enjoy wearing no gloves at all, but as a new beekeeper you may want to build up to this level of confidence.
  • Smoker
Essential!  A smoker is a canister with a billow. Smoker fuel can be pine needles, cardboard etc. Smoke helps calm bees.
  • Hive Tool
A hive tool assist beekeepers in separating the hive pieces which the bees have glued together with propolis. (For more information on propolis, read our article.)
NEW OR USED?disease
We all want to save a buck and when we find old beekeeping supplies, we can usually obtain them for next to nothing. However, some diseases can live for 80 years in empty, used equipment. We feel it is best to start with new beekeeping equipment. Why invest so much time and effort and end up losing your bees over poor equipment which could spread American foulbrood disease.
Like any hobby, there are many more supplies and equipment you can buy but we want you to see the basics which are needed. There are some additional supplies which can make it easier, but they are not necessary.
In our next lesson, we have had so many ask for a lesson specifically on “How To Find The Queen” so that’s our  next lesson.
facebook Like us on Facebook, and encourage others to like us. Our Facebook page has good, up to date beekeeping information, recipes, tips, gift certificates and much more. We are up to 1,119 likes. Help us watch those numbers soar. Click on the Facebook image or go to: Every 100th like receives a gift certificate. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!
The second way you can help us is to place a link on your website or your association or club’s website back to our main website:
Thanks for joining us for another beekeeping lesson. See you next time!


RoyalHiveKit Wording
Read what the National Geographic says we can do to help save bees and what happens when we lose our bees.
Long Lane Honey Bee Farms
Please visit our online beekeeping store and lessons at:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lesson 128 Why Did My Bees Die? 217-427-2678

WARNING: There is a push to make beekeeping appear practically hands free. New beekeepers are failing to implement best management practices. I want to be your mentor. I am currently accepting positions to mentor a limited number of beekeepers. You'll have access to my personal cell phone and private email. And you can send me videos or pictures of your hive when it just doesn't seem right or you don't know what's going on. You'll also receive 4 new instructional videos from me and a weekly tip of what you should be doing. Click here to see if spots are still available.

Hello from Long Lane Honey Bee Farms. Happy New Years! 2012 was a wonderful year, and we’d like to especially say a big thank you to all of our customers and supporters!
Sheri and I have spent so  much time gearing up for a fantastic 2013 beekeeping year. Right now, we have snow on the ground, the trees look dead, the hives are clustered and quiet. Even though it is winter, spring is coming. I cannot believe the number of packages for pickup we have sold already. It is staggering! So, do not put it off another day. Maybe you cannot really decided if you want to keep bees this year or wait. Why wait?   So many people wait and decide in April or May when all the bees are sold out and equipment is scarce.
facebook Before today’s lesson, I’d like to ask a favor. There are two important ways that you can help us promote beekeeping and our beekeeping business. First, like us on Facebook, and encourage others to like us. Our Facebook page has good, up to date beekeeping information, recipes, tips, gift certificates and much more. We are up to 1,119 likes. Help us watch those numbers soar. Click on the Facebook image or go to: Every 100th like receives a gift certificate. THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!
The second way you can help us is to place a link on your website or your association or club’s website back to our main website:
We have recently made some great additions to our website such as: Recipes, Frequently Asked Beekeeping Questions,  Beekeeping Trivia, How Bees Make Honey and some of my own personal opinions raw and unfiltered. So have your web master link back to our website for great beekeeping information. We appreciate it!
winterbkind It’s not too late to add our Winter-Bee-Kind candy board to help your bees this winter. It has sugar, pollen, honey-b-healthy, insulation to reduce upper condensation in the hive and an upper vent. You can add it to your hive in less that 15 seconds even in cold weather. Why not give your bees the added edge for winter survival!
Click here or go to:
We are David and Sheri Burns and if this is your first time to meet us, let us just say…well, we are passionate about beekeeping. We are so excited about the surge of new people becoming beekeepers. We have been giving out the clarion call for years that in order to save the honey bees, we need more beekeepers.
Not only do we long to see more people become beekeepers, but we do everything we can to make it easy to become a beekeeper. We are a special beekeeping one stop shop. At many places you can only buy bees, or you can only buy equipment and you may not always receive the most up to date beekeeping advice. Here at Long Lane Honey Bee Farms, we provide the bees, queens, beekeeping equipment and have a certified master beekeeper to guide our customers to a successful experience keeping bees. Also, when comparing prices remember all of our hives are assembled and painted with 3 coats of paint with wooden frames. Bees wax coated foundation is included as well. We also offer beekeeping classes, beekeeping videos, beekeeping podcast and more.
An additional way we help beekeepers is by writing timely and up to date beekeeping lessons. Today’s lesson addresses the question, “Why did my bees die?”  A few months back I was invited to speak to Missouri beekeepers and my assignment was to help take them to the next level. I love this approach because there are so many basic classes, but hardly no additional Advance classes to take the beekeeper further.  Over these last few months I have been refining that presentation and adding to it and now I want to present to you this lesson. You’ll want to pass this one on to your fellow beekeepers who have trouble keeping hives alive.
Class Before I begin, let me invite you to our beekeeping courses coming up in February. We still have openings for you. Our Feb. 9th basic beekeeping class has sold out. However, we still have registrations available at our next class: 
Saturday February 23, 2013 Basic Beekeeping We have many more classes coming up throughout the year, but check out these two beginner courses at our location here in Illinois at our new Beekeeping Educational Center. Also, we have several new hive kits with and without bees. These are great ways to add more hives to your apiary (a place where bees are kept) or you may be starting out as a new beekeeping in 2013. Let me quickly show you our 2013 products before our lesson today. Click on the images below for more information or to place an order. RoyalHiveKit Wording TravelersExpandedkit
Click on any image above for complete ordering information. We take all the headache out of becoming a beekeeper. One click and you have bees and a hive ordered. Don’t waste time trying to figure out if it comes with frames and matching up the right pieces. We make it simple and enjoyable like it should be.

LESSON 128: Why Did My Bees Die?

Bearding Most of us enter beekeeping believing that we will show the rest of the world how to keep bees and never lose a colony. Our intention is to be the perfect beekeeper, keeping great records, making more frequent hive inspections, generally speaking being an above average beekeeper. Then, when we lose our first colony we are almost offended that bees would die under our watch. Or we start keeping bees loving our new bees like a new pet. A love affair begins and our bees seem to love us and appreciate the privilege to live on our property. Likewise we are fascinated by this awesome creature and we are enamored by their sheer majesty.
Occasionally, there is never a problem. The hive flourishes, produces honey, survives winter, requires little management and we brag of our beekeeping skill and style. All is well. I wish that I could promise such great success with every hive, but bees are considered livestock. Anyone who has ever kept animals know the unpredictable finally happens. Our new dog runs out into the street. Our talking parrot flies out an opened door, a cow gets sick or our horse gets some sort of equine encephalitis from a mosquito and dies. Bees face the same sort of challenges.
Why did my bees die? When a colony dies, it’s almost impossible to identify the cause of death. I’ve had people ship me bees in a shoe box and ask me to tell them what killed their bees. A bee is not a single organism, the hive is. Therefore, we have to evaluate the entire colony to determine the cause of death. Even then there are so many variables that the cause of death is often inconclusive. Was it starvation? Queenlessness? Did they swarm in late summer and took too long to finally raise a good queen, so the population of bees was not large enough to overwinter? These types of problems can be prevented. But what about something that can’t be seen, like tracheal mites, or viruses spread by varroa mites. These are the invisible, silent killer of colonies. My experience in working with thousands of beekeepers a year is that most colonies die due to inadequate beekeeping practices. In other words, pilot error or avoidable mistakes. Don’t misunderstand, today our bees do face more challenges than 40 years ago.
deadbeemiteSince the late 1980s, the beekeeping scene has changed significantly. In the late 80s and early 90s the varroa mite made its way into America and hit the bees hard. There was a great falling away from beekeeping. Very little was known about the mite and how to keep bees alive that had mites. Hobbyist dropped out. Prior to the mites, we would put bees in a hive, keep an eye out for American Foul Brood and wait until fall and take off a crop of honey. Beekeeping was simpler. Now beekeeping is still almost that simple, only now we must be a much smarter, educated and trained beekeeper because there is more to keep an eye on.
Then, around 2006, CCD changed the beekeeping scene again. Large operations were hit with what is now called Colony Collapse Disorder. In large operations, bees just disappeared. Crazy speculations were tossed around like green Martians were stealing the bees or cell phones were confusing the bees ability to get back home. Now we suspect it is a combination of stresses, poor nutrition, environmental factors, and pests and diseases. However, with CCD there was a silver lining, a redeeming quality…interest in saving the bees surged!  Everyone started rolling up their sleeves to save the bees. More people became new beekeepers as a way to offset the declining bee population. And it’s working! honeyjar About this same time an interest in local food and a more self-sustainable life gained full traction. Some call it the green movement, agrarian living or eating more local food known as locavore. Prior to this time, beekeeping was the weird cousin of Agriculture.  But now, beekeeping has become the rich uncle and everyone wants written into the will. What I mean is, beekeeping is now seen as an essential part of life that we cannot deny. Bees pollinate our crops. In fact, bees pollinate the foods that we now want to eat more of such as fruits and vegetables. With processed sugar getting a bad rap, more and more people are moving over to nature’s natural sweetener, honey. Also, more people are looking for ways to add additional income by working from home or on the farm. Now selling honey seems more attractive than ever before as honey now brings an easy $6 a pound. If a hive produces 70 pounds of honey, that’s $420 a hive.  It seems that no matter what challenges are thrown at honey bees, they survive and so do the courageous beekeepers who are fascinated by this awesome creature, the honey bee. ClassStLouis Prior to theses increased challenges, beekeeping was waning. Now there is an increase interest in beekeeping, more new beekeepers and more funding for research. Prior to today’s beekeeping interest there was less media attention and certainly less educational opportunities for beekeepers. Now, with a renewed interest in bees, beekeeping classes abound and the honey bee has earned rock star status. Beekeeping is now an important part of our view of nature, even our own survival. Sounds so picturesque, right? We still need more beekeepers to help restore the honey bee population. It is getting slightly better, but the bees are not out of intensive care just yet.  So today’s beekeeper can no longer throw bees in a box and everything will turn out perfectly. The modern beekeeper is a totally different keeper of bees. I call today’s beekeeper a triage beekeeper.  The word triage is a French word that means to separate, sift or select. It’s a word used in hospitals because ER doctors and nurses select which patient needs the most immediate attention. Triage is the order and priority of emergency treatment. This is our focus in our Advance Beekeeping Classes.
For those of you who are thinking about becoming a beekeeper, stay with me. We need you to help keep more bees. The bees need your expertise. Bees need you to assess colonies, and to help them overcome their new adversaries, new pests and diseases. Our obsession to live in a weed-free and bug-free world is probably what is hurting our bees the most. Without weeds, our bees cannot obtain the variety of nectar and pollen they need. We take pride in our weed free yards. We keep our ditches mowed and fence rows cleared. We monocrop two or three crops that will bring in the most money.  My clarion call is for more beekeepers to become better trained beekeepers that are more able to provide triage on some hives when needed.
deadsnowbees Today’s successful beekeeper must learn to be a triage beekeeper. Some beginning beekeeping classes only focus on how to keep bees as if it was still 1962, giving the basics on how to start but not how to do daily triage. If every commercial pilot was allowed to fly with the same knowledge most beekeepers start keeping bees, the number of plane crashes would be staggering. Therefore, the answer is for every beekeeper to increase their knowledge base and skill sets when it comes to the honey bee. Every time we do our hive inspections we must assesses our hives and determine which ones need immediate attention.  As soon as we open a lid, we must be focused on smashing small hive beetles. We should have proven practices in place to assess our mite population in each hive and what actions if any are needed. Every new beekeeper must be equipped with four non-chemical, IPM methods to deal with varroa mites. We must be able to identify deformed wing virus, American and European foul brood and to evaluate the queen. How well is she laying and how healthy are her daughters. New beekeepers must learn how to conduct a brood viability test. Beekeeping is on the rise. The ranks of beekeeping is expanding. Research is working. Most of us who produce queens are working hard to raise local queens from hives that survive year after year without antibiotics, and other chemicals. Isn’t that really what we want? Not a hive that depends on antibiotics and miticides, but a colony that has their own ability to overcome the challenges of today. As bees make this transition, we must do our part. On our website, I’ve listed what most bees die from and the most common beekeeping errors and mistakes that kills bees. Visit this page often: Just go to: or click here. Thanks for joining us today! Long Lane Honey Bee Farms (
14556 N 1020 E Rd
Fairmount, IL 61841
We are located in East Central Illinois Visit us online at: or call us at 217-427-2678